A federal appeals court in San Francisco Dec. 22 struck down part of President (Donald) Trump’s third travel ban.
Trump issued the ban in a Sept. 24 proclamation, restricting entry from six mostly Muslim counties, North Korea and Venezuela.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the six predominantly Muslim countries. The court said the ban should not be enforced against people with a relationship with a person or institution in the United States.
A three-judge panel said, “For a third time, we are called upon to assess the legality of the president’s efforts to bar over 150 million nationals of six designated countries from entering the United States or being issued immigrant visas they would ordinarily be entitled to receive.
“We conclude that the president’s issues of the proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority,” the court said.
But the ban will remain fully in effect for the time being, however, because on Dec. 4 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered it to be fully implemented until all appeals in two challenges to Trump’s order are resolved, including appeals to the Supreme Court itself.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said in a statement, “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the proclamation and keep all Americans safe while this matter is litigated. We continue to believe that the order should be allowed to take effect in its entirety.”
The lawsuit before the 9th Circuit was filed by the state of Hawai’i, the Muslim Association of Hawaii and the association’s imam, whose mother-in-law lives in Syria.
They challenged only the restrictions on the six mostly Muslim countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The other lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland by the International Refugee Assistance Project and other groups and is now pending before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia.
In the Dec. 22 ruling in the Hawai’i case, the 9th Circuit panel said Trump’s order unconstitutionally intrudes on Congress’s power to regulate immigration.
It also said the order violated a provision of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act that prohibits discrimination based on nationality.
Hawai‘i Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Once again, Hawai’i’s spirit of ‘ohana’ prevails — that nobody gets left behind and nobody gets targeted for unfair discrimination.”
Trump’s previous two travel bans, issued by executive orders on Jan. 27 and March 6, were also challenged. The first version, which applied to people from seven countries, including legal U.S. residents, was replaced by a narrowed-down version applying to six countries.
Lower federal courts and the 9th and 4th circuits overturned parts of the second ban. The Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court, but the high court dropped the cases in October after Trump issued the third version of the ban and the earlier version expired.