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For Immediate Release

June 29, 2018

Muslim Ban Ruling Harms Immigrants and U.S. National Security

Underscoring the old adage, “the third time is a charm,” the Supreme Court upheld this week the latest version of President Trump’s effort to curtail the immigration and visiting rights of people from five Muslim majority countries, as well as those from North Korea and Venezuela.

In affirming the third iteration of this executive order, Chief Justice John Roberts stressed the President’s broad prerogatives in dealing with perceived national security threats by limiting the ability of individuals from specific countries to visit or immigrate to the United States. Administration defenders have further maintained that since the new ban targets just five Muslim-majority countries, accounting for under 10% of the worldwide Muslim population, it is not a Muslim ban.

In an unusually sharp and passionate dissent, associate justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that these justifications ignore the numerous hostile statements toward Muslims made by President Trump during in the 2016 election and after he entered the White House. During the nomination struggle, Trump declared that “Islam hates us” and repeated debunked claims that Muslims living in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. At a general election campaign rally, he proclaimed, “Donald J. Trump calls for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US until the country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on…We have no choice!”

As President, Trump retweeted defamatory anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British fringe group; he also expressed second thoughts about his third, watered down Muslim ban, lamenting that it was tough enough. All of this, Sotomayor emphasized, raises major questions about the constitutionality of even the latest version of the Muslim ban vis-à-vis the establishment clause of the First Amendment. It also provides a green light for future discriminatory Trump administration policies singling out Muslims residing legally in the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court ruling will severely impact migrants from the Muslim majority countries targeted in the Trump travel and immigration restrictions. The sizable American Yemini community (350,000–400,000) will be especially hard hit. Millions of people in Yemen are in danger of starvation in the bitter civil conflict that has turned into a proxy war for America’s close ally, Saudi Arabia. Thanks to the Supreme Court affirmation of the Trump Muslim ban, Yeminis living in the United States have practically no chance of seeing even close family members in Yemen unless they are willing themselves to make the dangerous journey to that country.

Regarding the security justification Chief Justice Roberts cited in his majority ruling, no terrorist or terrorist organization has ever attacked the United States from the five Muslim majority countries in the third Muslim ban (Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Chad; the last one ceased being a member of this group last year). Saudi Arabia and Egypt were never put on the list of Muslim majority countries subject to the travel/immigration ban, even though the individuals responsible for the 9/11 attack were Egyptians and Saudis.

While Egypt and Saudi Arabia are longstanding American allies, the Trump Organization has hotels and resorts in both countries, making it difficult to ascertain if their exemption from the Muslim ban stems from alliance ties or the President’s business interests.

Moreover, the mass profiling of foreign Muslims done in the travel ban is a propaganda boon to radical Islamicist movements, especially ISIS and Al Qaeda, bolstering their claim that America is waging war on Islam versus the small minority of Muslims who hate the West and embrace terrorism. Combating terrorism requires substantial cooperation from the nearly 2 billion Muslims on the planet and the Trump travel ban greatly complicates that effort.

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s travel and immigration restrictions on individuals from select Muslim majority countries is of questionable constitutionality and will not make the United States more secure against a terrorist attack. Reversing this executive order will be a high priority for a future Democratic administration and Congress.

For more information, contact the Fresno County Democratic Party at 559-495-0606 or