I chose to look at a more recent Supreme Court decision: Donald J. Trump vs International Refugee Assistance Project. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO-1) to Protect the Nation from Terrorist Entry in the United States. The order barred entry to foreign nationals from seven countries that were considered terrorist risks. These countries were, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The order stated this ban was to be in place for 90 days to allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to do a thorough assessment of these countries to determine if those seeking visas to the United States are being properly screened for potential terrorists. A second order (EO-2) called for a 120-day ban on any applications for refugees from these countries to enter not only to ensure the refugees are properly vetted but that “the entry of more than 50, 000 refugees in in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental” to the economy of the United States.
The Constitutional issue brought forth by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) as well as State of Hawaii was that the EO-1 and EO-2 violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This prohibits the government from establishing an official religion or favoring one religion over another. The claim is that the ban from the seven countries and the refugees was a direct ban on the Muslim faith. The case brought forth an individual (John Doe #1) who is a legal resident of the United States and an Iranian. He was denied bringing his wife from Iran to the United States and claimed this was due to their Muslim faith. The claim also brings mention of statements mad by Trump during his campaign accusing him of being racially motivated to put a Muslim ban in place.
Interestingly, both parties, in a sense, won. The court agreed with Trump in respect to preserving national security however did put limitations on EO-1 and EO-2. The decision states a foreign national would need to have a “bona fide relationship” connection to the United States. This includes students at Universities, a worker who excepted a job from United States employer, and close family relations.
The opinion of Justice Thomas, Justice Alto and Justice Gorsuch agree with the ruling as stated above however their concern that the ruling will “prove unworkable” and burden judges with the task of deciding whether and individual from the states seven countries has proven ties to the United State and in turn will cause further lawsuits in the future.
I found this case very intriguing! What I recall hearing from the various news outlets led me to believe differently. I do agree with the court ruling and with the opinion as well. We absolutely need to be vigilant of who we allow into our country but at the same time we need to have compassion and empathy for those seeking refuge from violent areas.
Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project. 582. U.S. (2017).
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