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4th Circuit Upholds Trump Travel Ban Injunction

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the differences between the first and second Trump travel bans, and the preliminary injunctions issued to prevent enforcement of the most recent ban. Last week, the full panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction issued by a Maryland court.

The 4th Circuit order was the latest in an uninterrupted string of defeats for Trump in his efforts to bar citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States, and to put a moratorium on the acceptance of refugees from the same countries.

Key Points from the 4th Circuit’s Ruling on the Second Travel Ban

Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote the opinion, stating the following:

The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution…remains “a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.” And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.

The True Purpose of the Second Trump Travel Ban Was to Exclude Muslims

The Court relied to a great degree on public statements made by Trump and high-level advisors during and after the Presidential campaign. The Court determined that Trump’s repeated statements demonstrated his clear intent to bar Muslims from entering the country, though the language of the second travel ban executive order was religiously neutral.

The government had argued that campaign speech should not be considered as evidence of the intent of the order.

The National Security Rationale Was Weak

In rejecting the claim that national security justified the travel ban, the 4th Circuit pointed to powerful information that the lower court had considered. Ten former officials from the White House, State Department, DHS, and the Central Intelligence Agency advised that there was no national security purpose for a total ban on entry for aliens from the designated countries. Four of these former officials had knowledge of terrorism-related threats as of January 20, 2017.

What’s Next for the Trump Travel Ban?

After courts halted the first travel ban in January, Trump vowed to fight. This week, he took that fight to the nation’s highest court. On June 1st, the Justice Department filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking review of the 4th Circuit’s decision and urged the Justices to decide whether to hear the case before they leave for their summer recess. Four votes are required to grant the petition seeking review. The Supreme Court is likely to agree to hear the appeal.

The administration also petitioned the high court to lift the stay and allow the travel ban to take effect while litigation moves forward. The Supreme Court has ordered those seeking to block the ban to file responses to the government’s emergency petition by June 12.

Check back for further news on Trump’s travel ban.

The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm helps people with U.S. immigration matters. For more information, call (650) 931-2509, or fill out the contact form on this site.