Trump cheers as his 'Muslim' travel ban is partially upheld
President Trump was last night celebrating the partial reinstatement of his travel ban, describing the Supreme Court decision as "a clear victory for our national security".
The nine justices on the court ruled that citizens from six Muslim-majority countries - Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Yemen and Libya - cannot enter the US for 90 days unless they have family, business or study connections. The court also reinstated Mr Trump's ban on refugees for 120 days.
The Supreme Court rose yesterday for its summer recess and will consider the full travel ban when it returns in early October - by which point the 90-day ban will have expired, if Mr Trump implements it swiftly. He said last week that he would begin enforcing the ban 72 hours after a court decision.
The president wanted a full ban on all arrivals from the six countries, plus Iraq, when he signed an executive order in January. But it was hastily announced, causing chaos at airports, and was then challenged in the courts, leading to a temporary block on the law.
Mr Trump was triumphant yesterday, despite concern from a Supreme Court judge as to how the ban would be implemented, and anger among refugee advocates. The president, who was hosting India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, at the White House, said he felt "gratified" at the court's ruling.
"As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive," he said.
"My number one responsibility as commander-in-chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our nation's homeland."
Travellers who already have a visa will still be able to enter the US. The embassies in the six countries, however, will not be issuing new visas, unless the "bona fide relationship" can be proved. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch - appointed by Mr Trump - dissented from part of the court's opinion and argued that they would have allowed the travel ban in its entirety while the court considered the case. Justice Thomas noted that the ruling was difficult to interpret.
"I fear that the court's remedy will prove unworkable," he wrote. "Today's compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding - on peril of contempt - whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the US have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country."
Former British Labour politician David Miliband, chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, criticised the decision, pointing out that refugees already undergo intense screening and background checks, which often take 36 months. "Too much time already has been spent litigating this misguided order," he said.
But Mr Trump was relieved to have one legislative victory chalked up, as he flounders with healthcare and struggles to implement tax reform.
Mr Trump and Mr Modi were expected to discuss arms sales and working together to combat terrorism. Mr Modi was likely to raise his concerns about America pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, of which India is a supporter. (© Daily Telegraph London)