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Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Travel Ban

The ban does not exceeded presidential authority, court finds

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in a 5-4 decision on June 26 that President Donald Trump has not exceeded his authority in banning travelers from certain countries in the name of national security.

Lower courts had struck down each of three iterations of the president’s travel ban, the first of which was announced in January 2017 at the beginning of Trump’s term. The current version of the ban, which was allowed to take effect while the high court considered challenges to it, bans travelers from eight countries, six of which have Muslim majorities. The countries are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the court challenge. Chad was later removed from the list after it was determined to have met minimum vetting standards.

The administration said the current version of the ban responds to judicial criticisms of the first two and is based solely on a “worldwide review of the processes for vetting aliens seeking entry from abroad.”

While lower courts had focused on statements President Trump made on the campaign travel and concluded that the travel ban was motivated by antipathy toward Muslims, the Supreme Court rejected that conclusion.

“The proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. for the majority. “The text says nothing about religion.”

Trump called the ruling a “moment of profound vindication” after Democrats, the media and others challenged his authority to put a travel ban in place and questioned his motivations in blocking mostly-Muslim nationals from entering the U.S.

Separate from the constitutional questions about the ban, which are now resolved with the court’s ruling, many business groups have expressed concern that the administration needs to better balance its national security interests with policies that don’t discourage foreign travelers from traveling to the U.S.

Last month, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and other members of the Visit U.S. Coalition jointly submitted comments on the State Department’s plans to heighten its scrutiny of U.S. visa applicants’ social media histories, a move which would affect more than 14 million people a year.

The Visit U.S. Coalition was formed earlier this year to advance policy recommendations aimed at reversing the decline in inbound travel to the U.S. Research prepared by the U.S. Travel Association shows that while global travel has increased 7.9 percent from 2015 to 2017, the U.S. market share has fallen from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent over the same period. That decline in international travel has resulted in a loss of $32.2 billion in visitor spending and 100,000 hospitality jobs.

“Throughout the various legal challenges to the different iterations of the travel ban, ASAE has left the constitutionality question for the courts to decide,” said ASAE President and CEO John Graham, FASAE, CAE. “Now that the travel ban has been affirmed, it’s our continued hope that the administration will balance our national security interests with policies that don’t discourage inbound travel to the U.S. Unfortunately, international travel to the U.S. is declining, so we want to work with policymakers and the administration to reverse this trend.”

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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