In an extremely disappointing 5-4 ruling today, the Supreme Court let stand President Trump’s third Executive Order, commonly called “Travel Ban 3.0”. For a brief description of Travel Ban 3.0, read this prior MeBIC post.
This means the Travel Ban will remain in effect until the Administration decides to end the ban, or remove individual countries from it. It also means that using similar justification, the President can add more countries to the ban.
Seven countries are currently subject to the ban: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. With the exception of Venezuela, where the ban bars only some visitors with government connections from coming to the U.S., Travel Ban 3.0 bans visa issuance and entry of all intending immigrants who are citizens of the other six countries, unless they are granted a waiver, which is virtually impossible to get.
Maine has a large population of immigrants from Somalia, as well as many immigrants from Iran and Syria. This is a huge blow particularly to these members of our Maine communities. With the Travel Ban remaining in place, permanent residents and naturalized U.S. citizens originally from the targeted countries have no idea when their immediate family members for whom they have already petitioned or hoped to petition, including their spouses, parents, children, and siblings, will be able to join them here in the U.S.
This will also impact Maine employers who hoped to help talented professional-level workers from the targeted countries gain temporary working visas or residency in order to bring their talent onto their staff.
The Supreme Court, in its decision, essentially held that while it’s not legal for the Administration to discriminate in visa issuance (visas that are used to present at entry), it is legal for the Administration to discriminate based on nationality in deciding who will be allowed actually to enter the U.S. The Court’s majority failed to find that the Travel Ban should be blocked due to unconstitutional animus against Muslims, though the dissenting justices disagreed. This summary provides more details about the majority’s holding and the two dissenting opinions.
We should call on Maine’s Congressional delegation to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate this possibility in the future.
Maine needs immigrants, and immigrants need their families. Our Mainers from Somalia, Iran and Syria should not be forced to choose between living in the U.S. and being together with their immediate family members.