By Alexandra Gritta
Rabat – The US Supreme Court will evaluate President Donald Trump’s travel ban–the proposed set of immigration policies that prevents most Iranians, Libyans, Somalis, Syrians, and Yemenis from entering the United States–this Wednesday.
Tensions over President Trump’s travel ban are expected to culminate on Wednesday, when Supreme Court justices finally evaluate the lawfulness of his immigration policies targeting a number of Muslim-majority countries.
Trump announced the current travel ban last September, which, if approved would apply to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Venezuela and North Korea would also be subject to restrictions, though this portion of the ban has not been challenged in court.
Trump first sought to implement his “Muslim-ban” immigration policy after taking office in January 2017. The travel ban represents the third draft of the order, following a series of objections in lower courts. Changes include the removal of several countries from the list, including Chad and Sudan.
Currently, Hawaii is the “lead challenger” of the ban, arguing that it violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution, due its display of religious bias. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals deemed that the ban outside of the president’s jurisdiction, and referred to it as “an override of broad swaths of immigration laws that Congress has used its considered judgement to enact,” reports CNN.
Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin stated, “Right now, the travel ban is keeping families apart. It is degrading our values by subjecting a specific set of people to be denigrated and marginalized.”
In 2017, Trump declared on Twitter that ideally, bans “should be far larger, tougher and more specific – but stupidly that would not be politically correct!” Proponents of the ban have backed this notion, and argued that President Trump’s policies would protect the US from Islamist militants. They maintain preventing acts of terrorism should be a top priority.
Opponents have argued that Trump’s ban is an expression of hostility toward Muslims. They point to Trump’s statements conflating terrorism and Islam as evidence, including Trump’s 2016 tweet, “I think Islam hates us,” and videos that Trump retweeted expressing anti-Muslim sentiments.
John Bellinger, a former legal advisor for the US Department of State was quoted “I think the travel ban is a terribly misguided policy that appeared to be motivated more by a political intention of the president than by any real national security need.”
The travel ban case pushes the boundaries of America’s commitment to religious and racial tolerance, while also raising the question of executive power in matters of immigration.
Although Morocco is not currently included in the travel ban, the “anti-Muslim” nature of Trump’s previous sentiments and policies instills uncertainty about the possibility of future restrictions.
Depending on the Supreme Court outcome, Trump’s travel ban could come into play in June, when international football federations vote on the host country for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his concerns over Trump’s immigration policy in March 2017, directly warning the United bid that Trump’s travel ban could prevent the state from hosting the tournament in 2026. Infantino has emphasized that Trump’s policy is completely incompatible with FIFA’s regulations, saying “Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious.”