Muslims, advocates outraged

Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban

Associated Press


Maryam Bahramipanah is torn between staying with her husband, who came to Michigan from their native Iran, and returning home to see her mother, who suffered a stroke.

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, she expects that she can’t do both.

“I’m very sad,” said Bahramipanah, who cried when she heard about the decision. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know. Now it’s official, and I don’t know.”

Muslim individuals and groups, as well as other religious and civil-rights organizations, expressed outrage and disappointment at the high court’s rejection of a challenge that claimed the policy discriminated against Muslims or exceeded the president’s authority. Protests were being planned or staged across the country.

Not all reaction was negative, however.

A nonprofit group that supports President Donald Trump’s policies called the decision a “tremendous victory.” Erin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for America First Policies, said, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is monumental. It states that deciding who can and cannot enter our country does indeed fall within the realm of executive responsibility. Note the word ‘responsibility.’”

The travel ban has been fully in place since December, when the justices put the brakes on lower court decisions that had blocked part of it from being enforced. The policy applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries, blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said it’s clear “that the president for political reasons chose to enact a Muslim ban despite national security experts, both Democrat and Republican,” who counseled against it. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center called the ban “hateful and discriminatory,” and added that “immigration policy should never be decided based on race or religion.”

Detroit-area immigration attorney Farah Al-Khersan expects chaos at border crossings and other points of entry.

“For anybody who has a non-immigrant visa who is here – even someone with a green card – I would not recommend that they leave right now,” she said. “Once you’re outside of the country and you’re trying to come in, that’s going to be a problem.”

For Afnan Salem, a Somali refugee living in Columbus, the decision reinforces worries she may never reunite with her grandparents or her father.

Salem’s mother, Fadumo Hussein, applied about five years ago for her parents to join her in the U.S. from Uganda. The couple, who are 75 and 74, were approved and scheduled for travel in February 2016. But their arrival was called off after Trump issued his ban, and there has been little movement in their case. Salem’s father, who is in Malaysia, also sought to come to the U.S., but his visa request was denied in May, Salem said.

“We were hoping that at least the Supreme Court would rule at least for fair play and let us be reunited with our families,” said Salem, who came to the U.S. eight years ago and has since become a citizen. “But the decision that came out, our hearts are broken.”

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