Trump claims ‘victory for security’ in travel ban ruling

Restrictions continue for residents of six ‘terror-prone’ Muslim-majority countries

A flag flies outside the US supreme court after it was announced that the court will allow a limited version of Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Getty

A flag flies outside the US supreme court after it was announced that the court will allow a limited version of Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Getty

 

US president Donald Trump has welcomed a supreme court decision to uphold part of his controversial travel ban as “a clear victory for our national security,” as the country’s highest court paved the way for travel restrictions on residents of what Mr Trump termed six “terror-prone” countries.

In a decision on Monday, the supreme court ruled that a limited version of Mr Trump’s immigration ban can come into effect, though it “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”. The decision is likely to affect the issuance of visas to new applicants from the six Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In a statement, the president said the decision would allow the “travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective”.

“As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm,” he said. “I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive. My number one responsibility as commander in chief is to keep the American people safe.”

The supreme court will consider the full case after the summer recess.

Monday’s decision in effect removes the stay on aspects of the ban that was introduced following judgments by several lower courts over the past few months.

Most recently the fourth circuit court of appeal in Virginia upheld a ruling in Maryland that the revised proposed 90-day ban on immigration from six Muslim-majority countries violated the principle of religious freedom enshrined in the constitution. It followed a similar judgment by a federal district court in Hawaii.

Legal minefield

Several courts used the president’s previous comments against Muslims during his presidential campaign as part of their reasoning.

The decision by the supreme court to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of the federal court rulings in the autumn sets up a major constitutional challenge for the nine-member court who will have to decide about the constitutionality of the US president’s power over immigration and national security matters. Mr Trump and his lawyers have consistently argued that it is the right of the US president to take measures that are deemed to be in the interest of national security.

Mr Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries within his first week in office, a move that caused chaos at airports across the country and prompted multiple law suits. After a stay was placed on the order Mr Trump presented a revised order in March which excluded Iraq from the list of countries covered by the ban and omitted a section that appeared to target Syrian refugees.

The supreme court decision, announced on the court’s last day of term, could open up a legal minefield as lawyers try to prove an immigrant’s claims of a “bona fide relationship” with a person in the United States.

Global perceptions of the US

Meanwhile, a survey by the Pew Research Centre has found that the United States’s reputation across the world has plunged in the wake of Mr Trump’s election.

The annual survey, which looks at perceptions of the US in 37 countries, found that the favourability of the US has fallen sharply in virtually all countries since the billionaire property developer was elected. The notable exceptions are Russia and Israel where positive opinions of the US rose following his election.

The study found that a median of just 22 per cent of people in 37 countries had confidence in Mr Trump, compared to the 64 per cent favourability rating enjoyed by his predecessor Barack Obama at the end of his presidency. His leadership has also affected global perceptions of the US, with 49 per cent of people favourably inclined towards the US, compared to 64 per cent in the closing years of the Obama presidency.

The last time there was such a shift in global perceptions of a US presidency was after the election of Mr Obama when perceptions of the US shot up following the George W Bush presidency, which had seen historically low ratings internationally.

The survey, which was undertaken between February and May this year, questioned more than 40,000 respondents in 37 countries.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of respondents supported Mr Trump’s plan to ban immigration from Muslim-majority countries, though support rose to more than half in four countries – Hungary, Poland, Israel and Russia.