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What Immigrant Rights Advocates Are Saying About the Supreme Court's Travel Ban Ruling

Leaders in the civil rights community fear the dangerous precedent set by the court's upholding of Trump's travel ban and denounce the reasoning behind the decision.
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People gather to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on April 25th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

People gather to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on April 25th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday the Trump administration's travel ban against five Muslim-majority countries. The 5–4 decision affirms the president's authority over the control of the flow of immigrants into the United States, regardless of any of President Donald Trump's previous divisive statements over the potential harms presented by Muslim immigrants entering the country.

In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts outlined the reasoning behind the decision: "The issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements," Roberts wrote. "It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility."

The ruling keeps in place a law that prevents refugees, immigrants, and visa holders from Libya, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Syria, and Venezuela from entering the U.S. It also overturns 1944's Korematsu v. United States decision, which supported the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The ruling has triggered an uproar from immigration and religious freedom groups around the country. Here's what a few of them had to say:

Omar Jadwat, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project

This ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court's great failures. It repeats the mistakes of the Korematsu decision upholding Japanese-American imprisonment and swallows wholesale government lawyers' flimsy national security excuse for the ban instead of taking seriously the president's own explanation for his action.

It is ultimately the people of this country who will determine its character and future. The court failed today, and so the public is needed more than ever.

Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations National

This is a setback; not the end of the road. Today, the Supreme Court made it clear that the responsibility will continue to be on the American Muslim community and its allies to push for an end to the Muslim Ban.

The Supreme Court's decision is an invitation to inject discrimination back into our immigration system. More than half a century ago, Congress abandoned a racist immigration system that preferred some races over others. This decision is an abandonment of that milestone.

Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center

The Muslim Ban, a draconian centerpiece of the Trump administration's hateful agenda, is a deep assault on our country's values of inclusion, compassion, and religious freedom.

Amanda Tyler, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

We are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court's refusal to repudiate policy rooted in animus against Muslims. In giving such broad deference to President Trump, the court neglects its duty to uphold our First Amendment principles of religious liberty. Safeguarding religious liberty requires the government to remain neutral with regard to religion, neither favoring one religion over another nor preferring religion or irreligion.

Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations–Sacramento Valley

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent and is extremely disappointing. By banning people of certain nationalities based on religious beliefs, the United States betrays its core values—imagine where this could lead in the future.