FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 26, 2017
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision stating that it will hear legal arguments on the constitutionality of the travel ban instituted by the president in January 2017 and revised in March 2017. The Executive Order banning travel by individuals from six Muslim-majority countries had been blocked by multiple federal courts, but based on appeals by the administration, the Supreme Court will now hear arguments in October 2017.
In the meantime, the Supreme Court has allowed the travel and refugee ban to go into limited effect. Individuals who can demonstrate a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the United States are not prohibited from traveling under the ban, including refugees, even if the total number of refugees entering the U.S. exceeds the 50,000 cap set in the January Executive Order. But those without such United States ties are barred simply because they are likely to be Muslim.
“Although exceptions to the ban outlined by the Supreme Court in its decision today may reach a number of family members, students, professionals, and refugees seeking to travel to the U.S., it still allows for discrimination against individuals seeking to enter the country simply because of their national origin and, because all of the countries impacted are Muslim-majority, their religion” said Layli Miller-Muro, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Tahirih Justice Center.
The Tahirih Justice Center, which has provided legal defense to over 20,000 immigrant women and children fleeing violence over the last twenty years, has been especially concerned about the impact of the travel and refugee ban on women and children traveling from majority Muslim countries who may be fleeing gender-based violence. As such, Tahirih has participated in litigation and advocacy efforts against the travel and refugee ban, and is disappointed in today’s decision.
Tahirih will continue to monitor policy shifts that impact women and girls fleeing violence and advocate for the United States to honor its legal obligations to protect those fleeing human rights abuses.