A US federal appeals court has upheld the block on President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, saying the executive order’s text speaks vague words of national security, but its context “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”
Trump’s first travel ban, issued in January and targeting citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, was blocked by US courts. On March 6, Trump issued a narrower version of the executive order that would have applied to citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen without already-issued visas and prevented them from entering the US for 90 days.
Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland separately issued injunctions against the second travel ban, which was to have gone into effect from March 16.
In both rulings, the judges cited statements made during the election campaign by then-presidential candidate Trump and his advisors calling for a Muslim ban as evidence of the unconstitutional nature of both travel ban executive orders.
In upholding the block on the travel ban May 25, the appeals court ruling stated that Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but the power was not absolute. “It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” the Richmond, Virginia-based court wrote.
It is now expected the issue will go to the Supreme Court, the highest federal court in the US.
The first travel ban, issued Jan. 27, went into immediate effect, with little-to-no notice to airlines, airports or the citizens it affected. It included Iraq and citizens from the named countries that hold US green card, making them legal residents. Many passengers were already on flights from the affected countries to the US when the ban was implemented, leading to chaos at US airports and to some travelers, including children, being detained.
The second ban, while narrower, still raised concerns among air transport and travel associations and organizations, which fear US protectionism and a potential dampening effect on travel and tourism. During a visit to the US in March, IATA CEO and director general Alexandre de Juniac told a press briefing that he was “deeply concerned at recent developments that point to restricted borders and protectionism.”
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines director general Andrew Herdman noted there was broad concern about the messages given by Trump’s travel ban attempts. “The signals are that America is not as welcoming as it traditionally has been and that brings risks to travel and tourism,” he told ATW in March.