The Supreme Court of the United States has lifted a hold on Trump’s controversial, bigoted, and irrational travel ban. Bogged down in the lower courts for months, the executive order sought to prevent individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (all Muslim-majority nations) from entering the United States for 90 days. It also called for a 120 day moratorium on refugee entry.
During the campaign, Trump called for a complete shutdown of Muslims from entering the United States. Court rulings have used Trump’s bombastic rhetoric to point out the order’s illegality as it specifically targets a group of people.
Monday’s Supreme Court ruling will lift the hold in part. The partial enactment of the ban will prevent individuals the six Muslim nations without a “bona fide” relationship to US persons, institutions, or businesses from entering the United States. It’s unclear exactly what this means, and will likely result in mismanagement and confusion as a result.
No individual from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen has ever committed an act of terrorism on US soil. This, of course, doesn’t matter to the flailing Trump, whose desperation to show concrete victories to his nativist base is more important than enacting sensible policy.
Since the ban that will go into effect this week is the second version released by the Trump Administration (which Trump publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for, calling it “politically correct”), individuals who already have visas will be permitted entry into the United States. This means there may not be the same mass airport protests as before.
While a lack of clarity may stoke uncertainty among boarder enforcement agents, the largest impact will be overseas, where consulates will begin turning down visas to tourists and other travelers, and refugees are prevented from initiating a resettlement process.
The ostensible intent of the order was to create temporary bans during which the administration would “review” visa requirements for the countries in question. This intent is of course now transparently disingenuous. By the time that the Supreme Court actually takes up the question over the order’s constitutionality, the tme during which the adminstration was supposed to be reviewing visa requirements will have already elapsed. This begs the question: what was the Trump Administration doing over the past four months instead of reviewing visa requirements?
The short answer: it in damage control for Trump’s ongoing (and largely self-inflicted) crises.