After the Supreme Court today upheld Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting seven countries, South Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo condemned the practice, urging the president to “discontinue this misguided policy.”
The version of the ban before the Supreme Court was the third of its kind after previous versions of the ban were struck down by lower courts. This latest variant restricted travel from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
Critics argued the ban was a form of religious discrimination, as most of the countries on the banned list were majority-Muslim nations.
Many also cited Trump’s statements throughout the 2016 campaign, signaling a desire for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” They argued those statements showed that an animus toward Muslims was motivating the travel ban, rather than a desire for increased national security.
Chief Justice John Roberts addressed those concerns in his opinion, stating: “We must consider not only the statements of a particular president, but also the authority of the presidency itself.”
The 5-4 majority held that it is within the president’s power to restrict the flow of immigration from certain countries and that prior political statements do not negate that power when an Executive Order is neutral on its face.
The text of the order did not mention the words “Islam” or “Muslim.” Instead, it focused on the countries’ abilities to provide documentation that would allow proper vetting of those traveling to the U.S.
Importantly, what the Supreme Court was not doing was expressing any opinion on whether the ban was a good idea or not. “We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts said in the majority opinion.
Curbelo made clear that he finds the policy to be unsound.
“The United States is and has always been a generous nation when it comes to welcoming those who seek refuge and want to contribute to society,” Curbelo wrote in a statement following the ruling.
“While we should demand a strong vetting process and orderly, lawful entry, we must not summarily reject an entire region of the world, and we should never use any religious test. I urge the administration to discontinue this misguided policy and instead take action to continue our tradition of welcoming those who are persecuted.”
That is a sharp rebuke from a member of the president’s own party. But it appears unlikely that Trump will heed that message.
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018