Appeals Court Rejects Trump's Travel Ban

December 23, 2017

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Dec. 22 that the latest version of President Trump's travel ban illegally exceeds presidential authority. The unanimous ruling is another victory for critics of the travel ban, many of them educators concerned about international students and researchers. But the ruling will not have an immediate impact. The U.S. Supreme Court this month allowed the ban to go into effect, pending its own possible review of the ban. The Supreme Court asked federal appeals courts -- including the Ninth Circuit -- to rule on cases "with appropriate dispatch" to allow for a Supreme Court review.

The current version of the ban applies to everyone from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. While students and researchers from these countries make up a small share of those who come to American colleges and universities, academic groups have strongly opposed the ban and its previous versions, arguing that international students and scholars already face security reviews before being granted visas and should not be excluded just because of their country of origin. Higher education groups also say that the ban is viewed in many other countries as a sign that the U.S. government is hostile to those from Muslim-majority nations.

Friday's ruling came in a case brought by the State of Hawaii. Many leading colleges from all over the United States filed briefs backing the state's challenge. The state's argument, noted by the court, includes the interest of colleges and universities in the state in recruiting international students. The state says that laws governing the issuing of visas should permit continued travel by those from the countries in the ban, provided they are granted visas through normal processes.

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