The Congress must reverse Donald Trump’s “atrocious” travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries, a top Indian-American attorney has demanded after the US Supreme Court narrowly upheld the President’s immigration policy.
Neal Katyal, one of the principal litigators against Trump’s controversial travel ban, said the policy was “unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American”.
Katyal, former deputy solicitor general in the Obama administration and the primary architect of arguments against President Trump’s travel ban, called for hope and congressional action in the face of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling along party lines, yesterday.
Trump had announced his first travel ban aimed at seven countries, just a week after he took office in January 2017, triggering a global uproar.
The travel ban had restricted the entry of people from Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. Chad was originally on the list but it was recently removed after having met baseline security requirements.
President Trump today lauded the ruling “a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution” and said he felt vindicated.
But Katyal said: “In this case, it was not the decision but the process that defines America and that gives me hope.”
“Though I am disappointed in the outcome, I am heartened that our system of government worked as the founders have intended,” Katyal, who represented the state of Hawaii and other challengers in the Supreme Court case involving Trump’s travel ban, said.
Over the past year, a suit brought by ordinary Americans made its way through the federal courts and the judiciary forced the White House to amend the travel bans to bring them more in line with the US Constitution, he noted.
“We continue to believe, as do four dissenting justices, that the travel ban is unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American,” the 48-year-old lawyer said.
He said the travel ban is an “atrocious policy, and makes us less safe and undermines our American ideals. Now that the Court has upheld it, it is up to Congress to do its job and reverse [the] travel ban.”
He said he was proud to have played a part in this case and look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of the rule of law.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International said the ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, has “no place in a country that claims to value human rights.”
Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy & Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA, called it a “hateful policy”, CNN reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union also condemned the court’s ruling, saying that “this is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it.”
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement that the court’s “ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures.”
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said, “Discrimination is not a national security strategy, and prejudice is not patriotism. Let’s call this ban for what it is: an outright attack on the Muslim community that violates our nation’s commitment to liberty and justice for all.”
But congressional Republicans applauded the Supreme Court’s decision, arguing that it was a win for national security and dismissing the accusations that it is a ban on Muslims entering the US.