Supreme Court could announce fate of Trump ‘travel ban’ and refugee ceiling reduction at any time, by Ann Corcoran, 6/24/17
According to AP at ABC News, here, they have likely already decided and an announcement will come next week.
There are two major issues at stake (maybe more than two, but two for me!). The first is whether the President has the authority to ban, for a limited time, all entry to the US from six (mostly Muslim countries that are hotbeds of terrorism) in order to keep us safe while they review the entry screening process. Again, this involves all those of all religions and ethnic groups entering the US through any means from those six countries.
The second issue, and the one more interesting to me, is the one addressed by the Hawaii court (9th Circuit), but NOT by the Maryland court (4th Circuit), and that is whether the President has the legal right to come in at any number below the refugee admissions CEILING set last fall (in this case set by Obama), or more specifically has a legal right to announce a mid-year lowering of the admission ceiling for all refugees, of all religions, from all countries! And, does he have the legal authority to put in place a 120-day moratorium (again all countries, all religions) while the federal government reviews the screening process for refugees.
Presidents always come in under the CEILING, some by very significant numbers, and no one has legally challenged previous presidents on that issue. There may have been some squawking by federal refugee contractors***, who receive a large portion of their budget based on a per head payment, when Bush came in way low in the wake of 9/11, but I don’t think he was taken to court over it. See what I said here about how Obama failed to reach some of his ceilings:
In FY2011, they were 23,576 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue President Obama?
In FY2012, they were 17,762 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue President Obama for leaving thousands “stranded in war-torn countries”?
I have my fingers crossed that Justice Department lawyers knew enough to separate the two issues (the overall travel ban from the CEILING issue) which should never have been addressed in the same Executive Order in the first place.
Here is what ABC is reporting:
The Supreme Court has almost certainly decided what to do about President Donald Trump’s travel ban affecting citizens of six mostly Muslim countries.
The country is waiting for the court to make its decision public about the biggest legal controversy in the first five months of Trump’s presidency. The issue has been tied up in the courts since Trump’s original order in January sparked widespread protests just days after he took office.
The justices met Thursday morning for their last regularly scheduled private conference in June and probably took a vote about whether to let the Trump administration immediately enforce the ban and hear the administration’s appeal of lower court rulings blocking the ban. The court’s decision could come any time and is expected no later than late next week…..
The case is at the Supreme Court because two federal appellate courts have ruled against the Trump travel policy, which would impose a 90-day pause in travel from citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims and pointed to Trump’s campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination.
That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends Sept. 30. More here.
If the court rules against Trump on this last point, I see the contractors getting what they always wanted—the President’s determination set in September in advance of the fiscal year would become a TARGET that must be reached, and not simply a CEILING not to be exceeded. (The Refugee Act of 1980 does have a mechanism for increasing the ceiling during the course of the year that requires consultation with Congress, but is silent if the President comes in low.)
For a laugh, as the contractors argue in the Supreme Court that the President (in this case, Donald Trump) doesn’t have the right to set the ceiling, they say this (see here) about a bill in Congress that would eliminate some Presidential power to set the ceiling: “….it would remove presidential authority to set the number of refugees who may enter the country per year.”
Make up your minds—does the Prez have the power or not? Truth be told, this is about Donald Trump and not if the president was Mark Zuckerberg!
Federal refugee resettlement contractors are paid by you, on a per head basis, to place refugees in your towns:
· Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
· International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
· US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)