Asian American community reacts to the decision to allow the so-called “Muslim ban”
THE Trump administration scored a major victory on Tuesday, June 26, when the Supreme Court decided to uphold President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, further intensifying the national debate over United States immigration and conduct over immigrants, people of color and Muslims.
The conservative-leaning court ruled 5 to 4 in the case Trump v. Hawai’i in which a federal judge from Hawaii halted the travel ban from taking effect. The court’s conservatives said that Trump’s long history of inflammatory comments about the perceived threat of Muslims in the United States do not undermine his power to implement national security practices.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday. “In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.”
The travel ban, which is famously known as the “Muslim ban” for the selected nations it affects, was one of Trump’s first proposals. Generally, the ban prohibits travel of nationals from six countries: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea. The administration chose these countries due to terrorist activity as well as lack of cooperation with U.S. officials to collaborate on vetting practices.
In January 2017, he signed an executive order to implement the ban, but it — along with two revised versions — have been shot down in several federal judges, as extensively reported by the Asian Journal.
While Republicans lauded the Supreme Court for validating the party’s national security, outrage over the decision began immediately with protestors who gathered outside the Supreme Court, chanting: “No ban, no wall.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the nation’s largest legal organizations which has been challenging the Trump administration’s travel ban since it was first announced, decried the decision, with attorney Omar Jadwat saying the ruling “will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in their searing dissent, “The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It leaves undisturbed a policy that first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a facade of national-security concerns.”
Sotomayor also compared the decision to Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that supported the detention of Japanese-Americans to during World War II, a three-year internment that has become a stain in American history.
Following the ruling, several Asian American lawmakers and organizations condemned the Supreme Court, all dubbing the decision a reversal of American values of inclusivity and racial and religious freedom.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said in a statement, “Trump’s Muslim ban will never be right. The majority opinion ignored reality and turned a blind-eye on the intent and motivation behind Trump’s discriminatory Proclamation.”
Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), pointed out a pattern in Trump’s proposed policies, saying, “This is an intentional strategy, along with his zero tolerance at the border and proposed changes to legal immigration to prevent non-whites from coming to this country.”
Asian American legal organizations also deplored the decision, arguing that, by honoring this practice, many minorities — not just Muslims — may be subjected to “discriminatory targeting.”
“We strongly condemn the Supreme Court’s decision and perpetual of state-sanctioned discrimination as inconsistent with our Constitutional values,” legal and civil rights alliance Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement. “This decision greenlights religious and ethnic discrimination that runs counter to the inclusionary principles to which our country aspires.”
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), an alliance of Asian Pacific Islander legal professionals and students, that it is “deeply disappointed” in the ruling, saying, that the Supreme Court’s decision could exacerbate racist and xenophobic behavior toward people of color.
“NAPABA remains concerned that this decision permits and promotes continued discrimination against Muslims, particularly given our nation’s long and painful history of anti-Asian Pacific Islander immigration policies and violence against Asian Pacific American communities,” it added.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Margaret Fung chimed in and said that the ruling “will be judged harshly for its unquestioning acceptance of a discriminatory policy motivated by religious bigotry.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)