A federal appeals court moved to limit the scope of President Donald Trump’s travel ban Friday, ruling that the restriction should not be applied to those with a “bona fide relationship” to the U.S.
The ruling by the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cannot immediately take effect, however, because of a Supreme Court stay until the Trump administration’s challenge against two injunctions plays out in court. The 9th circuit ruling would tighten a restriction introduced by a lower federal court which precluded those “with a credible bona fide relationship with the United States” from being subjected to the ban.
A three judge panel, which ruled against a previous version of the ban, objected to the policy on grounds of executive overreach in the ruling Friday. “We conclude that the President’s issuance of the Proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority,” the judges, all of whom were appointed by former President Bill Clinton, wrote in the 71-page opinion.
“We conclude that the Proclamation conflicts with the statutory framework of the INA by indefinitely nullifying Congress’s considered judgments on matters of immigration,” the panel added. “The Proclamation’s stated purposes are to prevent entry of terrorists and persons posing a threat to public safety, as well as to enhance vetting capabilities and processes to achieve that goal….Yet Congress has already acted to effectuate these purposes.”
Trump has defended the ban on immigration from eight countries, six of which are majority Muslim, citing counter terrorism efforts. The initial travel ban was blocked in federal courts after being implemented via executive order in January. Trump then issued a revised ban in March, expired in September, prompting the introduction of the latest version.
A Richmond, Va. appeals court is required to rule on the order before the high court weighs in.
A Justice Department (DOJ) spokesperson celebrated the ban’s continued implementation pending a SCOTUS ruling and reiterated the agency’s position that the ban should be implemented in full to ensure national security.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the Proclamation and keep all Americans safe while this matter is litigated. We continue to believe that the order should be allowed to take effect in its entirety,” DOJ spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said in a statement.