Supreme Court Reinstates Trump Travel Ban

The judges’ decision allows exceptions that may permit scientists’ travel from the blocked countries.

By | June 26, 2017

WIKIMEDIA, KJETIL REEThe US Supreme Court weighed in today (June 26) on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration—commonly referred to as the “travel ban,” including by the president himself. Although enforcement of the latest iteration of the travel ban was postponed by injunctions granted by lower courts, today’s Supreme Court ruling temporarily reinstated a limited interpretation of the ban until the Court can consider it in its entirety this fall.

The Court said that students hailing from the six affected countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—who are admitted to US universities are exempt from the ban, as are professionals who have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

“The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity,” the decision reads, in reference to one of the lower court cases that prevented the ban from taking immediate effect. “So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.”

This would appear to open the door to some US academics from the banned countries to travel freely, at least until the Supreme Court considers the executive order in October. "While we are still reviewing the Court’s decision, the Court has rightly recognized that students, faculty, and lecturers from the designated countries have a bona fide relationship with an American entity and should not be barred from entering the United States,” says Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, in an email to The Scientist. “This should make clear to the world that the United States continues to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship at our universities.”

But the Court’s exception to the travel ban does little to repair the reputational damage already done by the executive order, argues Howard Garrison, director of public affairs at the science advocacy organization the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). “In the short term, this will help some people enter the country and return to the country,” he tells The Scientist. “But it has to have a chilling effect on long-term planning, because people are making decisions about where to spend years of their lives. This is not a one-off decision like a trip to Disney world. People are thinking about where to launch their career, where to continue their career.”

Garrison adds that it’s not only the people from the six Muslim-majority countries in the ban who are affected. “A scientist from northern Europe who is thinking about where to launch her or his career will probably not want to go to a country that’s stigmatized in terms of its travel,” he says. “They’ll want to go to a country that’s seen as open and friendly—and those countries still exist.”

Brendan Delaney, an immigration lawyer at Leavy, Frank, & Delaney in Maryland, tells Nature that the Court’s language regarding academics injects more ambiguity into an already nebulous situation. “Until there is some degree of certainty in how they’re going to apply this language, if I were a research scientist affected by this, I would be reticent right now,” he says. “Right now, we’re back into a wait-and-see pattern.”

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Avatar of: dmarciani


Posts: 51

June 27, 2017

The Scientist should change its name to the Mouthpiece Politician. The ban is the same that was used by previous administrations; yet, The Scientist was then silent. FYI, disliking the present President is not a licence to become a source of demagoguery; i.e. you are doing exactly what you are accusing him of doing. 

Avatar of: Thinking Patriot

Thinking Patriot

Posts: 1

June 27, 2017

What a pantload.  As if there is some bound-up wave of cutting-edge scientists waiting to get out of Libya or Syria.  Right ...

People, especially scientists, are falling all over themselves to come to the United States.  And they always will be.  Give us all a very huge break.

This is just more of the political foot-stomping and tantrum-throwing by elitists unable to come to grips with the election of a populist administration.  It's actually quite pathetic.

Avatar of: jobardu


Posts: 3

June 27, 2017

To begin with, it won't, since travelers with legitimate work or other interests are exempted from the ban. I suspect most readers and writers know this but use any excuse to denounce Trump and US policy. 

There is one area of research that might be disrupted by the travel ban: terrorist attack impact studies. With fewer or no terrorist attacks, the entire industry that studies "why are they mad at us? "  or that presents heart-rending tales demonstrating that terrorists are depraved because US policies or Israel's existence compelled them to commit homicidal attacks.

That is a real economic concern. Perhaps the government could compensate by funding research into high-tech unemployment arising from labor practices that circumvent the law. 

June 27, 2017

The trolls are out in record numbers again

The travel ban is Not the same as was used by previous administrations - an issue and fact made clear many months ago by most media outlets

Nor is this administration a populist one - contrary to current propaganda. It's the most elitist administration in the country's history.

Finally, the travel ban targets countries from which no terrorist has entered the US. The country that is the largest sponsor of terrorism is Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism is the source of the most radical Islamic extremism. But Saudis remain free to enter/exit the US at will.

But the trolls don't mention this - why not ?

Avatar of: BruceK


Posts: 10

Replied to a comment from made on June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

Because it is not in Putin's interest? I confess to being a bit surprised that the trolls are active in this not-exactly-mainstream-media, but here we are....

Avatar of: CountNomis


Posts: 2

June 27, 2017

Oh, yeah, and we all know about the huge amount of scientific research coming out of Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and the other pigsties.

Avatar of: CountNomis


Posts: 2

Replied to a comment from made on June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

It's not a populist one only to you and others who hold the same rigid, hatefilled, obsessed fanatics.

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