Donald Trump’s campaign to become the President of the United States of America had many different slogans and promises from ‘Make America Great Again’ to ‘Build the Wall’, but one of the most controversial policy statements the 45th President made was in December 2015 when he announced his plan for a ‘total and complete shutdown’ of the borders to Muslims.
This was largely a reaction to the San Bernardino terror attack but also in response to many others that had occurred not only in the US but around the Western world.
This immediately sparked huge controversy as being discriminatory towards Muslims, xenophobic and not in line with the liberal values that are supposed to define the country and protected by the constitution.
As such, when he did indeed get elected as President, he signed an executive order banning travel of people with visas from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, within a week of being inaugurated.
In February, a Judge in Seattle blocked the ban and this was held up in the Appeals court.
Not to be perturbed, President Trump signed a second, watered down order that reduced the number of countries to six and removed language that seemed to favour non-Muslim refugees whilst it allowed certain exemptions for green card holders and other document holders.
This was again struck down by a judge, this time in Hawaii, just 9 days later and then in May this block was upheld by the Court of Appeals.
In June, the ban was revived by the Supreme Court in a brief, unsigned opinion, that let a limited version of the second ban be put into place.
Throughout the summer the legal battle continued between the Judge in Hawaii, Derrick Watson, the Trump administration over refugee numbers and definitions of a ‘bona fide’ connection to the US.
These legal arguments were made irrelevant by a third travel ban signed on the 24th September, that covered travel to the US by most citizens of Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea as well as some officials from Venezuela.
Just a day before the ban was set to become active on the 17th October, Watson blocked the banning of individuals from all countries except North Korea and Venezuela, stating that that the ban was ‘antithetical’ to American principles.
In November, the Court of Appeals allowed the block on the ban to continue, but only for those who had bona fide connections in the US.
Finally, on the 4th December, the Supreme Court overruled the Appeals court and so, now, most nationals of the six Muslim-majority countries are banned from traveling to the United States.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court based this decision on whether it was in the interests of the US as an emergency measure and not on its constitutionality, which it shall consider in the coming months, and so this intense legal battle is far from over.