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Regulations regarding travel and immigration have always been in place for the safety of both foreign nationals and residents. In more recent years, however, these guidelines have grown significantly more rigorous.

On Friday, January 27th, 2017, an Executive Order was signed by United States President Donald Trump, banning foreign nationals from seven countries from visiting the US and prohibiting refugees from entering. Moving forward from this date, countries included on the list of those banned have expanded. The purpose of this ban is to protect the US from terrorist activities by suspending the issuance of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to applicants from included countries. Becoming widely known as the travel ban, this US policy has grown to affect more and more people rapidly.

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Many people have debated the travel ban’s constitutionality. Not only does it ban whole countries, but most of these countries are predominantly Muslim such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. This stirs up the claim that the ban is discriminating based on race and religion rather than focusing on protecting the US. Due to these speculations, many individuals refer to the travel ban as the “Muslim Ban.” This can illustrate a negative reputation for President Trump and the United States as a unit, which many Americans find despicable.

As you might imagine, quite a few issues and disagreements may be caused by this offensive viewpoint of the travel ban. However, our main focus is one primary factor that may support this perspective. That being, not allowing people to enter the nation based primarily on where they are from. In many circumstances, despite having an adequate visa, those from forbidden countries are still detained simply because of where they are from. As an initial example of this issue, an article was posted by the Tehran Times, an Iranian news source, titled “Iranian Student Turned Back at Boston Airport Sparking Protest”. This article speaks about a student originally from Iran who is returning to America from a trip to visit his family back home. Despite having a valid student visa, he was held at the airport overnight for questioning and the next morning was sent back on a plane to Iran. After briefly explaining the situation, the author of the article writes, “…people are unfairly subjected to additional scrutiny or denied entry for reasons that have nothing to do with the people themselves but everything to do with generalized suspicion or frankly prejudice against people from particular countries or regions of the world.” This is only one of many similar occurrences that many find unethical.

After a brief illustration of the matter in question, let’s consider the perspective, “Travel policies should be enforced entirely based on where travelers are from.” One source that supports this claim is an article titled “Supreme Court Assures Safe Travels for the Travel Ban” written by Elizabeth Slattery, a legal fellow and Appellate Advocacy Program Manager. Slattery researches and writes on the rule of law, separation of powers, civil rights, and other constitutional issues, making her educated on matters such as travel policies.

Her commentary essentially sums up the Supreme Court’s justification for the Travel Ban and supports the claim that it is put in place from a legitimate desire to keep the nation safe rather than discriminate against specific places.

In addition to the author’s background, one must also consider the authenticity of the source itself. June 26th, 2018 was the day that the Supreme Court ruled the validity of the travel ban in a 5–4 decision split along ideological lines. The Supreme Court is the most trusted branch of government by the American citizens, thus making this ruling a relevant source to use. A recent Marquette Law School poll of more than 1,400 voters across the country and political spectrum found that a majority, 57%, trust the court more than the executive or congressional branches. Another factor to note about this commentary is that it is not opinion-based, but a summary of an official political event by an expert. After analysis of the article and writer, I believe it is a valid source to consider.

The Supreme Court’s first point that is written by Slattery is the fact that not all of the countries banned from entry are majority-Muslim. This thought continues by pointing out that the list includes non-majority Muslim nations and follows with examples such as North Korea and Venezuela. The administration proceeds to support the ethicality of the travel ban by pointing out that each of the affected countries had indeed been confirmed by Congress or a previous administration to be a state sponsor of terrorism, a terrorist haven, or a danger to national security for other valid reasons. In this case, these countries are seen as legitimate threats. Slattery’s commentary then goes on to explain a significant detail to support the administration’s trustworthiness, which one should take into high consideration when discussing this topic. This detail points out the fact that the list of restricted countries is not “set in stone.” This means that if a country improves its cooperation with the U.S. it can be removed from the list. Multiple Muslim-majority countries have already been removed, such as Iraq, Sudan, and Chad. Slattery writes, “So the administration is committed to actively reviewing the barred countries and risks they pose.” This gives reasoning supporting that the Supreme Court is trustworthy and the idea that the travel ban is not discriminatory strictly based on where travelers are from.

Another strong supporting detail Slatterly includes is the Supreme Court’s direct acknowledgment of discrimination claims. The commentary states, “The court also rejected the challenger’s argument that the travel ban discriminates based on nationality in violation of the immigration law …. The court explained that the challengers’ reading of the statute defied both ‘common sense and historical practice’ and would leave the president powerless to suspend entry based on nationality ‘in response to an epidemic confined to a single region, or a verified terrorist threat involving nationals of a specific foreign nation, or even if the United States were on the brink of war.” This specific quotation from the commentary gives us a blunt explanation from the Supreme Court as to why the travel ban isn’t prejudicial toward specific locations.

This perspective gives reassurance that it is fair and logical to detain individuals based on specifically where they are from.

Secondly, let us consider the perspective, “Travel policies should not be enforced entirely based on where travelers are from.” A source that provides support to this perspective is an article titled “Science Will SuferUnder Trump’s Travel Ban, Researchers Say” written by Henry Fountain, a writer, and author who writes about science-related subjects including earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, nuclear accidents, and other natural and human-caused disasters. He wrote about scientific research findings around the world in a weekly column called Observatory in Science Times and wrote the book “The Great Quake” about the 1964 Alaskan earthquake.

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