A second U.S. federal court has voted to uphold a block on President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from six mostly Muslim countries. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously Monday against Trump's temporary ban, on the grounds that the president overstepped his authority when he issued his March 2 executive order, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States."
The three-judge panel said that while the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act gives the president broad powers to both control entrants to the U.S. and protect U.S. security, "immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show."
Monday's decision echoes a previous ruling by the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which on May 25 upheld a Maryland judge's ruling blocking parts of the order. But the two courts made very different arguments.
The 4th Circuit focused largely on statements and tweets made by President Trump that indicated his order was a ban on Muslims, something he advocated during his campaign for president. But the 4th Circuit was only ruling on the portion of the law restricting travel from the six countries for 90 days. The 9th Circuit ruled more broadly and focused on the INA and what the judges saw as insufficient justification to support the travel order.
"In suspending the entry of more than 180 million nationals from six countries, suspending the entry of all refugees, and reducing the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year, the president did not meet the essential precondition to exercising his delegated authority: The president must make a sufficient finding that the entry of these classes of people would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the judges wrote.
The INA gives the president authority to restrict the entry of foreign nationals when they would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States," the judges wrote. But they went on to say that there is no demonstration in the travel order that admitting travelers from Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya would be detrimental to U.S. national security
"The order does not tie these nationals in any way to terrorist organizations within the six designated countries. It does not identify these nationals as contributors to active conflict or as those responsible for insecure country conditions. It does not provide any link between an individual’s nationality and their propensity to commit terrorism or their inherent dangerousness."
The judges said the travel order does not really curtail travel on the part of individuals, but rather on countries that it says are inherently dangerous. In this, they did cite one of the president's tweets: “That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!”