WASHINGTON, DC. (NEWS 1130) – Claiming the courts are making the US look weak, the Trump administration is pledging to appeal two rulings striking down the latest attempt at a travel ban for citizens of six mainly Muslim countries.
This comes after judges in Hawaii and Maryland rejected aspects of that executive order.
The Justice Department is saying it will continue to defend the ban. “The president’s executive order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation’s security,” Justice Department Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
The case was argued in court by acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who said the ban “doesn’t say anything about religion. It doesn’t draw any religious distinctions.”
Speaking in Nashville, Trump called the ruling in Hawaii an example of “unprecedented judicial overreach,” and said his administration would appeal it to the US Supreme Court. He also called his new travel ban a watered-down version of the first one, which he said he wished he could implement.
Judicial branch intended to rein in power
A UBC law professor counters this suggestion from Trump that the courts are overstretching. “The judicial branch is intended to serve as a checking point if you will, and rein in power where it’s used inappropriately or unconstitutionally,” explains Efrat Arbel with the Allard School of Law.
While Arbel isn’t weighing in on what Canadians should keep in mind as they cross the border, she acknowledges these attempted travel bans have led to a number of problematic situations.
“The border has been fundamentally transformed,” says Arbel. “These executive orders give license for border agents to act in ways that are inappropriate and at times illegal and that’s worrying. The stories we’ve heard from religious minorities being stopped at the border despite proof of Canadian citizenship or appropriate travel documentation is deeply worrying.”
Despite these court rulings, Arbel expects the flow of refugees coming into our country from the US to continue.
“I expect we will continue to see a rise in irregular border crossings,” says Arbel. “Refugees are not safe in the United States, and they have no reason to continue to risk their lives in the United States. Rather, they will try to seek asylum in Canada, as anybody whose life is at risk would try to do.”
This comes as Canada tries to figure out ways to limit the number of people who are crossing the border illegally.
“We are partners to the Canada-USA third country agreement,” continues Arbel. “We agree to the joint regulation of our border with respect to matters of asylum. The only way in which that agreement works is if the United States is indeed a safe country for refugees. Otherwise, there is no basis, either in fact or in law, for us to turn refugees back to that country. We have seen sign after sign after sign that the Trump administration simply does not care for the rights of refugees, and this revised travel ban is yet another indication of that.”
Hundreds of people have been caught coming from the US into Canada since the beginning of the year crossing in BC, Manitoba and Quebec.