The U.S. Justice Department has filed its brief with the federal appeals court in San Francisco on behalf of reinstating President Donald Trump’s travel ban from seven Muslim majority countries.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans to start hearing oral arguments from both sides Tuesday.
The Justice Department’s brief contends the ban is a “lawful exercise of the president’s authority over the entry of aliens into the United States and the admission of refugees.” It calls a federal judge’s order suspending the ban an error and “vastly overbroad.”
Along with U.S. attorneys, nearly 100 companies, two states and a group of Democrats that include former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright have filed arguments against the ban.
The Democrats argue it was “ill-conceived, poorly implemented and ill-explained.”
“We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States rather than making us safer,” they argued, in contrast to Trump’s arguments that the ban would enhance national security.
In addition, 97 tech companies, including Silicon Valley giants Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, filed a legal brief late Sunday with the 9th Circuit, supporting the lawsuit against the travel ban.
The states of Washington and Minnesota are backed in their legal efforts by several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The case is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Trump’s favor
One analyst, New York-based attorney Dan McLaughlin, told VOA Persian’s New Horizon show that the top U.S. court has a history of rulings that could be favorable to Trump’s case, if it gets that far.
“The Supreme Court has held for a long time that Congress has nearly unlimited authority in deciding who can enter the country — an authority that includes excluding people from particular countries, as it did with Chinese immigrations in the 1880s,” said McLaughlin, also a columnist for the conservative news site National Review. “Because the president is relying on an authority delegated to him by Congress, he has a broad authority to act on immigration within the law, whether you think his policy is wise or not.”
But McLaughlin also said Trump’s past advocacy of a U.S. ban on Muslim immigration when he was running for the presidency could come back to hurt him with the Supreme Court.
“There’s no question that the president has a legacy of comments that are going to make it more difficult for him to defend [his executive order on immigration] in court and the public,” he said.
‘Welcome to America’
Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart of Washington state temporarily blocked Trump’s executive order, putting a hold on travel to the U.S. by refugees and others from the seven Muslim majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
After the judge’s decision, the Customs and Border Protection Service started to allow travelers with valid visas to come to the U.S.
One such visa holder from Iran, Behrouz Naderlouei, told VOA Persian’s NewsHour program that he arrived at Los Angeles airport in California on Sunday after having been unable to make the trip from Abu Dhabi last week when the travel ban was in force.
Speaking via Skype from California, he said the L.A. airport immigration officers were “very respectful,” as they asked him and other Iranians who were on his flight to provide fingerprints and travel documents.
“After receiving my passport, an officer smiled at me, and said ‘Welcome to America’,” Naderlouei told NewsHour.
“The judge opens our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Bad people are very happy!”
The president said he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to check people entering the United States “very carefully,” adding that the courts have made the job “very difficult.”
Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s criticism of Robart, saying the president expresses himself in a “unique” way and the American people find it refreshing.
But Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN he thought it was “best not to single out judges for criticism.”
New Horizon host Mohammad Manzarpour and NewsHour host Parisa Farhadi of VOA’s Persian service contributed to this report.