Supreme Court Upholding Donald Trump’s ‘Hateful’ Travel Ban Is a ‘Catastrophe,’ Amnesty International Says

Following the Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday to uphold President Trump's controversial travel ban, human rights organization Amnesty International called the policy “hateful.” 

“This hateful policy is a catastrophe all around—not only for those who simply want to travel, work, or study here in the States, but for those seeking safety from violence as well,” the organization said in a statement. “While this decision doesn't address the separate and equally harmful ban on refugees, it cruelly traps people in conflict-afflicted countries and prevents them from seeking safety in the U.S. or being reunited with family."

The travel ban applies to seven countries—Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen—five of which have predominantly Muslim populations.

The court's 5-4 ruling allows some leeway for those who can prove they have a pre-existing relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., a job offer or an offer from a U.S. school.

Immigrant visas, however, have been suspended for each country except Venezuela. Amnesty International said coming to the U.S. could mean the difference between life or death for people from some of the other six countries.

“Some of the people banned from this policy are fleeing conflicts that the United States has had a direct hand in creating or perpetuating, as is the case in Yemen and Syria,” it said. “In those cases especially we are essentially lighting a house on fire and locking the escape door shut.”

Amnesty International
A copy of the Amnesty International Report ,2017-18, is shown at a news conference in Hong Kong, on February 22. Amnesty International has called President Donald Trump’s travel ban policy “hateful” and a “catastrophe all around.” REUTERS/Bobby Yip

In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court's majority did not believe the travel ban was an expression of Trump's sentiments about Muslims.

“The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices," Roberts wrote. "The text says nothing about religion."

Amnesty International said it believed otherwise.

“This ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, has no place in a country that claims to value human rights.”

This is Trump's third and most recent travel ban, which included two non-Muslim majority nations, North Korea and Venezuela, for the first time,