WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of President Donald Trump is negotiating in the US Supreme Court on Wednesday to defend the legitimacy of his travel ban on individuals from multiple Muslim-majority countries, one of the most controversial actions of his presidency.
Trump's travel ban – the third version of a policy attempting to implement a week after taking office in January 2017 – blocks entry into the United States of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad was announced on the list in September, but Trump removed it on April 10.
The Conservative majority, nine-member court has never heard arguments about the legal merits of the travel ban or any other important Trump immigration policy, including its measure, protective measures for young immigrants, sometimes referred to as "dreamers", considered illegal Children were brought to the United States to pick up.
It has previously responded to Trump appeals to reverse lower court decisions that blocked these two directives, stood with him on the travel ban and rejected him on the Dreamer.
A decision is expected by the end of June.
The state of Hawaii, which claims the travel ban, violates the Federal Immigration Act and prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another is the main contradiction in this case.
The Supreme Court on December 4 signaled that it could turn to Trump for granting 7-2 votes to its government's request to put the ban into full force while the legal challenges ran out.
Trump has sparked controversy with his stubborn immigration policy. These include measures against states and cities that protect illegal immigrants, increased deportation efforts and restrictions on legal immigration.
Trump said the travel ban was necessary to protect the United States from terrorism by militant Islamists.
The challengers have argued that the policy was motivated by Trump's hostility towards Muslims, which underlined this point in court with some success, citing statements he had made as a candidate and as president. As a candidate, Trump promised "a complete and complete closure of Muslims entering the United States."
The Department of Justice argues that Trump's testimony as a candidate has no bearing because he was not yet president.
In defending the ban, the administration has pointed to a derogation that allows people from destination countries to apply for entry if they meet certain criteria.
Venezuela and North Korea were also included in the travel ban. These restrictions were not challenged in court.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Will Dunham