US bishops disappointed by Supreme Court decision upholding travel ban

By Christine Rousselle

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Supreme Court. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed disappointment with a Supreme Court ruling upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which prohibits nationals from several countries from entering the U.S.

“The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country's core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith,” said the statement, issued by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who chairs the religious freedom committee.

“We are disappointed in the Court's ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government,” continued the statement.

“The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries."

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the ban. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion in Trump v. Hawaii, which fell along ideological lines.

The Court found that President Donald Trump was acting within the limits of his authority when he announced a travel ban on nationals from seven countries. The policy prohibits entry into the U.S. of most nationals from five majority-Muslim countries: Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia.

A change to the policy, enacted a few weeks before the Supreme Court was to hear the challenge to the ban, also prohibits entrance of nationals from North Korea, and to certain government officials from Venezuela and their immediate families.
The U.S. bishops’ conference, along with Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in opposition to the travel ban. The groups argued that the ban was a violation of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

Trump, however, has emphasized the decision as necessary to protect Americans against terrorism and other violence.

A statement from the White House June 26 called the ruling “a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution.”

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