President Donald Trump’s travel ban will remain on hold following a ruling Monday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court said Trump did not prove that the people he sought to bar from entering the U.S. were “detrimental” to national interests. The executive order would have blocked people from the Muslim-majority countries Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Somalia from coming to the country, as well as suspended the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
“Immigration, even for the president is not a one-person show,” the San Francisco-based court wrote. “The president’s authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints. We conclude that the president, in issuing the executive order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress.”
Trump had argued that as president he had the authority to ban people from entering the country due to national security concerns. Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, upheld a suspension from a federal court in Maryland that also objected to parts of the ban.
Monday’s ruling from the Ninth Circuit upheld a March decision from a Federal District Court in Hawaii that argued the order violated the Constitution’s freedom of religion.
Trump issued his initial executive order in January, which was met with chaos at airports around the world and left families scrambling. That hasty rollout led to widespread condemnation that the order amounted to a “Muslim ban” because it targeted people from seven Muslim-majority countries and caused the administration to retract the initial order, which was also blocked by the Ninth Circuit. Trump issued an amended order in March removing Iraq from the list of countries, but that version was also met with legal challenges.
The administration also waffled on the language it used to describe the executive order, first denying that it amounted to a “Muslim ban” similar to one Trump called for as a presidential candidate. But then Trump himself embraced calling the order a travel ban following recent terror attacks abroad in several tweets, which the court cited in its opinion as proof the measure was intentionally discriminatory based on nationality.
The Ninth Circuit did rule that examination of the vetting procedures used by various government agencies to determine if someone seeking entry to the U.S. is a national security risk could go forward. Trump has repeatedly called for “extreme vetting,” but his administration has not described what that would entail.