© 2023 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Looking Back At The Timeline Of President Trump's Travel Ban


Squarely within the scope of presidential authority - that is Chief Justice John Roberts writing in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision today. It upholds the Trump administration's controversial travel ban. At the White House, President Trump declared victory.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The ruling shows that all of the attacks from the media and the Democrat politicians are wrong, and they turned out to be very wrong.

KELLY: Today's decision marks the end of more than a year and a half of legal battles, battles that left the administration scrambling to unveil new versions of the policy that would pass muster in court. It's an idea Trump has been talking about since his days on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

KELLY: And so just days after he arrived in the Oval Office...


TRUMP: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here.

KELLY: Those new measures were the first version of what would become known as the travel ban. It banned the entry of people from seven Muslim majority nations for 90 days. It also indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and shut down the refugee program at large for 120 days. The order spurred chaos at airports with authorities detaining people already in transit legally to the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Another day of protests at airports in the Bay Area and across the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Thousands of demonstrators descended on Philadelphia International Airport today.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: Filling five different McNamara Terminal locations with full-throated anger.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #4: Some airlines reporting delays due to flight crews and passengers being stuck in the traffic at the...

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Say it loud. Say it clear. Immigrants are welcome here.

KELLY: Days later, a federal judge temporarily halted enforcement of the ban. Here's Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who brought a lawsuit against the ban, speaking on this program in February 2017.


BOB FERGUSON: I refer to it as a grand slam. It's a complete win. We could not have written the opinion any better ourselves.

KELLY: Just over a month after that, the administration released a second version of the travel ban. This one targeted travelers from six countries, not seven. Iraq was no longer on the list, and people who already held visas or green cards could now come and go. Despite those changes...


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #5: Tonight a federal judge just a short time ago has blocked President Trump's new travel ban before it could go into effect.

KELLY: One of the big questions - whether the executive order amounted to a Muslim ban. Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin told NPR last year that was the only reasonable interpretation of the president's actions.


DOUGLAS CHIN: There were so many statements from his surrogates or people within his administration or himself that really indicated that their intent was to ban Muslims, which is a unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause.

KELLY: That version of the travel ban continued making its way through the courts. But before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, the Trump administration released a third version, one that included North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela to countries without Muslim majorities. This is the version upheld today by the U.S. Supreme Court. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.