Trump Immigration Policies under scrutiny as SCOTUS takes up Travel Ban

Cherri Gregg
April 25, 2018 - 11:36 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsraio) -- A federal judge dealt a major blow to the Trump administration decision to end the DACA program. At the same time, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the President's travel ban.

The Supreme Court Justices grilled lawyers on both sides about the relevance of President Donald Trump's prior anti-Muslim statements, while digging into the list of countries impacted by the Muslim ban.

"The population of the Muslim countries on this list-make up about 8 percent of the world's Muslim population," said Justice Samuel Alito, one of the conservative members of the court.

The main issues focused on whether the court has jurisdiction to rule on the travel ban, whether it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and whether the President has the power to keep certain nationalities out of the country in perpetuity. 

Pundits believe the nine-member court is split with Justice Anthony Kennedy holding the deciding vote.

"We're watching the travel ban closely," says Erika Almiron, executive director of Juntos.

The group applauded federal ruling that gives the Trump administration 90 days to justify the end of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program else continue it and to allow more Dreamers to apply.

However, Almiron says their celebration is short-lived since a decision on the travel ban could signal what’s to come.

"I feel mixed emotions because I have to think about everyone in this community," she says noting the recent uptick in ICE raids in Philadelphia. "While ICE is pulling people out at gun point- we can celebrate the protection of our young people- but we have worry about all of our families."

Almiron says immigrant groups are asking Mayor Jim Kenney to refuse to sign a renewal of the agreement between ICE and the City regarding the PARS database. She says ICE is using the database to get law enforcement information regarding undocumented immigrants.

"ICE is tapping into that database," she says, "our ask right now is that ICE be shut out from that database."