In a series of executive orders starting in January 2017 and culminating in a Proclamation in September 2017, President Donald Trump restricted travel of citizens from eight countries to the United States. This led to protests around the country on the grounds that the ‘Muslim ban’ constituted religious discrimination, as it applied to predominantly Muslim countries.

A District Court in Hawaii issued a preliminary injunction, which temporarily halted the travel ban, and that injunction was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect, stating that the President has broad discretion to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” whenever he “finds” that their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor said the court was, “blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security.”

Following the ruling, the ban was extended, bringing the total number of countries affected to 13. President Joseph Biden rescinded the executive orders and proclamations and revoked the travel ban on January 20, 2021.

the promise of religious liberty


as a President

motivated by animus


members of one religion

from entering the United States

"By its plain language, § 1182(f) grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. The President lawfully exercised that discretion based on his findings—following a worldwide, multi-agency review—that entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the national interest. And plaintiffs' attempts to identify a conflict with other provisions in the INA, and their appeal to the statute's purposes and legislative history, fail to overcome the clear statutory language."