Wow! The Supreme Court just announced support for President Trump’s travel ban in a 5-4 vote with Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion (SEE BELOW).
Chief Justice Roberts writes: “The President of the United States possesses an extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf.”
We all knew this travel ban was constitutional from the beginning whether you like it or not. It appears as though the dissenting opinion by Justice Sotomayor is just what you’d expect:
“The majority here completely sets aside the President’s charged statements about Muslims as irrelevant. That holding erodes the foundational principles of religious tolerance that the Court elsewhere has so emphatically protected and it tells members of minority religions in our country “‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.’”
The Majority Opinion is 92 pages long: TRUMP V HAWAII
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ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., and THOMAS, J., filed concurring opinions.
BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KAGAN, J., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, J., joined.
1. This Court assumes without deciding that plaintiffs’ statutory claims are reviewable, notwithstanding consular nonreviewability or any other statutory nonreviewability issue. See Sale v. Haitian Cen- ters Council, Inc., 509 U. S. 155. Pp. 8–9.
2. The President has lawfully exercised the broad discretion grant- ed to him under §1182(f) to suspend the entry of aliens into the Unit- ed States. Pp. 9–24.
(a) By its terms, §1182(f) exudes deference to the President in every clause. It entrusts to the President the decisions whether and when to suspend entry, whose entry to suspend, for how long, and on what conditions. It thus vests the President with “ample power” to impose entry restrictions in addition to those elsewhere enumerated in the INA. Sale, 509 U. S., at 187. The Proclamation falls well with- in this comprehensive delegation.
THE OPINION OF THE COURT AS WRITTEN BY JUSTICE ROBERTS:
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. HAWAII, ET AL.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
[June 26, 2018]
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States undergo a vetting process to ensure that they satisfy the numerous requirements for admission. The Act also vests the Presi- dent with authority to restrict the entry of aliens when- ever he finds that their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” 8 U. S. C. §1182(f). Rely- ing on that delegation, the President concluded that it was necessary to impose entry restrictions on nationals of countries that do not share adequate information for an informed entry determination, or that otherwise present national security risks. Presidential Proclamation No. 9645, 82 Fed. Reg. 45161 (2017) (Proclamation). The plaintiffs in this litigation, respondents here, challenged the application of those entry restrictions to certain aliens abroad. We now decide whether the President had author- ity under the Act to issue the Proclamation, and whether the entry policy violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
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Shortly after taking office, President Trump signed Executive Order No. 13769, Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. 82 Fed. Reg. 8977 (2017) (EO–1). EO–1 directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a review to examine the adequacy of information provided by foreign governments about their nationals seeking to enter the United States. §3(a). Pending that review, the order suspended for 90 days the entry of foreign nationals from seven countries— Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen— that had been previously identified by Congress or prior administrations as posing heightened terrorism risks. §3(c). The District Court for the Western District of Wash- ington entered a temporary restraining order blocking the entry restrictions, and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the Government’s request to stay that order. Washington v. Trump, 847 F. 3d 1151 (2017) (per curiam).
In response, the President revoked EO–1, replacing it with Executive Order No. 13780, which again directed a worldwide review. 82 Fed. Reg. 13209 (2017) (EO–2). Citing investigative burdens on agencies and the need to diminish the risk that dangerous individuals would enter without adequate vetting, EO–2 also temporarily restricted the entry (with case-by-case waivers) of foreign nationals from six of the countries covered by EO–1: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. §§2(c), 3(a). The order explained that those countries had been selected because each “is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones.” §1(d). The entry re- striction was to stay in effect for 90 days, pending comple- tion of the worldwide review.
These interim measures were immediately challenged in
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Opinion of the Court
court. The District Courts for the Districts of Maryland and Hawaii entered nationwide preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the entry suspension, and the respective Courts of Appeals upheld those injunctions, albeit on different grounds. International Refugee Assis- tance Project (IRAP) v. Trump, 857 F. 3d 554 (CA4 2017);Hawaii v. Trump, 859 F. 3d 741 (CA9 2017) (per curiam). This Court granted certiorari and stayed the injunctions— allowing the entry suspension to go into effect—with respect to foreign nationals who lacked a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. Trump v. IRAP, 582 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (per curiam) (slip op., at 12). The temporary restrictions in EO–2 expired before this Court took any action, and we vacated the lower court decisions as moot. Trump v.IRAP, 583 U. S. ___ (2017); Trump v. Hawaii, 583 U. S. ___ (2017).
On September 24, 2017, after completion of the world- wide review, the President issued the Proclamation before us—Proclamation No. 9645, Enhancing Vetting Capabili- ties and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats. 82 Fed. Reg. 45161. The Proclamation (as its title indicates) sought to improve vetting procedures by identifying ongoing deficiencies in the information needed to assess whether nationals of particular countries present “public safety threats.” §1(a). To further that purpose, the Proclamation placed entry restrictions on the nationals of eight foreign states whose systems for managing and sharing information about their nationals the President deemed inadequate.
The Proclamation described how foreign states were selected for inclusion based on the review undertaken pursuant to EO–2. As part of that review, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the State Department and several intelligence agencies,
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developed a “baseline” for the information required from foreign governments to confirm the identity of individuals seeking entry into the United States, and to determine whether those individuals pose a security threat. §1(c). The baseline included three components. The first, “identity-management information,” focused on whether a foreign government ensures the integrity of travel docu- ments by issuing electronic passports, reporting lost or stolen passports, and making available additional identity- related information. Second, the agencies considered the extent to which the country discloses information on crim- inal history and suspected terrorist links, provides travel document exemplars, and facilitates the U. S. Govern- ment’s receipt of information about airline passengers and crews traveling to the United States. Finally, the agencies weighed various indicators of national security risk, including whether the foreign state is a known or potential terrorist safe haven and whether it regularly declines to receive returning nationals following final orders of removal from the United States. Ibid.
DHS collected and evaluated data regarding all foreign governments. §1(d). It identified 16 countries as having deficient information-sharing practices and presenting national security concerns, and another 31 countries as “at risk” of similarly failing to meet the baseline. §1(e). The State Department then undertook diplomatic efforts over a 50-day period to encourage all foreign governments to improve their practices. §1(f). As a result of that effort, numerous countries provided DHS with travel document exemplars and agreed to share information on known or suspected terrorists. Ibid.
Following the 50-day period, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security concluded that eight countries—Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen—remained deficient in terms of their risk profile and willingness to provide requested information. The Acting Secretary recommended that the President impose entry restrictions on certain nationals from all of those countries except Iraq. §§1(g), (h). She also concluded that although Somalia generally satisfied the information- sharing component of the baseline standards, its “identity- management deficiencies” and “significant terrorist pres- ence” presented special circumstances justifying additional limitations. She therefore recommended entry limitations for certain nationals of that country. §1(i). As for Iraq, the Acting Secretary found that entry limitations on its nationals were not warranted given the close cooperative relationship between the U. S. and Iraqi Governments and Iraq’s commitment to combating ISIS. §1(g).
After consulting with multiple Cabinet members and other officials, the President adopted the Acting Secre- tary’s recommendations and issued the Proclamation. Invoking his authority under 8 U. S. C. §§1182(f) and 1185(a), the President determined that certain entry restrictions were necessary to “prevent the entry of those foreign nationals about whom the United States Govern- ment lacks sufficient information”; “elicit improved identity- management and information-sharing protocols and practices from foreign governments”; and otherwise “ad- vance [the] foreign policy, national security, and counter- terrorism objectives” of the United States. Proclamation §1(h). The President explained that these restrictions would be the “most likely to encourage cooperation” while “protect[ing] the United States until such time as im- provements occur.” Ibid.
The Proclamation imposed a range of restrictions that vary based on the “distinct circumstances” in each of the eight countries. Ibid. For countries that do not cooperate with the United States in identifying security risks (Iran, North Korea, and Syria), the Proclamation suspends entry of all nationals, except for Iranians seeking nonimmigrant student and exchange-visitor visas. §§2(b)(ii), (d)(ii),
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(e)(ii). For countries that have information-sharing defi- ciencies but are nonetheless “valuable counterterrorism partner[s]” (Chad, Libya, and Yemen), it restricts entry of nationals seeking immigrant visas and nonimmigrant business or tourist visas. §§2(a)(i), (c)(i), (g)(i). Because Somalia generally satisfies the baseline standards but was found to present special risk factors, the Proclamation suspends entry of nationals seeking immigrant visas and requires additional scrutiny of nationals seeking nonim- migrant visas. §2(h)(ii). And for Venezuela, which refuses to cooperate in information sharing but for which alterna- tive means are available to identify its nationals, the Proclamation limits entry only of certain government officials and their family members on nonimmigrant busi- ness or tourist visas. §2(f)(ii).
The Proclamation exempts lawful permanent residents and foreign nationals who have been granted asylum. §3(b). It also provides for case-by-case waivers when a foreign national demonstrates undue hardship, and that his entry is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to public safety. §3(c)(i); see also §3(c)(iv) (listing examples of when a waiver might be appropriate, such as if the foreign national seeks to reside with a close family member, obtain urgent medical care, or pursue significant business obligations). The Proclamation further directs DHS to assess on a continuing basis whether entry re- strictions should be modified or continued, and to report to the President every 180 days. §4. Upon completion of the first such review period, the President, on the recommen- dation of the Secretary of Homeland Security, determined that Chad had sufficiently improved its practices, and he accordingly lifted restrictions on its nationals. Presiden- tial Proclamation No. 9723, 83 Fed. Reg. 15937 (2018).
Plaintiffs in this case are the State of Hawaii
Opinion of the Court
individuals (Dr. Ismail Elshikh, John Doe #1, and John Doe #2), and the Muslim Association of Hawaii. The State operates the University of Hawaii system, which recruits students and faculty from the designated countries. The three individual plaintiffs are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have relatives from Iran, Syria, and Yemen applying for immigrant or nonimmigrant visas. The Association is a nonprofit organization that operates a mosque in Hawaii.
Plaintiffs challenged the Proclamation—except as applied to North Korea and Venezuela—on several grounds. As relevant here, they argued that the Procla- mation contravenes provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 66 Stat. 187, as amended. Plain- tiffs further claimed that the Proclamation violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, because it was motivated not by concerns pertaining to national security but by animus toward Islam.
The District Court granted a nationwide preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the entry restrictions. The court concluded that the Proclamation violated two provisions of the INA: §1182(f), because the President did not make sufficient findings that the entry of the covered foreign nationals would be detrimental to the national interest, and §1152(a)(1)(A), because the policy discrimi- nates against immigrant visa applicants on the basis of nationality. 265 F.Supp. 3d 1140, 1155–1159 (Haw. 2017). The Government requested expedited briefing and sought a stay pending appeal. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a partial stay, permitting enforce- ment of the Proclamation with respect to foreign nationals who lack a bona fide relationship with the United States. This Court then stayed the injunction in full pending disposition of the Government’s appeal. 583 U. S. ___ (2017).
The Court of Appeals affirmed. The court first held that
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the Proclamation exceeds the President’s authority under §1182(f). In its view, that provision authorizes only a “temporary” suspension of entry in response to “exigen- cies” that “Congress would be ill-equipped to address.” 878 F. 3d 662, 684, 688 (2017). The court further reasoned that the Proclamation “conflicts with the INA’s finely reticulated regulatory scheme” by addressing “matters of immigration already passed upon by Congress.” Id., at 685, 690. The Ninth Circuit then turned to §1152(a)(1)(A) and determined that the entry restrictions also contravene the prohibition on nationality-based discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas. The court did not reach plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause claim.
We granted certiorari. 583 U. S. ___ (2018).
Before addressing the merits of plaintiffs’ statutory claims, we consider whether we have authority to do so. The Government argues that plaintiffs’ challenge to the Proclamation under the INA is not justiciable. Relying on the doctrine of consular nonreviewability, the Government contends that because aliens have no “claim of right” to enter the United States, and because exclusion of aliens is “a fundamental act of sovereignty” by the political branches, review of an exclusion decision “is not within the province of any court, unless expressly authorized by law.” United States ex rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U. S. 537, 542– 543 (1950). According to the Government, that principle barring review is reflected in the INA, which sets forth a comprehensive framework for review of orders of removal, but authorizes judicial review only for aliens physically present in the United States. See Brief for Petitioners 19– 20 (citing 8 U. S. C. §1252).
The justiciability of plaintiffs’ challenge under the INA presents a difficult question. The Government made similar arguments that no judicial review was available in
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Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, Inc., 509 U. S. 155 (1993). The Court in that case, however, went on to consider on the merits a statutory claim like the one before us without addressing the issue of reviewability. The Government does not argue that the doctrine of consular nonreview- ability goes to the Court’s jurisdiction, see Tr. of Oral Arg. 13, nor does it point to any provision of the INA that expressly strips the Court of jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ claims, see Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center, 568 U. S. 145, 153 (2013) (requiring Congress to “clearly state” that a statutory provision is jurisdictional). As a result, we may assume without deciding that plaintiffs’ statutory claims are reviewable, notwithstanding consular nonreviewability or any other statutory nonreviewability issue, and we proceed on that basis.
The INA establishes numerous grounds on which an alien abroad may be inadmissible to the United States and ineligible for a visa. See, e.g., 8 U. S. C. §§1182(a)(1) (health-related grounds), (a)(2) (criminal history), (a)(3)(B) (terrorist activities), (a)(3)(C) (foreign policy grounds). Congress has also delegated to the President authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens in certain circum- stances. The principal source of that authority, §1182(f), enables the President 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.”1
1 The President also invoked his power under 8 U. S. C. §1185(a)(1), which grants the President authority to adopt “reasonable rules, regulations, and orders” governing entry or removal of aliens, “subject to such limitations and exceptions as [he] may prescribe.” Because this provision “substantially overlap[s]” with §1182(f), we agree with the Government that we “need not resolve . . . the precise relationship between the two statutes” in evaluating the validity of the Proclamation.
Plaintiffs argue that the Proclamation is not a valid exercise of the President’s authority under the INA. In their view, §1182(f) confers only a residual power to tem- porarily halt the entry of a discrete group of aliens en- gaged in harmful conduct. They also assert that the Proc- lamation violates another provision of the INA—8 U. S. C. §1152(a)(1)(A)—because it discriminates on the basis of nationality in the issuance of immigrant visas.
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 plain- tiffs’ 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.
A The text of §1182(f) states:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonim- migrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any re- strictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
By its terms, §1182(f) exudes deference to the President in every clause. It entrusts to the President the decisions whether and when to suspend entry (“[w]henever [he] finds that the entry” of aliens “would be detrimental” to the national interest); whose entry to suspend (“all aliens or any class of aliens”); for how long (“for such period as he shall deem necessary”); and on what conditions (“any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate”). It is there- fore unsurprising that we have previously observed that §1182(f) vests the President with “ample power” to impose entry restrictions in addition to those elsewhere enumer- ated in the INA. Sale, 509 U. S., at 187 (finding it “per- fectly clear” that the President could “establish a naval blockade” to prevent illegal migrants from entering the United States); see also Abourezk v. Reagan, 785 F. 2d 1043, 1049, n. 2 (CADC 1986) (describing the “sweeping proclamation power” in §1182(f) as enabling the President to supplement the other grounds of inadmissibility in the INA).
The Proclamation falls well within this comprehensive delegation. The sole prerequisite set forth in §1182(f) is that the President “find” that the entry of the covered aliens “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The President has undoubtedly fulfilled that requirement here. He first ordered DHS and other agen- cies to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of every single country’s compliance with the information and risk as- sessment baseline. The President then issued a Proclama- tion setting forth extensive findings describing how defi- ciencies in the practices of select foreign governments— several of which are state sponsors of terrorism—deprive the Government of “sufficient information to assess the risks [those countries’ nationals] pose to the United States.” Proclamation §1(h)(i). Based on that review, the President found that it was in the national interest to restrict entry of aliens who could not be vetted with adequate information—both to protect national security and public safety, and to induce improvement by their home countries. The Proclamation therefore “craft[ed] . . . country-specific restrictions that would be most likely to encourage cooperation given each country’s distinct cir- cumstances,” while securing the Nation “until such time as improvements occur.” Ibid.2
Plaintiffs believe that these findings are insufficient. They argue, as an initial matter, that the Proclamation fails to provide a persuasive rationale for why nationality alone renders the covered foreign nationals a security risk. And they further discount the President’s stated concern about deficient vetting because the Proclamation allows many aliens from the designated countries to enter on nonimmigrant visas.
Such arguments are grounded on the premise that §1182(f) not only requires the President to make a finding that entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” but also to explain that finding with suffi- cient detail to enable judicial review. That premise is questionable. See Webster v. Doe, 486 U. S. 592, 600 (1988) (concluding that a statute authorizing the CIA Director to terminate an employee when the Director “shall deem such termination necessary or advisable in the interests of the United States” forecloses “any mean- ingful judicial standard of review”). But even assuming that some form of review is appropriate, plaintiffs’ attacks on the sufficiency of the President’s findings cannot be sustained. The 12-page Proclamation—which thoroughly describes the process, agency evaluations, and recommen- dations underlying the President’s chosen restrictions—is more detailed than any prior order a President has issued under §1182(f ). Contrast Presidential Proclamation No. 6958, 3 CFR 133 (1996) (President Clinton) (explaining in one sentence why suspending entry of members of the
2 The Proclamation states that it does not disclose every ground for the country-specific restrictions because “[d]escribing all of those reasons publicly . . . would cause serious damage to the national security of the United States, and many such descriptions are classified.” §1(j).
Sudanese government and armed forces “is in the foreign policy interests of the United States”); Presidential Proc- lamation No. 4865, 3 CFR 50–51 (1981) (President Reagan) (explaining in five sentences why measures to curtail “the continuing illegal migration by sea of large numbers of undocumented aliens into the southeastern United States” are “necessary”).
Moreover, plaintiffs’ request for a searching inquiry into the persuasiveness of the President’s justifications is inconsistent with the broad statutory text and the defer- ence traditionally accorded the President in this sphere. “Whether the President’s chosen method” of addressing perceived risks is justified from a policy perspective is “irrelevant to the scope of his [§1182(f)] authority.” Sale, 509 U. S., at 187–188. And when the President adopts “a preventive measure . . . in the context of international affairs and national security,” he is “not required to con- clusively link all of the pieces in the puzzle before [courts] grant weight to [his] empirical conclusions.” Holder v.Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U. S. 1, 35 (2010).
The Proclamation also comports with the remaining textual limits in §1182(f). We agree with plaintiffs that the word “suspend” often connotes a “defer[ral] till later,” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 2303 (1966). But that does not mean that the President is required to prescribe in advance a fixed end date for the entry restrictions. Section 1182(f) authorizes the Presi- dent to suspend entry “for such period as he shall deem necessary.” It follows that when a President suspends entry in response to a diplomatic dispute or policy concern, he may link the duration of those restrictions, implicitly or explicitly, to the resolution of the triggering condition. See, e.g., Presidential Proclamation No. 5829, 3 CFR 88 (1988) (President Reagan) (suspending the entry of certain Panamanian nationals “until such time as . . . democracy has been restored in Panama”); Presidential Proclamation
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No. 8693, 3 CFR 86–87 (2011) (President Obama) (sus- pending the entry of individuals subject to a travel re- striction under United Nations Security Council resolu- tions “until such time as the Secretary of State determines that [the suspension] is no longer necessary”). In fact, not one of the 43 suspension orders issued prior to this litiga- tion has specified a precise end date.
Like its predecessors, the Proclamation makes clear that its “conditional restrictions” will remain in force only so long as necessary to “address” the identified “inadequacies and risks” within the covered nations. Proclamation Preamble, and §1(h); see ibid. (explaining that the aim is to “relax or remove” the entry restrictions “as soon as possible”). To that end, the Proclamation establishes an ongoing process to engage covered nations and assess every 180 days whether the entry restrictions should be modified or terminated. §§4(a), (b). Indeed, after the initial review period, the President determined that Chad had made sufficient improvements to its identity- management protocols, and he accordingly lifted the entry suspension on its nationals. See Proclamation No. 9723, 83 Fed. Reg. 15937.
Finally, the Proclamation properly identifies a “class of aliens”—nationals of select countries—whose entry is suspended. Plaintiffs argue that “class” must refer to a well-defined group of individuals who share a common “characteristic” apart from nationality. Brief for Respond- ents 42. But the text of §1182(f), of course, does not say that, and the word “class” comfortably encompasses a group of people linked by nationality. Plaintiffs also con- tend that the class cannot be “overbroad.” Brief for Re- spondents 42. But that simply amounts to an unspoken tailoring requirement found nowhere in Congress’s grant of authority to suspend entry of not only “any class of aliens” but “all aliens.”
In short, the language of §1182(f) is clear, and the Proclamation does not exceed any textual limit on the Presi- dent’s authority.
Confronted with this “facially broad grant of power,” 878 F. 3d, at 688, plaintiffs focus their attention on statutory structure and legislative purpose. They seek support in, first, the immigration scheme reflected in the INA as a whole, and, second, the legislative history of §1182(f) and historical practice. Neither argument justifies departing from the clear text of the statute.
Plaintiffs’ structural argument starts with the premise that §1182(f) does not give the President authority to countermand Congress’s considered policy judgments. The President, they say, may supplement the INA, but he cannot supplant it. And in their view, the Proclamation falls in the latter category because Congress has already specified a two-part solution to the problem of aliens seeking entry from countries that do not share sufficient information with the United States. First, Congress de- signed an individualized vetting system that places the burden on the alien to prove his admissibility. See §1361. Second, instead of banning the entry of nationals from particular countries, Congress sought to encourage infor- mation sharing through a Visa Waiver Program offering fast-track admission for countries that cooperate with the United States. See §1187.
We may assume that §1182(f) does not allow the Presi- dent to expressly override particular provisions of the INA. But plaintiffs have not identified any conflict be- tween the statute and the Proclamation that would implic- itly bar the President from addressing deficiencies in the Nation’s vetting system.
To the contrary, the Proclamation supports Congress’s individualized approach for determining admissibility. The INA sets forth various inadmissibility grounds based on connections to terrorism and criminal history, but those provisions can only work when the consular officer has sufficient (and sufficiently reliable) information to make that determination. The Proclamation promotes the effec- tiveness of the vetting process by helping to ensure the availability of such information.
Plaintiffs suggest that the entry restrictions are unnec- essary because consular officers can simply deny visas in individual cases when an alien fails to carry his burden of proving admissibility—for example, by failing to produce certified records regarding his criminal history. Brief for Respondents 48. But that misses the point: A critical finding of the Proclamation is that the failure of certain countries to provide reliable information prevents the Government from accurately determining whether an alien is inadmissible or poses a threat. Proclamation §1(h). Unless consular officers are expected to apply categorical rules and deny entry from those countries across the board, fraudulent or unreliable documentation may thwart their review in individual cases. And at any rate, the INA certainly does not require that systemic problems such as the lack of reliable information be ad- dressed only in a progression of case-by-case admissibility determinations. One of the key objectives of the Procla- mation is to encourage foreign governments to improve their practices, thus facilitating the Government’s vetting process overall. Ibid.
Nor is there a conflict between the Proclamation and the Visa Waiver Program. The Program allows travel without a visa for short-term visitors from 38 countries that have entered into a “rigorous security partnership” with the United States. DHS, U. S. Visa Waiver Program (Apr. 6, 2016), http://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program (as last visited June 25, 2018). Eligibility for that partnership involves “broad and consequential assessments of [the country’s] foreign security standards and operations.”Ibid. A foreign government must (among other things) undergo a comprehensive evaluation of its “counterterror- ism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, passport security, and border management capabilities,” often including “operational site inspections of airports, sea- ports, land borders, and passport production and issuance facilities.” Ibid.
Congress’s decision to authorize a benefit for “many of America’s closest allies,” ibid., did not implicitly foreclose the Executive from imposing tighter restrictions on nationals of certain high-risk countries. The Visa Waiver Program creates a special exemption for citizens of coun- tries that maintain exemplary security standards and offer “reciprocal [travel] privileges” to United States citi- zens. 8 U. S. C. §1187(a)(2)(A). But in establishing a select partnership covering less than 20% of the countries in the world, Congress did not address what requirements should govern the entry of nationals from the vast majority of countries that fall short of that gold standard— particularly those nations presenting heightened terror- ism concerns. Nor did Congress attempt to determine—as the multi-agency review process did—whether those high- risk countries provide a minimum baseline of information to adequately vet their nationals. Once again, this is not a situation where “Congress has stepped into the space and solved the exact problem.” Tr. of Oral Arg. 53.
Although plaintiffs claim that their reading preserves for the President a flexible power to “supplement” the INA, their understanding of the President’s authority is remarkably cramped: He may suspend entry by classes of aliens “similar in nature” to the existing categories of inadmissibility—but not too similar—or only in response to “some exigent circumstance” that Congress did not already touch on in the INA. Brief for Respondents 31, 36,50; see also Tr. of Oral Arg. 57 (“Presidents have wide berth in this area . . . if there’s any sort of emergency.”). In any event, no Congress that wanted to confer on the President only a residual authority to address emergency situations would ever use language of the sort in §1182(f). Fairly read, the provision vests authority in the President to impose additional limitations on entry beyond the grounds for exclusion set forth in the INA—including in response to circumstances that might affect the vetting system or other “interests of the United States.”
Because plaintiffs do not point to any contradiction with another provision of the INA, the President has not exceeded his authority under §1182(f).
Plaintiffs seek to locate additional limitations on the scope of §1182(f) in the statutory background and legisla- tive history. Given the clarity of the text, we need not consider such extra-textual evidence. See State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby, 580 U. S. ___, ___ (2016) (slip op., at 9). At any rate, plaintiffs’ evidence supports the plain meaning of the provision.
Drawing on legislative debates over §1182(f), plaintiffs suggest that the President’s suspension power should be limited to exigencies where it would be difficult for Con- gress to react promptly. Precursor provisions enacted during the First and Second World Wars confined the President’s exclusion authority to times of “war” and “national emergency.” See Act of May 22, 1918, §1(a), 40 Stat. 559; Act of June 21, 1941, ch. 210, §1, 55 Stat. 252. When Congress enacted §1182(f) in 1952, plaintiffs note, it borrowed “nearly verbatim” from those predecessor stat- utes, and one of the bill’s sponsors affirmed that the provi- sion would apply only during a time of crisis. According to plaintiffs, it therefore follows that Congress sought to delegate only a similarly tailored suspension power in
In borrowing “nearly verbatim” from the pre-existing statute, Congress made one critical alteration—it removed the national emergency standard that plaintiffs now seek to reintroduce in another form. Weighing Congress’s conscious departure from its wartime statutes against an isolated floor statement, the departure is far more proba- tive. See NLRB v. SW General, Inc., 580 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (slip op., at 16) (“[F]loor statements by individual legislators rank among the least illuminating forms of legislative history.”). When Congress wishes to condition an exercise of executive authority on the President’s find- ing of an exigency or crisis, it knows how to say just that. See, e.g., 16 U. S. C. §824o–1(b); 42 U. S. C. §5192; 50 U. S. C. §§1701, 1702. Here, Congress instead chose to condition the President’s exercise of the suspension authority on a different finding: that the entry of an alien or class of aliens would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Plaintiffs also strive to infer limitations from executive practice. By their count, every previous suspension order under §1182(f) can be slotted into one of two categories. The vast majority targeted discrete groups of foreign nationals engaging in conduct “deemed harmful by the immigration laws.” And the remaining entry restrictions that focused on entire nationalities—namely, President Carter’s response to the Iran hostage crisis and President Reagan’s suspension of immigration from Cuba—were, in their view, designed as a response to diplomatic emergen- cies “that the immigration laws do not address.” Brief for Respondents 40–41.
Even if we were willing to confine expansive language in light of its past applications, the historical evidence is more equivocal than plaintiffs acknowledge. Presidents have repeatedly suspended entry not because the covered
nationals themselves engaged in harmful acts but instead to retaliate for conduct by their governments that conflicted with U. S. foreign policy interests. See, e.g., Exec. Order No. 13662, 3 CFR 233 (2014) (President Obama) (suspend- ing entry of Russian nationals working in the financial services, energy, mining, engineering, or defense sectors, in light of the Russian Federation’s “annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine”); Presidential Proclama- tion No. 6958, 3 CFR 133 (1997) (President Clinton) (sus- pending entry of Sudanese governmental and military personnel, citing “foreign policy interests of the United States” based on Sudan’s refusal to comply with United Nations resolution). And while some of these reprisals were directed at subsets of aliens from the countries at issue, others broadly suspended entry on the basis of nationality due to ongoing diplomatic disputes. For exam- ple, President Reagan invoked §1182(f) to suspend entry “as immigrants” by almost all Cuban nationals, to apply pressure on the Cuban Government. Presidential Procla- mation No. 5517, 3 CFR 102 (1986). Plaintiffs try to fit this latter order within their carve-out for emergency action, but the proclamation was based in part on Cuba’s decision to breach an immigration agreement some 15 months earlier.
More significantly, plaintiffs’ argument about historical practice is a double-edged sword. The more ad hoc their account of executive action—to fit the history into their theory—the harder it becomes to see such a refined dele- gation in a statute that grants the President sweeping authority to decide whether to suspend entry, whose entry to suspend, and for how long.
Plaintiffs’ final statutory argument is that the Presi- dent’s entry suspension violates §1152(a)(1)(A), which provides that “no person shall . . . be discriminated against
in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the per- son’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” They contend that we should interpret the provision as prohibiting nationality-based discrimination throughout the entire immigration process, despite the reference in §1152(a)(1)(A) to the act of visa issuance alone. Specifically, plaintiffs argue that §1152(a)(1)(A) applies to the predicate question of a visa applicant’s eligibility for admission and the subsequent question whether the holder of a visa may in fact enter the country. Any other conclusion, they say, would allow the President to circumvent the protections against discrimination enshrined in §1152(a)(1)(A).
As an initial matter, this argument challenges only the validity of the entry restrictions on immigrant travel. Section 1152(a)(1)(A) is expressly limited to the issuance of “immigrant visa[s]” while §1182(f) allows the Presi- dent to suspend entry of “immigrants or nonimmigrants.” At a minimum, then, plaintiffs’ reading would not affect any of the limitations on nonimmigrant travel in the Proclamation.
In any event, we reject plaintiffs’ interpretation because it ignores the basic distinction between admissibility determinations and visa issuance that runs throughout the INA.3 Section 1182 defines the pool of individuals who
3 The Act is rife with examples distinguishing between the two con- cepts. See, e.g., 8 U. S. C. §1101(a)(4) (“The term ‘application for admission’ has reference to the application for admission into the United States and not to the application for the issuance of an immi- grant or nonimmigrant visa.”); §1182(a) (“ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted”); §1182(a)(3)(D)(iii) (“establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer when applying for a visa . . . or to the satisfaction of the Attorney General when applying for admission”); §1182(h)(1)(A)(i) (“alien’s application for a visa, admission, or adjust- ment of status”); §1187 (permitting entry without a visa); §1361 (estab- lishing burden of proof for when a person “makes application for a visa . . . , or makes application for admission, or otherwise attempts to enter are admissible to the United States. Its restrictions come into play at two points in the process of gaining entry (or admission)4 into the United States. First, any alien who is inadmissible under §1182 (based on, for example, health risks, criminal history, or foreign policy consequences) is screened out as “ineligible to receive a visa.” 8 U. S. C. §1201(g). Second, even if a consular officer issues a visa, entry into the United States is not guaranteed. As every visa application explains, a visa does not entitle an alien to enter the United States “if, upon arrival,” an immigra- tion officer determines that the applicant is “inadmissible under this chapter, or any other provision of law”— including §1182(f). §1201(h).
Sections 1182(f) and 1152(a)(1)(A) thus operate in dif- ferent spheres: Section 1182 defines the universe of aliens who are admissible into the United States (and therefore eligible to receive a visa). Once §1182 sets the boundaries of admissibility into the United States, §1152(a)(1)(A) prohibits discrimination in the allocation of immigrant visas based on nationality and other traits. The distinc- tion between admissibility—to which §1152(a)(1)(A) does not apply—and visa issuance—to which it does—is appar- ent from the text of the provision, which specifies only that its protections apply to the “issuance” of “immigrant vi- sa[s],” without mentioning admissibility or entry. Had Congress instead intended in §1152(a)(1)(A) to constrain the President’s power to determine who may enter the country, it could easily have chosen language directed to that end. See, e.g., §§1182(a)(3)(C)(ii), (iii) (providing that certain aliens “shall not be excludable or subject to re- strictions or conditions on entry . . . because of the alien’s the United States”).
4 The concepts of entry and admission—but not issuance of a visa—are used interchangeably in the INA. See §1101(a)(13)(A) (defining “admission” as the “lawful entry of the alien into the United States”).past, current, or expected beliefs, statements, or associa- tions” (emphasis added)). “The fact that [Congress] did not adopt [a] readily available and apparent alternative strongly supports” the conclusion that §1152(a)(1)(A) does not limit the President’s delegated authority under §1182(f ). Knight v. Commissioner, 552 U. S. 181, 188 (2008).
Common sense and historical practice confirm as much. Section 1152(a)(1)(A) has never been treated as a con- straint on the criteria for admissibility in §1182. Presi- dents have repeatedly exercised their authority to suspend entry on the basis of nationality. As noted, President Reagan relied on §1182(f) to suspend entry “as immi- grants by all Cuban nationals,” subject to exceptions. Proclamation No. 5517, 51 Fed. Reg. 30470 (1986). Like- wise, President Carter invoked §1185(a)(1) to deny and revoke visas to all Iranian nationals. See Exec. Order No. 12172, 3 CFR 461 (1979), as amended by Exec. Order No. 12206, 3 CFR 249 (1980); Public Papers of the Presidents, Jimmy Carter, Sanctions Against Iran, Vol. 1, Apr. 7, 1980, pp. 611–612 (1980); see also n. 1, supra.
On plaintiffs’ reading, those orders were beyond the President’s authority. The entry restrictions in the Proc- lamation on North Korea (which plaintiffs do not chal- lenge in this litigation) would also be unlawful. Nor would the President be permitted to suspend entry from particu- lar foreign states in response to an epidemic confined to a single region, or a verified terrorist threat involving na- tionals of a specific foreign nation, or even if the United States were on the brink of war.
In a reprise of their §1182(f) argument, plaintiffs at- tempt to soften their position by falling back on an implicit exception for Presidential actions that are “closely drawn” to address “specific fast-breaking exigencies.” Brief for Respondents 60–61. Yet the absence of any textual basis for such an exception more likely indicates that Congress did not intend for §1152(a)(1)(A) to limit the President’s flexible authority to suspend entry based on foreignpolicy interests. In addition, plaintiffs’ proposed exigency test would require courts, rather than thePresident, to deter- mine whether a foreign government’s conduct rises to the level that would trigger a supposed implicit exception to a federal statute. See Reno v. American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Comm., 525 U. S. 471, 491 (1999) (explain- ing that even if the Executive “disclose[d] its . . . reasons for deeming nationals of a particular country a special threat,” courts would be “unable to assess their adequacy”). The text of §1152(a)(1)(A) offers no standards that would enable courts to assess, for example, whether the situation in North Korea justifies entry restrictions while the terror- ist threat in Yemen does not.
The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presi- dential authority under the INA. Indeed, neither dissent even attempts any serious argument to the contrary, despite the fact that plaintiffs’ primary contention below and in their briefing before this Court was that the Proc- lamation violated the statute.
We now turn to plaintiffs’ claim that the Proclamation was issued for the unconstitutional purpose of excluding Muslims. Because we have an obligation to assure our- selves of jurisdiction under Article III, we begin by ad- dressing the question whether plaintiffs have standing to bring their constitutional challenge.
Federal courts have authority under the Constitution to decide legal questions only in the course of resolving “Cases” or “Controversies.” Art. III, §2. One of the essen- tial elements of a legal case or controversy is that the plaintiff have standing to sue. Standing requires more than just a “keen interest in the issue.” Hollingsworthv.Perry, 570 U. S. 693, 700 (2013). It requires allegations— and, eventually, proof—that the plaintiff “personal[ly]” suffered a concrete and particularized injury in connection with the conduct about which he complains. Spokeo, Inc.v. Robins, 578 U. S. ___, ___ (2016) (slip op., at 7). In a case arising from an alleged violation of the Establishment Clause, a plaintiff must show, as in other cases, that he is “directly affected by the laws and practices against which [his] complaints are directed.” School Dist. of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U. S. 203, 224, n. 9 (1963). That is an issue here because the entry restrictions apply not to plaintiffs themselves but to others seeking to enter the United States.
Plaintiffs first argue that they have standing on the ground that the Proclamation “establishes a disfavored faith” and violates “their own right to be free from federal [religious] establishments.” Brief for Respondents 27–28 (emphasis deleted). They describe such injury as “spirit- ual and dignitary.” Id., at 29.
We need not decide whether the claimed dignitary in- terest establishes an adequate ground for standing. The three individual plaintiffs assert another, more concrete injury: the alleged real-world effect that the Proclamation has had in keeping them separated from certain relatives who seek to enter the country. See ibid.; Town of Chesterv. Laroe Estates, Inc., 581 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2017) (slip op., at 5–6) (“At least one plaintiff must have standing to seek each form of relief requested in the complaint.”). We agree that a person’s interest in being united with his relatives is sufficiently concrete and particularized to form the basis of an Article III injury in fact. This Court has previously considered the merits of claims asserted by United States citizens regarding violations of their per- sonal rights allegedly caused by the Government’s exclu-
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