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U.S. Supreme Court Backs Trump On Travel Ban


U.S. President Donald Trump

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump's order to ban travel to the United States for citizens of several mostly Muslim countries.

The 5-4 decision on June 26 is the U.S. top court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

Lower courts had deemed the ban unconstitutional. It has also been criticized by refugee and human rights groups.

The ban applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

It also affects two non-Muslim countries, blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list in April after improving "its identity-management and information-sharing practices."

Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said that presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration. He also rejected the challengers' claim of anti-Muslim bias.

"We express no view on the soundness of the policy," Roberts added.

In a statement issued by the White House, Trump hailed the Supreme Court's ruling as a "tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution."

"In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country," he said.

However, Omar Jadwat, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ruling "will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court's great failures."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and the BBC