Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks with reporters following a closed door luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Latest: Few visa applicants granted travel ban waivers

June 26, 2018 - 11:16 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court ruling upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban (all times local):

7:35 p.m.

The Trump administration has granted waivers to less than 2 percent of visa applicants exempting them from President Donald Trump's travel ban on several mostly Muslim countries.

That's according to new figures from the State Department conveyed in a letter to Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.

The letter says as of the end of April, 579 applicants from banned countries got waivers clearing them to get visas. That's out of 33,176 who applied.

An additional 1,147 got visas through other means such as diplomatic or pre-existing refugee status. Nearly 5,000 were found "ineligible" for visas for other, unspecified reasons unrelated to the travel ban.

The numbers come as the Supreme Court narrowly upheld Trump's ban Tuesday.

___

3:25 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking a victory lap after the Supreme Court decision on President Donald Trump's travel ban, posting a photo with the conservative Supreme Court justice he helped put on the bench.

It was McConnell who blocked President Barack Obama from filling vacancy after Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016. McConnell refused to act on Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, and the seat was left open for a year until Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch was in the 5-4 majority that upheld Trump's travel ban on Tuesday.

McConnell told reporters he's pleased with the court's decision on the ban, even though he once cautioned against the idea. McConnell says it's a decision he's "comfortable with," even though he "didn't care for the earlier versions."

McConnell's "Team Mitch" campaign team tweeted the photo of him with Gorsuch after the ruling.

___

1:15 p.m.

Key Republicans are welcoming the Supreme Court decision upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban on visitors from mostly Muslim countries. They say it will help stop terrorism.

The third-ranking House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, calls it a "huge victory" for Trump's plan to strengthen national security "by keeping terrorists out of America."

Scalise says the ruling shows it's squarely within the president's authority "despite false claims in the media and from the left."

Another top Republican, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Trump ally, said the court rightly upheld what he called a "common-sense" practice of allowing Congress to delegate authority to the president. He said the president can regulate entry of people to the U.S., "particularly from war-torn countries or well-known state sponsors of terrorism."

___

12:35 p.m.

Top Democratic leaders in Congress are united against the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban on visitors from predominantly Muslim countries.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says Trump's travel ban "doesn't make us safer, and the Supreme Court's ruling doesn't make it right."

He called it "a backward and un-American policy" that fails to improve national security.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called the court's ruling "dangerous" and says it undermines American values and the Constitution.

Pelosi says Democrats will push policies that are "strong and smart, not reckless, rash and prejudiced."

One Democrat, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, has proposed legislation to block funding for enforcing the ban.

___

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the Supreme Court's decision in favor of his ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries is a great victory for the American Constitution.

Trump tells reporters at the White House during a meeting with Republican members of the House and Senate that the decision marks a tremendous success.

He says authorities need to know who is coming into the country and that media and Democrats' attacks on his hardline immigration policies are wrong

He also says he's planning to push for more funding for his promised border wall and that he'll be discussing the issue with lawmakers Tuesday.

___

12:05 p.m.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican says political opponents are mischaracterizing a Supreme Court ruling upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas says that despite claims by some Democrats, "This is not a Muslim ban."

Asked if Trump was trying to restrict entry of Muslims or other religious groups into the U.S., Cornyn said, "I think he's trying to keep the country safe."

___

11:40 a.m.

Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, says the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Trump administration's travel ban gives "legitimacy to discrimination and Islamophobia."

The Minnesota Democrat says, "This decision will someday serve as a marker of shame."

Ellison likened the 5-4 ruling in favor of the travel ban ruling to infamous decisions in the court's history, including one that allowed Japanese internment camps during World War II and another codifying the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation.

Ellison earlier this month announced he is leaving Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota.

___

11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is hailing the Supreme Court's ruling upholding his administration's travel ban as "a moment of profound vindication."

In a statement issued by the White House, Trump praised the 5-4 ruling as a "tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution."

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge that the policy discriminated against Muslims or exceeded Trump's authority. Trump said the ruling follows "months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country."

Trump says that as long as he is president, he will "defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens.

The 5-4 decision is the court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

___

11:30 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker says he is disappointed at the Supreme Court's ruling upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban, but says the ban itself is less than what the president initially wanted to do — which Booker said had amounted to a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

Booker, of New Jersey, said Trump has "tried multiple times" to impose a religious test on entry to the country, "and his efforts have been diluted by the court system."

Booker, who just returned from the southern border with Mexico, decried Trump's recently rescinded policy of separating migrant families. He said the United States needs to reclaim its values: "We're a good nation, we're a good people. And we should be setting a standard on this planet of what humanity should be about."

__

11:05 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons says the Supreme Court's ruling that President Donald Trump's travel ban is constitutional "doesn't mean that it's right, that it's justified or that it reflects America's values."

Coons, of Delaware, is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says he'll introduce legislation to make clear that the U.S. does "not tolerate discrimination based on religion or nationality."

Coons says Trump's travel ban "is not only discriminatory and counterproductive, it stands in direct contrast to the principles embedded in our Constitution and our founders' vision of a nation where all people are free to worship as they choose. The court's decision demonstrates that we have a long way to go before we live up to our highest ideals."

__

10:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting "Wow!" after the Supreme Court upheld his travel ban from several mostly Muslim countries.

Trump tweeted Tuesday: "SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!"

The court rejected a challenge that the ban discriminated against Muslims or exceeded Trump's authority. The 5-4 decision is the court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

Roberts wrote that presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration. He also rejected the challengers' claim of anti-Muslim bias.

__

10:20 a.m.

The Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump's ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, rejecting a challenge that it discriminated against Muslims or exceeded his authority.

The 5-4 decision Tuesday is the court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by his four conservative colleagues.

Roberts wrote that presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration.

The court may have signaled its eventual approval in December, when the justices allowed the policy to take full effect even as the court fight continued and lower courts had ruled it out of bounds

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()