NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texans are praising and criticizing the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
In its 5-4 decision, the nation’s highest court determined the president does have the authority to keep people in some mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts rejected claims from opponents to the ban that it discriminated against Muslims.
While there were rallies to protest President Trump’s first version of the travel ban at DFW International Airport and other airports across the country in late January, 2017, it was quiet at DFW Tuesday.
Last December, the Supreme Court allowed the President’s travel ban take full effect, and so legal experts said they weren’t expecting any major changes at the airports.
Samir Mavrakis, a Plano resident originally from Libya, one of those countries included in the ban said, “I was disappointed, I was hoping for a reversal.”
Mavrakis said the travel ban has impacted his relatives still in Libya.
His nephew studied in Dallas during high school, but last year he was turned down twice by the U.S. to return here to attend UT Dallas.
Mavrakis said, “He really wanted to come to the U.S. for college to get an education that he wanted and be able to go back and contribute to the build of the country.”
Another nephew he said is studying in Houston, but is now concerned if he returns home to Libya, he would not be allowed to come back into the U.S.
He said his nephew’s parents can’t come to visit either.
Imam Omar Suleiman, a co-chair for the group Faith Forward Dallas rejected the Supreme Court’s ruling saying, “It has nothing to do with national security.”
Suleiman believes the ban is no different than what the President called a Muslim ban during his campaign. “It is to feed the same machine of racism that got Donald Trump elected and continues to rile-up his base and the fact that the Supreme Court is sanctioning that, means we now have racism codified into law.”
Suleiman helped organize a “Stand with Muslims” rally in downtown Dallas Tuesday night.
He said, “I think we need to send a message to politicians that November will be reflective of our frustrations, and to also say to concerned citizens if you want to make a difference, you need to hit the ballot box in November.”
David Coale, a Dallas appellate attorney said the Supreme Court got it right.
He described it as a big win for President Trump and his administration. “It’s definitely a legal victory.”
Coale said the Chief Justice Roberts said the president’s 12-page proclamation “is more detailed than any prior order issued under provision 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Coale believes the President’s third version of the ban won because the Supreme Court found that the travel ban was based on the law. “The president is supposed to worry about security. The statute lets him do that. The order talks about security.”
He said the Court also found the ban was neutral and did not use religion as a reason to deny entry, though most of the nations included in the ban, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are mostly Muslim.
Government officials from North Korea and Venezuela are also included in the ban.
Coale said, “If the order had been much shorter and said I do not like Muslims, and therefore I enact the following, on it’s face, that would not have been appropriate and the court, even the Roberts court would have had an issue with that.”
In a tweet, Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey of Fort Worth said, “There is nothing ‘typical’ about Trump’s government policy to target the Muslim community. It’s a dark stain on this country and we can’t let it stand without a fight.”
Texas Senator John Cornyn said opponents mischaracterized the ruling saying that despite some Democrats’ claims, “This is not a Muslim ban.”
He said “I think he’s (President Trump) trying to keep the country safe.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz said in a statement, “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law and the national security interests of the United States. The Court rightly upheld the President’s broad constitutional and statutory authority over immigration policy and national security, overruling the baseless decisions issued by activist lower court judges.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement, “We were confident all along that the executive order on immigration is a lawful exercise of the president’s statutorily authorized executive power over foreign affairs and national security.”
As for Samir Mavrakis, he came here as a student 43 years ago and became a U.S. citizen. “I’m all for security, there is no doubt about that.”
But he said he worries the ban will hurt efforts to fight extremism in Libya and the other countries listed in the ban. “Possibly put the extremists at an advantage from the point of view that they can use this as propaganda and a recruiting tool.”
Mavrakis believes if students from these countries are allowed to attend universities in the United States, “They will see our way of life. They will see who we are and what we stand for.”