Statement from Hope Border Institute about the Immigration Policy Debate

The decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in Ms. L. et. al vs. ICE to order a halt to the Trump administration’s family separation policy and to require that the government take immediate steps to reunify affected families is an important initial victory. This contrasts sharply with the Supreme Court’s deeply regrettable 5-4 decision in Trump vs. Hawaii to uphold Trump’s travel ban. Each of the three versions of the travel ban have primarily targeted Muslims and countries with Muslim majorities. These policies embody a discriminatory breach of basic freedoms including religious liberty and violations of internationally recognized human rights.

The California decision still does not directly address whether the Trump administration’s insistence on family detention as a “solution” for family separation in its recent Executive Order is lawful. Hope Border Institute will continue to insist that the administration’s family separation and family detention policies violate basic human rights and are unethical and immoral.

The Supreme Court’s majority insists that the current travel ban is different from the detention of persons of Japanese origin during the Second World War upheld in the notorious Korematsu case in 1944. This decision, along with the Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson cases, which reaffirmed the unequal status in the U.S. of African-Americans persons, are ranked among the most regressive ever handed down by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion even goes so far as to finally overrule Korematsu in an essentially symbolic gesture. However, Justice Sotomayor’s dissent warns that  “the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying” in that case, “and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.”