National security reality

U.S. Supreme Court justices who upheld President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban this week made it clear they were not ruling on whether his policy is wise, only on its constitutionality. But, by a 5-4 vote, justices affirmed Trump’s national security responsibilities give him the power to limit or ban travel to this country by people from other lands.

Trump put the ban in effect soon after becoming president. He declared that travelers from seven countries were to be banned from entering the United States, based on the possibility some visitors from those nations were coming here as terrorists. The countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela (only certain government officials from the latter nation are banned). Waivers can be granted in individual cases.

Since Trump’s initial order, Chad has been removed from the list because of improved conditions there.

Immediately upon the president’s 2016 announcement, his political opponents challenged him in court. Because most of the countries on the ban list are predominantly Muslim, Trump was guilty of discrimination based on religion, critics said. Some lower courts agreed, though the high court in December issued a temporary order allowing the ban to proceed. This week’s action makes it permanent.

Perhaps the most ridiculous claim by critics is that Trump’s ban is just like U.S. internment of many Japanese-Americans during World War II. That action indeed was based on nationality, but it placed American citizens in prison camps.

Trump’s order merely refuses entry to this country to people from certain other areas.

The fact most of those places are predominantly Muslim is not an indication of bias by the president. His concern is over Islamic terrorists. Every nation on the ban list is a hotbed of terrorist or vicious anti-American activity.

U.S. officials have admitted screening of visitors to this country to determine which ones pose a threat is far from foolproof. That left Trump no choice but to ban all travel from nations most likely to serve as havens for terrorists. Justices who upheld his action were right to do so. They were doing no more than recognizing a national security reality.