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Mass. Advocates And Congressional Members Blast Ruling On Trump Travel Ban

People protest Tuesday against the Supreme Court ruling upholding President Trump's travel ban. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
People protest Tuesday against the Supreme Court ruling upholding President Trump's travel ban. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Local families and immigrant advocacy groups, along with members of Massachusetts' all-Democratic congressional delegation, are among the critics of a Supreme Court ruling Tuesday, which upheld President Trump's third version of his travel ban.

Yusuf Abdi, a U.S. citizen who works at the International Institute of New England, a refugee resettlement agency, says his mother and three siblings have been trying to flee violence in their home country of Somalia. They're currently in Uganda.

"I was working with my family to be reunited with me," he told WBUR on Tuesday. "So this travel ban, it totally break[s] us into ... pieces."

Trump's travel ban bars nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries, and some travelers from two other nations. Somalia is among the countries affected by the ban.

Writing for the 5-4 majority ruling, which was decided along ideological lines, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that "the law "grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States."

Trump, a Republican, called the ruling "a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution."

But immigrant advocates in Massachusetts decried the decision.

Jeff Thielman, CEO of the International Institute of New England, said the ruling "gives the administration license to refuse people from predominantly Muslim countries."

Noah Gottschalk, of the Boston-based charitable organization Oxfam America, said the decision upholds an "un-American" policy that "institutionalizes" religious discrimination and sends a signal the world the U.S. "no longer believes the fundamental tenet that all people are created equal."

John Robbins, head of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that allowing the travel ban to stand impacts the state's education and health care sectors since many professors, doctors and researchers hail from the affected countries.

Massachusetts members of Congress — all Democrats — joined the pile-on.

Rep. Seth Moulton called the ban discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Rep. Katherine Clark called the decision "a shameful sanctioning of discrimination and a hard-right turn away from our nation’s commitment to religious freedom."

Sen. Ed Markey said the court is "enshrining Donald Trump’s legacy of hate."

With reporting by WBUR's Fred Thys and The Associated Press

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