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Trib editorial: Travel ban tip of a larger immigration mess

| Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
In 2020, oddsmakers give Donald Trump just a 29-percent chance. (AP Photo)
In 2020, oddsmakers give Donald Trump just a 29-percent chance. (AP Photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Trump an early Christmas gift on Monday by upholding the administration's enforcement of a travel ban to the United States by residents from six primarily Muslim countries while legal challenges against it proceed through the appellate courts.

Of course, this legal wrangle could have been avoided had the president and Congress come to terms at the start of Mr. Trump's term on a travel policy as part of a larger, sorely needed immigration overhaul.

The ban applies to travelers from Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Chad and, contrary to common assumptions, it is not absolute. Travelers from the listed countries are allowed in the U.S. if they can show a relationship with close family members here.

Two federal appellate courts are scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of the ban. Previously, lower courts have ruled that travelers from the aforementioned countries have a “bona fide” claim to enter the U.S.

But whereas the president and congressional leaders receive regular classified briefings about threats to the U.S., the federal judiciary does not.

A speedy resolution by the appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and formally decide the issue in its current term.

Rightfully, travel policies, children of illegal aliens and federal enforcement of the law in so-called “sanctuary cities” should be part of a broader immigration overhaul. Such matters, especially as they apply to national security, would be better legislated than continually litigated.

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