23 January 2019

UM-research quoted in US Supreme Court

Research by Karlijn Haagsman, Valentina Mazzucato and Bilisuma Dito has been used in an important Supreme Court case in the US: President Trump vs Hawaii. This case assessed whether the controversial ‘Muslim Ban’ of President Trump violates the Constitution or immigration laws of the United States. It was used to argue that family separation resulting from this ban causes irreparable harm and has negative physical and mental health consequences.

Family separation

The article by Haagsman, Mazzucato and Dito (2015) was cited and direct quotations were used in the brief amici curiae of Labor Organizations submitted to the court in March 2018. In the document, they argue that, like the two Executive Orders preceding it, the proclamation separates families and prevents parents and children from visiting each other. From the article by Haagsman et al. (2015) they take that limited physical interaction resulting from geographic separation can challenge intimate parent-child relations. Moreover, that frustrated efforts to maintain these bonds and resulting feelings of loss of intimacy can cause emotional distress for both parents and children. Hence, they used it to argue that family separation resulting from the ‘Muslim Ban’ causes irreparable harm and has negative physical and mental health consequences.

Unfortunately, after a long litigation process, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Trump on June 26, 2018. In the 5-4 opinion, the court found that the travel ban fell within the president’s authority. While the White House issued a statement calling it a tremendous victory and some judges argued that it was needed to uphold President Trump’s authority, many human rights and immigration lawyers as well as activists see this as one of the court’s greatest failures.