US President Donald Trump has hailed a Supreme Court ruling upholding his travel ban which covers people from several Muslim-majority countries.
Lower courts had deemed the ban unconstitutional, but the US top court reversed the decision in a 5-4 conservative majority ruling.
At a White House meeting to discuss Mr Trump’s proposed border wall he lauded the decision as “a tremendous success”.
The court’s reversal is viewed as a victory for the Trump administration.
The ban prohibits most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.
Mr Trump said the Supreme Court decision was a “great victory” for the nation and constitution.
“We have to be tough and we have to be safe and we have to be secure,” the Republican president said in Tuesday’s meeting with lawmakers.
“The ruling shows that all the attacks from the media and the Democrat politicians were wrong, and they turned out to be very wrong,” he added.
He added: “If you look at the European Union, they’re meeting right now to toughen up their immigration policies because they’ve been over-run, they’ve been over-run.
“And frankly, a lot of those countries are not the same places anymore.”
The travel ban, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect in December, has been widely criticised by refugee and human rights groups.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, which said the travel ban was “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority”.
He also rejected arguments that the ban discriminated against Muslims.
“The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the dissenting opinion, which argues the court failed to uphold the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a facade of national-security concerns,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.
The dissent also states that “a reasonable observer would conclude that [the ban] was motivated by anti-Muslim animus”.
The travel ban has been in place since December, when the Supreme Court ruled that it could go into full effect, pending legal challenges.
The ban prevents most immigrants, refugees and visa holders from five Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – as well as North Korea and Venezuela from entering the US.
But the restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the legal challenge. (Excerpts from BBC)