The Supreme Court temporarily upholds Donald Trump's travel ban

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

The Trump administration has had its restrictive policy on refugees upheld by the Supreme Court.

The refugees involved are those who have no close family relatives living in this country - if they had, that would enable their entry - but do have a promise from a refugee-relief agency to resettle them once they are on US soil.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted the Trump Administration's request to block a lower court ruling allowing them to more strictly enforce a travel on refugees.

A federal appeals court ruled last week that refugees must be given an exception to the president's executive order if a USA -based resettlement agency had agreed to help them.

The latest court actions are part of a complicated legal battle that began in January when President Trump issued his first version of an entry ban.

Justice Kennedy's pause on the Ninth Circuit's ruling is just a placeholder until he, or, more likely, the full Supreme Court (on which he is likely the swing vote in this matter), decides on the scope of the refugee ban.

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Under the ban, people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, are denied entry to the country for 90 days, while all refugees are banned from entering the country for 120 days so as to give the Trump government time to assess vetting procedures. The unsigned order from the court grants a request from the Trump administration to stay the decision of the Ninth Circuit as the case proceeds. The court rejected the government's claim that a "close familial relationship" was limited only to members of a nuclear family (plus in-laws) as an "unreasonabl [e]" and "artificially narrow interpretation" of the Supreme Court's ruling.

The administration also said relationships between refugees and resettlement agencies were too attenuated to qualify for an exception to the ban because the arrangements had been made by an intermediary, the government.

The Justice Department this week asked the Supreme Court to step in again - although only to block refugees, not grandparents and other relatives beyond the nuclear family.

Amnesty International called Tuesday's Supreme Court decision a "devastating blow". Then, the justices will hear arguments on the legality of banning both travelers refugees.

A representative for the Hawaii attorney general, who challenged the administration in court, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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