Supreme Court: Refugee Ban Can Be Enforced; Travel Ban Should Allow Grandparents, Pending Appeal

Some of Supreme Court Franz JantzenPublic Information Office Supreme Court of the U.S. via AP
Franz JantzenPublic Information Office Supreme Court of the U.S. via AP

The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration a partial victory on Wednesday, permitting it to enforce the temporary refugee ban announced in Executive Order 13780.

However, the Court denied a request to stay U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s order to broaden the definition of “bona fide relationship” exception to the travel ban to include grandparents and other more distant relatives, pending the outcome of the Department of Justice’s appeal of that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Government’s motion seeking clarification of our order of June 26, 2017, is denied,” the Supreme Court order states:

The District Court order modifying the preliminary injunction with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance is stayed pending resolution of the Government’s appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have stayed the District Court order in its entirety.

“The three-sentence order by the justices — who last month let the president start restricting entry by people from six mostly Muslim countries — means the government must accept people with grandparents, cousins and other relatives in the U.S.,” Bloomberg News reported:

The order gave Trump a partial win on a separate issue, temporarily blocking a lower court ruling that would have opened the way for potentially thousands of refugees to enter the country in the coming months. That portion of the Supreme Court order applies while the administration appeals on that issue to a federal appellate court in San Francisco.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from part of Wednesday’s order, saying they would have let Trump also refuse entry to grandparents and other relatives while the case is on appeal.

Breitbart News reported on Wednesday morning, just hours before the Supreme Court handed down its decision:

In the five days since U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled the Trump administration must include grandparents and other distant relatives as “bona fide relationships” when determining eligibility for visa applications and participation in the federal refugee resettlement program, new refugee arrivals have trickled to a virtual stop.

Only 43 refugees have arrived in the United States since July 14, as of 2:00 p.m. eastern on Wednesday, according to the State Department interactive website.

For all of FY 2017, 50,237 refugees have arrived, which is slightly more than the 50,000 ceiling President Trump placed on refugee arrivals in Executive Order 13780.

It is unclear how long the DOJ will take to file its appeal of Judge Watson’s July 13 order with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, or how long after all arguments are filed that court will render its decision.

Presumably, if the Ninth Circuit denies the appeal, the DOJ would then appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court, which is already scheduled to hear the travel ban case in October.


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