Trump Asks Supreme Court to Apply Temporary Travel Ban to Expanded Group of Refugees

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump Administration, temporarily allowing the travel ban to apply to refugees who have a relationship with a resettlement agency. This stems from a June 26, 2017 decision by the Supreme Court to temporarily allow the travel ban to go into effect, but prevent it from being enforced against foreign nationals “… who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Since that decision by the Supreme Court, there have been ongoing battles in the lower courts as to which family members and entities qualify for this exemption.

The Trump Administration initially sought to narrowly define family members to exclude even grandparents and grandchildren from the list. In addition, the Administration argued that refugees who were covered by resettlement agreements – that is, an agreement between the federal government and a resettlement agency – was an insufficient nexus to a U.S. entity to be exempted from the travel ban. A federal district court rejected this argument, ordering the government to adopt a more liberal interpretation of who qualifies for the exemption to the travel ban. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s ruling, so the Trump Administration appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Administration only appealed the inclusion of these refugees to the travel ban exemption. The issue of barring grandparents and other close family members is not being disputed at this juncture. The Supreme Court did not exactly overturn the 9th Circuit Court’s decision; but it did temporarily halt enforcement of the decision to these refuges until the Supreme Court can review the arguments.


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