Justice Department Requests Supreme Court Remove Travel Ban Exception Protecting Certain Refugees

by Garry Watts September 12, 2017, 0:20
Justice Department Requests Supreme Court Remove Travel Ban Exception Protecting Certain Refugees

Monday, the Justice Department requested a stay of the 9th Circuit's most recent interpretation of Trump's executive travel order.

The Trump administration asked the country's highest court on Monday to block a lower court ruling that would allow refugees with formal assurances from US resettlement agencies to come to the United States. It is not yet clear what effect, if any, that will have on the Supreme Court's consideration of the case.

Since Trump signed his first travel ban shortly after taking office, the directive has been mired in a complicated legal battle. Such a relationship can arise from a close family member in the United States, or from something like a job offer from an American company or an offer of admission to an American university.

A 9th Circuit order, due to take effect on Tuesday, would have cleared the way for as many as 24,000 refugees who have "a sponsorship-assurance agreement" with a USA -based refugee-resettlement agency, the government said.

The 9th Circuit's ruling applies to the executive order, issued by President Donald Trump in the early days of his administration, which blocks travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the USA for 90 days following its implementation.

On September 8, the San Francisco court upheld a ruling against the travel ban, saying that refugees who have formal assurances of resettlement in the United States from refugees assistance agencies are not covered by the ban.

People take part in a rally to protest restrictive guidelines issued by the US on who qualifies as a close familial relationship in June 2017 in New York
Trump Admin Asks Supreme Court to Block Ruling That Allows More Refugees

Resettlement agencies argued that their commitment to provide services for specific refugees should count as a "bona fide" relationship.

The appeals court ruled that grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of American citizens must also be included in the definition of close family and be accepted into the country. Nor can the exclusion of an assured refugee plausibly be thought to "burden' a resettlement agency in the relevant sense", Wall wrote in the request to the Supreme Court for a stay.

Last week, a federal appeals court panel weighed in, deciding that the administration could block neither grandparents nor refugees with assurances.

Trump administration lawyers told justices on Monday that changing the way it enforces the policy on refugees would allow "admission of refugees who have no connection to the United States independent of the refugee-admission process itself".

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments about the legality of the travel and refugee bans in October.

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