Trump admin appeals to Supreme Court on refugee ban

US Supreme Court keeps tight refugee ban in place

The Justice Department asked the highest court to halt implementation of the ruling last week that refugees who have formal assurances of resettlement in the United States from USA aid agencies are not covered by the ban.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to put on hold a federal appeals court ruling from last week that narrowed the scope of the travel ban as it applies to a certain class of refugees. The appellate ruling could take effect as soon as Tuesday and could apply to up to 24,000 refugees.

The department did not ask the court to immediately block a separate part of Thursday's ruling by the 9th Circuit that said grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of legal US residents should be exempted from Trump's ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Trump's ban could be implemented on a limited basis, but should not be applied to people with "bona fide" relationships to people or entities in the United States. The arguments hinged on a stipulation in the travel ban that refugees in the pipeline can only be accepted if they have a "bona fide relationship" with a USA individual or entity.

Notably, the Justice Department is not asking the Supreme Court to halt that more broad definition of a "close familial relationship".

The moves over the scope of the injunction against Trump's travel and refugee bans have taken place even as the 90-day ban on travel from six Muslim-majority nations and 120-day halt to the refugee program took effect - with exemptions, under a Supreme Court order, for those with a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship" to a USA person or entity. By that point, the original 90-day travel ban will have lapsed and the 120-day refugee ban will have just a few weeks to run. He could even issue a new ban or make the existing order permanent.

The administration told the court Monday said 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".

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