USA top court temporarily upholds Trump's refugee ban

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed with a request from the Trump administration and blocked a federal appeals court ruling temporarily lifting restrictions on the president's travel ban. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that Trump could impose that measure, but not on those with a "bona fide" connection to the United States, such as having family members here, a job or a place in an American university.

The administration said Monday that while it disagreed with that part of last week's ruling by a San Francisco-based appeals court, it was contesting only the portion of the ruling related to refugees in Monday's request.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall condemned the court's ruling on the prohibition on blocking refugees.

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 United States individual or entity.

It also said relatives of those already in the country could not be prevented from entering the U.S.

The government said formal assurances from a refugee agency that may not have had direct, personal contacts with the refugee were not covered in that exception.

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In its filing Monday, however, the Justice Department gave in on another challenge to the travel ban over its narrow interpretation of "bona fide relationship" when determining exceptions for refugee family members.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week refugee resettlement agencies should be allowed to bring asylum seekers into the country, overruling the order's mandate to ban refugee entry.

Thursday night, the 9th Circuit Appellate Court struck another blow to Trump's second, scaled down travel order.

"The government began implementing the Order subject to the limitations articulated by this Court more than two months ago, on June 29, which entailed extensive, worldwide coordination among multiple agencies and the issuance of guidance to provide clarity and minimize confusion", Wall wrote.

The Trump administration is back at the Supreme Court, asking the justices to continue to allow strict enforcement of a temporary ban on refugees from around the world.

The 90-day travel ban affects visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

  • Sonia Alvarado