By Kevin Daley
The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review lower court rulings blocking enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugee and migrant entry, and stayed injunctions barring the order’s enforcement.
The announcement is a major victory for the president, whose signature immigration policy has been stymied repeatedly by the federal courts.
The justices consolidated two travel ban cases from the 4th and 9th Circuits, and scheduled oral arguments for the first session of the Court’s next term, which begins in October. They also partially vacated several lower court injunctions barring enforcement of the order’s travel ban provision, which prohibits the entry of foreign nationals from six countries with high instances of terrorism.
“We grant the government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of 2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Two classes of foreign national from the six countries named in the order may still enter the United States; aliens with relatives in America, or individuals with a meaningful connection to corporate entities and educational institutions in the United States will not be affected by the order.
“To prevent the government from pursuing that objective by enforcing 2(c) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else,” the Court wrote.
The Court also will allow the order’s provisions concerning refugee resettlement to take effect, with the same exceptions it provided for the travel ban. The directive reduces the number of refugees the United States will accept from 110,000 to 50,000, and denies entry to refugees from the six countries named by the order.
As such, most of the president’s order will take effect within the next few days.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote an opinion concurring and dissenting in part with the Court’s decision, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. Thomas argued the stays should be issued in full, without exception. He writes:
I fear that the Court’s remedy will prove unworkable. Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding—on peril of contempt— whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country. See ante, at 11– 12. The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a “bona fide relationship,” who precisely has a “credible claim” to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed ‘simply to avoid §2(c)’ of [the] Executive Order.
The National Immigration Law Center, an immigrant advocacy group litigating against the order, vowed to continue their fight against the travel restrictions.
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