The Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration's request to temporarily lift restrictions on the President's travel ban, quashing an opportunity for tens of thousands of refugees to enter the country. 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. Last week, the 9th Circuit said that grandparents are close relatives and therefore - according to an earlier Supreme Court order - may not be denied entry under the disputed travel ban.
But the 9th Circuit last week ruled that refugees a US resettlement agency has committed to providing services for once they have arrived in the country should be exempt from Trump's order.
The court, however, left the door open for opponents of the ban to file their arguments against it by midday Tuesday, paving the way for yet another reversal on the status of possible refugee arrivals.
Both provisions were blocked by lower courts but were partially revived by the Supreme Court in June.
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"Unlike students who have been admitted to study at an American university, workers who have accepted jobs at an American company, and lecturers who come to speak to an American audience, refugees do not have any freestanding connection to resettlement agencies, separate and apart from the refugee-admissions process itself, by virtue of the agencies" assurance agreement with the government.
The measure was supposed to have been temporary - lasting 90 days for citizens of the six affected countries, and 120 days for refugees.
The issue of the scope of the ban has been playing out in the lower courts, but the Supreme Court is set to hear the larger issues concerning the merits of the case on October 11.
The debates here, now before the Supreme Court, have centered around what constitutes such a "bona fide relationship".
That section of the decision upheld Watson's ruling that the travel ban can't be used to exclude grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States.