June 27, 2017 – The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling enabling President Donald Trump’s travel ban to come partially into effect, immediately.
The decision means the temporary ban on travellers from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees is now valid, but only for those with no connection to the U.S.
The ruling limited the scope of two lower court rulings that blocked Trump’s executive order. It means the limited ban will remain in place until the highest court begins its hearing on the ban, which will be October at the earliest.
The wording of the decision says the ban applies “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” While the lower court injunctions remain in place, their scope has been significantly reduced.
Supreme Court justices took issue with how broad the injunctions were, covering foreigners with no prior connection to America. “Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national,” the court said.
The ban effectively means the full U.S. refugee program is now suspended for 120 days, given asylum seekers are less likely to have an existing connection in the U.S.
By appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court soon after becoming president, Trump weighted the bench 5-4 in favour of Republicans. Three of those justices, including Gorsuch, said they favoured granting the travel ban in full.
The Facts of the Executive Order
The executive order, signed on March 6, bans travellers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also suspends the entire U.S. refugee for 120 days. It was due to go into effect on March 16, but was blocked by federal judges in both Hawaii and Maryland.
This was Trump’s second attempt an executive order after the original one was also suspended by the U.S. courts. The main difference between the two orders was the original inclusion of Iraq as one of the targeted countries.
The original order sparked chaos due to a lack of guidance on its implementation.
Border officials were seemingly unaware who was covered by the ban, including green card holders and dual citizens.
There followed several days of travellers not being allowed on flights, or being held at U.S. airports. Some of those covered by the ban were already in the air when it was signed.
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