WASHINGTON, Sept 13, (Agencies): The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to maintain its restrictive policy on refugees. The justices on Tuesday agreed to an administration request to block a lower court ruling that would have eased the refugee ban and allowed up to 24,000 refugees to enter the country before the end of October.
The order was not the court’s last word on the travel policy that President Donald Trump first rolled out in January.
The justices are scheduled to hear arguments on Oct. 10 on the legality of the bans on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries and refugees anywhere in the world. It’s unclear, though, what will be left for the court to decide. The 90-day travel ban lapses in late September and the 120-day refugee ban will expire a month later.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday night: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has allowed key components of the order to remain in effect. We will continue to vigorously defend the order leading up to next month’s oral argument in the Supreme Court.” The administration has yet to say whether it will seek to renew the bans, make them permanent or expand the travel ban to other countries. Lower courts have ruled that the bans violate the Constitution and federal immigration law.
The high court has agreed to review those rulings. Its intervention so far has been to evaluate what parts of the policy can take effect in the meantime. The justices said in June that the administration could not enforce the bans against people who have a “bona fide” relationship with people or entities in the United States. The justices declined to define the required relationships more precisely. A panel of the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s order that would have allowed refugees to enter the United States if a resettlement agency in the US had agreed to take them in.
Meanwhile, Trump will not necessarily insist on including funding for a border wall with Mexico in legislation to address protections for children brought to the United States illegally, a senior aide said on Tuesday. White House legislative director Marc Short, speaking to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, said the administration will lay out its priorities for a fix for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the next couple of weeks. While Trump remains committed to his campaign promise to build the wall along the US border with Mexico, “whether or not that is specifically part of a DACA package or a different legislative package, I am not going to prejudge here today,” Short said.
In related news, the top House Democrat and a senior White House official both indicated Tuesday they are open to compromise on border security to expedite legislation to help immigrants brought here illegally as children. White House legislative director Marc Short said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that despite Trump’s advocacy for a southern border wall, “I don’t want us to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible.” Meanwhile, the US State Department on Wednesday will stop issuing certain kinds of visas to some citizens of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone because the nations are not taking back their citizens the United States wants to deport. The new policies, laid out in State Department cables sent on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters, are the latest example of Trump’s effort to crack down on immigrants who are in the United States illegally. The cables, sent by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to consular officials around the world, said the four countries were “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return of their citizens from the United States, and that visa restrictions would be lifted in a country if it accepted its deportees. The State Department declined comment on the cables, saying it would not discuss internal communications.