The Supreme Court agreed Monday to let President Trump's immigration travel ban go into effect for some travelers, reversing the actions of lower federal courts that had put the controversial policy completely on hold.
But the Court’s ruling only lets the Trump administration ban certain people. Anyone with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or organization in America will be allowed to enter, as will anyone who already has a valid visa to enter the US.
The court also agreed to hear the case involving travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries and all refugees in October, leaving open the chance that it could reverse Monday's verdict if challengers can prove the ban is illegal or unconstitutional.
After months of decrying the federal courts’ past rulings on the travel ban Trump called the Supreme Court’s decision a “clear victory” Monday:
Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.
As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.
My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.
Due to the Court’s ruling, the Trump administration will be able to bar citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States for a period of 90 days, and bar nearly all refugees from entering the US for a period of 120 days — but only if they haven’t already been issued a valid visa, and only if they don’t have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
In practice, according to the ruling, that means that people coming “to live with or visit a family member” will be allowed into the US. So will people coming to study, teach, or speak at American schools or work for American businesses.
The question is what impact will this have on refugees?
Refugees don’t already have jobs before they’re allowed to settle in the US, and many of them don’t already have close family here. However, they do have a relationship with a US-based organization: US-based “refugee resettlement agencies” are responsible for settling refugees in the United States, and every refugee entering the US has already been placed with an agency.
The Supreme Court didn’t clarify whether simply being a client of a resettlement agency counts as a “bona fide” relationship. The organizations that have fought the ban are arguing it does. But it’s not clear whether the Trump administration will agree.
Trump has seemingly won, but for how long...?