Supreme Court OKs Trump refugee policy
Pelosi, top White House official say they’re open to border compromise
WASHINGTON — 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 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. And 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.
The top House Democrat and a senior White House official both indicated Tuesday that they are open to compromise on border security to expedite legislation to help immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
White House legislative director Marc Short said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that despite President Donald 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.”
DACA refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created by former President Barack Obama, which has extended temporary work permits and deportation protection to nearly 800,000 younger immigrants brought to this country illegally as minors.
Trump announced last week that he will dismantle the program in six months, and called on Congress to come up with a legislative solution before then.
Separately, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats are backing legislation to help the young immigrants and hope to force a vote on it later this month — a maneuver that would require the support of at least two dozen Republicans.
Pelosi said she is committed to helping the immigrants at risk and resolutely opposed to construction of a wall, but indicated openness to border security measures of some kind.
On Thursday, after an unrelated event on infrastructure, Trump pressed Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on whether he would accept the wall as a trade for protections for Dreamers.
Schumer refused, according to a person familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the private conversation.
On Tuesday, Schumer told reporters, “We’d certainly look at border security that makes sense.”
At the Christian Science Monitor event earlier, Short said the president remained committed to construction of a border wall, but not necessarily directly linked to the Dreamers issue.
Construction of a physical wall along the entire 2,000-mile southern border is not practical or even possible, according to most experts and lawmakers of both parties, but Trump made it a central focus of his campaign for president.