The Supreme Court

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROBERT BARNES AND MATT ZAPO­TO­SKY robert.barnes@wash­ matt.zapo­to­sky@wash­

agreed with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and put on hold a lower-court rul­ing that would have al­lowed more refugees to en­ter the coun­try.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion Tues­day and put on hold a lower-court de­ci­sion that would have al­lowed more refugees to en­ter the coun­try.

The court is­sued a one-para­graph state­ment grant­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest for a stay of the lat­est le­gal ma­neu­ver­ing in­volv­ing the pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der on im­mi­gra­tion. There were no recorded dis­sents to the de­ci­sion.

At is­sue is whether the pres­i­dent can block a group of about 24,000 refugees, who have as­sur­ances from spon­sors, from en­ter­ing the United States. A panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit had in­ter­preted a Supreme Court di­rec­tive this sum­mer to mean that such refugees should be al­lowed in, but the govern­ment ob­jected.

The lat­est court ac­tions are part of a com­pli­cated le­gal bat­tle that be­gan in Jan­uary when Pres­i­dent Trump is­sued his first ver­sion of an en­try ban. The Supreme Court is to con­sider the mer­its of his ac­tions at a hear­ing Oct. 10.

The cur­rent case grows out of a Supreme Court de­ci­sion in June that ap­proved a lim­ited ver­sion of a pres­i­den­tial or­der that tem­po­rar­ily blocked refugees and cit­i­zens of six ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim coun­tries.

The jus­tices said Trump could im­pose a lim­ited ver­sion of the mea­sure, but not on a per­son with a “bona fide” con­nec­tion to the United States, such as hav­ing fam­ily mem­bers here, a job of­fer or a place in a U.S. univer­sity.

It is the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a “bona fide” tie to the United States that is be­ing de­bated.

The govern­ment ini­tially de­clined to in­clude grand­par­ents and other mem­bers of the ex­tended fam­ily as meet­ing that stan­dard, as well as refugees with for­mal as­sur­ances. A fed­eral dis­trict judge said the govern­ment’s read­ing was too broad and stopped it.

The Supreme Court largely up­held that rul­ing in July, although it put on hold the por­tion deal­ing with refugees.

Last week, a panel of the 9th Cir­cuit weighed in, de­cid­ing that the ad­min­is­tra­tion could block nei­ther grand­par­ents nor refugees with as­sur­ances.

The Justice Depart­ment this week asked the Supreme Court to step in again — although only to block refugees, not grand­par­ents and other rel­a­tives be­yond the nu­clear fam­ily. Even those refugees with for­mal as­sur­ances from a re­set­tle­ment agency lack the sort of con­nec­tion that should ex­empt them from the ban, the Justice Depart­ment ar­gued in its new fil­ing to the Supreme Court.

“The ab­sence of a for­mal con­nec­tion be­tween a re­set­tle­ment agency and a refugee sub­ject to an as­sur­ance stands in stark con­trast to the sort of re­la­tion­ships this court iden­ti­fied as suf­fi­cient in its June 26 stay rul­ing,” act­ing so­lic­i­tor gen­eral Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in his fil­ing.

In re­sponse, the state of Hawaii, which is chal­leng­ing the en­try ban, told the Supreme Court that the govern­ment’s ar­gu­ment made no sense.

“Refugees with for­mal as­sur­ances are the cat­e­gory of for­eign na­tion­als least likely to im­pli­cate the na­tional se­cu­rity ra­tio­nales the govern­ment has pointed to in the past,” wrote Wash­ing­ton lawyer Neal Katyal, who is rep­re­sent­ing Hawaii.

“By the govern­ment’s own ad­mis­sion, th­ese refugees have al­ready been ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity. It is there­fore ex­ceed­ingly un­likely that they rep­re­sent a se­cu­rity threat.”

Time is be­gin­ning to be­come a fac­tor in the broader fight over Trump’s en­try ban. The mea­sure was sup­posed to have been tem­po­rary — last­ing 90 days for cit­i­zens of the six af­fected coun­tries, and 120 days for refugees. If the mea­sure is con­sid­ered to have taken ef­fect when the Supreme Court al­lowed par­tial im­ple­men­ta­tion, the 90 days will have passed by the time the jus­tices hear ar­gu­ments Oct. 10, and the 120 days are very likely to have passed by the time they is­sue a de­ci­sion.

Some deadlines for re­ports have also seem­ingly passed. The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity sec­re­tary was — within 20 days of the or­der tak­ing ef­fect — to have given Trump the re­sults of a world­wide re­view de­ter­min­ing what in­for­ma­tion was nec­es­sary from other coun­tries to vet trav­el­ers. The coun­tries that were not sup­ply­ing ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion were then to be given 50 days to be­gin do­ing so, and af­ter that, U.S. of­fi­cials were to give Trump a list of coun­tries whose cit­i­zens would be rec­om­mended for in­clu­sion in a more per­ma­nent travel ban.

A Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman said that a re­port was de­liv­ered to the White House in early July on the re­sults of the re­view and that of­fi­cials then went about as­sess­ing each coun­try on the in­for­ma­tion it pro­vided

He said Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials were “eval­u­at­ing the in­for­ma­tion re­ceived and will pro­vide a re­port to the pres­i­dent in the com­ing weeks.”

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