Unanswered Questions in Travel Ruling 06/27 06:01
The Supreme Court's decision to partially reinstate President Donald Trump's
temporary travel ban has left the effort to keep some foreigners out of the
United States in a murky middle ground, with unanswered questions and possibly
more litigation ahead.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court's decision to partially reinstate
President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban has left the effort to keep some
foreigners out of the United States in a murky middle ground, with unanswered
questions and possibly more litigation ahead.
The justices ruled Monday in an unsigned opinion they would hold a full
hearing on the case in October. In the meantime, the administration can bar
travelers from six majority-Muslim countries from the U.S. if they don't have a
"credible claim of a bona fide relationship" with someone or some entity in the
It's unclear what will ultimately constitute a "bona fide relationship,"
though the ruling suggested that an American job, school enrollment or a close
relative could meet that threshold. Equally unclear is how many foreigners will
be affected from the six countries: Syria, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Libya and
The ruling was seen as at least a partial victory for Trump in the biggest
court case of his presidency. Trump claims the temporary ban is needed to
prevent terrorist attacks. Opponents reject that and argue it's a backdoor way
to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as Trump promised in his
The early indications are that the administration will use the decision to
take a tough line on travelers from those countries. A senior U.S. official
familiar with the situation said the Trump administration has plans in place to
relaunch the stalled ban and tourists will be among those kept out.
Under these plans, largely orchestrated by White House adviser Stephen
Miller, tourists from those countries and any academics, lecturers or others
invited to speak or make presentations in the U.S. will be barred. Those groups
are regarded as unable to show a substantial and pre-existing tie to a person
or institution in the United States.
The official who described the plans was not authorized to discuss them
publicly by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
But some immigration lawyers and advocates said relatively few people would
fall under the ban because these travelers tend to have sufficient
relationships with people or institutions in the United States.
Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council, said
most Iranians who visit the United States have relatives here or are coming to
work or study. He said his group has no idea how the administration plans to
judge family relationships and a hard line could mean a significant number of
Iranians will be kept out the country for the time being.
It could also mean more lawsuits if advocates for immigrants believe the
administration is going beyond the Supreme Court's guidelines in barring
visitors to the United States.
Like the fate of would-be tourists and scholars, the immediate future for
refugees is murky.
In its opinion, the court partially reinstated Trump's temporary prohibition
on refugees from any country, using criteria similar to that used in the travel
ban. The effect on refugees could be greater because they are less likely to
have family, school or business relationships in the United States.
Lavinia Limon, CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said
she was dismayed by the ruling, but insisted that her agency has "an existing
relationship with incoming refugees, certified and arranged through the
Department of State."
"Travel plans are in process, beds have been made and staff around the
country plan to meet new Americans at the airports today, tomorrow and in the
coming weeks and months," Limon said.
Trump's initial travel ban caused panic and chaos at airports around the
world in late January as it took effect immediately after being signed.
Refugees, legal U.S. residents and visa holders were turned back at airports or
barred from boarding U.S.-bound planes. A federal court blocked it about a week
There may be less confusion as the ban is partially reinstated. The
administration has revised its travel ban to exclude legal residents and visa
holders. Also, the government said last week the ban would go into effect 72
hours after the Supreme Court ruling --- which would be Thursday morning in
Associated Press reporters Ted Bridis and Mark Sherman contributed to this
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