US Supreme Court partially lifts Trump's travel ban


Justice Clarence Thomas dissented with Justice Samuel Alito and newly-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, saying the court didn't go far enough.

"People are always asking for those relationships", Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, says of the visa application process.

Last week, Trump said the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts and will apply to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Beyond giving Trump a victory, the Supreme Court decision will have a real impact on who can travel to the USA from six majority-Muslim countries.

During Trump's presidential campaign, he called for banning all Muslim immigration to the United States.

There are now concerns in the tech industry about the unintended consequences of allowing parts of the travel ban to stand. The administration won a limited victory.

One of President Donald Trump's first decisions was a dramatic 90-day emergency ban on all travel from certain Muslim nations to protect the nation from terrorism.

In appealing to the high court, acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall contended the judges had wrongly "second guessed" the president's determination that travelers from these six nations could threaten the nation's security.

Leon Fresco, deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation in President Barack Obama's Justice Department, said the effect would seem to be limited to two types of visa seekers who don't have family or other US ties: those seeking to come to the visitors, or those seeking to enter via a lottery process meant for people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.

Federal courts said the travel ban violated federal immigration law and was discriminatory against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

"It's a complex and unusual order in a lot of ways", Deborah Pearlstein, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who served in the Clinton administration, said in an email.

Immigrant rights advocates welcomed the ruling for showing that the president's authority on immigration is not absolute and ensuring people with connections in the USA will be allowed to enter.

"In theory, you could say if somebody is coming for tourism and has made a reservation for a hotel, there's now a USA interest in bringing them to the United States".

The court's majority laid out the "bona fide" relationships it had in mind. Those individuals include, for example, someone with close family here or acceptance to an American university.

Christopher Lapinig, a registered legal services attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, said there will be a contingent of attorneys at Los Angeles International Airport and others throughout the nation who will remain vigilant on how the narrowed travel ban will be implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

What's not bona fide?

On the other hand, the justices said, relationships created for the purposes of evading the travel ban will not be considered valid.

Hawaii later became the first state to block the president's revised travel ban order.

That means some refugees may get stuck, but nowhere near the number of people ensnared by the first ban. Those without such ties, by contrast, would be blocked-but, at present, for bureaucratic reasons, such people can't be admitted to the refugees anyway.

Some lawyers also said the vagueness of the "bona fide" standard was license for the Trump administration to interpret it broadly. "The hotel is a USA entity", Gorsky said. "I think you're going to be going through a lengthy inquiry, and we'll have to see how that plays out". The justices will hear full arguments on the case in October. But by then, a key provision may have expired, possibly making the review unnecessary.

The Trump administration said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. On Monday, it issued a statement simply endorsing the President's executive order.