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Supreme Court blocks new refugees under Trump travel ban

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)
U.S. Supreme Court building. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)

The Supreme Court gave a short-term win to the Trump administration Tuesday, bolstering part of a travel ban that will allow the administration to block new refugees arriving from six majority-Muslim nations.

In a brief order and with no dissents, the justices reversed rulings by a federal judge in Hawaii and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The 9th Circuit had cleared the way for as many as 24,000 refugees to be exempt from the ban and come to this country as long as one of several nonprofit groups had given a "formal assurance" they were prepared to receive them.

Administration lawyers argued these people did not qualify for an exemption because they had "no contact" or previous relationship with anyone in this country, which was the criteria set under a previous Supreme Court decision.

On Monday, government lawyers filed an emergency appeal with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who agreed to a temporary freeze.

On Tuesday, the full court said it had granted the administration's appeal. The 9th Circuit's ruling "is stayed with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance, pending further order of this court."

Next month, the high court is scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of Trump's travel ban. It is possible the justices may decide the entire matter is moot by then. The travel ban was supposed to be in effect for 90 to 120 days.

While the administration won Tuesday on the issue of refugees, it lost in seeking to limit grandparents and other close relatives from entering the country.

The Supreme Court in late June said the travel ban may not be enforced against foreigners who have a "close" family tie with someone in this country, and the 9th Circuit said that may include grandparents, in-laws and cousins.

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