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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Supreme Court Allows STRICT ENFORCEMENT of Trump Refugee BAN

In this May 15, 2017, file photo, protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

S.A. Miller

The Supreme Court handed President Trump another victory in the legal battle of the travel ban, allowing the administration to restore strict limits on refugees that had been blocked by a judge in Hawaii, at least until a federal appeal court decides the issue.
The win for Mr. Trump, however, was tempered by the high court also deciding to uphold the same judges’ ruling that exempted grandparents of U.S. citizens from the administrations travel ban on six Muslim-majority courtiers.
Both issues are headed to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a full review.
The administration had appealed to the Supreme Court after Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week that refugees on file with U.S. resettlement agencies and grandparents qualify for an exemption the travel ban for people with “close” relationships to U.S. citizens.
Three of the nine justices on the high court said they wanted to granted Mr. Trump’s request in full.
Judge Watson, who is based in Hawaii, said potential refugees whose files have been shared with resettlement agencies in the U.S. are considered to have a “close” relationship and must be admitted.
The judge made that determination despite the country already having hit the 50,000 cap Mr. Trump imposed on refugees this fiscal year.
The decision in Hawaii followed a pattern of federal court ruling on Mr. Trump’s travel ban, which has been tangled in legal battles since it was first attempted in January.
Judges appointed by Democrats have been almost universally skeptical of the president’s actions, digging behind them to try to spot Mr. Trump’s motives, while Republican appointees have been willing to take his executive orders on their face, finding they are similar to actions past presidents have taken.
The Supreme Court last month cut a middle ground, ruling 9-0 that Mr. Trump did, in fact, use valid, wide-ranging powers to decide who should be excluded from the U.S.
But the justices said in cases where a potential traveler has “close” ties to the U.S., either through family or a business or school relationship, the U.S. persons’ rights must also be respected.
The court, with only vague guidance, left it to the administration to decide what those close relationships were.
Administration officials decided that only parents, children, siblings, fiancĂ©s and fiancĂ©es qualified as “close” family. Opponents were furious and Hawaii went back to the same court that had earlier ruled against Mr. Trump — and been overturned by the Supreme Court.
Judge Watson initially said that it was up to the Supreme Court to clear up its ruling, but late Thursday he issued a new opinion that the administration’s latest policy was too strict. He said grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and even cousins all count as “close” family and cannot be blocked from entering the U.S.
• Stephen Dinan contributed to this article.

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