12 September, 2017
The Supreme Court on Monday gave a green signal to the request made by Donald Trump administration to lift restrictions on the president's travel ban.
The justices already have agreed to hear the government's appeal of the challenges to the legality and constitutionality of the executive order itself.
Or he might extend the order on the grounds that the government has been unable to conduct reviews of vetting procedures - ostensibly what the halt in travel was meant to allow - without the ban fully in place.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week refugee resettlement agencies should be allowed to bring asylum seekers into the country, overruling the order's mandate to ban refugee entry.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments October 10 on President Donald Trump's overall travel order, which imposed a 90-day ban on people entering the USA from six mostly Muslim countries and a 120-day ban on refugees, to give officials time to assess vetting procedures.
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The debates here, now before the Supreme Court, have centered around what constitutes such a "bona fide relationship".
"The court's immediate intervention is needed once more", acting Solicitor Gen. Jeffrey Wall said in an emergency motion filed with Kennedy, who oversees the 9th Circuit. The ruling would have allowed refugees to enter the country if they obtained promises of assistance from refugee resettlement organisations.
Initially, the Trump administration tried to define who counts as a close family member very narrowly - excluding relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That was a strong hint - a hint that the Ninth Circuit did not take - that there were five members of the Supreme Court who were unlikely to agree with the order benefiting refugees.
"The government began implementing the Order subject to the limitations articulated by this Court more than two months ago, on June 29, which entailed extensive, worldwide coordination among multiple agencies and the issuance of guidance to provide clarity and minimize confusion", Wall wrote.
The filing marked the latest twist in the ongoing legal fight over Trump's sweeping March 6 executive order that barred travelers from Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, a move Trump argued was needed to prevent terrorist attacks.