Monday, June 26, 2017

Supreme Court Grants Review and Partially Lifts Injunctions Against Trump's Travel Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court today in a per curiam opinion in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, (Sup. Ct., June 26, 2017), granted certiorari and partially lifted the outstanding injunctions against enforcement of President Trump's second travel ban Executive Order.  Under the Court's decision, the 90-day ban on entry of nationals from 6 Muslim-majority nations:
may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO–2.
The Court gave illustrations of the line it was drawing:
For individuals, a close familial relationship is required. A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member ... clearly has such a relationship. As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2. The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience. Not so someone who enters into a relationship simply to avoid §2(c): For example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.
The Court similarly partially lifted the injunction against enforcement of the suspension of refugee admissions and the lowering of the cap on refugees, saying:
An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded. As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, ... the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.....
.... Section 6(a) may not be enforced against an individualseeking admission as a refugee who can credibly claim a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Nor may §6(b); that is, such a person may not be excluded pursuant to §6(b), even if the 50,000- person cap has been reached or exceeded. As applied to all other individuals, the provisions may take effect.
The Court also ordered that oral arguments in the case be heard during the first session of the October term of the Court. Justice Thomas, joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch, in a separate opinion dissenting in part said that they would have stayed the preliminary injunctions in full and predicted extensive litigation over what constitutes a bona fide relationship. Washington Post reports on the decision.