Trump administration appeals to Supreme Court on refugee ban

Demonstrators hold signs at Dulles International Airport in January to protest the adminstration's then newly-rolled out

In a routine, but potentially still quite ominous order, Justice Anthony Kennedy stayed a federal appeals court's order halting Donald Trump's effort to ban tens of thousands of refugees from the United States.

At issue is whether the president can block a group of about 24,000 refugees with assurances from entering the United States after the Supreme Court decided in June to permit a limited version of his travel ban to take effect.

The Justice Department's high court filing Monday follows an appeals court ruling last week that would allow refugees to enter the United States if a resettlement agency in the US had agreed to accept their case. A series of court decisions since then have said that order must include people with grandparents and cousins in this country. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that Trump could impose that measure, but not on those with a "bona fide" connection to the United States, such as having family members here, a job or a place in an American university.

The 9th Circuit's ruling applies to the executive order, issued by President Donald Trump in the early days of his administration, which blocks travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days following its implementation.

In its filing Monday, however, the Justice Department gave in on another challenge to the travel ban over its narrow interpretation of "bona fide relationship" when determining exceptions for refugee family members.

The Trump administration said it should not, meaning such refugees would be barred.

Thursday night, the 9th Circuit Appellate Court struck another blow to Trump's second, scaled down travel order.

If implemented, Wall argued, the 9th Circuit's orders would result in "precisely the type of uncertainty and confusion that the government has worked diligently to avoid" in its implementation of the order so far.

The issue of the scope of the ban has been playing out in the lower courts, but the Supreme Court is set to hear the larger issues concerning the merits of the case on October 11.

Under the terms of Trump's order, the 90-day travel ban would end before the arguments even happen - on September 27.

As lower courts and the Supreme Court weighed in on the travel and refugee bans in recent months, the USA refugee program has lurched from an ambitious projection of 110,000 arrivals for the year, to just a few hundred arrivals a week.

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