Under a Supreme Court ruling today, the Trump Administration can restrict entry by refugees who do not have family ties in the U.S. The decision overturns an order by District Judge Derrick Watson of Honolulu, who ruled the Administration must also allow entry to refugees who resettlement agencies had agreed to resettle. The Administration can impose restrictions pending a review of its policy by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The Administration had asked the Supreme Court to overturn Watson’s ruling, which said refugees should be eligible to enter the U.S. if their only tie to this country is that a refugee resettlement agency has agreed to resettle them upon arrival. Administration lawyers argued that a simple assurance of settlement by a refugee agency would essentially impose no limits whatsoever on resettlement.
The justices ordered that the Administration’s lower-court appeal should go through normal channels, with the next stop at Ninth Circuit. The question before that court is whether the assurances resettlement agencies give to refugees constitute a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling exempted persons with a “bona fide relationship” from the Administration’s initial refugee and travel restrictions.
The Supreme Court also left in place Judge Watson’s ruling concerning travelers from six terrorist producing countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Administration had limited entry to travelers from those countries who were a parent, parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling (whether whole or half), and “step relationships.” Watson expanded the list to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
The Administration already has an appeal of Watson’s ruling pending at the Ninth Circuit Court, so that may move forward expeditiously. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the refugee and travel restrictions case in October.
Read more at Constitution Daily.
Updated: Wed, Aug 2nd 2017 @ 4:25pm EDT