More than 24,000 refugees could be affected by Supreme Court's decision
Opponents of President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to reject efforts to revive it, according to media reports.
Challengers said in a court ruling that Trump's argument for the benefit of an extended travel ban that excludes grandparents and grandchildren is "nonsense" and more than 24,000 refugees could be affected by the Court's decision.
The Trump administration last month set new criteria that require a "close" family or business relation in the U.S. for visa applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The action came after the Supreme Court decided to allow part of the travel ban on refugees and immigrants from those countries for at least 90 days, and follows Trump’s suspension of the U.S. refugee admittance program. The Court will hear the full case during its fall term.
Lawyers for the state of Hawaii and individual plaintiffs in Maryland said in the court filing that Trump’s administration undermined its own arguments by amending the order last week.
"This memorandum conclusively severs the already tenuous relationship between the bans and their ostensible rationale by making it clear that the order's travel and refugee restrictions may begin after the vetting reviews are complete," said Neal Katyal, a lawyer for Hawaii, that opposes the ban.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week the administration must allow in grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and cousins.
"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," Watson wrote in his ruling. "Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
He also ruled that refugee resettlement agencies should be allowed to bring in asylum seekers who have been given formal assurances of placement within the U.S., saying a refugee agency resettlement assurance "meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones”.
The State Department on Monday issued new instructions about which citizens from the six banned countries covered by the Trump administration's travel ban are eligible for visas that extends the definition of a close familial relationship to include grandparents and cousins, in accordance the federal court ruling last week.