WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2017 — The Supreme Court issued an order today leaving in place a lower-court order exempting grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States from the Muslim ban. However, today’s order allows refugees with formal assurances from resettlement organizations to be banned unless they have other ties to people or entities in the United States, pending further proceedings.
The decision came as a result of the administration’s request that the Supreme Court overrule a decision by the federal district court in Hawaii last week. The Hawaii court found that the government had adopted an unsustainably broad interpretation of the Supreme Court’s limited permission to implement the ban on refugees and people from six Muslim-majority countries only with respect to people who had no “bona fide relationship” with a United States person or entity.
Specifically, the Hawaii court blocked the government’s efforts to ban grandparents and other close relatives of people in the United States. The Hawaii court also found that under the Supreme Court’s order, refugees do have a bona fide relationship with U.S.-based resettlement organizations that provide formal assurances of assistance with their resettlement.
The Supreme Court rejected the government’s request that it issue a new decision greenlighting the government’s broad implementation of the stay, instead allowing for these issues to be litigated further in the Ninth Circuit. While that litigation is proceeding, however, the Supreme Court suspended the Hawaii court’s ruling as to refugees with formal assurances of resettlement assistance. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court and in the Hawaii court, urging the courts to block the government’s broad ban implementation.
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had the following reaction:
“Given an inch, the Trump Administration has tried to take a mile in implementing the ban. That is cruel, unnecessary, and unlawful. We are glad that the order requiring the government to recognize grandparents and other close family remains in place, but are deeply concerned about the effect of today’s ruling on thousands of refugees who seek to escape dangerous situations, who have been fully vetted by the United States, and whose arrival communities, congregations, and organizations in the United States have been preparing for and anticipating. We look forward to eradicating the entire Muslim ban, which is unconstitutional and repugnant to our most basic values as a country.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the fall in a challenge brought by the ACLU and partner organizations.
More information about the ACLU’s case can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/international-refugee-assistance-project-v-trump