Travel ban, church-state case await action by Supreme Court


Refugee advocacy groups have raised concerns after the US Supreme Court partially reinstated the Trump administration's ban on travellers from six predominantly Muslim countries - commonly known as the "Muslim ban" - and all refugees, until it reviews the ban in October.

But many also spent months safely complaining that the travel ban was overly broad, constituted a religious test and was "against everything our country stands for" as lower court after lower court ruled against his executive order limiting travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Christopher Lapinig, a registered legal services attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, said there will be a contingent of attorneys at Los Angeles International Airport and others throughout the nation who will remain vigilant on how the narrowed travel ban will be implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

The government will likely begin applying the travel ban in the limited fashion permitted by the Supreme Court on June 29, 2017. The administration won a limited victory. Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz said they expect another vacancy on the Supreme Court this year.

Spokesman Bernie Derible also said Canadian permanent residents from the six designated countries who have valid resident cards and valid US visas, and are deemed eligible by USA border authorities to enter the US, would not be denied entry.

Chin says the decision is a partial victory for Hawaii because it allows people such as university students and relatives of US citizens to enter the country. "The justices that would have allowed the entire ban to go into affect even said in their opinion that this implies that the court thinks that the government will succeed". As I've repeatedly said, this is not the law and can not be the law.

As six federal courts have recognized, President Trump's efforts to prohibit Muslims from entering the country belong in history's dustbin with the laws enacted a century ago to prevent Asian, Italian and Jewish immigration.

Immigrant rights advocates welcomed the ruling for showing that the president's authority on immigration is not absolute and ensuring people with connections in the USA will be allowed to enter. Advocates nonetheless said they would deploy people to watch for potential abuses.

That means "the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the objective of evading" the travel ban, the court said. "For individuals, a close familial relationship is required". So would a worker who accepted a job from an American company, a student enrolled at a US university or a lecturer invited to address a USA audience.

2. How bona fide is bona fide?

On the other hand, the justices said, relationships created for the purposes of evading the travel ban will not be considered valid.

A gay rights case saw a similar pattern, with Thomas, Gorsuch and fellow conservative Samuel Alito the only dissenters as the court threw out an Arkansas court ruling that allowed the state to refuse to list both same-sex spouses on birth certificates.

"If an officer uses their discretion as to not allow them to enter because they belong to these particular countries, we don't know how that is going to be handled at customs or as they try to enter the United States", he said.

The court tempered its ruling by saying the ban could not be implemented for now against people who have personal links to the U.S., citing the examples of foreign nationals wishing to visit family or students accepted to attend university.

Ferguson, who successfully sued to block the initial version of the travel ban, says the decision means individuals connected to Washington's families, schools and businesses will still be able to come to the U.S.

The ban takes effect 72 hours after the injunction was lifted - Thursday morning in the US.

The first ruling in the case came from a federal judge in NY who sided with the government.

Sessions says vetting of those seeking to come to the crucial for national security.

"With many groups, it's clear-cut from the type of visa: Anyone coming in on family visa or employment visa, by their terms it's clear they have a bona fide relationship", he said.

The countries targeted were on a list drawn up by Barack Obama's government of places whose authorities had poor data on their own citizens, making it hard to vet visa applicants. But by then, a key provision may have expired, possibly making the review unnecessary.

The case now goes to the lower Chamber of Deputies in Congress, which must decide whether it has merit.



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