MS Risk Blog

US Supreme Court Allows Broad Refugee Ban

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On 12 September, the US Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to broadly implement a ban on refuges entering the country from around the world.

On Tuesday, the justices granted a request from the Trump administration to block a federal appeals court decision, which, according to the Justice Department, would have allowed up to 24,000 additional refugees to enter the Untied States than would otherwise have been eligible. The Supreme Court ruling effectively gives President Trump a partial victory as the high court prepares for a key October hearing on the constitutionality of the president’s controversial executive order.

On 6 March of this year, President Trump signed an order that effectively banned travellers from six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for ninety days and locked out most aspiring refugees for 120 days in a move that the Republican leader argued was needed in order to prevent terrorist attacks. The policy suspended travel to the Untied States and from the six Muslim-majority countries and locked out most refugees. Since then, US courts have limited the scope of that order. In a ruling earlier this month, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals stated that grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of legal US residents would be exempt from the travel ban. The Justice Department opted not to appeal that part of the 9th Circuit decision. However the 9th Circuit also ruled that President Trump’s refugee policy was too broad, and the court allowed entry to refugees from around the world if they had a formal offer from a resettlement agency. This portion of the ruling was appealed by the Justice Department, with the full Supreme Court siding with the administration on Tuesday in a one-sentence order. A representative for the Hawaii attorney general, who challenged the administration in court, has so far not commented on the Supreme Court’s ruling. Earlier in the day, Hawaii stated in a court filing that the US government could still “bar tens of thousands of refugees from entering the country.” The state’s lawyers added that all the 9th Circuit ruling did is “protect vulnerable refugees and the American entities that have been eagerly preparing to welcome them to our shores.”