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Court lets travel ban mostly go into effect

26 June 2017

The justices will hear full arguments in the October.

The first executive order was issued one week into his term, and sought to bar people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

In the following months, several other federal judges issued similar rulings saying the order should be halted.

It's expected to take somewhere in the neighborhood of 72 hours for that to happen.

The Supreme Court stopped short of banning all arrivals, as Mr Trump had wanted. The executive order also made waivers available for a foreign national seeking to enter the United States to resume work or study, visit a spouse, child or parent who is a USA citizen, or for "significant business or professional obligations". For people who want to come to the United States to work or study, "the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the objective of evading" the travel ban.

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The high court's opinion was likely the result of a compromise between the moderate conservatives and liberal justices on the Court.

There are five Republican appointees on the court and four Democratic appointees.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch wrote in the ruling that they would have allowed the travel ban to go into full effect, pending a review.

But it did agree to an emergency measure, taking effect immediately, which will prevent anyone who can not prove a solid connection with anyone already in the U.S. from arriving.

The justices said the ban can apply for now only to people who don't have a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States". That means people from the six countries and refugees with no such ties would be barred from entry.

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Trump, though, hailed the high court's order as a "clear victory for our national security". They said relatively few people would fall under the ban because people coming to study, work or visit family members in the United States already have sufficient relationships with others already is in the country.

Trump rolled out a travel ban just a week after his January 20 inauguration, but lower federal courts have blocked it and a revised version - and one court also has blocked a 120-day halt on refugee arrivals in the United States. Thomas said the government's interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.

The travel ban will remain on hold for plaintiffs who challenged the executive order and for anyone who is "similarly situated", the justices say - in other words, foreign nationals who have relatives in the USA, or who plan to attend school or work here. However, critics called the policy un-American and Islamophobic.

The state of Hawaii and a group of plaintiffs in Maryland represented by the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the order violated federal immigration law and the Constitution's First Amendment prohibition on the government favouring or disfavouring any particular religion.

The opinion faulted the two federal appeals courts that had blocked the travel policy for going too far to limit Trump's authority over immigration.

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