A U.S. Supreme Court justice issued a short-term order restoring President Donald Trump’s ban on thousands of refugees seeking entry to the country.
The order issued Monday by Justice Anthony Kennedy puts a lower court ruling on hold until the high court decides whether to grant the administration’s request for a longer-term order. Hawaii, which is challenging the Trump policy, urged the court Tuesday to leave the appeals court ruling in force.
A federal appeals court ruled last week that the administration must temporarily admit refugees if a resettlement agency had promised that it would provide basic services for them. That decision was set to take effect Tuesday, and as many as 24,000 refugees have received such assurances, the administration said in papers filed with the high court.
The ruling on refugees “will disrupt the status quo and frustrate orderly implementation of the order’s refugee provisions that this court made clear months ago could take effect,” acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote.
Hawaii’s court brief said assurance agreements require resettlement agencies to make extensive investments in preparation for refugees’ arrival. Refugees don’t pose any true security threat, the state said.
"Refugees with formal assurances are the category of foreign nationals least likely to implicate the national security rationales the government has pointed to in the past," Hawaii argued. "By the government’s own admission, these refugees have already been approved by the Department of Homeland Security."
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 10 on President Donald Trump’s overall travel order, which imposed a 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries and a 120-day ban on refugees, to give officials time to assess vetting procedures.
The high court on June 26 cleared part of the ban to take effect in the meantime, while saying the U.S. had to admit at least some people with close relatives in the U.S. A series of court decisions since then have said that order must include people with grandparents and cousins in this country.
The administration said Monday that while it disagreed with that part of last week’s ruling by a San Francisco-based appeals court, for now it was contesting only the portion of the order related to refugees.
Trump’s March 6 executive order said the temporary travel ban and refugee ban would give officials time to assess U.S. vetting procedures and would address the risk that terrorists could slip into the country. Lower courts had blocked the ban, saying Trump overstepped his authority and unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.
The case is Trump v. Hawaii, 16-1540.