The United States Supreme Court on Monday handed the Trump administration a partial victory by allowing parts of its travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries to be enforced until it hears arguments in the fall on the appeal of a lower court's ruling that blocked the president's executive order.
The court's 9-0 decision means the justices will wade into the biggest legal controversy of the Trump administration: President Donald Trump's order temporarily restricting travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The justices said that the government can temporarily bar entry to travelers that lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" in the interested of national security. The court also allowed Trump's 120-day ban on refugees to move forward on a limited basis.
"An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded," the Court wrote. "As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government's compelling need to provide for the Nation's security."
In a statement, Trump called the court's ruling "a clear victory for our national security."
"As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive," Trump said. "My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland."
Trump's administration has said it needs the 90-day ban in order to conduct an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from those six countries.
Critics have argued the ban is illegal because it is de facto based on travelers' religion: Islam. Immigrant and civil rights advocacy groups said the wording of Monday's opinion is murky at best and leaves many questions about who will and won't be let in.
"That's incredibly vague language. Who is going to be making the decision?" said Lara Finkbeiner of the International Refugee Assistance Project, one of the groups that sued Trump. "We're expecting chaos similar to the chaos we saw in the airports during the first executive order."
Legal experts believe the biggest impact will likely be felt by people from the six countries traveling on tourist visas. Regardless of who will be directly impacted, immigrant advocates said they fear letting any part of the ban stand will lead to more religious discrimination.
"This not only is a threat to the men and women who are being kept abroad because of this unlawful and unconstitutional ban, it is a threat to the millions of Muslim men and women who daily face a heightened risk of hate crimes just because of their faith," Albert Cahn of CAIR said.
The Department of Homeland Security said it will provide more details on the ban's implementation after it coordinates withe the Justice Department and State Department.
"The implementation of the Executive Order will be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry," DHS said in a statement.
The justices decided to review the broader constitutional issues over executive authority on immigration with oral arguments to be held in the fall. Historically, courts have largely upheld the Executive Branch's right to restrict and regulate immigration as well as travel into the nation.
With the AP and Fox News.