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Trump takes travel ban dispute to US Supreme Court again

Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 10:48

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President Donald Trump's administration took the dispute over his temporary travel ban to the Supreme Court again Friday, asking the justices to block a lower court order requiring the government to give people with grandparents in the US an exemption to enter the country.

[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump's administration took the dispute over his temporary travel ban to the Supreme Court again Friday, asking the justices to block a lower court order requiring the government to give people with grandparents in the US an exemption to enter the country.

In court papers filed late Friday, the government also asked the justices to clarify their ruling that allows a limited version of the ban to take effect for now.

The Supreme Court already has agreed to hear arguments in the fall on Trump's 90-day ban on people entering the US from six mostly Muslim countries. The justices ruled June 26 that a limited form of the ban could take effect in the meantime, allowing only people with a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" to enter.

The limited travel ban took effect June 30. The Trump administration announced it would let people enter the US who had a parent, spouse, fiance, child, sibling, son- or daughter-in-law, or a parent-in-law in the country. The standard excluded those with grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and brothers- or sisters-in-law.

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A federal judge in Hawaii ruled Thursday that the government's exemption from the ban was too narrow.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," Judge Derrick Watson wrote.

The Supreme Court had said people with a "bona fide relationship" included those visiting a close family member, students who have been admitted to a university or workers who have accepted an employment offer.

In announcing the administration would immediately take the matter to the Supreme Court, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday, "Once again, we are faced with a situation in which a single federal district court has undertaken by a nationwide injunction to micromanage decisions of the co-equal executive branch related to our national security."

Mr Trump's March 6 executive order said the 90-day travel ban would give officials time to assess US vetting procedures and would address an "unacceptably high" risk that terrorists could slip into the country. Lower courts blocked the ban, saying Mr Trump overstepped his authority and unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.

When the Supreme Court partially revived the travel ban in June, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have let the entire ban take effect immediately. Mr Thomas warned that the definition of bona fide relationships would open the door to a "flood of litigation" as US customs and border officials wrestle with whether travelers from the six countries have sufficient ties.

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