Justice Department Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Refugee Ban

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The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court Monday to stay parts of a lower court's ruling which placed substantial restrictions on the administration's travel ban.

The broader question of whether the travel ban discriminates against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution will be considered by the Supreme Court in October.

Responding to an emergency request from the Justice Department, Justice Anthony Kennedy stopped an earlier federal appeals court ruling that had allowed refugees with a formal assurance to enter the country.

The 9th Circuit upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on refugees with resettlement assurances that had been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court pending the appeal.

The ruling would have taken affect on Tuesday, reopening the door to 24,000 people left in limbo by President Donald Trump's on-again off-again travel ban.

The 9th Circuit's order requires the administration to admit refugees contracting with resettlement agencies beginning Tuesday, so the high court is likely to move quickly in issuing its own ruling. The ruling of the court also included those who are in the US.

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The government had asked for a "temporary administrative stay" to give the justices time to consider the issue. Lower courts had blocked the ban, saying Trump overstepped his authority and unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.

Trump administration lawyers told justices on Monday that changing the way it enforces the policy on refugees would allow "admission of refugees who have no connection to the United States independent of the refugee-admission process itself".

The measure was supposed to have been temporary - lasting 90 days for citizens of the six affected countries, and 120 days for refugees.

Resettlement agencies argued that their commitment to provide services for specific refugees should count as a "bona fide" relationship.

The travel ban bars people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US. A series of court decisions since then have said that order must include people with grandparents and cousins in this country.