DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) – The State Department says it will start implementing President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries 72 hours after it was partly reinstated by the Supreme Court.
That means the temporary ban will go into effect Thursday morning.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said her agency will provide more details about how it will be implemented after consulting with the Justice and Homeland Security departments. The U.S. government will keep people traveling to the U.S. and members of the travel industry informed “in a professional, organized and timely way,” she added.
Government lawyers were working on guidelines Tuesday, one day after the Supreme Court partially reinstated the ban ahead of hearing arguments in October. The court said the administration can block travelers from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen unless they can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States.
The court offered only broad guidelines about what would constitute such a relationship — suggesting it would include a close relative, a job offer or an invitation to lecture.
The court ordered similar limitations on Trump’s plan to temporarily halt all refugee admissions. But that may have minimal effect for now. Of the 50,000 refugees the government planned to accept in the current budget year, more than 48,900 have been allowed to enter the U.S.
The State Department has said that the few remaining refugees to be admitted this year will not have to prove a “bona fide relationship.” A new cap won’t be in place until the start of the budget year in October, around the time that the Supreme Court considers the case.
Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. He claimed it was needed to protect the U.S. from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet Trump’s campaign promise of keeping Muslims out of the United States.
After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts. The Supreme Court’s action Monday partially reinstated the effort.
The initial order created chaos and confusion as the Trump administration scrambled to make changes amid backlash as legal U.S. residents, refugees and holders of valid visas were denied boarding at foreign airports or detained and sent back overseas after landing in the United States.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Supreme Court’s order, immigration advocates and civil rights lawyers are on edge and ready for possible legal challenges.
The union that represents Customs and Border Protection agents said Tuesday it wants the administration to provide detailed guidance to help avoid a repeat of the chaos that ensued in January.
“I said in January that it would have been better if the agency would have had done more advanced planning before the original ban took effect, so we hope such confusion can be avoided this time,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasure Employees Union.
Iran’s foreign minister says the partial reinstatement of Trump’s travel ban is “disappointing” and says the ban is more about politics than security.
Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday called the ban “misplaced and misguided,” saying it “had no basis in fact and it would not help fight terrorism, in fact it would be the greatest gift to extremist groups who would use it as a rallying cry.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department looks forward to defending the travel ban when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case in October.
Monday’s decision is “an important step toward restoring the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government” by recognizing the president’s right to protect national security, Sessions said, adding the travel ban case “raises profound questions about the proper balance of these constitutional powers.”
Sessions says vetting of those seeking to come to the U.S. is crucial for national security.
Written by the Associated Press with AP writers ALICIA A. CALDWELL and MATTHEW LEE.
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