The court on Tuesday granted an administration request that it block a federal appeals court ruling from last week that would have limited the scope of the ban as it applies to refugees. Namely, the lower court ruling would have exempted as many as 24,000 refugees from the 120-day ban if their cases had already been assigned to resettlement agencies.
Trump tried twice to instate a travel ban preventing refugees as well as citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Both moves were overturned in federal courts until the Supreme Court agreed in June to review the ban this October. A partial, temporary ban has been in effect since that decision, which only allows entry by those with a “bona fide” relationship to a family member in the U.S. or a U.S. entity.
Whether resettlement agencies qualified as an entity through which refugees could gain entry to the U.S. became a major point of contention. Resettlement agency directors said they believed their groups would be counted as U.S. entities, some told HuffPost in June, but the Justice Department later clarified that they didn’t qualify.
The justices are scheduled to hear arguments on the overall Trump travel ban Oct. 10. Meanwhile, the 90-day ban affecting citizens from the Muslim-majority nations expires late September, and the 120-day refugee ban lapses one month later.
Shortly after Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling, The New York Times reported that the administration is also reportedly considering slashing the annual refugee resettlement cap to below 50,000 ― the lowest it would be since 1980. President Barack Obama had raised it to 110,000 from 70,000 while in office.
Erol Kekic, executive director of the immigration and refugee program for Church World Service said his group “is appalled by reports that the Trump administration may unveil a refugee admissions target of even less than 50,000 ― already an unprecedented low ― for the next fiscal year.”
“This is insufficient and unconscionable ― especially as the global migrant crisis continues to escalate, with more than 66 million people now fleeing war, violence and persecution,” Kekic said in a statement. “Communities across our country stand for welcome ― our partner organizations and offices nationwide see this every day.”
This article has been updated with comment from Kekic.