Up to 24,000 Refugees May be Blocked From U.S. as Supreme Court Temporarily Allows Travel Ban

trump travel ban protest
People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle on May 15. David Ryder/Reuters

A U.S. Supreme Court justice is temporarily restoring an element of Donald Trump's controversial travel ban that could affect some 24,000 refugees.

Responding to a request from the Trump administration, the Supreme Court agreed to stay a ruling from a lower court that granted an exemption to the travel ban for some 24,000 refugees. The ruling made by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week prevented the government from blocking admission to the U.S. for those refugees who are in the U.S. Admissions Program or have formal assurances from a resettlement agency, The Hill reported.

Had the court not temporarily lifted the exemption, it would have gone into effect at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, with The Independent estimating that up to 24,000 refugees qualify for the exemption.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who signed the one-page order on Monday just hours after the Department of Justice entered an emergency application for the appeals court's decision to be stayed, told those suing over the travel ban that the decision would be stayed pending their response, which is due midday Tuesday.

Trump's travel ban, which prevents citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. unless they have a "bona fide relationship" with a family member in the country, was partially allowed to go into effect by the Supreme Court in June and is due for oral arguments in October.

But Trump's administration took umbrage with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which also found that grandparents and other extended family members of someone living in the U.S. coould not be barred from entering the country, and made an emergency filing to prevent the exemption from coming into effect.

The DOJ filing, from Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall, read: "The absence of a formal connection between a resettlement agency and a refugee subject to an assurance stands in stark contrast to the sort of relationships this Court identified as sufficient in its June 26 stay ruling."

It continued: "Unlike students who have been admitted to study at an American university, workers who have accepted jobs at an American company, and lecturers who come to speak to an American audience, refugees do not have any freestanding connection to resettlement agencies, separate and apart from the refugee-admissions process itself, by virtue of the agencies' assurance agreement with the government."