Wall Street Journal
By Brent Kendall
November 13, 2017
The Trump administration can implement part of its third ban on travelers from certain countries while litigation over the policy is ongoing, an appeals court said Monday.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, trimmed back a Hawaii federal judge’s order from last month that blocked the administration from implementing any of its latest planned travel restrictions on people from six Muslim-majority countries.
The appeals court said Trump officials for now can impose the ban on would-be travelers who don’t have close connections to people or organizations in the U.S. But the administration can’t apply the ban to travelers, including extended family members, who have bona fide relationships with U.S. residents, the Ninth Circuit said.
The compromise approach is along the lines of interim rules the Supreme Court adopted in the summer with respect to President Donald Trump’s second travel ban, which has since expired.
The Ninth Circuit, as well as another appeals court, will take a closer look at the latest travel ban during oral arguments next month. The cases potentially could make their way to the Supreme Court in the coming months.
A Justice Department spokesman said the Trump administration would start partially enforcing the travel ban after the Ninth Circuit’s order. The spokeswoman said the department still believed the ban “should be allowed to take effect in its entirety.”
Mr. Trump’s latest travel restrictions, issued Sept. 24, apply to eight countries—the Muslim-majority nations of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as North Korea and some government officials in Venezuela.
Even before Monday’s developments, courts had allowed implementation of the ban against the two non-Muslim nations.
As with the president’s two earlier travel bans, judges are considering whether the current ban disfavors Muslims in an unconstitutional way, and separately whether Mr. Trump has made sufficient national security findings to justify the order.
Mr. Trump has said each of his travel bans was necessary to protect the U.S. from potential terrorist threats and he has denied that he is targeting Muslims. Critics, including the state of Hawaii and civil-rights and immigrant-rights groups, argue Mr. Trump is seeking to fulfill his presidential campaign pledge to support a ban on Muslims coming into the U.S.
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