President Donald Trump just suffered another defeat. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously declined to overturn a district court judge’s ruling that severely damaged the President’s travel ban. The judge’s ruling stated that the current administration took too narrow a view of an exception the Supreme Court carved out from the travel ban in June.
The court’s ruling throws a wrench in Trump’s plans to deny grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of Americans a temporary exemption from the controversial executive order.
One travel ban challenger was given a reprieve form the President’s order for their mother-in-law after the Supreme Court ruled in their favor.
“If mothers-in-law clearly fall within the scope of the injunction, then so too should grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins,” Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez wrote in a joint opinion.
“The Government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not,” they added.
Along with that decision, the appeals court cleared the way for more refugees to legally enter the United States through resettlement agencies.
Justice Department lawyers attempted to argue that those agencies deal directly with the government and rarely have contact with refugees until around the time of their arrival. The appeals judges didn’t buy into that argument.
“Even if a resettlement agency does not have ‘direct contact’ with a refugee before arrival, this does not negate the finding that a relationship has formed. The agency still expends resources and arranges for individualized services based on the specific refugees that the agency has agreed to resettle,” the 9th Circuit panel wrote. “Resettlement agencies will face concrete harms and burdens if refugees with formal assurances are not admitted.”
It was the 9th Circuit Court that ruled twice in 2017 that Trump’s travel ban is illegal.
A Justice Department official promised to approach the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes of re-establishing Trump’s ban.
“The Supreme Court has stepped in to correct these lower courts before, and we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the executive branch’s duty to protect the nation,” a Justice spokeswoman said.
Trump’s plan, reintroduced in March, bans U.S. visas from being issued to residents in six majority-Muslim countries. The order also stopped the admission of refugees from around the world.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the ban’s legality on October 10.