The court ruled that the president's executive order banning visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen could be enforced as long as those individuals lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States". Instead, the justices said it was OK to ban citizens from six countries the White House deems risky - if they "lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States".
Yesterday, Supreme Court handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that he said is needed for national security but that opponents decry as discriminatory.
"While we are still reviewing the Court's decision, the Court has rightly recognized that students, faculty, and lecturers from the designated countries have a bona fide relationship with an American entity and should not be barred from entering the United States", Mary Sue Coleman, the president of the Association of American Universities, said in a statement Monday afternoon.
A 120-day ban on refugees is also being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.
The previous U.S. appeals court decisions had found that Trump exceeded his executive authority in issuing the order and pointed to the likelihood that challenges to the measure on the grounds it discriminated against one religious group were likely to succeed.
"The hope is that this really only impacts a very small number of people", said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.
It's unclear what will ultimately constitute a "bona fide relationship", though the ruling suggested that an American job, school enrollment or a close relative could meet that threshold.
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Trump's first executive order on travel applied to travelers from Iraq and well as the six countries, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out whom the order covered and how it was to be implemented. They include a foreign national who wishes to live with, or visit, a family member, a student who has been admitted by a university or a worker with an offer of employment from a USA business.
The Supreme Court on Monday chose to uphold the executive order for nationals of the affected nations unless they have a genuine relationship with a person or body in the US.
The order was blocked by several federal judges after its announcement in January, however it's now been partially reinstated by America's highest court as a legal battle wages on. But she said that refugees who prove a "bona fide" connection to the USA are not subject to that cap.
Ibraham al-Qatabi, 37, a legal worker for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said he'd received calls from Yemeni families panicking about the ban going into effect.
Before the Supreme Court action the ban functional only to the new visa applicants, not for the people who have already the visas or are USA enduring residents, or known as green card holders.
It said, the ruling would remain in force until the court hears the case in full in October. "By agreeing to review these challenges, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled today that it rejects the Administration's argument", Ferguson said. Tourist visas from the six countries are already rare, said experts, especially because three of them, Iran, Libya and Somalia, do not even have U.S. embassies. The high court said it would revisit the travel restrictions this fall to render a final decision.