WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate much of the Trump administration’s travel ban while it considers the merits of the case is potentially good news for many who want entry into the United States, but may be a bad blow for refugees, experts said.
However, uncertainty surrounded the impact of the high court's action. Several federal agencies must now decide how they will implement it, and advocates warned the confusion itself is harmful, given the delicacy of the refugee process.
“We know that people are going to be hurt by this, and there will be a lot of disruption and dislocation,” said Lavinia Limón, president and chief executive of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, one of nine nonprofits that helps resettle refugees.
“There are people told they were going to fly next week after waiting two years, who maybe sold their possessions and are all packed,” Limón added. “It’s just cruel to imagine that after fleeing war and waiting years finally you’re ready to go next week and guess what? This is what happens.”
The Supreme Court justices overturned a series of lower court rulings to green-light enforcement of much of Trump’s executive order. The court's action temporarily imposes tough restrictions on travel from six Muslim countries — Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — and the entry of all refugees until the court hears the case this fall.
On Tuesday, former acting attorney general Sally Yates said at the Aspen Ideas Forum that the Department of Justice first found out about Trump's travel ban by reading about it in The New York Times. She described how her deputy called her and said he had just been on the Times website and “it looks like the president has instituted some sort of travel ban."
US Supreme Court Allows Parts of Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect 2:08
President Donald Trump hailed the court decision Monday as a “clear victory for our national security” that “allows me to use an important tool for protecting our nation's homeland.”
Mark Hetfield, the president of HIAS, a longtime immigrant aid organization, called the court's action "mixed news for human rights, for refugees, and for those non-citizens whom President Trump is trying to ban from the United States based solely on their place of birth.
"HIAS welcomes the ruling as an affirmation that the president does not have unfettered, unchecked authority to bar refugees from the U.S. without evidence to justify such action, and that people with ties to the U.S. can continue to enter," he added. "We are very disappointed, however, that others will continue to be arbitrarily excluded and that the executive order has been resurrected to once again cause irreparable damage to refugees, immigrants, and America’s reputation as a welcoming country.”