The US is letting a limited version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect.
The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation.
The court said that Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced as long if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
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Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.
The administration has said the 90-day ban was needed on national security grounds to allow an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from the six countries.
Opponents say the ban was an unlawful based on visitors’ Muslim religion. The administration review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.
Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and that it will suffer irreparable harm with any interference.
Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.
Some immigration lawyers said the limited nature of the ban and the silence of the court’s liberals on the issue Monday suggested that the court had not handed Trump much of a victory. The White House did not immediately comment.
The court’s opinion explained the kinds of relationships people from the six countries must demonstrate to obtain a US visa.
“For individuals, a close familial relationship is required,” the court said.