ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
The Supreme Court has breathed new life into the fight over President Trump's travel ban. The court said today that it would consider the ban's fate when it reconvenes in October. In the meantime, the court reinstated parts of the travel ban that had been put on hold by lower courts. The ban affects all refugees and travelers from six mostly Muslim countries. And joining us now to talk about this is NPR's Joel Rose. And, Joel, what did the Supreme Court say about the travel ban today?
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Well, the court will hear arguments about the travel ban in the fall, which is a big deal because this is a case about presidential power. But maybe the bigger news today is that the court will allow part of the travel ban to take effect, as you said. The court could have left a nationwide injunction in place or it could have lifted it completely. Instead, what the justices decided to do is sort of to split the baby. The court said you must have a, quote, "bona fide relationship," unquote, with someone in the U.S. in order to get in. And presumably that means some people will be barred from traveling because they do not have those ties.
SIEGEL: Who would those people be, the ones who wouldn't be allowed in?
ROSE: That remains to be seen. And I think a lot will depend on how you define bona fide relationship. The Trump administration says that the executive order will now largely be allowed to take effect. And that order temporarily blocks new visas from travelers from six mostly Muslim countries and suspends the U.S. refugee program. But immigrants' rights advocates dispute that this is a big win for the White House. They say it's mostly tourists who will be affected. They say most other foreign nationals who travel here already have a bona fide relationship, whether it's with a family member or a business that wants to hire them or a school they want to attend. And they contend that refugees have those relationships as well.
SIEGEL: President Trump has tweeted a lot about this case. What did he have to say today about it?
ROSE: He put out a statement today. And it reads in part, "as president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens and who will be hardworking and productive," unquote. The administration has argued all along that it needs to revamp security vetting procedures in order to protect the country from terrorists. But immigrant rights advocates say this executive order amounts to a Muslim ban, an unconstitutional Muslim ban like the one that President Trump talked about during the campaign. Lower courts so far have sided with the immigrant rights advocates. Now this is a question for the Supreme Court to decide.
SIEGEL: But you're describing two very different readings of the order by immigrants' rights groups and by the president. What'll that mean actually on the ground?
ROSE: Well, I put that question to Stephen Yale-Loehr. He teaches immigration law at Cornell University. And he thinks we could see a replay of the chaos at airports that we saw back in January - remember? - when thousands of people were stuck overseas or detained at airports.
STEPHEN YALE-LOEHR: At the very least people are going to be delayed because there's going to have to be litigation or there's going to be administrative delays in deciding whether someone has a close enough relationship. So there's going to be problems at airports and consulates around the world.
ROSE: So he thinks that the legal fights will probably continue here. Remember, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. But the two sides are likely to keep arguing over exactly how to interpret what the court ordered today.
SIEGEL: One thing that's beyond interpretation is that the court lifted the lower court's stay. When, then, does the travel ban actually take effect on someone?
ROSE: Well, the Trump administration has said it would take 72 hours after the court's order for the travel ban to take effect again. The Department of Homeland Security says it's still working out the details along with the departments of State and Justice to make sure that there is a smooth rollout. The administration promises to provide more guidance to immigration agents and airlines than they received in January. This time, people with valid visas should be able to travel here. So should green card holders. But this travel ban will affect visa applicants and refugees, and there are still thousands of them who will seek to arrive each month.
SIEGEL: That's NPR's Joel Rose. Joel, thanks.
ROSE: You're welcome.
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