The United States Supreme Court on Monday permitted the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.
The justices, with two dissenting votes, said that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts.
The action suggests the court could uphold the latest version of the ban that Trump announced in September.
The ban, which was announced on September 24, replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.
It applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have left the lower court orders in place.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.
In October, a judge in Hawaii ordered a freeze on the travel ban, saying it suffers from the same maladies as the previous order.
Trump’s travel bans are temporary, until proper vetting procedures – a central campaign promise of his – can be implemented.