People demonstrate against Trump's executive order making it more difficult for millions from Muslim-majority countries to enter the United States in Los Angeles on February 2, 2017. Photo: Damian Dovarganes | AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The 'Trump Travel Ban' will take effect after the highest court in the United States ruled the latest version that applies to six mostly Muslim-majority countries can go ahead in its entirety.
The White House said it is "not surprised by today's Supreme Court decision permitting immediate enforcement of the President's proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism."
The Supreme Court decided on Monday that the policy can take full effect even as challenges make their way through the lower courts.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One that the administration believes the ban is "lawful and essential to protecting our homeland" and says President Donald Trump administration looks forward "to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts."
The court heard travel restrictions which affect foreign nationals from eight countries including Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The ban also covers people from North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela, but the lower courts had allowed those provisions to be implemented.
The court's decision is not a final ruling on the travel ban, but the action indicates the high court might eventually approve it.
Lower courts in two separate challenges had partially blocked the latest iteration of ban doled out through executive order in September.
Lower courts had said people 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.
People from the affected countries may still apply for certain visas on an individual basis or obtain waivers.
Trump first issued a travel ban in January. Iraq was included on the initial list of countries, but removed in March after Baghdad introduced heightened visa and security screening, as well as information screening with Washington.