On Monday, the Trump administration sought the Supreme Court's help in restoring part of its travel ban, pushing for a reversal of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to protect certain refugees.
The issue of the scope of the ban has been playing out in the lower courts, but the Supreme Court is set to hear the larger issues concerning the merits of the case on October 11. Though the rulings allows the president to suspend the State Department's refugee resettlement program for 120 days, it also provides that refugees with a "bona fide" relationship to a person or entity in the United States be permitted entry.
The order puts the appeal court's ruling on hold until those challenging the ban can submit written arguments by Tuesday afternoon. The Justice Department said it disagreed with that interpretation, but noted the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to disturb that finding pending appeal.
The Supreme Court already has weighed in twice on lower court rulings striking down or limiting the travel and refugee bans, though it has to rule on their validity.
Earlier, Trump had banned travellers from six Muslim-majority countries but after the Court's ruling, this ban was lifted and instead a ban was imposed on refugees and citizens of just six of the seven countries.
The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to step in again - though only to block refugees, not grandparents and other extended family members.
The order is temporary, and will likely last until the full Court weighs the refugee ban.
Trump administration lawyers told justices on Monday that changing the way it enforces the policy on refugees would allow "admission of refugees who have no connection to the United States independent of the refugee-admission process itself".
The travel ban bars people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.
The arguments hinged on a stipulation in the travel ban that refugees in the pipeline can only be accepted if they have a "bona fide relationship" with a United States individual or entity.
Initially, the Trump administration tried to define who counts as a close family member very narrowly - excluding relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.