Travel ban returns: What happens now, and who can come to America?

The Supreme Court will still hear arguments about whether Mr Trump’s travel ban is lawful

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Tuesday 27 June 2017 00:34
Demonstrators hold up placards during a protest in January outside Downing Street against President Donald Trump's ban on travel from seven Muslim countries
Demonstrators hold up placards during a protest in January outside Downing Street against President Donald Trump's ban on travel from seven Muslim countries

In a victory for Donald Trump, a limited version of his travel ban is set to take effect in less than 72 hours.

While chaos erupted at airports in January during the rollout of his first executive order on the issue, less disorder is expected Thursday.

What has happened?

The Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether Mr Trump’s travel ban is lawful when the justices return for their next term, which begins in October.

In the meantime, a limited version of his order will be implemented starting on Thursday.

Who will be allowed to come to the US?

The justices determined that foreigners with a “bona fide” relationship to a person or entity in the US wouldn’t be prohibited from entering the country. However, those applying for visas who have no such connections to the US could be barred.

There is uncertainty about what constitutes a “bona fide” relationship.

Jeremy McKinney, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s executive committee, told The Independent that a majority of the ban’s implementation will take place at consular posts outside of the US and at pre-inspection sites at international airports inside and outside the country.

He said the ban will likely only affect a small portion of visa-seekers from the six countries from which the administration wants to ban travel – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“We’re still trying to imagine a scenario where a current visa-holder or visa-seeker from one of those six countries does not already have the requisite relationship with the person or the entity within the US,” Mr McKinney said.

However, he noted that visa-seekers and visa-holders could face problems at airports – where there don’t have access to legal counsel – if the Trump administration tries to implement a broader interpretation of the travel ban than what was provided by the Supreme Court.

Why is the Supreme Court letting a limited travel ban take effect?

The government argued that a 90-day pause on entry of travellers from six mostly Muslim countries “is necessary to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from entering the United States” as the administration reviews gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures for visa applicants and refugees.

The justices agreed with a lower court’s ruling that people or entities in the US who have relationships with foreign nationals abroad – such as a state university that has admitted a student from one of the six countries – could be harmed by the implementation of the travel ban.

But, the high court also found that no burden is placed on American people or entities if a foreign national with no ties to the US is denied entry.

Why did the Supreme Court’s decision differ from the lower courts’?

Two federal appeals courts blocked critical parts of Mr Trump’s executive order.

In a departure from the lower courts, the Supreme Court wrote that fully blocking Mr Trump’s executive order from being implemented – thereby allowing foreign nationals unconnected to the US to enter the country – “would appreciably injure” the nation’s interests, “without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.”

Will the travel ban last?

The ban limits travel for 90 days from the six mostly Muslim countries and suspends the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. But, based on the results of its review of vetting procedures, the Trump administration can lengthen these time periods.

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