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Trump Travel Ban Just Won't Die - U.S. Supreme Court Allows Limited Ban

In January, the Trump administration said a temporary us travel ban was necessary to allow the administration time to review procedures and ensure the safety of the United States. They said they just needed a 90-day buffer to do their homework and make sure we were secure.

The first us travel ban failed, and in March, Trump tried again. 38 days had passed since he’d signed the January ban, and another ten days passed before the March travel ban took effect. Apparently, the administration had been too busy fighting tooth and nail for the ban to start the security checks they’d deemed so important. When the March ban was issued, the administration said they still needed 90 days to conduct the review they’d told us was critical to national security.

It’s been more than 150 days since the first travel ban—150 days in which the Trump administration could have been reviewing and tightening up procedures. And, they still need 90 more days.

Anyone else getting the sense that Trump is more interested in keeping people out than in improving the immigration process?

Supreme Court Allows a Limited Version of the US Travel Ban to Move Forward

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump travel ban could take effect, but limited its reach. Specifically, the court said that the ban could not be applied to travelers who had a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” On its surface, that restriction would appear to mean that travelers who have family in the United States, have jobs, job offers or an interest in businesses in the U.S. or who attend school in the U.S. should not be affected. But, the battle isn’t over.

Here are a few things you should know about where the Trump travel ban stands today:

  1. The Supreme Court’s limitation on to whom the ban may apply is helpful, but is also open to interpretation. What does a “bona fide relationship” actually mean? Already, attorneys, activists and journalists are disagreeing about how broadly or narrowly the restriction should be interpreted. That means we can expect a fresh round of chaos and confusion, as decision-makers in different locations may reach different conclusions.
  2. Trump indicated that the ban would take effect 72 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling, virtually ensuring that he will once again leave those already in transit or making travel plans with little or no time to adjust. We won’t likely see demonstrations at the airports this round. Still, you can be sure individuals inside will be going through struggles very similar to those we saw in January.
  3. The Supreme Court seems to have no more interest than most of us in seeing this issue dragged out any further. The Court has asked the lawyers in the case to submit arguments as to whether the issue will be moot by the time the Court takes up the case in the fall. Opponents of the ban could successfully argue that the administration has had plenty of time to conduct the security review the ban was intended to facilitate. By the time the Court hears the case in the fall, more than 8 months will have passed since the administration first announced that it needed 90 days to investigate procedures.
  4. The Trump administration is positioning the ruling as a victory, but in this context “victory” seems to mean “a less resounding loss than all the other immigration rulings.” No one is truly happy with this hybrid decision, and the Court’s comment on the potential for mootness bodes well for the ban simply dying away in the fall.

Unfortunately, we can expect more complications for travelers and their families, employers, and others affected in the short-term. Check back for updates as the implementation of the ban unfolds.

The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm helps people with U.S. immigration matters. For more information, call (650) 562-6900, or fill out the contact form on this site.

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