U.S. Supreme Court Allows Part of Trump's Travel Ban to Take Effect
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The Supreme Court ruled Monday to reinstate a limited version of President Donald Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” better known as the travel ban.
It will go into effect on June 29 (72 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling was issued), with the following exception: The ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” according to the Supreme Court ruling. This ruling applies to tourists as well as students accepted into U.S. higher education institutions or employees of companies in the U.S. seeking new visas.
The ban, which restricts foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- from entering the United States for a period of 90 days, as well as refugees from any country from entering the U.S. for 120 days, was blocked by federal circuit courts earlier this year prior to being implemented, on March 15. The block has been upheld by appeals courts. Judges in these courts cited insufficient evidence of national security risk, as well as discrimination against Muslims, in their rulings of the travel ban’s unconstitutionality.
Today is the last day before the Supreme Court goes on summer break; the justices will reconvene on Oct. 2 and will hear full oral arguments for the case sometime after that. The Trump administration originally issued the 90-day ban on national security grounds and has stated it will perform an internal review of vetting procedures for visa applicants from the six countries specified during the 90-day period. The justices said they “fully expect” this review should be complete prior to Oct. 2, so the case may no longer be relevant by then.
Some have expressed concern that the “credible claim of a bona fide relationship” language in the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling leaves too much room for individual interpretation and discretion -- including Justice Clarence Thomas. He wrote in his opinion that it will “burden executive officials with the task of deciding -- on peril of contempt -- whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country.” He wrote that this will “invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved.”
It is yet to be seen how this will be uniformly enforced. The ruling states that, “as for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2. ... A worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience [would have such a relationship with an American entity]. … A nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.”
The executive order in question is the second of two executive order travel bans. The first, signed by President Trump on Jan. 27, included Iraq, specified preferential treatment for Christians and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely. It was stopped by a federal court on Feb. 3.
In March, Entrepreneur explored implications of the travel ban for business travelers and entrepreneurs. It caused uncertainty and inconvenience for individuals -- even those who were permanent U.S. residents -- during the period in which it was blocked by lower courts, as individuals and organizations were aware that the ban or another iteration of it might be instated at any time.