THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT ALLOWS THE TRAVEL BAN TO TAKE EFFECT
On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two orders, that allow the Presidential Proclamation of September 24, 2017 (“The Travel Ban”), to go into effect, while appeals continue in the lower courts.
A. The First Order
The effect of the first order is that the Travel Ban is fully in effect, as follows:
• Somalia: All immigrant visas are suspended. Additional screening is required for all other types of visas.
• Iraq: No suspensions, but additional screening is required for all visas and entries.
• Chad / Libya / Yemen: All immigrant visas and all B-1 business and B-2 tourist visas are suspended.
• North Korea / Syria: All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are suspended.
• Iran: All immigrant visas are suspended, as well as all nonimmigrant visas except F and M student visas and J exchange visitor visas, for which additional screening is required.
• Venezuela: All official and B-1/B-2 visas for employees of certain government agencies and their dependents are suspended. These agencies include the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations. Additional screening is required for all other types of visas.
The Travel Ban exempts the following classes of individuals, among others, from the above restrictions:
• Those whose visas were marked canceled or revoked under the initial Travel Ban (January 27, 2017)
• Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity, but only until October 18, 2017
• Dual nationals who are traveling on a passport from a non-designated country
• Those who seek, or have already been granted, asylum or withholding of removal
• Those who seek admission, or have already been admitted, as refugees
• Those who already held valid visas on September 24, 2017
• Those who hold other travel documents – such as transportation letters, boarding foils, or advance parole documents – that were valid on September 24, 2017 or are issued after that date
B. The Second Order
With respect to the Supreme Court’s second order, the US government’s request for full enforcement of the travel ban while the Fourth and Ninth Circuits consider the government’s appeals (filed in October 2017) of the lower courts’ (Maryland’s and Hawaii’s) injunctions in these Circuits, was granted by the Supreme Court. Both Circuits have agreed to expedite their decisions so that the Maryland and Hawaii cases may move forward quickly.
If either or both Circuits eventually rule against the government, thereby leaving the lower courts’ injunction in place, the government could ask the Supreme Court to review those rulings. If that happens and the Supreme refuses to hear the government’s request for review, then the Supreme Court’s orders will terminate, thereby putting the Travel Ban on hold yet again, until final decisions are made in the Maryland and Hawaii federal courts.