On November 13 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling allowing the Trump administration’s travel ban to proceed in part. A Hawaii federal judge had previously blocked the newest travel ban from going into effect, but the 9th Circuit held that the Trump administration could limit the issuance of visas to individuals from six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. However, the decision would allow individuals from those countries who have a “bona fide relationship” to the United States to still be allowed into the country. This means a person must have a relative or business ties in the United States in order to be exempted from the travel ban. Without one of those, individuals from those countries cannot currently travel to the United States.
The travel ban has been through extensive litigation since the first executive order was issued on January 27. The Trump administration has attempted to issue the travel ban three different times, and each time it has been enjoined by a federal court, preventing it from going into effect. However, between the bans being issued and a court holding them unconstitutional, the Department of Homeland Security would begin to implement the bans. A recent report showed that DHS actually violated the court orders on several occasions when Customs and Border Protection would instruct airlines to prevent passengers from the originally banned countries from flying to the United States. The DHS Inspector, who keeps an eye on what DHS does and doesn’t do, has been unable to release the report because of DHS executives.
The most recent travel ban, issued on September 24, places permanent restrictions on travel for citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea. It also blocks the travel of certain Venezuelan government officials and their families. This travel ban has been in litigation since it was issued and was blocked by federal judges in two states. The case involving this ban is before the Supreme Court. On November 20 the government attorneys asked the Supreme Court to allow the full ban to take effect while the case is in litigation. The parties have until November 28 to respond to the request.
Until the Supreme Court rules on the government’s request, the travel ban remains limited to the lower courts’ rulings, which allows persons from the affected countries with bona fide relationships to the United States to obtain visas and enter the country. We will continue to monitor the case for updates.
If you have questions about your immigration status or ability to obtain a visa, contact Joseph & Hall P.C. to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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