Updates on the Trump Travel Ban
With all of the news on the Trump Administrations travel ban it is easy to get lost on exactly where we stand at the moment with this executive order, and what impact, if any, it has on refugees, and other individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States.
To get a better sense of where we are right now, it is important to go through the short but complex history of the "Trump Travel Ban."
Of course, as everyone remembers, talk of the Travel Ban began in the Trump campaign itself. However, on January 27th, the first Executive Order was signed. An Executive Order is an official legally binding mandate from the President to federal agencies under the executive branch. Simply put, it allows the President to tell his agencies how to enforce the law, to a certain extent, and the President does not need approval from either the House or the Senate to do it. As you may remember, President Obama's administration faced litigation in Federal Court in regards to his Immigration Executive Order, on the basis that he exceeded his power as the President to issue such an order.
January 27th, 2017 - The first Travel Ban was issued and it included a 90-day ban on entry for nationals for Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban included current visa holders from the affected countries, who would not be able to return if they left the U.S.. It also affected lawful permanent residents.
February 3rd, 2017 - A federal judge from Washington State issues an order temporarily blocking the travel ban. The Department of Justice appeals the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the block on the travel ban was upheld.
March 6th, 2017 - In response to the legal action, the Trump Administration issued "Travel Ban 2.0" which would not affect permanent residents and visa holders, and would remove Iraq from the list of countries subject to the ban.
March 15th, 2017 - A federal district court judge in Hawaii temporarily blocks the revised ban after a new law suit is brought against the federal government.
June 27th, 2017 - The United States Supreme Court agrees to hear the challenge to the travel ban, allowing the ban to go forward with the exception that it will not apply to anyone that can claim a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the U.S..
September 24th, 2017 - The Trump Administration issues a Third Travel Ban which includes two new countries to the ban list: North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad. However, the ban would only affect certain Venezuelan government officials and their families.
October 17th, 2017 - A federal judge in Hawaii temporarily blocks the new travel ban.
October 24th, 2017 - Trump Administration issues a new ban on Refugees from 11 countries, known as the Refugee Ban. The Refugee Ban targets both countries in the third Travel Ban as well as Egypt, Iraq, Mali, and South Sudan.
December 4th, 2017 - The United States Supreme Court allows the travel ban to go into full effect as the case is litigated in federal court.
December 22nd, 2017 - The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals find the Third Travel Ban to be illegal, however, because of the United States Supreme Court order that the ban be kept in place, it has no actual effect on the ban, and the ban is kept in place.
December 23rd, 2017 - A federal court from Washington D.C. temporarily blocks the Refugee Ban nationwide.
January 19th, 2018 - The United States Supreme Court announces that it will hear challenges to the Third Travel Ban and schedules oral arguments for Spring of 2018. The Travel Ban is still active and enforced by immigration authorities.
Where are we now? And how does this impact you?
As of the date this blog has been published, the Third Travel Ban is in full effect, meaning it will drastically impact anyone looking to immigrate from the listed countries in a variety of ways.
Chad, Libya and Yemen: Indefinitely suspends all immigrant travel and travel by non-immigrant on B visas.
Iran: Indefinitely suspends all immigrant and non-immigrant travel except for travel by students and exchange visitors on F,J, and M visas "subject to enhanced screening requirements."
North Korea and Syria: Indefinitely suspends all immigrant and non-immigrant travel.
Somalia: Indefinitely suspends all immigrant travel and subjects all non-immigrant travel by Somalians to additional scrutiny.
Venezuela: Indefinitely suspends travel by certain government officials and their immediate family members on B visas.
How long will the ban be in place?
There is no way to determine how long the Travel Ban will be in place at this point. However, if the ban impacts you or your family it is important to keep in contact with your attorney and closely follow the news regarding any updates on the Supreme Court's decision regarding the ban.