Travel Ban Impact

            The Supreme Court decided to address the constitutionality of the Trump Administration’s travel ban when it reconvenes for the fall session in October 2017. The Court’s opinion sets up a historic legal clash between the president’s power to set national security priorities against constitutional protections for religious freedom.

The Court partially reinstated President Trump’s second executive order which bans the entry of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days and suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days.   The Court ruled that the travel ban can only be enforced against foreign nationals from these countries who cannot credibly claim a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  A “bona fide” relationship is described by the Court as a “close familial relationship” or a “formal, documented” relationship.  Such relationships may not be established for the purpose of circumventing the ban.  The Court’s order is likely to create confusion as consular officials attempt to determine who is allowed to seek entry into the U.S.  The following is a list of individuals who may be impacted by the Court’s decision.

Who will be allowed to enter the U.S.?

  • Individuals from the designated countries with a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa issued on or before the Court’s decision (June 26, 2017).
  • Individuals from the designated countries who are coming to the U.S. to live with or visit a family member. The Court used a spouse and mother-in-law as examples.  It is unclear whether more distant relatives would qualify.
  • Students from the designated countries who have been admitted to a U.S. university.
  • Workers from the designated countries who have accepted an offer of employment with a U.S. company.
  • Lecturers from the designated countries invited to address an American audience.
  • Most refugees applying for status overseas have family or other connections to the U.S. or with refugee resettlement agencies. The Court ruled that such individuals may not be excluded.


Who may have difficulty entering the U.S.?

  • Business travelers seeking employment-based visas that do not require a petitioning employer may have difficulty establishing the requisite relationship with a U.S. entity.
  • Individuals who form relationships with companies or individuals in the U.S. after June 26, 2017. The Court held that relationships formed to avoid the travel ban will not qualify.
  • Tourists from the designated countries who are not visiting family in the U.S.


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