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- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would begin implementing “certain travel restrictions” at 8 p.m. EDT on 29 June in accordance with President Donald Trump’s executive order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
- The “travel ban” initiates a “temporary suspension of entry… to foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States as of June 26, who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. EST on January 27, and who do not have a valid visa as of 8 p.m. EDT on June 29.”
- Implementation of the ban follows a Supreme Court order on 26 June that allowed the travel ban to go partially into effect.
- The Supreme Court ruled that the ban can go into effect, except for certain provisions that include refugees citing “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” and placing a 50,000 person cap on the number of refugees who can enter the US in fiscal year 2017.
- According to government officials, a “bona fide relationship” to family is defined as parents, spouses, children, adult son or daughters, sons and daughter-in-laws, and siblings.
- According to an administration official, the definition is based on the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Supreme Court order:
“In terms of the decision for who was included in the definition of the family relationship, we based that on the definition of family in the Immigration and Nationality Act and also what we saw in the Supreme Court decision.”
- A bona fide relationship to an entity is defined as “a formal documented relationship, those formed in the ordinary course of events and not for the purposes of evading the executive order.”
- The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in full in October.
- Trump issued his original travel ban through Executive Order 13769 on 27 January.
- The executive order “suspended for 90 days the entry of certain aliens from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.”
- On 6 March, the White House issued a second, superseding executive order (EO2) revising the travel ban.
- EO2 removed Iraq from the list of banned countries and clarified that green card holders would not be banned from entering the US. Under EO2, Syrian refugees we no longer barred indefinitely from entering the US.
- According to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit — which upheld on 25 May a lower court ruling by a Maryland judge that blocked parts of the executive order — during the 2016 presidential race, the Trump campaign’s website issued a press release on curtailing Muslim immigration. The statement read:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
- The statement was later deleted from the campaign’s website (h/t Gizmodo).
- The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the majority of a Hawaii District Court ruling that blocked part of the EO because the president, “in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress.”
- The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked part of EO2 for violating the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, as its issuance “was motivated not by concerns pertaining to national security, but by animus toward Islam.”
- On 26 June, the Supreme Court granted a stay, allowing EO2 to be partially implemented until the court hears the case in full in October.
- Foreign nationals without a connection to the US are “subject to the provisions” of the revised executive order, but those with a bona fide relationship are not.
Supporters of the Supreme Court Decision
- Trump released the following statement on the White House website:
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.
As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.”
- The president wrote on Twitter following the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the travel ban to be partially implemented:
Very grateful for the 9-O decision from the U. S. Supreme Court. We must keep America SAFE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2017
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement:
“We have seen far too often in recent months that the threat to our national security is real and becoming increasingly dangerous… It is crucial that we properly vet those seeking to come to America from these locations, and failing to do so puts us all in danger.
Today’s order is also an important step towards restoring the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government. The Court’s decision recognizes that the Executive has the responsibility to protect the safety and security of the American people under the Constitution of the United States and its laws.”
Critics of the Supreme Court Decision
- Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, told reporters, according to the New York Times:
“We think it’s repugnant to our values that they might be treated differently because of where they are from or how they choose to pray.”
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) tweeted:
Trump admin travel ban rules effectively disregard & distort Supreme Court order, rejecting lawful immigrants&refugees w/ bona fide US ties.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) June 29, 2017
- Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement:
“It remains clear that President Trump’s purpose is to disparage and condemn Muslims. The reported guidance does not comport with the Supreme Court’s order, is arbitrary, and is not tied to any legitimate government purpose.”
- Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:
“This policy is effectively a ban on many refugees and will have devastating effects for people in the process of being resettled… It is also unconscionable and hypocritical for President Trump to double down on banning refugees while his administration threatens President Assad over chemical attacks. Clearly, in the administration’s view of Syria, the man responsible for war crimes is a completely separate issue from the people he’s inflicting them upon.”
Megan Evershed contributed to this report.