Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0 in 5-4 Ruling

Travel Plan

On June 26, 2018, in Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court upheld Executive Order 9645, commonly referred to as “Travel Ban 3.0.” Issued on September 24, 2017, the executive order imposed various entry restrictions to nationals of seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Travel Ban 3.0 and its previous iterations were, and continue to be, highly controversial given the Trump Administration’s numerous statements regarding Muslim individuals and the fact that the list of banned countries contains mostly Muslim-majority populations. After several immediate legal challenges in the federal courts, the Supreme Court granted cert, entertained oral argument on April 25, 2018, and issued its ruling on June 26, 2018.

In its majority opinion, the Court held that the President lawfully exercised the broad discretion granted to him under 8 USC §1182(f) to suspend the entry of foreign nationals into the United States because he ordered governmental agencies to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of every single country’s compliance with the information and risk assessment baseline and provided a detailed process in Travel Ban 3.0. Moreover, the Court found no conflict between Travel Ban 3.0 and the statutory scheme reflected in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Lastly, in regard to the plaintiffs’ claim that the executive order was issued for the unconstitutional purpose of excluding Muslims, the Court stated that the issue to be addressed is not to denounce the statements made by the President and his advisers, but rather to consider the significance of those statements in light of the executive order, which was deemed neutral on its face and within the president’s discretion.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Court upheld Travel Ban 3.0, which remains in effect as follows:

Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J visas No immigrant or diversity visas.
Libya: No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas.
North Korea:  No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas.
Somalia: No immigrant or diversity visas.
Syria: No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas.
Venezuela: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for certain government officials and their immediate family members.
Yemen: No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas.  No immigrant or diversity visas

Travel Ban 3.0 does not apply to lawful permanent residents and provides case-by-case waivers under certain circumstances. To qualify for a waiver, the visa applicant must show that he or she meets each of the following three criteria:

1. Denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship; 

2. Entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and

3. Entry would be in the national interest.

Notably, between December 8, 2017, and June 15, 2018, only 809 visa applicants have been granted waivers to the restrictions imposed by Travel Ban 3.0 according to the Department of State.

Should you have any questions and would like to schedule a consultation with our firm regarding the impact of Travel Ban 3.0 on your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (714) 786-1166

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