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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban



Yesterday, the Untied States Supreme Court upheld a Trump Administration "presidential proclamation" that imposes indefinite travel restrictions on nationals of seven Muslim majority countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. This decision reversed a federal district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction against the ban. The ban has been in placed during the on going litigation process.


The Court held that the travel restrictions are within the President’s broad powers to suspend the entry of foreign nationals where such entry would be detrimental to the national interest. The majority found that the travel restrictions are rationally related to U.S. national security objectives and therefore the plaintiffs are may not succeed in their claim that the presidential proclamation violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another. The Court also held that laws prohibiting nationality-based discrimination do not limit the President’s power to determine who may enter the United States.

 

Summary of the travel restrictions

Nationals of the restricted countries will remain subject to the following travel ban, unless otherwise exempt or granted a waiver:

  • Iran: No nonimmigrant visas except F/M student visas and J exchange visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

  • Libya: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

  • North Korea: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

  • Somalia: Nonimmigrant visa applicants subject to heightened scrutiny; no immigrant or diversity visas.

  • Syria: No nonimmigrant, immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

  • Venezuela: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas for officials of designated Venezuelan government agencies. Other visa holders are subject to verification of traveler information. No restrictions on immigrant or diversity lottery visas.

  • Yemen: No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visitor visas; no immigrant or diversity lottery visas.


Exemptions and waivers

The classes of foreign national that are exempt from the ban include: U.S. lawful permanent residents ("green card" holders), dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-restricted country, foreign nationals who hold a valid U.S. visa or advance parole and those who were physically in the United States on the applicable original effective date of the travel restrictions.


Those who are not exempt may request a waiver when applying for a visa. To be eligible for a waiver, a foreign national must demonstrate that he or she would suffer undue hardship if denied entry, and that his or her entry would not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety and would be in the U.S. national interest. Waivers are highly discretionary and may be difficult to obtain.


See Trump v. Hawaii.