U.S. Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Trump Administration Travel Ban

On June 26, 2018 the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, upheld the Trump Administration’s Executive Order, titled Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats. The Executive Order, which has been in effect since December 2017, currently restricts travel and immigration from seven countries (North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Venezuela) on the basis that their governments do not meet the "baseline for the kinds of information required from foreign governments to support the United States Government’s ability to confirm the identity of individuals seeking entry into the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants." The Supreme Court reasoned that the  order was within the authority of the President according to the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act and that the policy did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The Court’s majority opinion concluded that, in regards to the allegations that the proclamation violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, “[Section] §1182(f) exudes deference to the President in every clause… It entrusts to the President the decisions whether and when to suspend entry…whose entry to suspend (‘all aliens or any class of aliens’); for how long (‘for such period as he shall deem necessary’); and on what conditions (‘any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate’)”.

The following provides a brief outline of the affected immigrant and nonimmigrant visas from the countries listed in the travel ban;

  • Iran: Entry of nationals on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas is suspended with the exception of valid student visas (F and M) and exchange visitor visas (J).
  • Libya: Entry of all immigrant and nonimmigrant on business, tourist, and business-tourist visas are suspended. (B-1, B-2, B-1/B-2).
  • North Korea: Entry of all immigrant and nonimmigrant nationals into the US is prohibited.
  • Syria: Entry of all immigrant and nonimmigrant nationals into the US is prohibited.
  • Venezuela: Entry of members of government agencies and their immediate family on B-1 and B-2 visas is suspended. *Note that current visa holders may be subject to additional scrutiny.
  • Yemen: Entry of nationals as immigrant and nonimmigrant B-1 and B-2 visa holders is suspended.
  • Somalia: Entry of nationals as immigrants is suspended. *Note that an entry as a nonimmigrant will be subject to scrutiny.

The proclamation does not specify an expiration of the travel ban for the seven affected countries; however, every 180 days the order requires an examination of the barred nations' compliance with the security standards set forth by the proclamation by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

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