The U.S. Supreme Court last week temporarily allowed a scaled-down version of President Trump’s travel ban to go into effect. The Supreme Court will consider the legal challenges to the ban again in the fall if still in effect.
Trump’s March 6, 2017, executive order imposed a 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. for those holding passports from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The order also suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days.
The high court ruled on June 26 that the Trump administration could not enforce the ban against individuals from those countries “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with close family or an entity in the U.S. The court limited the ban on refugees in the same manner.
Another Legal Challenge
The Department of Homeland Security issued its definition of “close family” on June 29, when the ban went into effect. Close family included a parent, parent-in-law, spouse, fiance, child, adult daughter or son, daughter- or son-in-law, and whole, half, or step-sibling. However, it excluded grandparents, grandchildren, brothers- and sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins from consideration.
In response, the state of Hawaii, which filed one of the legal challenges to the March order pending before the Supreme Court, asked the U.S. district court judge who originally blocked implementation of the ban to clarify whether the Trump administration could exclude grandparents and other family members from consideration as “close family.”
The judge declined to clarify the scope of the travel ban. However, the judge ruled that Hawaii could ask the Supreme Court to do so. For now, Homeland Security will review visa applications using the definition of “close family.”
Who is Exempt from the Ban?
Through Sept 27, 2017, to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. if you hold a passport from one of the six banned countries, you must show a relationship to either:
- A parent or parent-in-law residing in the U.S.
- A spouse or fiance residing in the U.S.
- A child, adult daughter or son, daughter- or son-in-law residing in the U.S.
- A whole, half or step-sibling residing in the U.S.
- An employer or workplace.
- A U.S. organization that, for instance, invites you for a speaking engagement.
- A U.S. educational institution.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated travelers cannot establish a relationship with an entity to evade the ban. Moreover, the court’s ruling also stated: “A nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.”
Individuals from a banned country can also seek a waiver. Each waiver will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Read a previous blog on the March 6 travel ban for a list of situations that may qualify for a waiver.
If you or a loved one need help with a waiver or finding an immigration solution, contact the Alcorn Immigration Law team. We can help immigrants anywhere inside or outside the U.S.