Light on Details, Travel Ban Will Be Implemented Tonight

Monday’s Supreme Court decision to further consider President Trump’s travel ban came with an order granting partial relief to the government.  The Court will now allow portions of the ban to take effect against those with no ties to the United States.  The ban is expected to be in effect for a 90 day period, though it remains unclear as to when the clock will begin running.  The 90 day period could potentially end prior to the Court’s review in October, making the issue moot.

What We Know Right Now

Private correspondence indicates that Customs and Border Protection agents have not yet been provided with directives on executing the travel ban, as recently as 2 pm ET today.  Yet the ban is set to go into effect at 8 pm ET tonight and will prohibit the entry of travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries.  Those countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. As directed by the Court’s order, this ban only applies to those without "bona fide relationships" in the United States.  It will also only apply to those who have not yet been granted a visa.

What is a Bona Fide Relationship, Anyway?

According to a diplomatic cable obtained by the Associated Press (but not yet publicly available), bona fide relationships include close familial ties.  The administration defines "close family"  as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships.  Such relationships will qualify as "bona fide" for purposes of showing ties to the U.S.

Not expected to be included are grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés and any other ‘extended’ family members.

The exclusion of grandparents and fiancé(e)s has already been met with harsh criticism.

Work and School Relationships are Included

We expect that those who can document an existing relationship with an employer and provide such evidence as an employment agreement, pay stubs, or job offer will be processed for visas and entry.  The same applies to those who have pre-existing arrangements for study in the U.S. 

Expected Exclusions

Dual-nationals of countries not banned who can present a passport from a non-designated country are expected to be admitted  (for example, an individual in possession of both a Canadian and Libyan passport).  Those who possess a currently valid nonimmigrant visa or are permanent residents (green card holders) are also expected to be excluded from the ban.  U.S. citizens, of course, are also excluded from the entry ban.

The directive will likely include details on the treatment of refugees.

Count on Ellis Porter to continue monitoring the implementation of this travel ban.  We will bring you additional information as it becomes available over the holiday weekend.