On Monday, June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear the government’s appeal of lower court’s injunctions on President Trump’s travel ban in their next session beginning October 2017, and granted the government’s request to reinstate parts of the ban until the Court hears the case. As is explained below, this means that the ban can be enforced against some travelers.
Of interest, the Court’s per curium action was a unanimous decision, but Justices Thomas, Alito and new Justice Gorsuch partially dissented and would have stayed the injunction in its entirety, allowing the full travel ban.
The revised travel ban that was issued by President Trump in March blocks most new immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. A presidential memorandum issued earlier this month changed the conditions of implementation to prevent it from expiring during court proceedings, stating the ban would go into effect 72 hours after the Supreme Court acted on the government’s appeal.
The Court’s ruling means the travel ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” the Court wrote. The ban will not be applied to visa applicants who have a close relationship to a family member in the U.S. or who have been accepted to higher education programs or extended a job offer in the U.S. Any other individual from one of the six listed countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – without a connection to the U.S. will be subject to the ban, as the Court also determined, “when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States… the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.”
The Department of Homeland Security said it will give further details on implementing portions of the ban after consulting with the Department of Justice and State Department.