July 29, 2017
US Supreme Court rules on travel ban: who gets in?
Early this year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, commonly referred to as Travel Ban, suspending foreign nationals from 7 predominantly muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days.
Early this year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, commonly referred to as Travel Ban, suspending foreign nationals from 7 predominantly muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days. Facing wide criticism and challenges in courts, the Trump administration revoked the Travel Ban executive order, and enacted a new one, removing Iraq from the designated list. The constitutionality of the new Travel Ban was once again called into question in lawsuits brought by diverse organizations, with the plaintiffs alleging that the Travel Ban was motivated by a desire to exclude Muslims from the United States.
In June 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to review the Travel Ban case in Fall 2017. In the meantime, the court ruled that the government could only enforce his Travel Ban against nationals of the 6 countries who do not have “a credible claim of bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”.
What is a “bona fide relationship”?
The Supreme court decided that individuals from the designated list who have a “close familial relationship” with a person in the United States or have a “formal, documented” relationship with a United States entity formed “in the ordinary course” of business will be allowed in the United States territory.
What is a “close familial relationship”?
The Supreme Court didn’t give an extensive list of what constitutes a “close familial relationship”. The Trump administration initially limited the list to:
- Children (adults included)
On July 13, 2017 a federal judge in Hawaii ruled that other family members such as grandparents should be exempted from Travel Ban. The decision was later confirmed by the United States Supreme Court. The Trump administration expanded the definition of a close family to include:
What is a “formal, documented” relationship?
This criteria applies in situations where there is a connection between an individual and a US entity.
If you are a student from the designated list and have been accepted to an academic program in the United States, you are exempt from the Travel Ban and can apply for a nonimmigrant student visa. The Supreme Court expressly listed students as having a close relationship with the university they attend.
Employees of a US company
Like students, workers from the 6 designated countries possessing a formal employment contract from a US company are authorized to come in the United States to fulfill their employment duties. The United States Supreme Court held that denying these individuals the right to come in the US would be detrimental to their US employer
Prospective entrepreneurs (or investors) who have a relation with a US business entity and come to the US for business purpose (example: a lecturer who has been invited to address an American audience) would be allowed in the United States on the basis of that relationship.
Travel Ban and any other circumstance:
Individuals who obtained a valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visa before or on June 26, 2017, greencard holders, as well as those meeting the “close familial” and “formal, documented” relationship requirement discussed above will be allowed in the United States.
Any other person will not be able to come to the US for 90 days.
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