Travel Ban Takes Effect on June 29, 2017!

By now most people should have heard about the U.S. Supreme Court's partial lifting of the injunction against the Trump's Administration's travel and refugee ban against nationals of six designated countries - Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.  The ban shall be effective 72 hours after the injunction has been lifted, which should be Thursday, June 29, 2017.

Is everybody from these countries banned from entering America? According to the Supreme Court, the travel and refugee bans "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.”   In reality what does it mean?

Visitors Who Should be Allowed to Enter

Based on the Supreme Court decision and also previous memoranda of the Trump Administration, the following individuals should be allowed enter the U.S. under the travel ban: 
  • Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Individuals already granted asylum or refugee status
  • Individuals protected by Convention against Torture
  • Advance parole holders
  • Diplomas and dual nationals
  • Business visa holders (H, L, E, O P, Q, R)
  • Employment based immigrant visa holders
  • Individuals with family relationship in the U.S.
  • Student visa holders (F, M, J)
  • B-1 visa holders with a bona fide relationship with U.S. entity
  • B-2 visa holders with U.S. family connection

Individuals Who Will Likely be Excluded

Based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, certain groups of individuals will be barred from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. as they would not be able to establish a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in America:
  • Refugees without family connection or a relationship with a refugee resettlement agency
  • B-1 visa holders without a formal, documented relationship with a U.S. entity (e.g., somebody coming here for a short course or training, or for meetings with potential customers)
  • B-2 visa holders without close family relationship (The Supreme Court decision used spouse and mother-in-law as examples of bona fide family relationship. Hence, individuals with more distant family relationships such as uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., will likely be banned).
  • Employment visa holders without sponsorship of a U.S. entity (Some EB visas such as EB-1A extraordinary ability aliens and National Interview Waiver recipients do not require sponsorship of a U.S. entity.  Hence, although not very likely, they could also be excluded). 

If in doubt, visitors from these countries should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before attempting to make an entry into the U.S. 

Persons who are banned from entry should not attempt to create a "bona fide" relationship with a U.S. entity to meet the legal standard for entry, as such actions will likely backfire.  The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers will require evidence of an established, long-term, and formal relationship rather than makeshift documents created to get around the travel ban.  Travelers are especially warned not to use any fake or fraudulent documents.  

Looking ahead, although the Supreme Court has scheduled the related cases for oral arguments in October to determine the constitutionality of these travel bans.  These legal issues will likely be moot by then as the travel ban will only be implemented for 90 days.  There are also other tools that the Supreme Court can use to avoid making a decisions on the merits of these cases.  Consequently, it is not likely that we will get any landmark constitutional law decision in the fall.  

(AILA Doc. No. 17012670)


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