Administration’s newest travel restrictions blocked by two federal judges – (10/19/17)

Two federal judges issued rulings this week to partially block implementation of travel restrictions established in a September 24 Presidential Proclamation. Taking these rulings into account, nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad will not be restricted from traveling to the United States, but all immigrants and non-immigrants from North Korea and certain government officials and their family members from Venezuela traveling on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2) will continue to be restricted. Any artists from any of these countries who seek to perform in the U.S. should continue to request a “bona fide relationship” waiver, but be advised that decisions are at consular discretion.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked a large portion of the Trump Administration’s Proclamation, having to do with the restriction of entry of travelers from six of the eight countries listed. Later that same evening, a Maryland federal judge also issued a partial halt on the Proclamation, which was to take effect yesterday morning and barring a range of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. While the Hawaii judge’s order blocks the “ban” on all of those countries except for North Korea and Venezuela, the Maryland order is more tailored and halts the enforcement on people in all of the listed countries who lack a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the United States. These relationships may include family members or some type of professional or other engagement in the United States. While the Maryland ruling is narrower, the judge deemed the Proclamation to be a “re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban.”

Previously, the Trump Administration issued two versions of a travel ban, but significant portions of both were blocked by these same federal judges. The March travel ban prompted legal challenges that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear in early October, but one of those challenges was dismissed due to a key portion of the March ban having expired and the release of the Presidential Proclamation at the end of September.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it will appeal the Hawaii ruling and it will likely appeal today’s ruling from Maryland as well. We will continue to update this page as further information becomes available.