In its short existence, the travel ban has accrued a lengthy legal history. Below we will detail some of the main highlights of the travel ban's extensive past.
Days after his inauguration, on January 27, 2017 Trump issued a temporary travel ban that targeted seven Muslim-majority countries. Executive Order 13769 (often referred to as the travel ban) banned nationals of these seven Muslim-majority countries from visiting the U.S. for 90 days and banned entry for all Syrian refugees indefinitely. Additionally, it banned any other refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days.
This ignites crowds of people, including ACLU attorneys and other attorneys to rush to airports to show their opposition the travel ban and to help those arriving who may be impacted. The ban then gets put on hold by a federal judge in New York.
On July 19, 2017 SCOTUS upheld a lower-court order exempting grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S. from the travel ban. It also bans refugees with formal clearances from resettlement agencies to be prohibited to enter if they do not have other ties—people or entities in the U.S.
On September 24, 2017 President signed the third version of the travel ban. Similar to the former versions the new ban blocks travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries and also includes North Koreans and specific Venezuelan government officials. This third travel ban came around two weeks before it the second travel ban was scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court.
On October 17, 2017 a federal court temporarily blocked the newest travel ban in a case brought by Hawaii.
On December 4, 2017 the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration's call to temporarily allow the most recent ban to take full effect as the case is litigated. This is Trump's first major victory.
On December 22, 2017 the Ninth Circuit upholds injunction on travel ban, but because of the previous SCOTUS decision the Travel Ban 3.0 still remains in full effect. On December 23, 2017 a federal District Court granted an injunction to prohibit the government from separating refugees and their families.
On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court upholds Travel Ban 3.0 in a 5-4 ruling.
What Do You Do If You or Your Loved Ones are Impacted by Travel Ban 3.0?
Because travel ban is still so new, there is not a lot of information or precedent on how to effectively obtain a visa for nationals of the 8 countries listed on the latest version of the travel ban. However, Travel Ban 3.0 does include several exemptions as shown below:
- Iran All immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) nonimmigrants (though subject to enhanced screening).
- Libya All immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
- North Korea All immigrants and nonimmigrants.
- Somalia All immigrants (enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants).
- Syria All immigrants and nonimmigrants.
- Venezuela Certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
- Yemen All immigrants and temporary visitors on business or Tourist visas (B-1/B-2)
For nationals who do not fall under one of these exemptions stated above they can apply for a waiver if they can demonstrate eligibility of the following three criteria:
- Undue hardship to Applicant if entry is denied;
- Entry would be in the U.S. national interest;
- Entry would not pose a threat to U.S. public safety.
As of September 30, 2018, the Department of State noted that it has "cleared" 1,836 applicants for waivers after it was determined by a consular officer that they met all three criteria and met required processing.
American Immigration Lawyers Association also known as AILA recently provided their members with some examples of successful waiver packets. The packet must provide supporting documents proving that the applicant explicitly meets all three criterion that would make them eligible to waive the conditions of the travel ban.
The difficulty in obtaining waivers lies mainly in the lack of precedent and the volatile nature of today's immigration laws regarding the travel ban. Bolour Immigration Group has successfully obtained two waivers for our Iranian clients who sought to travel to the U.S.
If you would like to know more information on obtaining a waiver for applicants affected by the travel ban, we recommend that you contact the Los Angeles immigration lawyer at our firm, Bolour/Carl Immigration Group. Our attorney is highly skilled and has extensive experience in helping clients of all backgrounds with their immigration cases and can help you file a petition application—ensuring that all necessary requirements are fulfilled.