On Monday, June 26, the US Supreme Court announced that it will allow the implementation of a limited version of the executive order authored by the administration of President Donald Trump limiting entry of nationals from six Muslim majority countries. Under the ruling, the president will be allowed to ban refugees from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 120 days. However, the ban does not apply to any individuals from the six countries that have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” (e.g. to visit or live with family members, attend school, or is currently employed in the US). In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that it would hear the case against the ban when it reconvenes in October to make a final ruling.
The original executive order issued on January 27 suspended entry to the United States for all refugees for 120 days, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocking entry into the country for 90 days for citizens of the predominantly-Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The legality of the measure was immediately challenged and on February 3 a judge ordered a nationwide suspension (which was later upheld) of enforcement of the order. The Trump Administration chose not to challenge the decision and instead issued a revised executive order.
President Trump’s executive order for the ban was intended to come into effect on March 16, but was blocked after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order. The executive order would have suspended entry to the United States for all refugees for 120 days and imposed a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for the citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The order would have also set the cap at 50,000 refugees accepted into the country per year, down from the 110,000 limit set by the Obama administration.
The text of the March order differs from the controversial order originally issued in January on several counts, notably by omitting Iraq from the list of banned Muslim-majority countries and blocking only the issuance of new visas (not banning those already in possession of valid entry documents). The order also provides for case-by-case exemptions; waivers may be issued to those previously admitted to the US for long-term work or academic activity, those with significant business interests or professional obligations, and those visiting or living with family already in the country. The order also explicitly exempts travelers who are legal permanent residents of the US, dual nationals with a passport from another country, and those who have already been granted refugee status or asylum.
Those traveling to or in the United States are advised to keep abreast of the situation via reliable media. Any individuals directly impacted by the order are advised to seek legal counsel and/or contact officials from their home government or employer.
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