Federal District Court judges in Hawai’i and Maryland issued nationwide restraining orders which temporarily suspend enforcement of President Trump’s revised Executive Order, specifically Section 2(c). This section suspends entry of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who, on March 16, 2017 were both outside of the US and without a valid visa, and who did not have a valid visa on January 27, 2017, unless they qualify for a categorical exception or waiver. The Executive Order was scheduled to take effect today, March 16, 2017, and was to last 90 days, but is not currently enforceable due to the temporary restraining orders. However, the Department of Justice has stated its intent to appeal the rulings shortly.
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order suspending the entry of nationals of seven countries, with limited exceptions, into the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants for 90 days. The initial travel restriction remained in effect until February 3, 2017, when the Federal District Court in Washington issued a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of the travel restriction. Despite a request for a stay of the temporary restraining order, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously denied such a request, thereby making the travel restrictions unenforceable. On February 16, 2017, the Trump Administration stated that the Executive Order would be replaced with a new one.
On March 6, 2017, a new Executive Order was signed, which revoked and replaced the previous Order, and which was to become effective today, March 16, 2017. The revised Order contained several changes that were supposed to address the deficiencies of the prior Order. Despite these changes, on March 15, 2017, Federal District Courts in Hawai’i and Maryland granted temporary restraining orders with nationwide effect, preventing enforcement of the travel restriction.
On March 15, 2017, at a Make America Great Again Rally in Nashville, TN, after learning about the temporary restraining order, President Trump stated: “We’re going to fight this terrible ruling. We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court.” At the March 16, 2017 Press Briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the Department of Justice’s intention to appeal the rulings, specifically to appeal the Maryland ruling and to seek clarification of the Hawai’ian decision prior to appealing that ruling.
Despite the rulings issued by the Federal District Courts, affected nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are physically present in the US are advised not to travel out of the country at this time (so long as they hold legal status), until the situation is further resolved. Those concerned that they are only eligible for entry as a result of the temporary restraining orders should seek counsel regarding entering the US as soon as possible. Additionally, affected nationals should closely monitor the situation over the coming days and weeks, as further developments unfold.
For further details regarding the travel restriction, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.