United States: Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
On Monday June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed parts of President Donald Trump’s executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” to go into effect. The Supreme Court will hear full arguments as to the order’s legality in October. However, in the meantime the decision allows the Executive Order to go into effect for people with no strong ties to the United States.
The Executive Order calls for a 90-day travel ban of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and directs heads of executive agencies to review and determine the procedures that should be required for individuals seeking admission from these countries. Furthermore, the Order seeks to reduce the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.
On March 15, 2017 the Federal District Court of Hawaii granted a temporary restraining order with nationwide effect, preventing the enforcement of the travel restriction. The District Court’s ruling was challenged by the government and upheld by The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on March 30, 2017. The Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling, completely blocking the Executive Order, on the basis that it was discriminatory and failed to provide sufficient rationale as to why the entry of foreign nationals from the designated countries would be detrimental to the United States’ interests.
On Monday June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration’s request to put the order into effect while the legal battle continues. The court narrowed the scope of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and determined that the Order will go into effect “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The ruling indicates that people from the six countries and refugees who have family, business or educational ties would not be barred from entry. But those seeking visas to enter the United States with no such ties could be barred.
The Supreme Court’s opinion explained that “for individuals, a close familial relationship is required.” For people who want to come to the United States to work or study, “the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the purpose of evading” the travel ban.
Although the travel ban remains suspended for U.S. workers with formal ties to the United States, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who are physically present in the US are advised to either extremely limit their international travel or not travel out of the country at all. Those concerned that they are not eligible for entry should seek counsel regarding entering the US as soon as possible. Additionally, affected nationals should closely monitor the situation over the coming months, especially since the Order’s legality is expected to be decided by the US Supreme Court this fall.
PwC Law continues to monitor these developments and will be sure to provide updates as changes occur.
For further details regarding the Executive Order, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.