Supreme Court Allows Limited Trump Travel Ban to Go Into Effect; Administration Issues New Guidelines
June 28, 2017

Revised (June 29): Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Trump administration has issued guidelines to all U.S. embassies and consulates to help define who is and is not covered by the travel ban. “Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules,” according to The Washington Post. Extended family relationships—such as grandparents or aunts and uncles—do not qualify. Enforcement of the guidelines begin at 8 p.m. EDT June 29.

The Supreme Court on Monday kept in place a significant portion of the injunctions that have prevented enforcement of President Trump’s so-called travel ban on entry into the United States for nationals of six Muslim-majority countries. However, the court agreed to take up the two federal appeals court rulings issued earlier this month that upheld nationwide injunctions issued by federal district judges in Maryland and Hawaii.

In the interim, the court also allowed aspects of the president’s March 6 executive order to take effect.

The court made it clear that the injunctions remain in place precluding the executive order from being enforced against “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” including students who have been admitted to a U.S. college or university.

"The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity," the court said. "So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience."

Peter McDonough, ACE’s vice president and general counsel, notes that colleges and universities should be mindful that this carve out by the Supreme Court could add to processing delays as well as inconsistencies among consular officials as they make on-the-ground, real-time decisions regarding whether individuals have the requisite “relationship” to enter the country.

The justices emphasized that they were addressing only the injunctions in place and the government’s request that the court review the decisions by the 4th and 9th Circuit federal appeals courts. They did not take a stance on the larger constitutional questions concerning religious discrimination or presidential authority, deferring consideration of those issues to the fall.

The March travel ban executive order bars travel to the United States for 90 days for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It was revised from an initial executive order issued in January that spurred confusion across the country, including on college and university campuses. That initial order was enjoined from being enforced by a federal judge in Seattle. The 9th Circuit upheld that ruling against the government.