Countries Effected by Trump’s Travel Ban Rise to Thirteen

Countries Effected by Trump’s Travel Ban Rise to Thirteen

On 31 January Donald Trump issued a “Proclamation on Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry”. This was a follow-up to his earlier proclamation issued in 2017 that suspended the entry of certain nationalities into the United States. Although the stated purpose of both proclamations is national security and public safety, it has been widely criticized as a targeted “Muslim Ban”.

The Initial 2017 Travel Ban

The first issuance of the travel ban faced multiple legal challenges and temporary injunctions on implementation, but ultimately was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018. The nations effected are:

Iran – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and non-immigrants with the exception of students in F or M status and exchange visitors in J status.

Libya – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and temporary tourist or business visitors on a B-1/B-2 visa.

North Korea – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and non-immigrants.

Somalia – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and calls for enhanced screening of all non-immigrants.

Syria – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and non-immigrants.

Venezuela – Entry is suspended only for certain government officials and their family members traveling on a B-1/B-2 visa for business or tourism.

Yemen – Entry is suspended for all immigrants and temporary tourist or business visitors on a B-1/B-2 visa.

*Chad – Initially entry was suspended for all immigrants and temporary tourist or business visitors on a B-1/B-2 visa, but those restrictions were removed in April 2018.

The New 2020 Travel Ban

This new proclamation is set to go into effect 22 February. The additional countries effected are:

Myanmar – Entry is suspended for all immigrants with the exception of those designated as “special immigrants” based on having provided assistance to the United States government.

Eritrea – Entry is suspended for all immigrants with the exception of those designated as “special immigrants” based on having provided assistance to the United States government.

Kyrgyzstan – Entry is suspended for all immigrants with the exception of those designated as “special immigrants” based on having provided assistance to the United States government.

Nigeria – Entry is suspended for all immigrants with the exception of those designated as “special immigrants” based on having provided assistance to the United States government.

Sudan – Entry is suspended for all Diversity Lottery immigrants.

Tanzania – Entry is suspended for all Diversity Lottery immigrants.

Waiver Process

For those affected by either version of the Travel Ban there may be a waiver available that would still permit entry as long as the applicant qualified for the underlying visa. Eligibility for a waiver is based on three prongs: (1) denied entry would cause undue hardship; (2) entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the US; and (3) entry would be in the national interest. Prongs one and three are decided on a case by case basis and fall to the discretion of a Consular Officer. Prong two is determined by a thorough background check performed by the Department of State outside of the applicant’s visa interview.

Despite the possibility of a waiver, they are not freely given, even if all three prongs appear to be met. In fact, since the first ban went into effect, an astonishingly low number of cases have been approved for a waiver.

Now What?

Despite the 2018 Supreme Court decision to allow the first iteration of the Travel Ban, a new legal challenge has been introduced in the 4th Circuit Federal Court that argues the ban is rooted in anti-Muslim sentiment, and not national security as the Administration claims. The challenge asserts that the Travel Ban violates the US Constitution and that the Supreme Court only made a determination on rejecting the preliminary injunction but did not properly consider the merits of the case. It is the hope of the group suing that if they can overcome an initial dismissal of their case they will be able to produce evidence, including Trump’s own tweets, that show his true intent behind the ban. However, even if this challenge were to be successful in the 4th Circuit, if it were to once again reach the Supreme Court, the bans would unlikely be overturned given the ideological make-up of the current Court.

 

— Rikkilee Moser, Associate Attorney

 

If you think you may be affected by either the 2017 or 2020 Travel Bans, or if you would like advice regarding your eligibility for a waiver, please email [email protected] or call our office at +44 (0)20 7092 6830 to speak to an attorney.