The Supreme Court agreed June 26 to allow a limited version of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect, and will hear arguments in the case when the court reconvenes in October.
In an unsigned opinion, the court said the ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries could take effect, but can’t be enforced against foreign nationals who have a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S.
The limited travel ban will go into effect today and run for 90 days. During that time, the government will review its vetting procedures for foreign nationals from the designated countries – Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Until the Supreme Court rules on the merits of the case, the administration will have to consider the “bona fide relationship” exception on a case-by-case basis. The court said, for example, that a foreign national who is visiting a family member in the U.S. would have such a relationship, as would students from the affected countries who are attending a U.S. university.
The court’s opinion gives President Trump at least a partial victory following a series of unfavorable lower court rulings that had blocked the ban for months.
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” Trump said in a statement. “It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.”
ASAE President and CEO John Graham, FASAE, CAE, said the travel ban is temporary but more important is the administration’s review of its vetting procedures for travelers seeking entry to the U.S.
“ASAE remains concerned that policies like the travel ban are giving foreign visitors pause as they weigh whether to come to the U.S. right now,” Graham said. “We are hopeful that the government factors into its decision-making our well-deserved reputation as a welcoming destination for foreign visitors.”
In addition to the travel ban, U.S. officials announced this week enhanced security and screening measures for all commercial flights to the U.S. Since March, passengers on flights to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries have been prohibited from bringing laptops and other electronic devices into the cabin with them. There has been talk of expanding the laptop ban to other inbound flights, but Department of Homeland Security officials said airlines and airports will instead be responsible for implementing enhanced screening of laptops and smartphones as well as increased security protocols around airports and in passenger areas. While officials expect the vast majority of airlines and airports to comply with the rules, those that don’t could face a full ban on all personal electronics on flights, even in checked luggage.
“We’re hopeful that airlines and airports will be able to smoothly implement the enhanced security and screening measures announced by Homeland Security officials this week,” Graham said. “The good news is that it appears the government has found a way to raise the bar in terms of necessary security precautions without the need for a wide-scale laptop ban or other policies that would inconvenience the traveling public.”