This year has been a tumultuous one for everyone following immigration and its related issues. From the beginning of the administration, most people who understood immigration law knew the new regime would make things difficult. One of the first executive orders (EO) passed, in fact, was EO 13769 or Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. This order effectively suspended the admission of any Syrian refugees indefinitely, suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, restricted the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, and prioritized Christian refugees. This order was challenged in court by several judges around the United States, the first of which was by Judge James Robart of Washington.
Later, the order was repealed and replaced with EO 13780, which was almost exactly the same. The suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was also suspended, it restricted the admission and halted new visa applications from six Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 90 days, ordered a list of countries for entry restrictions after 90 days, and suspended admission of refugees for 120 days.
Unlike the 1st order, this one was at least slightly thought out, seeking to avoid the mass confusion that happened after the first EO passed. However, as it was so similar to previous versions, it, too, was challenged. This time, the state of Hawaii brought a civil action against the order and an injunction that halted it. The judge who ordered the injunction said the EO violated the 1st Amendment, the 5th Amendment, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
In June, after a panel of the Ninth Circuit heard arguments on whether or not to uphold the injunction, the panel partially upheld the injunction. It found the EO violated the relevant statute but found the judge who ordered the injunction (District Judge Derrick Watson) should have avoided the constitutional question. Later in June, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the lower court injunctions as it applied to those who have no “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” It also left Judge Watson’s order on family definitions in place but stayed the part of the injunction on refugee resettlement agencies. The court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for later in October.
As of now, the EO is in effect, though it is partially blocked by court order. Nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who do have “bona fide” relationships with people in the United States are exempt from the 90-day travel ban. Those who are not exempt would have to qualify for a waiver in order to get a visa or to enter the United States. More on the order will be available once the Supreme Court issues a final decision later this fall.
The EO has made travel difficult for many people in desperate situations. While American citizens are no longer stranded in limbo as airports tried to enforce the 1st EO, many people are still left at a loss of what to do now that the United States is no longer a refuge for the politically persecuted.
If you think you’re affected by the ban, your best decision to ensure you know your rights is to speak to an experienced St. Charles immigration attorney. Immigration law is incredibly complex, so a skilled attorney on your side might be just what you require to meet your legal needs. Our attorneys at Smith Law Offices, LLC have more than 20 years of legal experience to offer your case, and we provide services in English, Spanish, French, and Russian. Let us see what we can do for your case.
Contact us at (636) 400-1177 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today. We answer all calls and emails promptly.