The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari (‘cert’) to the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Court cases addressing President Trump’s proposed 90 travel ban for Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This means that the Supreme Court will hear arguments and issue what is expected to be a major ruling on the president’s executive powers as they apply to controlling U.S. immigration.

The hearings and decision will be made in the Court’s next term, commencing October 1, 2017.

The Supreme Court’s order granting cert ruled in part that the government’s request to ‘stay’ (a legal term meaning ‘suspend until further ruling’) the lower circuit court injunctions is upheld to the extent the travel ban applies to individuals from the six countries who have no bona fide connection to the United States.

“We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions” blocking the implementation of the travel ban “to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of Section 2(c)” – referring to the Executive Order provision suspending entry from six countries – “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

“Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national. . . So whatever burdens may result from enforcement of Section 2(c) against a foreign national who lacks any connection to this country, they are, at a minimum, a good deal less concrete than the hardships identified by the courts below.”

There is much confusion and consternation stemming from President Trump’s Executive Order banning travel into the United States for a 90-day period from seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.  Individuals with non-immigrant visas and passports from those countries are being prohibited from boarding flights to the U.S.  Permanent Residents (green card holders) from each of the seven countries in some cases are being turned back at ports-of-entry.  Many in the U.S. immigration law community eagerly await clarification from the federal government as to whether the ban applies to green card holders.

In the meantime, the situation remains fluid and all travelers from these countries, including those within the United States with visas who may be set to expire, are advised to put travel plans on hold and seek immigration counsel.  Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

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