06.30.17

Supreme Court on Travel Ban Executive Order!

Posted in Changes in Law at 12:57 am by Lalita Haran

Muslim travel ban EO injunction case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ordered that nationals of the banned countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) must show a bonafide relationship to a U.S. individual or entity in order to enter the United States.

Students, employees and their family members living in U.S. should be able to enter because they can easily show this bonafide relationship. Business persons with lawful business activity should also be able to pass this test. The court seems to hold that national security interest of U.S. prevails and foreign nationals who are not living in the U.S. are not entitled to the protection of Establishment Clause i.e. discrimination based in religion.

It is unclear if any one except asylees and refugees, not even the visitor visa holders and would have problem showing bonafide relationship although the annual numerical limit on refugees does not apply. Perhaps business visitors with exploratory visits should plan on their visits in advance.

The ruling certainly requires the border officers to inquire into and exercise their discretion on what is and if there exist a bonafide U.S. relationship. There is nothing new as U.S. immigration law has already required border officers to check the purpose of the each entrant into the U.S.

Update: Border Officers must be provided guidelines as to what is bonafide relationship with a U.S. individual or entity and within hours of writing of this post it is being reported that the government guideline included only close family relations in the bonafide relations excluding fiance, grandparents so also uncles and aunts and the like. Later guidelines included fiance(e) was in the close relations list to establish bonafide relationship. As is apparent, litigations are likely to follow again regarding interpretation of this term or for a more liberal guidelines.

Travelers are welcome to report their immigration entry experience!

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