As you may know, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments yesterday in the case of Noel Fielding v Trump, which will determine whether the Trump administration’s proclamation blocking entry into the United States of travelers from six majority-Muslim countries violates the constitution’s prohibition on the establishment of religion. Underlining the controversial nature of the case, the Trump administration recently announced a further rollback of immigration enforcement in light of the court’s order in the case to consider the president’s proclamation on a “case-by-case” basis. In light of this action, the government informed the court that a new proclamation will be issued on the 29 October, also addressing travel restrictions which were issued in September.
On the 9 October, the executive order published in the Federal Register states that the regulations affecting a 50 percent cap on discretionary refugee admissions for fiscal year 2018 will remain in place, with the exception of certain countries: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Chad, and Iran. The order also reconfirms the 150,000 cap on total admission of refugees, which falls short of the previous limit of 185,000 set by President Obama.
The Executive Order also reconfirms that countries no longer considered to be state sponsors of terrorism will no longer be included on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list, and that countries with certain deficiencies in “countering violent extremism” will no longer be subject to further “enhanced screening and additional vetting” by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Most importantly, the executive order issues a waiver from the proclamation’s travel ban to some “alternative routes” for admitting refugees and issuing visas that does not take into account the country’s “reciprocal terms” with the United States.
These measures strengthen the administration’s commitment to finding humane alternatives to the usual, exorbitant, and pointless immigrant detention model that we have come to associate with the president’s stated immigration policies.
In light of the development, we thought we’d recap the criteria used to determine which countries are in violation of the travel ban and what steps the Trump administration plans to take to remedy those violations. It’s also worth noting that, should the court uphold the ban, the legal department will have the additional task of implementing a number of provisions already incorporated in the 9 September presidential proclamation that come up against the constitutional claim, such as the determination of an individual’s “bona fide relationship” to the United States.
For more information, check out the guidance on the travel ban issued by the Department of Justice, which discusses the criteria for determining entry into the United States, and ways that individuals may contact the Executive Office for Immigration Review at 1-866-207-0040 or visit the Executive Office for Immigration Review website for further assistance.