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Supreme Court Announces it Will Hear Muslim Ban Case and Lifts Parts of Injunction

The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it is granting certiorari in the two cases in which Executive Order No. 13780 - widely known as the “Muslim Ban” or the “Travel Ban” - was challenged: Trump vs. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump v. Hawaii (“granting certiorari = agreeing to heart these cases and render a decision). The case is expected to be hear during the first session of the October 2017 term.

In both cases, an injunction had been granted preventing implementation of the portions of the Executive Order preventing individuals from the six designated Muslim countries (the current version of the Executive Order released in March dropped Iraq from the original list of impacted countries).

In addition to agreeing to hear the cases, the court in part lifted the current injunctions that
had been preventing implementation by granting a partial stay. The court lifted these injunctions only with regard to those who do not have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

As a practical matter, any negative impact of this will likely impact relatively few people. Permanent Residents and almost everyone who already has a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa will likely in most cases be found to already have a qualifying relationship with some person or organization in the US. Those already otherwise authorized to enter as refugees would necessarily already have a relationship with a refugee resettlement agency – so they may too be found to have a qualifying relationship although the court didn’t specifically reference this.

The exception, along with individuals only now applying for visas, may be those who already possess B-1 or B-2 visitor visas. While not impossible that such a person could show a qualifying bona fide relationship, this may prove more difficult to do than for those with other visa types. For B-1 business visitors, the court provided no guidance – but presumably one can try showing a prior business relationship with a US customer or vendor. For B-2 visitors for pleasure, the court addressed family relationships as being sufficient – however, those coming for a more general vacation without having family here to visit may find the ban applied to them.

The order states that relief from the injunctions granted will become effective “72 hours after all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision” - we therefore expect implementation to begin this Thursday the 29th.