Impact of Trump Travel Ban Could Come Down to 2 Words

Impact might depend on how strictly gov't lawyers interpret the court's words
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2017 10:17 AM CDT
A sign for international arrivals is shown at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – President Trump hailed the Supreme Court's decision to partially reinstate his travel ban as a "clear victory" on Monday, but the practical applications are a little murkier. That's largely because of the limitation the court applied: The ban, it said, can't affect anyone with "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The reinstated ban could be back in effect as soon as Thursday morning, but just how big of an impact will it have? Here's a look at coverage:

  • Six nations: The president's ban singles out visitors from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, but they may not be greatly affected because of the court's limitation, reports the Guardian. That's because the vast majority of these visitors have family members in the US, which would seemingly qualify as a "bona fide relationship."
  • For example: NBC News reports that of the 12,998 immigrants who came from Yemen last year, 12,563 had family in the US, per the State Department.
  • Refugees: Their fate is much more unclear. Specifically, does a relationship with a US resettlement agency qualify as "bona fide"? It might depend on how strictly government lawyers interpret the decision, notes NBC.
  • Tourists: If they're from the six nations listed above, they're almost certainly out of luck.

  • Key definition: The New York Times reiterates that much of the gray area revolves around the definition of "bona fide relationship." For example, "if a vacationer has a reservation at a hotel in the United States, does that qualify as a 'bona fide relationship?'" The answer might not be clear until the US bans somebody from coming and the case winds up in court.
  • Court examples: In their decision, the justices said that in addition to those with a "close familial relationship," others exempted could be workers who've accepted a job in the US, students accepted to an American university, and lecturers invited to address a US audience. The AP, however, thinks administration lawyers may take a hard line and seek to block academics and lecturers.
  • Scientists: International researchers hoping to work in the US are essentially in limbo right now given the vagueness of the language, reports Scientific American. "We're back into a wait-and-see pattern," says one immigration lawyer.
  • 'Stigma': All in all, the practical impact should be limited, Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, tells the New Yorker. But the "stigma" of the ban remains, she asserts. "The message of the order is that we think Muslims are dangerous, and we're not going to let them into the US."
  • Partisan divide: Most Democrats (64%) agree with the above sentiment—that the ban is all about keeping Muslims out of the country—but only 34% of Republicans agree, per the Hill. Republicans say national security is the reason for the ban.
(Read more travel ban stories.)

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