US Supreme Court cancels travel ban hearing, looks at Trump's revised policy

Posted September 26, 2017

The new order does not cover refugees, though a separate order involving them is likely imminent.

The Sunday proclamation could be less vulnerable to legal attack, scholars and other experts said, because it is the result of a months-long analysis of foreign vetting procedures by USA officials.

The new directive largely bans travel to the United States by nationals of five Muslim-majority countries that were covered under the second travel ban - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen - and adds restrictions on three new countries, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Trump during his campaign called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".

In an email to Reuters, Saikrishna Prakash, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, said that this may make the new version of the ban more hard to fight in court, because it explicitly claims to be based on a global review of foreign countries' security capabilities. As part of the presidential proclamation signed on Sunday, the U.S. will also bar the entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families. The refugee ban is set to expire October 24, and it was not immediately clear what impact the new restrictions might have on it.

The order will be challenged in the federal courts very quickly, but the administration believes it has strengthened its case against the two most viable complaints about the original order. Senior administration officials said a review of Sudan's cooperation with the USA government on national security and information-sharing showed it was appropriate to remove it from the list.

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On September 24, just hours before his previous travel ban was set to expire, President Trump signed a proclamation limiting the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States from eight countries. Unlike a prior ban, which was meant to be temporary, the new restrictions are set to continue indefinitely. A mere tie to a USA company or organization, such as a past relationship or a speaking invitation, might not be enough to qualify.

A day after the Trump administration released a new travel ban policy, the Supreme Court removed the argument date for the president's old travel ban case from its calendar.

Another complication is that the earlier ban on refugees - allowed by the Supreme Court to stay in place with respect to all but those with immediate family members already in the U.S - remains in place until October 24.

Most of the arguments made by the judges blocking Trump's order asserted that the order amounted to a ban on Muslims entering the country. The fact that Trump has added North Korea - with few visitors to the USA - and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn't obfuscate the real fact that the administration's order is still a Muslim ban.

That will likely remain the most contentious issue in the courts.