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The Supreme Court to Rule on the Travel Ban
The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a case involving the implementation of the travel ban proposed by the Trump Administration earlier this year. The travel ban was originally supposed to exclude people seeking to enter the United States from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, from entering the country. This included visitors on travel visas, workers, students, and even those who had previously been vetted by the government and given permission to enter the United States. Refugees from all countries were to be banned from entry for a period of time.
While the Supreme Court will hear the full case later this year, it allowed the travel ban to go into effect restricting the entry of some people, but allowing those with “bona fide relationships” to the United States to be allowed entry. The problem that is developing with this ruling is that there was no exhaustive definition of what made up those bona fide relationships.
The Supreme Court did give some examples of the kinds of relationships that would meet the definition, but the rules that are developing are more restrictive than most people expected. In the examples of bona fide relationships, the Supreme Court listed close family members, students, and workers who have an offer of employment.
The new guidelines that have been issued by the administration following the court’s ruling have restricted close family members to people who belong to a traditional nuclear family, as well as some in-laws. This has excluded grandparents, cousins, and others who may otherwise have been close family members. Fiancées were later added to the list of those who would be allowed to travel to the country despite the ban. For people wanting to come into the United States with a bona fide relationship with an entity, the relationship has to be formal and long established, not a relationship created to avoid the travel ban.
Refugees will still remain largely restricted from entering the United States, but those with bona fide relationships will likely be allowed entry. For example, if a father already entered the United States as a refugee, his wife and children will not likely be affected by the ban. On the other hand, a family of refugees whose only tie is to an aid agency is unlikely to be allowed entry under current rules.
The new rules have cleared up some of the confusion that came with the implementation of the first travel ban. Therefore, those with legal permanent residence in the United States should not have any issues coming into the country, as well as those with student or work visas that were previously granted and are still valid.
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More legal challenges are expected as the government begins to implement the new rules related to the travel ban. If you are concerned or confused about how the partial implementation of the travel ban will affect you or your family members in the six countries, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP today.
Denial of Entry into the United States Despite Valid Visa or Immigration Status
The executive order on immigration signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017, affected many immigrants headed to the United States from seven particular countries, until a temporary pause was placed on it by a federal judge. This nationwide pause was upheld on appeal on February 4, 2017, and immigrants from the seven countries are now allowed to continue coming to the United States as further appeals are made to higher courts. The confusion caused by the executive order raised the question of what discretion United States customs and border protection agents have to refuse entry to travelers who have valid visas previously issued through the Department of State.
United States customs and border protection agents have to follow the policies and rules issued under law and through executive orders. Therefore, if the ban on the president’s executive order is lifted, these agents will again follow the language of that order. However, with or without the executive order, United States customs and border protection agents have broad powers to conduct searches and conduct inquiries of the people seeking to enter the country.
United States customs and border protection agents also have discretion when admitting people into the country, and in some cases they can refuse a person entry despite the person’s possession of a valid visa. Denial of entry usually happens for reasons such as possession of improper travel documents, stated travel activities that do not match those given for the visa application, smuggling prohibited items, and a history of criminal activity or immigration violations. A person who holds an expired visa will also be denied entry under that visa.
A nonimmigrant travelling to the United States who is refused entry and has his visa cancelled at the port of entry is usually limited in the way he can appeal the denial of entry. Denial of entry usually results in the person being returned to his home country, where he can try to get another visa through the United States embassy there. Immigrants with valid green cards, and who have not been away from the Unites States for long periods of time, have more avenues to seek an appeal of denial of entry based on a United States customs and border protection agent’s discretion.
The ultimate validity of the executive order on immigration is unknown at this time, and may keep changing until the case is heard before the United States Supreme Court. In the meantime, people with valid visas to travel to the United States should make plans to travel as soon as possible in case the executive order’s ban is reinstated.
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Any green card holder who was detained under the Executive Order and signed paperwork unknowingly, relinquishing his or her green card status can challenge the loss of rights, especially if the green card holder signed paperwork following false representation by border agents. For more information on what rights you have to challenge cancelled visas or a loss of lawful permanent resident status, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California.