President Trump’s revised travel ban took effect on June 28 after months of lawsuits, protests, and fierce national debate. The Supreme Court handed down the decision to approve the revised ban on June 26, when it was announced that they will start court proceedings on the constitutionality of the entire ban in October. But what does it all mean, and how will it impact immigration and travel over the weeks and months to come? Here, we’ve broken down some of the basics on what’s gone down – and what’s next – for one of the most controversial policies in the history of the United States.
How did we get here in the first place?
Back in January, Trump issued an executive order that halted refugee admissions, immigration, and some travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. After six weeks of state-based lawsuits and incredibly complicated back and forth, a second executive order was signed in March. That order modified some of the restrictions. Most notably, the 2.0 version of the ban prioritized religious minorities, removed a provision which banned Syrian refugees indefinitely, and dropped Iraq from the list of countries affected. The second version of the ban is the one that has now gone into effect – albeit in a very limited way – for the next several months. Once the Supreme Court begins hearing the case against the ban, the restrictions will be reviewed and reinstated if they see fit.
What did the Supreme Court allow to go through?
Travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen can no longer get approval from their embassies on visas to enter the country for the next 90 days, unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the US. The same rules apply to apply to refugees, but for a longer span of 120 days. That means that only students currently enrolled in American universities, businesspeople, and anyone who has a parent, significant other, child, or sibling living here will be able to get visas. Widespread outrage led the administration to add fiancés to the list of approved relationships at the very last minute.
What about individuals who already have visas or were about to get them?
Thankfully, all current visas will remain in effect. When the initial ban was signed, there was mass confusion over what was happening and what it meant for those who were literally in the air when it happened, but that has been eliminated the second time around. And in another small bright spot, those who were scheduled to have an appointment to secure a visa will still be able to proceed through the process, though unfortunately no future screenings will be set up for those who remain on waiting lists.
What was the response to the ban going into effect?
Hawaii filed an emergency motion hours after the ruling went into effect, arguing that grandparents, step-families and all others who were not included in the list of “bona fide” relationships should be added in, as many Hawaiians have close relations with those relatives. Protests popped up across the country in the hours following the ban’s institution, and on social media, the hashtag #GrandparentsNotTerrorists was trending in response to the scope of the ban.
What happens now?
It’s likely that any additional lawsuits will come into play once the holiday weekend ends, but it’s looking very likely that the ban will proceed until the Supreme Court makes their decision on whether the original order itself is constitutional. One thing to keep an eye on, though, is the fact that very little was confirmed with regards to refugees – and it’s likely to be something that the White House will be questioned on over the next few weeks. But in the meantime, if you or someone you know faces any issues with the new restrictions, the ACLU is available to help in all 50 states, any day of the week.