SCOTUS Says No Ban on Travel for Those with U.S. Connections But Will Hear Full Case in October


George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the Supreme Court's decision to consider later this year the legal issues presented by two lower court cases on the Trump Administration's Muslim-focused travel and refugee ban. AILA is concerned however, of the potential impact of the Court's decision to lift part of the injunction that had prevented the federal government from implementing the travel and refugee ban. As a result of today's ruling:

  • Approximately 72 hours from the release of the decision, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, consular officers, and others will be authorized to ban refugees and travelers from the six affected countries who cannot show a bona fide relationship with a U.S.-based family member or entity.
  • Refugees and people with immigrant and nonimmigrant visas will not be banned if they can show a bona fide relationship with a family member or entity in the United States. For individuals, a "close familial relationship" is required.
  • Travelers may not seek to establish a relationship with an entity solely for the purpose of evading the ban.

Annaluisa Padilla, AILA President, noted, "We are encouraged that the Supreme Court will take up the case in October because the Muslim and refugee bans were based on discrimination, not national security threats, which undermines our Constitution. But we are concerned that allowing the government to block entry for certain travelers from these six countries will once again cause confusion at airports and other ports of entry. Based on our experiences from earlier this year, I fully expect that we will see people with valid travel documents detained for hours and questioned as to whether they have certain relationships to people or institutions in the U.S. Visitors from the six countries and refugees who don't have such connections will be blocked. Not only will our economy feel the effects, our reputation in the world will suffer."

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson agreed: "What the Supreme Court has done today is to limit the stay of the Muslim travel ban to those who do not have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. This decision must be narrowly construed and properly implemented. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the State Department must establish clear guidance for officers and the public to understand exactly how the Supreme Court's narrow ruling will be interpreted. We have real concern that CBP officers may implement this far more broadly than the court's ruling allows and our members and partners will be watching carefully to see what transpires. Vagueness and lack of consistency in our immigration laws benefit no one. AILA members and our partners stand ready to mobilize once again to defend the rights of individuals caught up in this terrible policy, which undermines both our country's foundational commitment to due process and our shared prosperity."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17062633.