Supreme Court Allows Limited Version of Trump’s Travel Ban

Citizens of six Muslim-majority countries who lack “bona fide relationship” with people and entities in the United States could be blocked from entry.

Supreme Court
(Jessica McConnell Burt/GW Today)
June 26, 2017

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear arguments on President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending travel from six majority-Muslim countries, reinstating parts of the White House travel ban previously blocked by injunction in two federal appeals courts.

The ban would not be enforced against foreign nationals visiting or moving to live with a family member in the United States or students admitted to U.S. colleges or universities, the court said.

The ban would be enforced only against citizens of Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” according to the unsigned opinion.

“It will mean that persons who have no family in the U.S., or who do not have a job offer or an offer to attend or teach at a U.S. university, will now be subject to the ban,“ said Alan Morrison, associate dean for public interest and public service law at the George Washington University Law School. “This applies to both those seeking visas and those who are refugees. The line may be difficult to draw in some cases, and there may be real questions of line-drawing for the Department of Homeland Security, but that's what the court ruled. Assuming the argument is in October, this regime will continue until the court decides, which will probably be a month or two at least.“

At the time of the ban’s initial implementation, George Washington President Steven Knapp said it “directly threatens the well-being of students as well as of faculty and staff members who come from the affected countries.” In March, GW joined with other universities in an amicus brief affirming the importance of international students, faculty and staff at institutions of higher learning.

Since signing the executive order in January, Mr. Trump has defended it as a temporary measure intended to give the government time to review vetting procedures. It was struck down by appeals courts on both constitutional and statutory grounds.

A statement from the Department of Homeland Security said the court’s decision allowed “necessary steps to protect our nation from persons looking to enter and potentially do harm.”

The Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the ban in the fall.

Politics and Society, Ruth Steinhardt


GW Joins Amicus Brief Opposing Executive Order Travel Ban

March 31, 2017
Thirty-one universities join in brief emphasizing crucial role of international students, faculty and staff.

Message from GW President Steven Knapp

January 30, 2017
Dr. Knapp responds to presidential executive order on immigration restrictions.

University Statement on Immigration Executive Order

January 30, 2017
The university’s International Services Office provided guidance to the GW community regarding President Trump’s recent executive order.