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Immigration Law

The Travel Ban at Two: Rocky Implementation Settles into Deeper Impacts

Muzaffar Chishti, Jessica Bolter, Migration Policy Institute, Jan. 31, 2019

"... The travel ban and related policies have thus significantly reshaped the entire refugee program.

Possible Future Developments

One of the reasons the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of the travel ban was that it allowed for case-by-case waivers. An early-stage lawsuit in federal court in California, Emami v. Nielsen, contends, however, that the Trump administration has “a policy or practice of denying or stalling virtually all visa issuance and waiver grants” to people from countries on the travel ban list, arguing that a process should be put in place to more systematically adjudicate waiver applications. While it is too early to know whether this lawsuit will move forward, it is important to note that the plaintiffs are challenging the implementation, not the validity, of the travel ban: they are not asking that it be struck down, but rather that its provisions be fully implemented.

Though the principal measures of the first two iterations of the travel ban were blocked by courts to different degrees, other measures have remained in effect and likely resulted in significant policy changes. Despite some reporting that the administration was considering extending the travel ban to additional countries, it has chosen not to do so, demonstrating a degree of caution. Today, travel-ban opponents have confined their challenges to its implementation, not its lawfulness, while nationals of banned and restricted countries have seen their prospects of reaching the United States diminish."