This time, the Trump administration hopes will be smoother.
“We will keep those traveling to the United States and partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized and timely way,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Bloomberg News.
But language in the high court’s order may only contribute to confusion this time around, say some legal experts. By carving out an exception for travelers with “bona fide” relationships to people in the U.S., the revised ban could be vulnerable to endless legal challenges.
The State Department told Fox News that it is awaiting a determination from the Department of Justice on how to define a bona fide relationship, and also how to implement the policy once it’s defined. State officials are in consultation with the DOJ on the bona fide relationship policy.
People who do not have a verifiable relationship with individuals or entities, such as companies, in the United States after June 26, 2017, will “likely” be prevented from entering the country. Tourists from Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Libya and Syria also may be barred admission.
There were just 110,365 tourists from those six countries last year, according to State Department data.
“Generally, there are relatively few individuals from the ban countries who are issued visitor visas,” said immigration attorney Matthew Kolken. “It is exceptionally difficult to prove that they will return to a country where there is civil unrest, or where their lives are in danger.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling affects “refugees who lack any” connection to the U.S. That means that a visitor from the six countries who cannot demonstrate “a bona fide relationship” with individuals or entities in the United States after June 26, 2017, will likely be precluded from entering the country.
“Tourists may also be barred from admission if they don’t have any established links to the country,” said Kolken.
“I see nothing in the court’s order which would preclude connections to the U.S. from being developed going forward as long as they are not developed for the purpose of avoiding the travel ban,” said David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Advocates for limited immigration say the executive order should be fully implemented.
“The Supreme Court’s decision, while helpful to some degree,” said Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies, “will lead to significant litigation from individuals who claim they have the requisite relationship to be admitted, until the court issues its final ruling.”
Immigrant rights groups raised the possibility that the ruling may have a deleterious effect on professionals trying to move between countries, such as a doctor from Iran hired by a U.S. company. Once again, it may depend on the timing of the relationship. “Physicians from Iran with a (current) job offer from a U.S. hospital will likely be issued a visa absent any other security concern,” said Kolken.
Meanwhile Kolken, whose firm helps foreigners gain legal entry to the U.S., has said that the Trump administration treats refugee children better than the prior administration.