Basically it comes down to what “bona fide relationships” actually mean.
Late last month, the Supreme Court had decided to hear President Donald Trump’s case regarding his travel ban. With it however, SCOTUS also allowed a limited version of the travel ban to be enacted while they take the next few months to rule on the case. As of this writing, it’s been a little under two weeks since this limited version of the President Trump’s travel ban has been put into effect. In its current form, here how it’s taking shape.
Unlike the Original, This Version of the Travel Ban Isn’t Causing Chaos in Airports or on Immigration Policy
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) June 29, 2017
When the original iteration of President Trump’s travel ban was first announced, it caused mass confusion at airports and in US immigration policy. A big reason for this was in part to the Trump administration not vetting the original executive order properly by leaving in confusing language towards its implementation and various questions over its Constitutionality. This revised version of President Trump’s travel ban however has not faced such problems, largely because this limited version already fits into pre-existing immigration standards.
The US’ current immigration laws make it very hard for non-US citizens to enter the country. Even though the original travel ban fit that general mold, it also impeded on foreign individuals that had legitimate authorization – like Green Card and US Visa Holders – from entering the country, which created the mass confusion at airports that we saw months ago. This limited version of the travel ban however allows those with “bona fide relationships” with people or institutions to enter the US, even if they come from the seven countries that had been initially banned.
Based on the last week or so, those “bona fide relationships” have included those with family petitions, attending schools/universities, and coming here to work for US companies. Because of that, many of the complaints that people had with the original travel ban have been largely dealt with in this revised version. Yet there are most definitely foreign nationals that are being denied entry in the US due to the travel ban being enacted (but more on that in a bit).
It’s Less Likely That the Courts Will Challenge This Revised Travel Ban
Hawaii judge refuses to narrow Trump Admin. order curbing immigr.; says SCt is place to challenge.
— Lyle Denniston (@lylden) July 7, 2017
Generally speaking, when the Supreme Court makes a decision on a certain topic, the lower courts tend to honor that decision. Even though SCOTUS didn’t officially rule yet on President Trump’s travel ban, however their decision to let a limited version of the ban exist is being honored by the lower courts. As Ilya Somin (Professor of Law at George Mason University) writes in the Washington Post, while it’s odd for lower courts to not even try and interpret what SCOTUS meant by “bona fide relationships”, federal judges are generally looking at the decision as not their call to make.
Many have hypothesized that a big part of this has to do with SCOTUS currently being in their summer recess. As in if lower court judges were to make an interpretation over what constitutes a “bona fide relationship”, SCOTUS wouldn’t be able to correct that interruption until the Fall session. But once again, this is only a hypothesis. In actuality, it’s been a mystery to many legal experts into why federal judges are being so hesitant to clarify SCOTUS’ language.
Sadly, while this goes on, there are groups of people being denied entry into the US due to the Trump administration’s interpretation of what “bona fide relationships” actually are.
The People Hurt the Most by This Revised Travel Ban Are Extended Family (Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents) and Refugees
Trump’s original travel ban had some major opposition in the form of multinational companies and US universities. Considering both entities rely heavily on foreign talent to thrive, it only made sense that the loudest voices of dissent would come those influential spheres. However, with the current limited version of the travel ban not effecting their stream of foreign talent – since foreign nationals entering the US to attend college or work for a corporation count as a “bona fide relationship” – their pushback against the ban have become significantly less vocal. The individuals that are left-out sadly have less powerful interests working in their favor.
So far, since the limited version of travel ban has been enacted, those with extended family members (ie aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren) and refugees have been the most effected. This stems from the Trump administration not counting these groups as having a “bona fide relationship” in the US. As we said earlier, some have tried to contest the Trump administration’s definition of what a “bona fide relationship” is, but they have so far been unsuccessful. Yet, this classification from the Trump administration shouldn’t surprise anyone considering, as the above video shows, the original reasoning behind the travel ban was to stop the immigration of refugees from predominantly Muslim countries. If that was the end goal, even the limited version of President Trump’s travel ban has to be looked at as a victory for this administration.
(Photo Credits: Pixabay.com)