Government Affairs

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Travel Restrictions

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the Presidential action suspending entry of foreign nationals into the U.S.


The Court ruled that President Trump has the authority on national security grounds to restrict travel into the U.S. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority consisting of Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kennedy, Thomas and himself with Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor dissenting.

President Trump put the current travel restrictions in place on 24 September 2017, through a Presidential proclamation. The last executive action was the result of lawsuits brought against two previous executive orders implementing the restrictions.

On 26 June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unsigned order to allow the implementation of parts of the second Executive Order. Based on the facts of the case, the Court formed a distinction between nationals who have “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” and all other foreign nationals. The Court upheld the suspension of the ban for foreign nationals who have such a relationship including individuals employed by a company in the U.S.

Related: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Revamps E-Verify Website

Lawsuits were brought against the proclamation of 24 September 2017 and on 13 November 2017, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the latest Presidential action could partially take effect. The Court closely followed the ruling of a U.S. District Court judge in Maryland blocking implementation of the suspension as it relates to nationals with “bona fide” connections to entities or individuals in the U.S.

On 4 December 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the rulings of the lower courts and allowed the full travel restrictions to take effect while the courts considered the legality of the executive action.

The final travel restrictions will apply to those foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as well as government officials from Venezuela.

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