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Update on Trump Administration Executive Orders on U.S. Immigration: Court Upholds TRO – Maintains Halt on Travel/Refugee Ban

The Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration remains on hold after an appeals court denied an emergency motion by the government to reinstate it.

The Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, sought to suspend entry of nationals from seven (7) countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days, and suspend admittance of all refugees for at least 120 days.  The order was immediately challenged in courts across the country, including in Washington State, where a federal district court judge issued a temporary restraining order on February 3, 2017 that blocked enforcement of the travel ban on a nationwide basis while litigation is pending.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court judge’s order.   After hearing oral arguments from the Justice Department and Washington State this week, the appeals court panel determined that the Government had not met its burden of proof to justify a stay of the restraining order.

The Administration is expected to act quickly in response to today’s legal set-back.  It may request an en banc hearing of the full appeals court of 11 judges to overturn the ruling; or, more likely, request an Emergency Stay at the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Administration may also consider issuing a new Executive Order or supplemental order.

In the interim, travelers of the seven targeted countries can continue to apply for visas and travel to the U.S.  Additional scrutiny is expected at consulates abroad during visa interviews as well as by US. Customs & Border Protection agents at airports.

As noted in our previous alert, foreign nationals currently in the U.S. who were impacted by the travel ban or provisional visa revocation should still seek specific legal advice from immigration counsel before departing the U.S.

Gibney will continue to closely monitor any proposed changes to policy or procedure under the Trump administration, and we will provide updates as needed. If you have any questions regarding this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email immigrationalerts@gibney.com.