On September 24, 2017, the President issued a proclamation titled Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats, building on a previous travel ban, protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Section 2 of the Proclamation suspends the entry of certain nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia based on the perceived threat posed by each country and the measures used to prevent the spread of terrorism from these countries. For nationals of the eight countries named in the Proclamation the effective date is October 18, 2017 and the duration is indefinite. Following its release, the Proclamation was challenged in federal courts. To date, two district courts and two circuit courts have issued preliminary injunctions enjoining executive agencies from implementing the Proclamation. However, both Circuits stayed their injunctions pending a decision from the Supreme Court.
On October 17, 2017, the federal district court in State of Hawaii, Ismail Elshikh, John Doe 1 & 2, and Muslim Association of Hawaii, Inc. v. Donald J. Trump, issued a Temporary Restraining Order blocking Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, and their respective employees from enforcing all travel suspensions under Section 2, except those pertaining to North Korea and Venezuela.
On December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s preliminary injunction. The court agreed that the Proclamation circumvented the express will of Congress, and invalidated whole sections of statutory immigration law.
For these reasons, the court upheld the injunction, though limited it to those foreign nationals “with a credible bona fide relationship with the United States,” and then stayed its own decision pending a decision by the Supreme Court.
On October 17, 2017, the federal district court in consolidated cases International Refugee Assistance Project, Donald J.Trump, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, and Eblal Zakzok and issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking all defendants, with the exception of the President, from enforcing all travel suspensions under Section 2, except those pertaining to North Korea and Venezuela as well as those visa applicants with “no ties to the United States.”
On February 15, 2018, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the ban likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court stayed the preliminary injunction from the district court in the Ninth Circuit pending the decision in the Fourth Circuit, as well as its own decision to grant a writ of certiorari.
On January 19, 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Since both circuit courts of appeal have stayed their preliminary injunctions pending a Supreme Court decision, the Proclamation is still fully in effect, and will remain so until the final decision of the Supreme Court.
A decision is likely to be rendered in June 2018.