Two District Courts have halted the third iteration of the Travel Ban, which was set to go into effect today.
In a 91-page opinion issued this morning, Maryland U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the ‘Travel Ban 3.0’ was an "inextricable re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban" and motivated by religious animus. In rejecting the Government’s contention that the ban did not run afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the court reviewed President Trump’s statements targeting Islam made on the campaign trail and on Twitter. Notably, the Maryland ruling does not apply to people who lack "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," similar to a decision issued by the Supreme Court this past summer.
Similarly, Hawaii U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson partially blocked the Travel Ban in a memorandum opinion issued yesterday, albeit on statutory grounds regarding the Immigration and Nationality Act’s prohibition on discrimination. More narrowly, Judge Watson’s ruling did not apply to Venezuelan and North Korean elements of the ban.
The Government is virtually certain to appeal these decisions to their respective Circuit Courts. Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated his opinion that the Travel Ban is lawful and the government will ultimately prevail.
Importantly, immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications – including in self-petition circumstances such as EB-1A, National Interest Waiver, and EB-5 – should be able to proceed. We will continue to monitor developments with regard to these cases, including any agency guidance to be issued in the wake of these rulings. Contact us today for advice with respect to your specific circumstances.