Travel ban

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President Trump signing his original travel ban on January 27, 2017.
The countries placed under President Trump's original travel ban; Iraq was removed in the second ban.

The travel ban proposals of Donald Trump came in response to several terrorist attacks inside the continental United States. His earliest and best-known proposal came during the presidential campaign, when Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown" of travel of Muslims into the United States[1] (see Muslim ban). Details, such as whether it was intended to be temporary or permanent, were not the main focus of media attention

Trump moderated his position later in his campaign, and a week after becoming President, he issued an executive order to implement the promised "travel ban". Court decisions soon afterwards blocked enforcement of this order.

His intent was to restrict immigration from countries that are rife with terrorism – as a temporary emergency measure – until the government could figure out a long term solution.[2]

First travel ban

Although all persons traveling from these countries had been issued visas by the United States State Department following a vetting process, President Trump proposed that a new "extreme vetting" procedure be instituted. Accordingly, the January 27, 2017, Executive Order 13769[3] provided that all travelers holding passports from seven Muslim-majority countries would be barred from entry for 90 days, even if they held visas. In addition, all immigration w was suspended for 120 days, and immigration from Syria was suspended indefinitely. It also limited the total number of refugees allowed into the United States to 50,000 per year. The Executive Order ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and State to review the process for issuing visas in these countries. It was based on the need to provide time to conduct the review. The Executive Order exercised the President's power under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., to restrict the entry of any persons or class of persons into the United States.

Two federal district courts granted an injunction preventing the first Executive Order from continuing to be enforced. The court's reason was the actual purpose was to ban people of one religion, which was unconstitutional.

Second travel ban

In response, the President issued a second Executive Order on March 6, 2017.[4] By issuing a new Executive Order, the Trump Administration did not need to appeal the court decisions on the first order. This order was more narrowly drafted to make clear that it did not apply to permanent resident aliens holding "green cards". It also dropped Iraq from the list of nations subject to the ban. The second Executive Order was also enjoined by federal district courts and the Trump Administration appealed up the United States Supreme Court.

While the appeals were pending, the litigants argued that the case was moot, because more than 90 days had passed, giving the Trump Administration the time it needed to review and revise its "extreme vetting" procedures. On June 14, 2017, the President stayed the effective date of the Second Executive Order travel ban so that the 90 day review of vetting procedures would begin when the travel ban was allowed to go into effect.[5] On June 21, 2017, the President issued an Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13597, which removed contrary language from a prior Obama Executive Order.[6] On June 25, lawyers for President Trump filed a letter with the Supreme Court indicating that three of the plaintiffs has received the visas that they and sought and the last named plaintiff "has not shown that her sister’s application would be affected during Section 2(c)’s 90-day pause given the multi-year backlog for such visas."[7] On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court partly lifted the block and agreed to hear the case in October.[8]

President Trump reacted to the partial lift of the stay:

Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.[9]

The SCOTUS ruling exempts any foreign national with a "bona fide" relationship with any US citizen or institution from the travel ban:

"In practical terms, this means that [the executive order] may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order]."[10]

The Supreme Court did not address when the 90 days starts - as of the date of the original Executive Order (in which case it expired on June 14) or June 26. The reason there is doubt because the Executive Order was amended on June 14 to provide that the 90 days does not start until the travel ban go into effect. In either case, the Supreme Court oral argument will occur more than 90 days later, so the Court has asked the parties to consider whether the case is moot, that is whether the Trump Administration has had sufficient time to implement their new plan for "extreme vetting" of visitors from the designated countries.[11]

Third travel ban

President Trump signed an executive order on September 24, 2017, instituting a third travel ban. This time, it affected 8 countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and certain individuals from Venezuela. According to the U.S. government, these countries fell under the travel ban due to not sharing information about terrorism and the people applying to the U.S.[12] In December 2017, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump Administration to fully enforce the travel ban,[13] and the State Department began fully implementing it a few days later.[14] On April 10, 2018, President Trump signed an order to remove Chad from the list.[15] On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a final ruling in favor of the travel ban, in a major victory for the administration.[16]


  1. "Trump campaign removes controversial Muslim ban language from website", CNN, May 8, 2017. Retrieved on June 29, 2017. 
  2. Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Banning Travel from Six Terror-Tied Countries
  4. "Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States",, March 6, 2017. Retrieved on June 29, 2017. 
  5. "White House changes date of travel ban amid Supreme Court review", UPI, June 15, 2017. Retrieved on June 29, 2017. 
  6. "Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13597", June 21, 2017. Retrieved on June 29, 2017. 
  7. Letter to Supreme Court (June 25, 2017). Retrieved on June 29, 2017.
  8. High Court reinstates Trump travel ban, will hear arguments
  9. Supreme Court says travel ban can go into effect now - Daily Mail Online
  11. "Justices agree to weigh in on travel ban, allow parts of it to go into effect", SCOTUSblog, June 26, 2017. Retrieved on June 26, 2017. 
  12. Multiple references:
  13. Multiple references:
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Multiple references:

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