update: Supreme court stays portion of us district court order modifying the travel ban injunction for certain refugees (July 19, 2017)

The Supreme Court issued an order staying the US District Court of Hawai'i's order modifying the preliminary injunction with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance, pending resolution of an appeal in the Ninth Circuit. The Court did not stay the District Court's order modifying the preliminary injunction with respect to grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States. The Court also denied the motion for clarification of its 6/26/17 order.

(july 14, 2017)

Late in the evening on July 13, 2017, the US District Court for the District of Hawai'i ruled that the Travel Ban should not prevent grandparents and other close relatives of residents, and certain refugees with a formal assurance from a US refugee resettlement agency, from entering the US. Specifically, the Court prohibits the government from enforcing the Travel Ban to exclude:

  • grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the US; and
  • refugees who have a formal assurance from a refugee resettlement agency in the US or are in the US Refugee Admissions Program - Lautenberg Program (which permits certain nationals of the former Soviet Union and other countries with "close family in the US" to apply for refugee status).

Last month, the US Supreme Court ruled that the travel ban could proceed on a limited basis. Applicants who could show a “bona fide relationship” with a “person or entity” in the United States would be exempt from the 90-day ban on travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and the 120-day ban on refugees from around the world. (Read more here). The Supreme Court did not specify which individuals or entities would qualify as close relations, and the US Department of State took a narrow view which excluded grandparents, among others. The State of Hawai'i challenged the government's limited interpretation, and asked the District Court to amend the nationwide injunction. While this ruling is a victory for opponents of the Travel Ban, further litigation in the Courts of Appeals can be expected, as well as consideration of the ultimate issues by the Supreme Court in the fall. 

for updates on the president's executive orders on immigration, click here.

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