What does the reinstated travel ban mean for Washington state?

Travel Ban Ruling

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to go forward with a limited version of its ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices will hear full arguments later this year in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation.In the meantime, the court said Monday that Trump's travel ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

So what does this mean for Washington state? Below is a questions-and-answers section on what to know now.

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Didn’t Washington state stop the ban?

Yes, but only temporarily. Here's a recap.       

The president casts the travel ban as critical to deterring possible terrorist attacks in the United States.

Trump's first executive order on travel applied to travelers from Iraq as well as the six countries, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports over the last weekend in January as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a complaint just days after the executive order was signed. Ferguson asked the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to declare key provisions of the executive order unconstitutional and illegal. Ferguson also filed a motion for temporary restraining order seeking an immediate halt to the executive order’s implementation in the state and nationwide.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart of Seattle temporarily halted Trump’s ban eight days later by granting the aforementioned temporary restraining order. The restraining order was upheld by a 9th circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.

In March, Trump issued the narrower order. A federal judge in Hawaii also put Trump's revised travel ban on hold. See a video of coverage below, or scroll down to keep reading.

The revised travel ban has been in discussion in the appeals courts for weeks before it went to The Supreme Court.

What is the limited, revised ban now?

The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration mostly enforce its 90-day ban on travelers. The ban will apply to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Trump’s administration has said the 90-day ban was needed on national security grounds to allow an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from the six countries. A 120-day ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.

Here's who impacted:

  • Under the court's ruling, thousands of refugees without connections to people and institutions in the United States will not be allowed in.
  • People not affected by the travel ban include: refugees reuniting with family or sponsored by us resettlement groups, people hired by U.S. companies, students and teachers at U.S. institutions.
  • The court noted on Monday that the ban can only be enforced if those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

Lawyers told KIRO 7 they are still unclear about the criteria for a “bona fide” relationship.

Greg McLawson of Sound Immigration, said most people who have visas to come to the U.S. have a family member or employer who has petitioned for their visa. Those with tourist visas, which do not require someone to petition for the foreign national, would have to argue that they have family in the United States.

“You might have somebody who has a sister here in the U.S. Is that a bona fide relationship? Probably. How about a cousin? I don’t know. How about two cousins? How about two cousins and a really good friend?” McLawson said.

He and other immigrant advocacy groups are urging travelers to bring clear documentation of any relationship with family members in the United States.

When will the limited ban go into effect?


What does this mean for Sea-Tac Airport?

Sea-Tac Airport will begin enforcing part of the Trump administration’s travel ban beginning Thursday. See video report below or scroll down to keep reading.

Greg McLawson of Sound Immigration, co-founded a website called AirportLawyer.org. It allows travelers to securely input their arrival information at selected airports, where a team of lawyers will volunteer to meet them and try to assist if the travelers are detained. The city of Seattle has recommended this site.

McLawson said after a quiet period, lawyers began a flurry of conversation Monday about having available staff covering various airports. Scores of lawyers have agreed to volunteer to go to Sea-Tac Airport beginning Thursday, if necessary.

What have Washington state leaders said about Monday’s ruling?

Washington Governor Jay Inslee released a statement after the Supreme Court allowed parts of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect.

“We know that President Trump has made it clear that his travel ban and refugee policies were never intended to be about thoughtful national security, but instead a way of discriminating against certain people for their cultures and religious beliefs,” Inslee wrote. "As the high court considers these cases in full, I hope they will consider the president's own words, and our nation's constitutional protections against discrimination."

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement that said his team is evaluating what Monday's ruling means for Washington state.

"My legal team and I will continue fighting to uphold the constitution and the rule of law. If any Washingtonian, employer or university in the state thinks they have a relationship to someone who is being denied access to this country, please notify my office," Ferguson wrote.

Affected Washington individuals, universities and businesses can contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-844-323-3864.

Former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna believes it could be quite the hurdle for people trying to enter the United States from one of the six countries if they don’t have much of a connection to the U.S.

However, McKenna says it’s too early to reach a conclusion on how things will pan out for the president’s order later this year.

"I think what we're seeing here is [the Supreme Court] acknowledging that the president has a lot of power, deciding who comes in and who doesn't," he told Seattle's Morning News.

When will SCOTUS court arguments on the travel ban happen?

The Supreme Court of The United States justices will hear arguments in the case in October on whether the travel ban raises issues with national security and religious discrimination.

The administration review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

How is the Trump administration responding?

This is a major win for Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

Trump hailed the high court's order as a "clear victory for our national security." He said in a statement that his "number one responsibility" is to keep the American people safe.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Justice Department looks forward to defending the travel ban when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case in October.

Sessions says Monday's decision is "an important step toward restoring the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government" by recognizing the president's right to protect national security.

Sessions says the travel ban case "raises profound questions about the proper balance of these constitutional powers."

Sessions says vetting of those seeking to come to the U.S. is crucial for national security.