Trump’s new travel ban raises bar for legal challenges

- Reuters, NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO

Mar 8, 2017-

The new, more narrowly tailored temporary travel ban President Donald Trump signed on Monday will be more difficult to challenge successfully in court, legal experts said.

They said that since his order no longer covers legal residents or existing visa holders, and makes waivers possible for some business, diplomatic and other travelers, challengers are likely to have a harder time finding people in the US who can legally claim they have been harmed, and thus have so-called “standing” to sue.

Trump’s first executive order signed on Jan. 27 banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—for 90 days and halted refugee admission for four months, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely. 

Its hasty implementation caused chaos and protests at airports. The order was hit with more than two dozen lawsuits, many that claimed it discriminated against Muslims.

The new ban, which goes into effect on March 16, removes Iraq and adds categories of people who would be exempt from the order. The Trump administration said the executive order is necessary for national security reasons.

It also lists groups of people that could be eligible for waivers, including travelers who have previously been admitted to the United States for work or school, those seeking to visit or live with a close relative and who would face hardship if denied entry; infants, young children and adoptees or people in need of medical care, employees of the US government and international organizations among others.

All the exceptions make the new order “a lot harder to attack,” said Andrew Greenfield, an immigration attorney with Fragomen law firm in Washington DC.

Trump had promised to make the new directive harder to fight in court and many of the changes were expected.

“They dotted their ‘i’s’ and crossed their ‘t’s’ in trying to anticipate what litigation might result,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell Law School professor who specializes in immigration. 

The US Department of Justice, in a filing in Seattle federal court on Monday, said the new order applies “only to those who are overseas and without a visa.”

Foreign nationals outside the country who do not have a US visa do not have the same protections under the US Constitution as people already here, legal experts said.

Published: 08-03-2017 08:16

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