COMMUNITY RESOURCE – The Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), a Coalition Partner of PAAIA, Provides Overview of the Current Situation with Travel Ban 3.0
The U.S. Supreme Court Allows Travel Ban 3.0 To Go Into Effect
While Legal Challenges To The Ban Proceed Through The Lower
Dear Members and Friends,
Unfortunately, yesterday (December 4), the U.S. Supreme Court lifted
the stays on the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban 3.0, allowing it to go
into effect in its entirety while the legal challenges to Travel Ban make
their way through lower courts. The ruling is extremely disappointing,
and clearly a setback to those challenging the Travel Ban, especially
given President Trump’s ongoing comments and communications
evincing his discriminatory intent. But it is important to note that
today’s ruling does not decide whether the Travel Ban is lawful. That
issue remains very much in dispute, and IABA – with its coalition
partners, Pars Equality and PAAIA – have vowed to continue the fight to
overturn the Travel Ban, as have our allies in the fight.
In light of this ruling, individuals with valid visas may very well be
denied entry into the U.S. in the upcoming weeks, and those who were
in the process of obtaining a visa may have their applications held or
terminated. If you know anyone who is affected by Travel Ban 3.0 —
including those with valid visas who are denied entry, or whose visas
have been revoked — please contact us immediately by click here and
filling out our form. With your help, we will continue to fight to protect
the rights of our community members, and those of many others, who
are affected by this Travel Ban.
We provide you with a more detailed overview of the current situation
Is the Ruling on a Preliminary Injunction Different From a Ruling
on the Merits?
Yes. A preliminary injunction is, in essence, an emergency mechanism
that can stay (pause) an action, while the merits of that action are being
decided. Given its extraordinary nature, the standard required for a
preliminary injunction is high. This standard is not necessary to the
underlying question of whether the Travel Ban violates the constitution
or statutory law. So, a ruling on the preliminary injunction is not
necessarily the same as a ruling on the merits (though there can be
What Did the Supreme Court Rule?
The Supreme Court determined that Travel Ban 3.0 should not have
been enjoined (paused) with a preliminary injunction while the legal
challenges to it are still pending in the lower courts. So the Supreme
Court allowed the Travel Ban to go into effect while the lower courts go
through the “regular process” to determine it is lawful. But the Supreme
Court also urged the lower courts to address the merits as quickly as
possible, so that it could (if appropriate) consider the case on its merits.
While the fight is far from over, there is little question that this ruling is
a setback. In June, the Supreme Court upheld the injunctions on Travel
Ban 2.0 for individuals with a “bona fide relationship” with an U.S.
person or entity. The new Supreme Court ruling seems to back away
from the standard they set only a few months ago. The Court’s one-page
orders did not provide any explanation for this change in position.
What Does the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling Mean and How Does It
In sum, the Supreme Court ruling means that the Trump Administration
can (for now) restrict travel of the foreign nationals from Iran and seven
other nations (Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, and
Venezuela), the vast majority of which are from Muslim majority
countries, to varying degrees. For Iranians, this Travel
Ban permanently prohibits emigration into the U.S., other than for
student visas. The ban does not apply U.S. citizens, permanent
residents, and certain dual nationals.
The Travel Ban also states that it does not apply to individuals who were
in the U.S., or who already had valid visas, on the “effective date” of the
ban: i.e. as of September 24, 2017 for those without a “bona fide
relationship;” and October 18, 2017 for those with a “bona fide
relationship.” For these individuals, the Travel Ban should still not
apply, by its own terms. However, as of now, there is uncertainty about
the “effective date” for any visas issued between September 24/October
18 to the present (i.e. during the “injunction period”). The Trump
Administration may still consider the “effective date” to be the original
dates in the Travel Ban (September 24/October 18), or it may decide that
the effective date will be the day the Supreme Court lifted the
injunctions and allowed the Travel Ban to proceed (or another date
chosen by the administration).
Practically, this means that people who have been issued valid visas as
of September 24 or October 18 (depending on whether they had a “bona
fide relationship”) may be denied entry into the U.S. despite having valid
visas. It also means that individuals in the process of obtaining a visa
may not be placed on hold, or have those applications terminated. If
you know anyone affected by the Travel Ban, please click here.
Sadly, this legal “back and forth” will almost certainly create confusion
in issuance of visas to, and entry of, Iranians and other nationalities
affected by the Travel Ban. Thus, whether intended or not, these
decisions will have the side effect of reducing such travel, which
unfortunately advances President Trump’s original discriminatory goals.
Nevertheless, in light of the current situation, Iranians seeking
immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the U.S. (other than student visas)
should seriously consider delaying such applications until the legality of
the Travel Ban is decided.
The situation is highly fluid and will likely change rapidly in the next
few days and weeks. We will continue to provide you with information
as quickly as we can. And in the interim, we vow to continue this fight
on behalf of the Iranian American community and others, with both our
coalition partners and other allies. If you’re interested in helping our
1. Notify us, by clicking here and filling out this form, if you know
anyone who continues to be affected by Travel Ban 3.0;
2. Donate to IABA so it can continue its efforts in protecting our rights.
3. Donate your time or expertise, especially in the areas of immigration
law by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org; and
4. Share this statement with as many friends, families, and colleagues as
possible to help us spread the word.
Please stay tuned and, more importantly, remain engaged.
IABA National President