What's next for Trump's travel ban

The Supreme Court won't revisit President Trump's temporary travel ban until October, but a lot will happen before then that could affect the travel of millions of people around the world.

A scaled-down version of the travel ban that was approved by the court and goes into effect Thursday bars U.S. entry for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen without prior ties to the United States.

The administration also has started a review of anti-terrorism vetting procedures used to screen travelers from all countries, and that could prompt more travel restrictions against a greater number of countries.

Immigration advocates are preparing lawsuits in case they believe the government exceeds legal limits in the actions it takes.

Here's what you need to know about the next steps for Trump's travel ban:

WHO'S BLOCKED

As soon as the Supreme Court issued its decision Monday allowing the administration to implement a partial travel ban, attorneys in favor and opposed to the ban dived into law books to understand exactly what the justices meant.

Starting Thursday, the administration can bar people who don't have such ties, which were not fully defined by the court.

Can an Iranian businessman making his first trip to the U.S. to meet potential American clients enter? Can a Syrian family just starting its application to become refugees continue that process? Can a Yemeni tourist who has already booked his flight and hotel room in the U.S. take that vacation?

Those questions remain unanswered. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, director of the Center for Immigrants' Rights at Penn State Law, worries that State Department employees who grant visas overseas and Customs and Border Protection agents who screen foreign travelers at U.S. airports will take the most restrictive approach.

That's why Wadhia and other advocates for immigrants spent Tuesday coordinating teams of attorneys who can quickly deploy to airports to help detained travelers fight their cases. Amnesty International already has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to reveal the guidance the administration is giving to officers who will decide whether travelers are banned.

"The public needs to know exactly what agents in airports nationwide are being told to do, and we need to know now," said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

Others say the travel ban already has been scaled back so much by the Trump administration in a revised executive order — and further limited by the Supreme Court — that the number of people ineligible to enter will be very small. The revised ban allows all permanent legal residents, those already granted short-term travel visas, diplomats and employees at U.S.-based international organizations to continue traveling.

Only those with no links to the U.S., such as first-time tourists, may be barred.Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow of constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, said there are likely few Yemenis planning trips to Disney World or Somalis hoping to honeymoon in Hawaii.  

"I don't know how many of those there are," Shapiro said.

GLOBAL VETTING REVIEW

Last week, the administration began a review of vetting procedures behind the 90-day ban: to make sure terrorists don't sneak into the country.

The administration had argued that it was blocked by courts from starting the review, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco ruled that it could proceed. The Supreme Court agreed.

The review will work like this: Several federal agencies will spend 20 days compiling a list of countries that do not provide enough information on citizens trying to enter the U.S. Foreign governments placed on the list will have 50 days to supply more information.

At the end of that process, Trump will be able to impose new travel restrictions against citizens of any country he believes is not cooperating.

BACK TO THE SUPREME COURT?

If the administration completes its review of vetting procedures on schedule — sometime in September — it could eliminate the travel ban. 

That could prompt the Supreme Court to decide the case on the constitutionality of the ban is moot and refuse to hear the case.

"I don't think the court has an appetite to weigh in, so it would probably look for any excuse to get rid of the case," Shapiro said.

If the Trump administration concludes its review by maintaining travel restrictions against the six targeted countries, the court may agree to rule on whether the ban violates the Constitution's protections of religion.

If the administration concludes that it needs to impose travel restrictions against even more countries, new lawsuits could be filed.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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