Refugee EO Update: The Supreme Court Hands Each Side a Partial Victory

The Supreme Court issued an order yesterday regarding President Trump’s revised Refugee Executive Order (EO) that provided comfort to both the Administration and Hawaii, which has challenged the EO. The Court left in place the portion of Hawaii U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson’s injunction barring application of the EO to foreign nationals abroad with U.S. relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The Legal Battle Over Refugee Admissions

The State Department has issued guidance regarding the admission of refugees following the Supreme Court's decision in the Trump Executive Order cases. The guidance includes the narrow interpretation of "bona fide relationship with a person" adopted for the visa ban provision (fiancés are in; grandparents are out).

What does the Supreme Court’s decision on the Trump Executive Order mean for refugees?

 The commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Trump Executive Orders has largely focused on the part of the Orders that imposed the travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed has been the paragraphs at the end of the decision that discuss the Orders’ suspension of the refugee program.

Trump Tweets on his Travel Ban–what does DOJ do now?

President Trump's tweets this morning are truly remarkable and must be giving fits to Department of Justice attorneys--not to mention his Press Secretary and Cabinet Secretaries who have repeatedly asserted that the Executive Orders do not constitute a "ban."

US Refugee Admissions Resume, and Another Loss in Court for the Trump Executive Orders

Two items worth noting. First, the State Department has again begun processing for refugee admissions, despite President Trump's Executive Order putting the program on hold and capping admissions for the current fiscal year at 50,000. Second, the Federal Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit issued a scathing opinion affirming (nearly all parts of) a lower court's preliminary injunction against the revised Trump Order.

Virginia Federal District Judge Anthony Trenga rules in favor of Trump’s revised Executive Order

A federal district court in Virginia has now ruled in favor of the revised Trump Executive Order banning visas to persons from six predominantly Muslim countries. The court held that earlier Trump statements did not "fatally infect" the second version of the Order. Irrespective of this opinion, the nation-wide injunctions issued by two other district courts continue in force.

Read the concurring and dissenting opinions from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Here is a link to the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals not to review the decision of a panel of the Court issued February 9th, which rejected a challenge to the decision of the (Washington State) District Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the first Executive Order.

Federal Judges in Hawaii and Maryland issue temporary restraining orders on second travel ban

U.S. district court judges Derrick Watson and Theodore Chuang of Hawaii and Maryland issued TROs late last night, preventing the Executive Order from taking effect at midnight.
Judge Watson's order can be found here, and Judge Chuang's order here.

President Trump’s Immigration ban: Unlawful Executive Orders and Bureaucratic Resistance

As Alex Aleinikoff stated in this forum recently, there will be much to report about Donald Trump’s Executive Orders relating to immigration enforcement and refugees in coming months. Given that the President recently issued an amended immigration order on 6 March, it is timely to reflect not only upon the legality of the order itself, but also upon the broader question of the role of the bureaucracy in carrying out any new order. As readers will know, President Trump’s executive immigration order issued in January attracted protest and litigation. In States of Washington and Minnesota v. Trump the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a temporary injunction against the operation of the order, and the 9th Circuit refused to stay that injunction. Although the President has now rescinded that order, litigation on this matter looks set to continue with the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) indicating that it will challenge the revised order in the courts.

The Travel Ban 2.0

Donald Trump’s revised Executive Order imposing a visa ban and reducing the U.S. refugee resettlement program can be found here. I found this commentary by Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) particularly insightful. The Order was (re)written in an attempt to withstand legal challenges. Thus, it includes paragraphs offering a security rationale for the (now) six countries it includes in the visa ban (Iraq is off the list); it exempts from the ban all persons with existing valid visas to enter the U.S. as well as green card holders, already approved refugees and other categories; it deletes the provision that gave special treatment for religious minorities seeking entry as refugees; and—to avoid a repeat of the havoc at airports—it doesn’t go into effect for 10 days.