On June 16, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the third, reengineered version of President Trump's travel ban by a vote of 5 to 4. Anastasia Tonello, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members, issued the following statement:
From the very beginning of President Trump's term in office, the Administration has worked to implement onerous and unnecessary blockades to the entry of foreign nationals to the United States. The President's ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries is another brick in the invisible wall which does nothing to strengthen our national security, or our nation's shared prosperity.
Today's ruling by the Supreme Court is deeply troubling. By dismissing the anti-Muslim statements of President Trump and other administration officials when evaluating the legality of the ban, the decision endorses a discriminatory policy motivated by religious animosity. Allowing discrimination to emanate from our nation's highest office undermines the Constitution and our values as a nation. With today's decision, this ban, which isn't necessary and does nothing to improve the safety of Americans, will continue to keep families apart, negatively impact U.S. businesses, and degrade our reputation in the world as a beacon of hope and opportunity.
Though we are deeply disappointed by this decision, AILA and our vast network of immigration attorneys maintain our steadfast commitment to justice. We will continue to fight for the rights of immigrants and work to ensure that fairness, due process, and the free exercise of religion and expression are reflected in our nation's immigration laws and policies.
What happens now?
Immigration advocates, including members of AILA, will continue to fight for the rights of immigrants and work to ensure that fairness, due process, and the free exercise of religion and expression are reflected in our nation's immigration laws and policies.
If you are affected by the travel ban (nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and some Venezuelan government officials and their family members), you may apply for a waiver if you can show that:
- You will experience undue hardship if entry to the United States is denied;
- Your entry would be in the national interest; and
- Your entry would not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
It is difficult to obtain a waiver approval and as of March 21, 2018, AILA reports only one waiver application being approved, while a Reuters report reveals that U.S. consular officers issued waivers to the ban in only 2 percent of visa applications over the course of nearly five months. Waiver applications are decided on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to seek the help of an attorney who can determine your eligibility for a waiver and help advocate on your behalf.
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