Last night, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously that the federal government may not enforce key sections of the “travel ban” Executive Order issued on January 27.
The Ninth Circuit decision leaves in place a restraining order issued by a federal district judge in Washington last Friday, halting enforcement of the most onerous parts of the order nationwide and at all U.S. ports of entry. Specifically, the federal government may not enforce the following sections:
As a result of the injunction, travel to the United States for nationals of the seven affected countries has returned to the norm that existed before the order was issued. The U.S. State Department has rescinded the provisional revocation of any temporary and permanent visas issued to affected individuals, and those visas may now be used for travel to the U.S. U.S. consulates also will continue to schedule visa appointments for all applicants, and airlines will not be prevented form boarding travelers with valid immigration documents.
It is important to note that the restraining order prevents enforcement of only the section of the executive order listed above. Other sections remain in force, including the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, although there are reports of some consulates allowing interview waiver appointments.
It is not clear at this time whether the White House will appeal the Ninth Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or whether the Court would hear the case. The White House could decide to rescind the original order and issue a new order tailored to avoid the legal challenges that led to the restraining order.
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