In a highly anticipated victory for immigrants issued on Thursday (5/26), the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling to indefinitely halt implementation of parts of President Trump’s executive order--known as the revised travel ban--that barred entry of certain immigrants into the United States. This ban, introduced in early March, was an attempt to overcome some of the legal obstacles faced by an earlier executive order after a lower court issued an injunction barring the order from taking effect. For a more in-depth background of both executive orders, please refer to our earlier blog on the subject.
In an abnormally heated opinion issued by Chief Judge Gregory, the Fourth Circuit held that the travel ban “dripped with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” Although he acknowledged that the president holds broad power in issues of national security and immigration, he stressed that these powers were not absolute. Like the lower court before him, Judge Gregory focused on statements made by President Trump during his campaign, signaling that the ban was not a response to security threats, but rather a deliberate and poignant attempt to single out and outright ban Muslim foreign nationals from entering the country.
The nature of this ruling and the fact that this is Trump’s second attempt to institute this ban means this case could be appealed to the Supreme Court this fall. If the Supreme Court agrees to take this case, the result would have a major impact on the executive branch’s role in immigration policy.
In light of the travel ban, many immigrants have been wondering whether it’s safe to travel outside of the United States. Thankfully, this ruling has put a halt on the ban, which in turn has caused a period of heightened stability for individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States.
Unfortunately, with the new administration and Trump’s hostile and aggressive approach to immigration generally, immigration policy could change quickly and drastically without notice. There is always a possibility that another executive order could be introduced at any time. Although there is no evidence of an additional order being drafted at this time, it’s important to remain alert and up-to-date on the changing policies.
If you are an immigrant seeking to travel outside the United States, please seek a consultation with an immigration lawyer to discuss your current status. This is especially important if you are from one of the seven countries that would have been barred entry if the executive order had taken effect. In many cases security for reentry has increased, making it vital to be fully prepared before considering a trip abroad. If you have any questions or concerns about the executive order or traveling outside the United States, please contact an attorney at Stilwell & Slatton.