On Monday, June 12, a second Federal Appeals Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a per curiam decision, affirmed a nationwide preliminary injunction of President Trump’s revised travel ban that was issued March 15, 2017, by a U.S. District Court judge in Hawaii. President Trump’s second Executive Order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which would have gone into effect March 16, 2017, temporarily bans U.S. entry for nationals from six Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and sought to suspend the nation’s refugee program and limit the number of refugees in this fiscal year. The revised EO was issued after the initial travel ban in January was withdrawn by President Trump due to legal setbacks.
A Federal Judge in Maryland initially issued a preliminary injunction against the revised travel ban on March 16. On May 25, the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the travel ban and affirmed the nationwide preliminary injunction on the EO. President Trump’s administration has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and has asked for authority to enforce the EO while in the appeal process.
After the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii also blocked the EO and issued a temporary restraining order in March, the Ninth Circuit for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on June 12. The three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit refused to reinstate Trump’s revised EO on travel and unanimously upheld the nationwide injunction on the EO finding that the EO violates federal immigration law and fails to explain why admission of nationals from the six countries is detrimental to the United States. The court said, “In conclusion, the Order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality.” The Ninth Circuit also concluded that President Trump lacked the legal authority to suspend the admission of refugees. The judges wrote: “We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress.”
The Ninth Circuit did, however, vacate part of the injunction allowing the government to perform review of internal vetting procedures for these travelers. All other parts of the restraining order remain in place.
Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor developments and provide updates in connection with President Trump’s revised EO.