Portions of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries are set to go into effect Thursday night following a recent Supreme Court decision, but questions about the new rule’s implementation remain.
Department of Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan told NBC News that the order was set to take effect Thursday, with another administration official saying it was likely the ban would not take effect until the evening. The Supreme Court decision exempts travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with an entity or person in the United States from the ban, but Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas warned that the compromise could “invite a flood of litigation” to determine what constitutes a bona fide relationship.
According to CBS News, at least a dozen attorneys are planning to volunteer at JFK International Airport in New York to monitor the effects of the ban and assist passengers.
“We have an army of over 1,000 lawyers who have their back and are ready to go back out to JFK if that becomes necessary,” Camille Mackler, director of legal initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition, told CBS News.
A diplomatic cable obtained by CNN sent to U.S. embassies and consulates Wednesday said that applicants must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the U.S. in order to enter the country. Other family members will not be considered “close family” under the order. Additionally, a hotel reservation would not constitute a bona fide relationship with a U.S. entity, but a lecturer invited to speak at a U.S. institution would.
The revised executive order bans travel from six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya – dropping Iraq, which was part of the original ban. The new order also suspends the United States’ refugee program for 120 days, and lowers the cap on refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 per year.
Other changes: travelers from the affected countries who are legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals who use a passport from another country and those who have been granted asylum or refugee status are exempt from the new order. Additionally, current visa holders will be able to get into the country, although those whose visas expire will have to reapply.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, the U.S. Travel Association called on the Trump administration to distinguish between its efforts to boost security and attract international business and leisure travelers.
“We have heard senior administration members say America is ‘open for business’ and ‘open to the millions of international visitors who wish us well, but they should be doing as much as possible to make sure there is widespread awareness of that sentiment abroad,” said U.S. Travel Association EVP of Public Affairs Jonathan Grella. “An overt message of welcome that accompanies tough talk aimed at terrorist and visa overstayers would do a lot of sustain and grow the immense economic benefit that comes from international travel to the U.S.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the full ban in October.