Trump’s New Travel Ban Survives First Legal Challenges

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President Donald Trump’s new travel ban has survived its first set of legal challenges ahead of its scheduled implementation March 16. 

Over the weekend a federal judge rejected an effort by the states of Washington, New York and Oregon to apply an earlier stay on the original travel ban to the new order, saying that the states would need to provide evidence that the new order violates the Constitution. 

Another federal judge in Wisconsin, meanwhile, granted a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the new ban, but only against one Syrian family. One of the members of that family, a Sunni Muslim who had fled Syria in the U.S. in order to escape the fighting there, is already in the United States. He then obtained asylum for his wife and their only surviving child, whose application had cleared the security vetting process and was headed for final processing when it was halted by the original travel ban. The Wisconsin judge barred enforcement of the new travel ban with respect to the wife and child. 

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Finally, the state of Hawaii, which filed the first lawsuit against the new travel ban, is scheduled for a hearing on March 15. 

Travel Industry Response

In response to the new policy, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has said that it is waiting to see how the policy will impact U.S. travel agents. In a recent press call ASTA SVP Government and Industry Affairs Eben Peck said, “I think we’re going to look at letting the dust from both bans settle a bit. Maybe a few months out we can get a read on this — is this having a real impact or are people just having an emotional reaction?”

ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said that the organization would continue to “monitor the situation closely with an eye toward any impact on our members’ businesses, and will do everything possible to ensure member are kept up to date, able to serve their clients and prepare them for any disruptions that might occur.”

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), meanwhile, has released a poll showing that nearly four in 10 (37 percent) of its U.S. business travel agents expect “some level of reduction” in their company’s travel because of the new order.

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.

Keep an eye on all the latest updates on the travel ban and its impact on the travel industry on our dedicated news page.