Ap­peals court: Third travel ban can par­tially take ef­fect

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEW­POINTS - By Matt Zapo­to­sky Wash­ing­ton Post

A fed­eral ap­peals court panel on Mon­day al­lowed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s third travel ban to par­tially take ef­fect, de­cid­ing that the gov­ern­ment — at least for now — can keep out peo­ple tar­geted by the mea­sure who have no bona fide ties to the United States.

In a brief or­der, a three­judge panel from the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit tem­po­rar­ily put on hold part of a lower judge’s rul­ing that had nearly com­pletely blocked the gov­ern­ment from en­forc­ing its ban.

The judges said that the gov­ern­ment could im­ple­ment the ban, ex­cept on “for­eign na­tion­als who have a cred­i­ble claim of a bona fide re­la­tion­ship with a per­son or en­tity in the United States.” They said such peo­ple in­clude grand­par­ents, grand­chil­dren, broth­ersin-law, sis­ters-in-law, aunts, un­cles, nieces, neph­ews and cousins of peo­ple in the United States.

Tyler Q. Houl­ton, a De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman, said of­fi­cials were re­view­ing the court or­der and “look­ing to op­er­a­tional­ize the rul­ing, con­sis­tent with all ap­pli­ca­ble court or­ders, and pro­vide guid­ance to the field.” State De­part­ment and Jus­tice De­part­ment spokes­peo­ple said they would com­ment later.

Hawaii At­tor­ney Gen­eral Dou­glas Chin, who had sued over the ban on be­half of his state, said in a state­ment: “To­day’s de­ci­sion ... closely tracks guid­ance pre­vi­ously is­sued by the Supreme Court. I’m pleased that fam­ily ties to the U.S., in­clud­ing grand­par­ents, will be re­spected.”

The third ver­sion of Trump’s travel ban had been set to take ef­fect last month and would have barred var­i­ous types of trav­el­ers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Ye­men, Chad, So­ma­lia, North Korea and Venezuela. But be­fore it could be im­ple­mented, two fed­eral judges ruled against the mea­sure, block­ing the gov­ern­ment from en­forc­ing it on peo­ple from six of the eight coun­tries.

A fed­eral judge in Hawaii had blocked the gov­ern­ment from im­ple­ment­ing the mea­sure al­most com­pletely, though he said it could be en­forced on peo­ple from North Korea and Venezuela. A fed­eral judge in Mary­land, mean­while, is­sued a less com­plete halt, say­ing the gov­ern­ment could sim­i­larly not en­force the mea­sure on peo­ple from six of the eight coun­tries — save North Korea and Venezuela — but only if the trav­el­ers the gov­ern­ment sought to block had a “bona fide” re­la­tion­ship with a per­son or en­tity in the United States. That would in­clude fam­ily mem­bers, as well as those with a job of­fer or other pro­fes­sional en­gage­ment.

The gov­ern­ment ap­pealed in both cases, and oral ar­gu­ments are set for next month. To get the mea­sure fully re­stored, the gov­ern­ment would have to run the table — win­ning in both the 9th Cir­cuit, the higher court for the Hawaii case, as well as the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 4th Cir­cuit, the ap­peals court for the Mary­land case.

The rul­ing from the 9th Cir­cuit does not af­fect that sched­ule but rather al­lows the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment the mea­sure at least par­tially, on peo­ple with­out any U.S. ties, un­til then. The judges is­sued what is known as a stay, or tem­po­rary halt, on U.S. Dis­trict Judge Der­rick K. Wat­son’s block­ade of the ban. They could ul­ti­mately re­verse course after hear­ing more ar­gu­ments.

The gov­ern­ment has ar­gued the ban is nec­es­sary for na­tional se­cu­rity, help­ing pre­vent those who might want to harm the U.S. from com­ing into the coun­try. Var­i­ous ver­sions of the mea­sure have taken a tor­tu­ous path through the le­gal sys­tem, and so far, none has suc­ceeded in stick­ing.

The first it­er­a­tion, signed in Jan­uary, sought to block cit­i­zens of seven Mus­lim ma­jor­ity coun­tries and all refugees, though judges ruled against it, and the pres­i­dent re­voked and re­vised the mea­sure. The sec­ond ver­sion, signed in March, win­nowed the list of coun­tries from seven to six, though it, too, was largely held up in court un­til it ex­pired.

The lat­est ban was de­vised after an ex­ten­sive process in which the U.S. sought in­for­ma­tion from for­eign govern­ments to help vet their trav­el­ers. Those na­tions that were ei­ther un­will­ing or un­able to co­op­er­ate ended up on the list, au­thor­i­ties have said.

Un­like the last ban, the new­est one is per­ma­nent; coun­tries can get off the list, but only if they are able to pro­vide the data the U.S. re­quires. It also af­fects dif­fer­ent coun­tries in dif­fer­ent ways.

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