October 17, 2017 – Hawaii District Court Issues Nationwide Injunction Against Trump’s Travel Ban 3.0, which should be hyperlinked to the attached statement

Dear members and friends:

We have some good news. On Tuesday,  October 17, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued an order blocking enforcement of President Trump’s newest version of his Travel Ban, nationally, before it could go into effect.  The Hawaii District Court found that Version 3 “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.” The full order can be found here.

The District Court found that Travel Ban 3.0 violated the mandates of the  Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for two reasons.  First, the ban’s stated policy, protecting the U.S. “from terrorist attacks and other public-safety threats,” did not fit the restrictions actually imposed: the indefinite ban of more than 150 million nationals of the six specified countries. Second, the ban ” improperly use[d] nationality as a proxy for risk,” and therefore “plainly discriminate[d] based on nationality” in a manner that that runs counter to the mandates of the INA and “the founding principles of this Nation.”

On the first point, the court noted that the President’s broad discretion over entry of aliens into the U.S. under the INA still required that he make a sufficient finding that “that entry of all nationals from the [list of] designated countries … would be harmful to the national interest.”  Here, however, Travel Ban 3.0 made no finding that nationality reflected a heightened security risk.  Further, the ban contained “internal incoherencies that markedly undermine[d] its stated ‘national security’ rationale.” For example: (1) many countries failed the global criteria, but only several were designated under Travel Ban 3.0; and (2) of the countries designated, the scope of restrictions for some countries (like Venezuela) were significantly less than others, though they were identified as posing similar security concerns. Lastly, the ban did not reveal why existing law was insufficient to address the President’s stated concerns.

Regarding the second point, the Court noted that the INA prohibited any nationality-based discrimination in issuing immigrant visas.  And by “indefinitely and categorically suspending immigration from the six countries,” Travel Ban 3.0 “attempts to do exactly what [the INA] prohibits”: singling out immigrant visa applicants on the basis of nationality.

Having found that Travel Ban 3.0 likely violated provisions of the INA, the Court declined to reach the constitutional issues raised.

With this order, Travel Ban 3.0 has been temporarily blocked. But we do not expect that all issues surrounding our community members (and their families) getting visas will be resolved.  And there is little doubt that further legal proceedings will follow. Please stay tuned for additional updates.  In the meantime, please continue to:

  1. Notify us, by  clicking here and filling out this form, if you know anyone who continues to be affected by Travel Ban 3.0;
  2. Please sign our joint petition to the U.S. Congress, requesting that it ” Rescind the Muslim Ban Immediately;
  3. Share this statement, as well as the above form and petition, with your friends, families, and professional networks; and
  4. Donate to IABA so it can continue its efforts in protecting our rights.

Babak Yousefzadeh

IABA National President