Lawsuit Alleges that the Trump Administration is Violating the ‘Travel Ban’ Rules

In June of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld key aspects of President Trump’s ‘travel ban’. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the travel ban was upheld in a highly controversial 5 to 4 decision that split on partisan lines. As of August of 2018, seven countries are subject to the travel ban: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Notably, in upholding the ban, the Supreme Court noted that the Trump Administration had an effective ‘waiver process’ in place. The Administration has touted its waiver process as allowing exceptions to the travel ban when worthy cases arise.

However, a recent lawsuit filed in United States District Court of the Northern District of California alleges that the Trump Administration is simply not granting waivers for worthy cases. Vox has obtained and published a copy of the complaint filed against the Administration. Here, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer provides an overview of the allegations raised in the lawsuit.

Allegations: The Travel Ban Waiver Process is Largely a Sham

According to the allegations, the waiver process set up by the Trump Administration is almost entirely ‘window dressing’. The plaintiffs contend that it is mostly a sham that was used to help the law pass constitutional challenges. It is important to remember that this version of the travel ban, the one that is in effect, is actually the third version that was proposed by President Trump. The first two versions of the travel ban were struck down. As it stands now, there is supposed to be a waiver process in place. An applicant from a ‘banned’ country should qualify for a waiver if:

  1. They would suffer an undue hardship by being prohibited from entering the United States;
  2. Allowing their entry would not adversely affect American security interests; and
  3. It would be in the national interest of our country to allow the applicant to come in.

Certainly, these are relatively broad elements. Whether or not the waiver process is valid depends largely on how the Administration interprets the language. The lawsuit provides an instructive view into who is being denied travel ban waivers. For example, in one case, the Yemeni wife of a U.S. citizen is not being allowed into the country despite her health condition. To make matters even worse, this woman (and her American citizen husband) have an infant child who is also a U.S. citizen. The fact that this woman is unable to obtain a waiver raises a very serious question: who actually can obtain a travel ban waiver? In practice, it appears that the bar to obtain a waiver has been set at such at an extraordinarily high level.

We Fight for Immigrant Rights in Southern California

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our law firm works tirelessly to protect the legal rights of immigrants and their family members. We handle the full range of immigration law cases. If you or your loved one needs legal guidance, please do not hesitate to call us our Los Angeles office at (213) 262-2000 for a fully confidential consultation.