Trump Travel Ban: Legal Timeline
On the 27th January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugee admissions for 120 days. What followed was a huge backlash on social media and in the press which might have made the unfolding news difficult to follow. Here is a brief summary of the Trump travel ban and what has happened to date.
Trump Travel Ban: Legal Timeline
27th Jan: Executive order is signed.
28th Jan: A New York judge issues an emergency stay of the ban to prevent those currently travelling being detained or deported.
29th Jan: Security Secretary John Kelly issues a waiver of the Trump travel ban for green card holders.
30th Jan: Washington’s Attorney General sues the Trump Administration in a federal court and asks for a temporary worldwide restraining order.
31st Jan: Amber Rudd and Prince Charles are among those who join the criticism of the Trump travel ban warning that “lessons of the holocaust have been forgotten”. The UK Parliament prepares to debate the 1.6 million strong petition calling for Trump’s state visit to be cancelled.
1st Feb: More lawsuits are issued against the Trump Administration by four states and several individual claimants.
2nd Feb: Facebook, Apple and Google write a letter opposing the ban while reports of local support for the ban in America begin flooding in.
3rd Feb: A Washington judge suspends the ban with a temporary restraining order. The former Prime Minister of Norway is held and questioned at a Washington airport because of his visit to Iran.
4th Feb: The US government asks a federal appeals court for an emergency ruling to overturn the Washington judge’s decision. The request is denied and further information is requested. An Iranian baby travelling to get emergency heart surgery is granted a waiver.
7th Feb: An appeals court in San Francisco hears arguments from lawyers for the government and Washington state. Kanye West reportedly deletes his pro-Trump tweets.
8th Feb: The media backlash continues. The press report that more Americans are shot dead by toddlers than terrorists, prompting a discussion on US gun-control laws and the true priorities of the Trump Administration.
9th Feb: The appeals court refuses to overturn the Washington ruling as the government has provided no evidence of threats posed by travellers. Trump infamously tweets “SEE YOU IN COURT”.
13th Feb: The government’s request to delay further Trump travel ban lawsuits is denied by a Seattle district judge.
16th Feb: President Trump promises a new revised travel ban. A British Muslim schoolteacher with a valid visa travelling to New York from South Wales on a school trip is denied entry into the US.
26th Feb: Celebrities at the Oscars take the opportunity to criticise the former and proposed travel bans. Meanwhile, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau faces political pressure to address the stream of asylum seekers crossing the US border into Canada in the wake of Trump’s travel ban.
2nd Mar: Members of the European Parliament argue that those with joint EU citizenship should be exempt from the ban. They propose that a 2007 aviation agreement with the US could form the legal basis for this argument.
6th Mar: The revised order is unveiled. This time Iraq is excluded from the list while foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are barred from entering the US for 90 days. All refugee admissions are barred for 120 days. This ban expressly excludes those with a valid US visa and is due to come into force on the 16th of March.
7th Mar: A lawsuit against the travel ban is filed in Hawaii.
11th Mar: A federal judge blocks the Trump Administration from enforcing the travel ban against a Syrian family fleeing from Aleppo to Wisconsin.
15th Mar: A Hawaii district judge issues a temporary restraining order, again noting that there is no evident threat to the US and that the ban goes against the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. Speaking in Nashville, President Trump calls the decision “an unprecedented judicial overreach” made for “political reasons.”
16th Mar: A judge in Maryland hands down a nationwide preliminary injunction against the 90 day Trump travel ban.
22nd Mar: The Office of Inspector General confirms to Congress that it is reviewing allegations of misconduct by immigration officials after the imposition of the first ban.
23rd Mar: President Trump’s national security aide Sebastian Gorka states that the London terror attack by a British-born extremist apparently justifies the Trump travel ban.
29th Mar: A federal judge in Hawaii extends the restraining order on the revised travel ban.
30th Mar: The Trump administration launches an appeal against the Hawaii ruling and the US justice department defends the president’s authority to ‘protect national security’.
4th Apr: Former CIA chief John Brennan heavily criticises the Trump travel ban, calling it ‘wrongheaded’ and ‘misguided’.
10th Apr: It is reported that a full federal appeals court for the fourth circuit will hear the full case in relation to the injunction on the travel ban on 8th May. Thirteen judges are expected to sit at the trial in Richmond, Virginia. A ninth circuit appeals court will then hear the case on the legality of the two executive orders on 15th May.
15th Apr: A couple celebrate their wedding in Baltimore without the bride’s mother and sister who are unable to enter the US from Iran due to visa complications.
3rd May: In an interview, FBI Director James Comey agrees that citizenship alone cannot be a reliable indicator of “terror threats”.
The stay on the second travel ban is currently only temporary as the merits of the case are yet to be heard. The Trump administration’s first appeal is due to be heard on the 8th May and a hearing considering the legality of the executive orders will be heard the following week on the 15th May. Now we can only wait to hear the appeal court’s decision. Given its constitutional importance, this case may go on to a further hearing in the US Supreme Court.
Words: Mariya Rankin