The new, revised, and more limited version of President Trump’s travel ban takes effect at 5 p.m. PDT today, and it will not be surprising if, just like the January attempt at a travel ban, the implementation is handled in the most poorly communicated fashion possible. To that end, a grassroots group of volunteer civil rights attorneys is standing watch at San Francisco International Airport according to KRON 4, to defend and provide free guidance for anyone detained as the new rules take effect much as attorneys did in late January and early February at multiple airports around the country.
With the partial reinstatement of the ban on visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, the new guidelines issued by the State Department will not include revoking visas that have already been approved (a primary source of chaos in the previous ban’s implementation). But this time around, travelers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen as well as any refugees from any country will have to prove, per a temporary ruling by the Supreme Court this week, that they’re related to someone already in the United States. Proving family relationship is bizarre and complex formula in which parents, spouses, and siblings are considered family, while fiances, grandparents, or nieces and nephews are not.
This has the potential for the kind of chaos and detainments we saw at SFO January’s iteration of the travel ban, as well as the possibility of more large-scale protests.
“We’re not expecting the sorts of crowds that we saw in January for a number of reasons,” Asian Law Caucus attorney Christina Sinha told NBC Bay Area. Sinha will be one of the pro bono attorneys who will be working at a pop-up legal clinic at SFO, and she still sees the possibility for confusion and unfair detainments considering the new guidelines were just issued late last night. “People don’t know when to show up, they don’t know when this is going into effect.”
The current travel ban is again considered temporary, and the Supreme Court will hear the full case in October, but this means that we're looking at a summer full of weird tensions around airports and dire cases that call to question the wisdom of this ruling.
The ban halts travel for those without family or "a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" for 90 days for everyone from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen, and it halts the refugee program for 120 days.
According to the Justice Department and President Trump, who called the ruling "a clear victory for our national security," the executive order is meant to allow for a pause or "reset" in order reassess screening guidelines for immigrants and travel visas. Refugee and immigrant advocates insist that these guidelines were plenty strict under the Obama administration and have undergone extensive review.