As Trump Travel Ban Takes Effect Thursday, Many Questions Still Up in Air Top News


As Trump Travel Ban Takes Effect Thursday, Many Questions Still Up in Air Top News

The Trump administration’s travel restrictions blocking foreigners from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees fleeing persecution will take effect Thursday, following the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to temporarily uphold portions of the ban.

David Lapan, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, confirmed to NBC News Wednesday evening that the order “will begin to be implemented tomorrow and detailed guidance will be provided to DHS professionals.”

A senior administration official told NBC News that it’s likely the ban won’t go into effect until the evening.

The high court’s ruling allowed President Donald Trump to place a 90-day ban on foreign travelers from six countries — Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — as well as a 120-day ban on refugees fleeing persecution from any country when they have no “bona fide relationship” with an entity or person in the United States. The Supreme Court has granted full review of the travel ban and oral argument is set for October.

Related: Supreme Court Reinstates Much of Trump’s Travel Ban, Will Hear Case in Fall

At least one Supreme Court Justice was skeptical that a temporary solution was workable. Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent said that the Court’s “compromise” would “invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a bona fide relationship.”

While it’s not clear how many travelers could be affected by the ban, State Department data suggests many if not most foreign travelers to this country have family connections in the United States.

For instance, of the 12,998 immigrant visas issued from Yemen last year, nearly all of the recipients — 12,563 —had immediate family in the United States.

Plans Are Still in Flux

But just how broadly or narrowly federal agencies charged with implementing the Supreme Court’s order will write the guidelines remains to be seen. Both DHS and the State Department had said they were waiting on the Department of Justice to clarify the Court’s decision and have largely remained mum on what the new guidelines may entail.

DHS did issue a statement in the immediate aftermath of the Court’s decision, asserting that the Executive Order “will be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry.”

Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters on Tuesday that the guidance was still “in flux.”

“People here are hard at work with Department of Justice and also I believe Homeland Security to try to figure out exactly what this term ‘bona fide’ should mean and will mean, and then we’ll get that information out to our folks across the world,” she said.

Related: Who Will Be Affected by the Supreme Court’s Travel Ban Ruling?

Most visa screenings are done by U.S. consular offices in the applicants’ home countries. The Trump administration already has stated that its revised order would not apply to those with existing visas. Rather, the ban would only bar applications for new visas.

But immigration experts worry that airlines and border agents may not be adequately prepared to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision reinstating a portion of the ban, potentially leaving foreign travelers in the lurch.

Image: Federal judge halts President Trump's

Demonstrators from Syria protest at Los Angeles International Airport on February 4, 2017.