As most people have heard by now, a federal judge in Seattle issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on Friday that prohibits the federal government from enforcing portions of President Trump’s "travel ban" Executive Order -- in particular, the 90-day travel ban on immigrants and non-immigrants from seven specified countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The TRO was sought by the states of Washington and Minnesota.
On Saturday, the Trump Administration filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit requesting an immediate administrative stay of the TRO. Although the Court denied the motion for an immediate stay, it will still consider whether to issue an emergency stay pending appeal. The plaintiffs have filed their opposition to the stay, and a number of organizations and associations – including companies in the tech industry and the American Civil Liberties Union – have asked to file amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs on behalf of the plaintiffs. The Trump Administration’s deadline to file a reply is today at 6 p.m. Eastern Time/3 p.m. Pacific Time.
The U.S. State Department has confirmed that provisionally revoked visas are once again valid for travel, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said that it will honor the TRO while in effect.
Still, during this period of legal uncertainty, employers of non-immigrant visa holders from the seven countries specifically identified in the E.O. should warn affected employees to stay in the United States if they are already here. Indeed, even if the individual is a permanent lawful resident (holder of a green card) or is from a Muslim-majority country that is not on the list, non-essential travel outside the United States should be avoided.
We will continue to keep you posted on these issues.