The new rules are the product of a joint effort between the State, Justice, and Homeland Security Departments, as well as the Trump White House. Going into the weekend there were few clues about what the restrictions would look like.
On the Friday call, officials from the State, Justice, and Homeland Security Departments declined to offer any details about their recommendations to Trump, when exactly the new parameters would be announced, and the countries that would be affected. They also did not comment on how the restrictions would affect—or be affected by—the ongoing legal struggles surrounding earlier versions of the ban.
The updated ban comes roughly nine months after the administration first attempted to constrict foreign entry. The original executive order, released in January, suspended U.S. entry for refugees worldwide and virtually all foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including travelers on student and work visas. Some green-card holders were also briefly barred from re-entering the United States until John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security at the time, personally intervened.
Chaos ensued. The order’s sudden rollout—late on a Friday night without any warning—led to turmoil at major airports across the country. Some travelers found themselves barred from entering the United States mid-flight. Protesters and lawyers soon gathered at transit hubs like Washington’s Dulles and New York City’s John F. Kennedy airports to aid those who had been stranded. By the following Monday, multiple federal judges had temporarily blocked the ban’s enforcement while legal challenges went forward.
After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the original ban’s constitutionality in February, the Trump administration said it would rewrite the order. Trump himself vented on Twitter about judges who ruled against the ban, claiming the judiciary would be responsible if another terrorist attack occurred. The second version barred new visa applications instead of U.S. entry, removed Iraq from the list of countries affected, and added numerous exceptions to its restrictions. It also dropped the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees while suspending new refugee admissions for 120 days.
But shortly before the revised order was set to go into effect in March, federal courts sided with immigrant-rights groups who asked them to halt its implementation. The Fourth and Ninth Circuits eventually forbid its core provisions from going into force in the months that followed. In reaction, the administration vowed to appeal the rulings to the Supreme Court. The justices agreed to hear the case on the last day of the 2016-2017 term in June and set oral arguments for when the Court reconvenes next month. Until then, the Court allowed most of the visa-application restrictions and the refugee-admissions freeze to go into effect.
It’s unclear what will happen next for the pending Supreme Court case, Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, now that the 90-day period has passed. On Sunday night, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to request additional briefs from both sides of the case on what steps to take next. Oral arguments in the case are currently scheduled for October 10.