Key facts about the new Trump travel ban

Citizens of more than half a dozen countries will face restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump in September. The Supreme Court decided Monday that the policy can take full effect.

The ban has faced legal challenges since the first version was proposed in January. Critics of the latest iteration have said it’s a mystery why some countries are included and that some countries were added to provide legal and political cover for what they said remains a “Muslim ban.”

What exactly did the Supreme Court just decide?

To grant a Trump administration request that the September ban be enforced even as it is challenged in lower courts.

The order also asked appeals courts to move quickly to determine the legality of the ban. Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

What does the latest decision mean for the legal process?

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked implementation of major parts of the ban in October, while other legal challenges continue in lower courts.

Judges in both states found the ban in violation of federal law. The Trump administration appealed both decisions to federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Va., and arguments are expected to be heard this week.

The Supreme Court’s action Monday suggests the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban when it reaches them.

Who does the ban affect?

The restrictions cover citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

The last iteration of the ban covered people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

What are the restrictions based on?

The restrictions are based on new baseline factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information to prevent fraud and report information about potential terror threats. That baseline was shared with countries across the globe, and they were given 50 days to comply.

Those that failed to satisfy the “objective process of measuring whether countries met the baseline” are now subject to new restrictions.

What you need to know about the countries included

1. Some, such as Iran and Syria, pose legitimate national security threats to the United States and refuse to cooperate with U.S. consular investigations.

2. Another category includes countries such as Yemen and Libya, where local authorities have sought to be as cooperative as possible but lack full control over their territory and the basic ability to provide the information the United States wants. In those cases, officials said, the United States tried to stress that inclusion on the list wasn’t an indictment of those nations’ commitment to fighting terrorism.

3. The final category includes countries such as North Korea and Venezuela whose citizens don’t necessarily pose a major threat to the United States but where the administration wanted to send a message that the government’s broader actions are unacceptable.

The new visa sanctions on Venezuela, for instance, apply only to officials from five government security agencies and their immediate families.

The restrictions on North Korea will have little impact because so few of its citizens visit the United States.

Are there any exemptions for the ban?

Unlike the first iteration of Trump’s travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges after being hastily written with little input outside the White House, officials stressed they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.

To limit confusion, valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers for citizens of the affected countries who meet certain criteria.

That includes: having previously worked or studied in the U.S.; having previously established “significant contacts” in the U.S.; and having “significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S. Still, officials acknowledged the waiver restrictions were narrower than the exemptions for people with “bona fide” ties to the United States that the Supreme Court mandated before the expiring order went into effect in late June.

Originally published: Sept. 27, 2017