Trump travel ban: Timeline of a legal journey

The Supreme Court partially reinstated President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations in June.

The revised ban is expected to be fully implemented around July 12.

The nation’s highest court agreed in June to take up the case and hear arguments in October.

Since Trump signed the executive order in January, the travel ban has been widely blocked by lower courts. Trump revised the order in March, and it too was blocked.

Here’s a look at the past decisions on the executive order. 

Jan. 27

Trump signed an executive order immediately barring entry into the U.S. for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.


The order, dubbed “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” also halted the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, but indefinitely barred all Syrian refugees from the country.

Jan. 28

A federal judge in New York issued an emergency order blocking, in part, the executive order. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly’s order temporarily barred the U.S. from deporting people who arrived with a valid visa or already completed refugee application.

As dozens of people were detained after their planes landed in the U.S., massive protests erupted at airports nationwide.

Jan. 29

Two federal judges in Boston issued a temporary stay on the travel ban, putting on hold for seven days the enforcement of the executive order.

The ruling stipulated that previously approved refugees, valid visa holders and lawful permanent residents or travelers from the seven countries included in Trump’s order could not be detained or removed from the U.S. because of the executive order.

Jan. 30

Senate Republicans squashed an effort by Democrats to overturn Trump’s executive order. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., objected when Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sought to bring a vote to reverse the order.

Feb. 3

A Boston federal judged declined to extend a temporary injunction against the travel ban, leaving it in effect after the initial seven-day period ended on Feb. 5, pending appeal.


But U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily blocked the travel ban nationwide after Washington state and Minnesota urged a nationwide hold on the executive order. Robart said the state “met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury.”

Feb. 4

Trump excoriated Robart on Twitter, calling his ruling “ridiculous.”

Feb. 6

The Justice Department filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, imploring that the court reinstate Trump’s travel ban. The department said Robart’s ruling was “vastly overbroad.”

Sixteen state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit against the travel ban. Those states included: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C.


Nearly 100 tech companies, including Apple and Google, also filed an amicus brief in opposition to the ban.

Feb. 7

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals began to hear oral arguments from the Justice Department as well as lawyers from the states of Washington and Minnesota who opposed the ban.

Feb. 9

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided to uphold the suspension of the executive order.

Those judges were Michelle Friedland, appointed by former President Barack Obama; Richard Clifton, appointed by former President George W. Bush; and William Canby, appointed by former President Jimmy Carter.

Feb. 10

Kellyanne Conway, a top advisor to the president, told Fox News that the court ruling “does not affect the merits at all” of the executive order.

“We are fully confident now that we will get our day in court and have the opportunity to argue on the merits, that we will prevail,” she said.

Feb. 13

A federal judge granted an injunction blocking the travel ban from being implemented in Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema found an unconstitutional religious bias with the travel ban, thus violating the First Amendment.  


Meanwhile, lawyers for Washington and Minnesota argued that their case against the executive order should proceed in lower court. The Justice Department argued in its own filing for a moratorium on the case until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decides if a full court will review the case.

Later in the afternoon, a federal judge in Seattle ruled that the case could continue in lower court.

Feb. 15

Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Trump’s executive order and asked the court to reconsider its decision to block the travel ban.

March 6

Trump signed a new executive order which barred travel from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days— removing Iraq.

The new order also exempted permanent residents and current visa holders from the travel ban.


It also did not include language that could allow for those of a certain religion to get preferential treatment, the New York Times reported.

Syrian refugees were still banned in the new executive order but only for 120 days instead of indefinitely.

March 8

The state of Hawaii moved to block the new executive order in court. The state’s attorney general, Doug Chin, said the travel ban would be detrimental to the state’s economy and educational institutions.

March 15

A federal judge in Hawaii halted the new executive order mere hours before it went into effect.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson temporarily halted the travel ban with a restraining order.


The Justice Department called the ruling “flawed both in reasoning and scope.”

March 16

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, sitting in Maryland, also temporarily halted the executive order.

Chuang argued that the order specifically targeted Muslims, and his ruling blocked the part of the travel ban that prevented the issuance of visas to people from the six countries.

Meanwhile, five Republican-appointed judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voiced their support of the legality of the executive order.

"Whatever we, as individuals, may feel about the President or the Executive Order, the President's decision was well within the powers of the presidency," the judges said.

March 29

Watson, the federal judge in Hawaii, extended his order that blocked Trump’s travel ban.

March 30

The Trump administration appealed Watson’s ruling with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

May 8

The Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began to hear the case of Trump’s travel ban to determine whether it’s an overreach on Trump’s authority.


This hearing was the first of two appeals in May; the other hearing is with the 9th Circuit in California.

May 11

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., declined to grant a request to halt Trump's executive order as two other judges already ruled to halt the travel ban. 

May 25

The 4th Circuit blocked the Trump administration from implementing the travel ban.

“We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s promised Muslim ban," the court said in its 10-3 ruling.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Justice Department would request a review of the appeals court ruling from the Supreme Court. Sessions said the Justice Department “strongly” disagreed with the ruling and will continue to defend the order.

The court ruling blocked Trump’s “efforts to strengthen this country’s national security,” Sessions said.

President Trump, Sessions added, isn’t required to admit people from “countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted” and that they do not pose a security threat.

June 26

The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump hailed the decision as a "victory for national security," but it's likely to set off a new round of court disputes over anti-terror efforts and religious discrimination.

The nation’s highest court ruled Monday that justices will hear arguments in October in the case. Until then, the court said, Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The State Department said it will implement the travel ban 72 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling — meaning it will go into effect the morning of June 29.

July 13

A federal judge in Hawaii expanded the scope of the travel ban – allowing additional family members to come to the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that a “bona fide relationship” needed before entering the U.S. can include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people already in the U.S.

The Justice Department filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court asking for clarification. 

July 19 

The Supreme Court on Thursday partially granted the Trump administration another victory on its travel ban as it ruled that its strict enforcement on its refugee ban could stay in place – at least until a federal appeals court weighs in. 

However, the justices did leave in place a lower court order that makes it easier for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries to enter the U.S. 

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii ruled last week that the government should allow in refugees formally working with a resettlement agency in the U.S. He also expanded the family relations that refugees and visitors can use to get into the country. 

The Supreme Court blocked Wednesday Watson’s order as it applies to refugees but allowed the expanded list of refugees to stay. The justices said the federal appeals court in San Francisco should consider the appeal. 

It is unclear how quickly that will happen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.