What Does The Executive Order on Travel and Immigration Mean For the Meetings Industry?

Meetings Mean Business joins the American travel community in supporting efforts to bolster national security. We recognize the substantially more cautious and deliberate introduction of the revised executive order on travel and immigration, however, several of the industry’s initial concerns remain unaddressed.

A Meetings Mean Business survey, conducted after the initial executive order, found that the majority of meetings industry professionals were concerned about reputational harm to the U.S. Our industry is centered on bringing people together, fostering relationships, driving positive outcomes, and supporting communities where meetings and events are held.

We reiterate our belief that striking the right balance between enhanced security and travel facilitation is of the utmost importance. We also continue to urge that the security reviews prescribed by the executive orders be concluded as quickly as possible.

What the Executive Order Does

The revised executive order includes several provisions that temporarily suspend or limit travel from various countries around the world. Among the most significant provisions for the meetings and travel community, the executive order:

  • Suspends entry to the U.S. for 90 days for nationals of six countries (Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) seeking new immigrant and non-immigrant visas – Iraq has been removed from the list after the country has agreed to increased cooperation and vetting procedures with Homeland Security
  • Bans all refugees for 120 days; however, Syrian refugees now fall under this category whereas they were banned indefinitely in the initial executive order
  • Will go into effect ten days after issuance on March 16, instead of immediately
  • Addresses existing visa and card holders by noting that the ban does not apply to those who have already been granted asylum
  • Removes preferential treatment for religious minorities

Recent Updates (July 24, 2017)

Legal challenges to President Trump's revised executive order make their way to the Supreme Court this fall:

  • After the Justice Department petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite its review of a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, the court announced that it will issue a decision in October as to whether the Administration's executive order is lawful. The court will hear arguments from Maryland's and Hawaii's federal courts that deal with immigration cases. All nine justices agreed to take the case.

  • In the meantime, the court is allowing certain parts of the travel ban to take effect, in which foreign nationals without a "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States" will be banned from entry starting in as little as three days.

  • A federal judge in Hawaii ruled that the definiation of "bona fide" relatives of U.S. citizens exempted from the President's executive order on immigration was too narrow and expanded the list of eligible relatives to include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts. The Administration asked the Supreme Court to block the ruling, but the Court upheld the Hawaiian Court's ruling, allowing "broader family exceptions."

    • The Department of State issued an updated definition of "close familial relationship" based on the Court's decision.

  • The Supreme Court did, however, block a different part of the Hawaiian court's ruling, which had said that any refugee with an existing arrangement to come to the U.S. through an aid group should be admitted. The Supreme Court said that question will need to be decided by San Francisco's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning 24,000 refugees with arrangements to come to the U.S. will not be admitted.

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MMB Survey

As part of MMB’s industry-wide response to the initial executive order, we developed a short survey to assess impact to the meetings industry. The survey was sent to MMB members, meeting planners and other industry professionals and conducted between February 1st and 10th. It will impact our advocacy efforts to understand the near and long term impacts, as well as any specific challenges our industry faces. The survey results are available here.

Industry Resources

Smart Meetings: What’s so Different about Trump’s New Travel Ban?

Travel Leaders React to SCOTUS Review of Executive Orders on Immigration