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 (June 12, 2017)

Legal challenges to President Trump's revised executive order continue in the federal courts and may make their way to the Supreme Court:

  • The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Trump Administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Ten of the thirteen judges who heard the case voted against the Trump administration. The Fourth Circuit said the revised executive order violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.
    • The Justice Department petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite its review of a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision. Should the Court take the case, arguments would begin this fall, with a final decision coming later.
  • The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also ruled against President Trump’s revised executive order. The 9th Circuit rested its conclusions on statutory grounds, saying the President had exceeded the authority Congress granted him in making national security judgments in the realm of immigration without adequate justification. The decision, from a three-judge panel, was unanimous.

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?

U.S. Travel Reacts to Revised Executive Order on Visas