What we know and don't know about the travel ban implementation

The Supreme Court ruling leaves open a number of questions.

ByABC News
June 27, 2017, 2:51 PM

— -- The Supreme Court's decision to partially implement the Trump administration's controversial travel ban raises questions about how it will be implemented before the case is formally argued in front of the Supreme Court this fall.

Here is a breakdown of what we know and don't know about the implementation.

What did the Supreme Court say?

The Supreme Court is allowing travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to enter the U.S. if they have a "bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

What qualifies as a "bona fide" connection?

That includes foreign nationals with familial connections in the U.S., students who have already been admitted into an American university, workers with existing job offers in the U.S. and lecturers who have accepted invitations to conferences in the U.S.

"It leaves open a number of questions of interpretation and implementation," said Kate Shaw, ABC News' Supreme Court contributor. "I think it might lead to a lot of litigation over the summer about who exactly has enough of a connection to the U.S. to satisfy the Supreme Court's standard."

Who will determine a "bona fide" connection?

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nuaert said at a briefing this afternoon that the State Department is waiting for the Department of Justice to give more details on the “bona fide” connection component.

Once that is determined, State Department officials will share that guidance with consular officers around the world, but the Department of Justice is still working on the definition, Nuaert said.

Visa applications are reviewed and decided by a consular affairs officer in an embassy abroad. It is up to these public servants' discretion to grant or deny an applicant, and that will still be the case under the ruling -- they'll just have to factor in someone's "bona fide" connection now, too.

John Cohen, a former Department of Homeland Security official and current ABC News analyst, said the classification "is not a term of art generally used by those involved in granting visas or other immigration benefits."

The term will have to be clearly defined before it is implemented "or there is a risk of inconsistent or even discriminatory practices at consulates and points of entry," he warned.

"Once defined, the definition will need to be communicated to those U.S. government personnel involved in the process of vetting those applying to travel to the U.S. from those countries in which the ban applies," Cohen said.

When does it go into effect?

The State Department released a statement Monday saying it will implement the executive order in an orderly fashion 72 hours after the stay and after first consulting with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Only after that, it said, will additional details on the implementation be provided.

"We will keep those traveling to the United States and partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way," the statement said.

ABC News' Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.

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