Category: Travel News Updates

Trump “Travel Ban” Partially Back in Place Until Supreme Court Rules

Trump “Travel Ban” Partially Back in Place Until Supreme Court Rules

Supreme Court Will Hear Trump Travel Ban Challenge

(Last updated at 5:15 p.m., PDT, Wednesday, July 19, 2017)

In an unsigned order issued today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review lower court rulings which had blocked enforcement of an executive order signed by Donald Trump in March that block entry into the U.S. by travelers from six predominantly-Muslim countries.

As The New York Times said in a story published today that reviews the Court’s action:

“Mr. Trump’s revised executive order, issued in March, limited travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The time was needed, the order said, to address gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures.” (Trump signed a more sweeping travel ban on January 27, 2017.)

Injunctions Against Travel Ban Partially Stayed Pending High Court Review

More importantly, the Court stayed the injunctions issued by the lower courts that prevented the government from suspending travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

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TSA Plan to Check Books and Other Items in Carry-on Bags

TSA Plan to Check Books and Other Items in Carry-on Bags

(Updated, 10:00 a.m., PDT, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.)

At the beginning of this month, Tales Told From The Road reported “that at ten U.S. airports TSA was testing a requirement that electronic devices larger than a smartphone be removed from carry-on bags.”

News outlets, including The Hill, are reporting that the agency now wants to look at books and reading material in passenger carry-on luggage, stating that:

“TSA began testing the new security requirement for books and other paper products at airports in Missouri and California earlier this month. The new screening process requires passengers to remove all reading material and food from their carry-ons and place them in a bin.

“Travelers already have to remove laptops from carry-on bags and place them in a separate bin. The new policy would let TSA employees flip through books to see if anything is hidden in their pages.”

The American Civil Liberties pointed out that the book-checking policy “raises very special privacy issues.” But the organization agreed that TSA could be justified examining books or other paper materials to make sure that a passenger isn’t trying to bring aboard a flight weapons or explosives, including “sheet explosives” which are flat enough to be hidden within a stack of papers or photographs.

Three months ago, Travel + Leisure reported that TSA was, at times, having passengers remove books from carry-on luggage, examining them for hidden weapons or narcotics, and even swabbing the books down.

In a story dated Wednesday, June 28, 2017, about TSA testing new technologies, including 3D scanning of carry-on luggage, The New York Times TSA spokesman, Mike England, who stated that: “At no time has the removal of books been T.S.A. policy, nor are we considering making it policy.”

However, the Times then pointed out that:

“..Mr. England did say that T.S.A. employees may occasionally ask travelers to declutter their carry-ons by removing items from them and placing these items into separate bins so that the bags are easier to screen.”

Presumably that qualifying remark means that TSA could ask passengers to remove books from carry-on bags, if necessary, to allow the bags to be properly screened

Potential New Rules on Carrying Electronic Devices Aboard Flights

Potential New Rules on Carrying Electronic Devices Aboard Flights

(Last updated 1:oo p.m. PDT, Wednesday, August 2, 2017)

Personal Electronics on Flights to and From U.S.

If you’re planning on taking an international flight into or out oft he U.S. in the near future, you had best check the TSA or Department of Homeland Security Websites to find out if you’ll have to stow your laptop in checked luggage.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering imposing a ban on carrying laptops aboard all flights in to and out of the U.S., extending a similar ban which has applied flights from ten airports in the Middle East since March (and which actually applies to any electronic device larger than a smartphone, including tablets and e-readers.)

(Update, July 5, 2017: The New York Times reports that Etihad, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines have been exempted from the laptop ban that had been applied to flights from the ten Middle East airports.)

(Update, July, 12, 2017: Reuters reported that a ban on state-owned EgyptAir passengers using laptops on U.S.-bound flights has been lifted, and that Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia, and Royal Air Maroc anticipated that the laptop on its flights will be lifted by July 19th.)

(Update, July 21, 2017: The New York Times reports that “[passengers flying into the United States from airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban may now take their laptops and other large electronic devices into the cabin with them.”

The newspaper said that:

“Instead of carrying out that broader ban, John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, announced last month that there would be new security standards for carriers flying into the United States. The first phase of those new rules required airports with carriers flying to American destinations to quickly demonstrate that they had the ability to screen passengers for trace amounts of explosives.

“More than 280 airports — including the 10 targeted by the original laptop ban — complied with that rule, officials said Thursday.”

Nothing in the Times story counters announcements we covered (below) over the past two days that indicated that passengers flying into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico should expect that their larger-than-cellphone electronic devices could be subject to close scrutiny and passengers might be required to remove those devices from protective cases and power them on at airport security checkpoints.

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