As the Trump administration’s revised travel ban went into effect Thursday night, the mood at the arrival gate of O’Hare Airport’s International Terminal was a far cry from what it was six months earlier when the first version of the ban was put in place.
There were no throngs of protesters marching along the roadway outside the terminal, but there were loved ones hugging after their reunion.
Instead of the dozens of attorneys setting up camp to help those detained, there were only five, working to gather information about travelers who might have experienced setbacks.
As of 8:45 p.m. there were no reported detentions, according to Iman Boundaoui, one of the attorneys in the terminal.
Messages left with a spokesman for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection were not returned Thursday night.
The situation in the International Terminal seemed relatively business-as-usual in the immediate aftermath of the revised ban again taking effect. Earlier in the day, though, Fiona McEntee, an immigration attorney, told the Chicago Sun-Times that attorneys were “planning to ramp up at O’Hare.”
The revised travel ban went back into effect at 7 p.m. The Associated Press reported that visas that have already been approved will not be revoked. However, instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible.
The same requirement, with some exceptions, applies to would-be refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the United States.
One of the major concerns was how the executive order would be interpreted.
“Right now, it’s really going to be a guessing game until we find out how they decide to implement these procedures,” said Grant Talabay, another of the attorneys.
When the Supreme Court lifted the injunction that blocked the travel ban, Talabay said, the high court made an effort to be as clear as possible about their terms.
“We know what happened last time,” Talabay said. “However, I believe that when the Supreme Court decided to lift this, the language they used was meant to alleviate that arbitrariness.”
President Donald Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office last January. After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court’s action on Monday partially reinstated it. Eighteen people were detained at O’Hare the day the executive order was signed, though all were eventually released.