Travel Ban Update

The Supreme Court this week decided to hear the Travel Ban cases when it reconvenes in the fall. In the meantime, the Court will allow the administration to implement parts of President Trump’s second executive order, which bans the entry of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from the United States and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days.

The following article contains information on who will and won’t be impacted by the Court’s narrow interim decision:

No Current Plans to Expand Travel Ban Beyond Current Countries

In response to rumors of plans to expand the travel ban to other countries, Department of State (DOS) informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that there is no addendum, annex, or amendment now being worked on to expand visa revocations or the travel ban to countries other than those currently implicated in the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” This includes Columbia and Venezuela which have been widely rumored to be under consideration. DOS confirmed that there is no information that supports such a rumor and asked that AILA members help end the spread of this false information.

Homeland Security DHS To Make Exceptions To Trump’s Ban On Refugees & Certain Travelers

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to make exceptions to President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and certain foreign nationals, including by allowing 872 refugees into the U.S. this week. Legal permanent residents, dual nationals and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. government will be exempt from the ban on travelers from certain countries, officials said. They made the announcement on Tuesday, following a period of confusion over the executive order that began when Trump signed it on Friday.

Secretary John Kelly announced on Sunday that waivers would be provided on a case-by-case basis to legal permanent residents, or green card holders.  On Tuesday, he and other DHS officials announced additional exceptions to the order. Iraqi nationals will now be eligible for entry using Special Immigrant Visas, which are granted to people who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, officials said.

DHS officials also said that dual nationals with visas and passports from a non-restricted country are eligible to apply for entry into the U.S., such as someone with citizenship from Iran and the United Kingdom.

Even after the changes, millions of people from the seven affected countries, along with all refugees not scheduled to enter the U.S. this week, are subject to the ban.

Travel Ban per 1/27/2017 Executive Order

  • The Executive Order applies to all individuals “from” the 7 designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. That includes Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), nonimmigrant visa holders, immigrant visa holders, refugees, derivative asylees, Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), etc.
  • Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being “from” the designated country. This includes dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country.
  • CBP will be processing people based on how they present themselves at primary inspection.
  • The Executive Order does not apply to people who merely traveled to designated countries. However, travel to these countries may by risky.
  • Legal Permanent Residents: There appears to be some limited discretion for DHS to admit LPRs on a case-by-case basis, and following a thorough security review. LPRs will be allowed to board planes. Their cases will be adjudicated at the port of entry. We are hearing that some permanent residents are being asked to sign Form I-407 relinquishing their permanent resident status. Do not sign Form I-407.  Ask to contact your attorney.
  • Nonimmigrants: Nonimmigrants will be allowed to withdraw their application for admission. Expedited removal will generally only be used for those individuals who do not wish to withdraw their application for admission.

Please note that the situation is fluid, and may change at any time.

A Look at the New Executive Order

Executive Order signed today which includes the following provisions:

  • Refugee Admissions: Suspends the Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. Reduce refugee admissions for FY2017 to 50,000 from President Obama’s goal of 110,000. Notwithstanding the temporary suspension, refugees may be admitted on a case-by-case basis if certain criteria are met.
  • Ban on Entry to U.S. for Certain Countries: Suspends visa issuance and other immigration benefits to nationals of countries of particular concern, including Iraq and Syria.
  • Biometric Entry-Exit System: Directs agencies to expedite completion of biometric entry-exit system.
  • Suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program: All visa applicants will be required to attend an interview unless not required by statute.