Friday, January 27, 2017, Trump signed an Executive Order aimed directly against Muslims and Refugees. The following points are a quick summary of this order:
1. Suspends the refugee program for 120 days and suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely;
2. Caps refugee resettlement numbers at 50,000 for FY 2017;
3 . Suspends immigrant and nonimmigrant entry for people from predominantly Muslim countries for a minimum of 90 days while the government undertakes a review of visa issuance and immigration benefits processes;
4. Requires in-person interviews for nonimmigrant visa applicants;
5. Establishes requirements for “extreme vetting”;
6. Prioritizes refugees whose claims are based on religious persecution but only if the person’s religion is a minority in their country of origin;
7. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to expedite the completion of an entry-exit biometric system.
We will post more on this and explain how it could affect you and your family within the coming days.
Q: Does the Immigration Ban Apply to US Citizens or Permanent Residents (Green Card Holder)?
US Citizens – The ban does not apply to US Citizens who come from the listed countries. However, it does affect them by denying, or significantly delaying, the process of reuniting with their family members and loved ones who were waiting to get their immigrant or nonimmigrant visas. If you are a US citizen who recently got married or engaged to someone from any of the listed countries, or have recently petitioned for your mother or father to come join you in the US, then your application will be delayed due to this order.
Permanent Residents (Green Card Holder) – The ban should not apply to Green Card Holders who come from the listed countries. Green Card Holders are not aliens; they have been investigated at many stages and went through many steps before being admitted to the United States. They are eligible to become Citizens after 5 years (or in some cases 3 years) of receiving the GC. Of the Over 500,000 GC Holders who come from the 7 listed countries, many have been eligible to apply for citizenship years ago but never did.
To get back to the question addressed, there have been many cases reported of GC holders coming from the 7 listed countries being denied entry into the US at the border or faced significant delays and questioning. Some have been even refused to board on planes coming to the US because they are nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, or Sudan. Meanwhile, some GC holders coming from these same countries reported that they were able to enter the US without a problem.
Therefore, there is no definite answer to assure GC Holders. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to Reuters on Saturday morning that it was applying the ban to Green Card Holders. However, an administration official confirmed Saturday afternoon that they are making a “case-by-case” decision in regard to Green Card Holders. Even government officials are unable to fully explain if ban does or does not apply to Permanent Residents!
I would strongly advise all Green Card Holders from these countries not to travel outside of the United States at this time. Until things clear up, it is advised that you remain in the US and avoid international travel. If you are a green card holder who is eligible to apply for Citizenship, do not delay your application anymore. Even if you are not from the listed countries, under this administration, you cannot predict what comes next! Consult with an Attorney to discuss your eligibility and the process of applying for your citizenship.
Who else does the Order affect?
It basically affects everyone from the 7 named countries. Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan are all affected by this order even if they carry a second citizenship! Dual citizens with at least one citizenship from any of the listed countries, who happen to also be citizens of any other country around the world (Other than the US), are banned from traveling to, or entering, the US. To make it simpler, if you are a Canadian Citizen who also carries Syrian or Iraqi Citizenship, you may be banned from entering the US for the next 90 days!