Travel Ban: Attempt #2

On March 6th, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a new Executive order “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES”. The order Revokes (Cancels) and Replaces the previous order signed on January 27, 2017. The following points are a brief summary of the new order:

I. The Ban
1. The order applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (Note that although Iraq has been taken off the list, Iraqi Nationals will be subject to additional scrutiny).
2. Entry of Nationals of the six countries listed above will be suspended for 90 days. (See the exceptions below).
3. Travel, and decisions on applications, for Refugee status will be suspended for 120 days. (Note that no indefinite suspension for Syrian refugees is mentioned).
4. The number of Refugees to be admitted into the US in 2017 will be limited to 50,000 refugees.
5. The priority or exception given to Christian Minorities in Muslim Majority countries has been completely removed from this order.

II. Who does it apply to?
Applies only to Foreign Nationals from the 6 listed countries who:
a. Are outside the United States on the effective date of this order;
b. Did not have a valid visa on January 27, 2017; and
c. Do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.
It also applies to Refugees applying to come from the listed countries and have not been approved or scheduled to travel to the United states yet.

III. Exception
The Order lists many very broad discretionary exceptions, and waivers, which are granted to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Counselors, and CBP Officers. However, the following are more specific exceptions to which the ban does not apply to
.

A. The Immigrant and non-immigrant ban:
1. Any lawful permanent resident of the United States (Green Card Holders);
2. Foreign Nationals already in the United States;
3. Foreign Nationals who have an Advanced Parole or similar documents;
4. Dual Nationals with one nationality from a listed country and another nationality from a non-listed country;
5. Diplomates; and
6. Foreign nationals who have been already granted asylum, refugees already admitted to the US, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

B. The Refugees Ban:
The Refugees ban does not apply to:
1. Refugee applicants who, before the effective date of this order, have been formally scheduled for transit (travel) by the Department of State.

IV. Application
While applying or implementing the Order, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are directed to the following:
1. Providing an opportunity for individuals to claim a fear of persecution or torture, such as the credible fear determination for aliens;
2. No immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before the effective date of this order shall be revoked;
3. Any individual whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of Executive Order 13769 shall be entitled to a travel document confirming that the individual is permitted to travel to the United States and seek entry;
4. The order shall not apply to an individual who has been granted asylum, to a refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or to an individual granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture; and
5. The order shall not be construed to limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture, consistent with the laws of the United States.

V. Effective Date
The order is effective at 12:01 a.m., Eastern Time on March 16, 2017.

EO Banning Immigrants, Non-immigrants, and Refugees from Entering The US

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!

Updates of Executive Order Imposing Travel and Refugee Ban

On February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the federal government from enforcing parts of the travel ban including:
1. Sections 3(c) – 90-day travel ban on “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from the 7 designated countries;
2. Section 5(a) – 120-day ban on U.S. refugee program;
3. Section 5(b) – prioritization of certain refugee claims (giving a priority to minorities in Muslim majority countries) ;
4. Section 5(c) – indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions; and
5. Section 5(e) – case-by-case refugee admissions.
The Court order applies nationwide and to all U.S. land and air ports of entry are prohibited from enforcing these portions of the EO until further order from the court.
On January 27th, 2017, the Department of State announced that it was provisionally revoking all visas that have been previously issued to citizens from the named countries. However, on February 4, 2017, and in compliance to the court order:
1. Department of State: DOS has confirmed that assuming there are no other issues in the case, provisionally revoked visas have been reversed and are once again valid for travel.
2. Customs and Boarder Protection: All CBP Field Offices have been instructed to immediately resume inspection of travelers under standard policies and procedures. All airlines and terminal operators have been notified to permit boarding of all passengers without regard to nationality.
3. Physically Revoked Visas: CBP confirmed that individuals who arrived last weekend and had their visas physically cancelled as a result of the Executive Order will not need to reapply for a new visa and absent any other admissibility issues will receive an I-193 waiver (Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa) upon arrival to the U.S. For those traveling by air, airlines have been instructed to contact CBP to receive authorization to permit boarding.
4. US Citizenship and Immigration Services: USCIS will continue to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin, and applications and petitions of lawful permanent residents outside the U.S. USCIS will also continue to adjudicate applications and petitions for individuals outside the U.S. whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization. Applications to adjust status also continue to be adjudicated, according to existing policies and procedures, for applicants who are nationals of countries designated in the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order.
The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined, on February 5th, 2017, to grant an emergency stay of the court order and refused to quickly reinstate the travel ban. However, the court will hear the full case and may make a decision on the matter by Monday, February 6th, 2017.
Last, as of February 2nd, 2017, the Department of State confirmed that there is no information that supports the widely spread rumor of plans to expand the travel ban to include additional countries.