January 29, 2017
Urgent: Trump Travel Ban Takes Immediate Effect
On January 27, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” That order is being challenged in court, but most of it remains in effect as of Sunday, January 29th.
Who Is Affected?
Anyone in the process of applying for admission to the United States as a refugee, and anyone who is a citizen of (or holds a passport from) the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, including Legal Permanent Residents of the United States and dual nationals.
How are Refugee applicants affected?
The executive order bans all refugee admissions to the U.S. for 120 days (and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely), purportedly to allow DHS to beef up the already-extreme vetting procedure for refugee applicants. According to media reports, this ban took immediate effect, stranding some refugees in airports, separated from their families. It is likely that exceptions to the ban will be made for Christian refugees.
Why are Refugee admissions being banned?
The stated reason is to allow the Department of Homeland Security to review and improve the vetting process for refugees. However, the current refugee vetting process is already extremely thorough (it takes 18-24 months, and involves background checks performed by multiple intelligence agencies), and has done an exceptional job of preventing the entry of immigrants who wish to harm America. In this context, it is unclear why the Trump administration is convinced that additional security measures are needed.
How are Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan, Somalian, Sudanese, Syrian, and Yemeni citizens and passport holders affected?
According to the order, any immigrants or non-immigrants from the above-listed countries who were unlucky enough to be outside of the United States on January 27th will be denied re-entry to the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. Exceptions will not be made for those who have jobs and/or families in the U.S., meaning that many will be stranded from their families, and/or at risk of losing a job they are prevented from returning to. This blanket ban will doubtlessly be contested in court, so check back frequently for updates.
How are Legal Permanent Residents affected?
Green card holders from the affected countries are NOT being automatically re-admitted to the U.S. Rather, they are being detained and thoroughly interviewed upon attempted re-entry, and then admitted or not on a case-by-case basis. Permanent Residents who are outside of the U.S. should contact their immigration attorney before attempting re-entry.
How are those in the U.S. affected?
If you are from an affected country or are a refugee, it is recommended that you contact your immigration attorney immediately. Leaving the United States without first consulting your attorney is not recommended, as future re-entry cannot be guaranteed, even if you have a valid visa or travel document.
These executive actions are already being successfully challenged in court, though so far the stay/injunction only applies to those who were stuck in transit yesterday, as the ban went into effect. Those outside of the U.S. who have yet to attempt re-entry are still subject to the ban as of the morning of January 29th. However, additional lawsuits are already being prepared.
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