What's New in the World of Immigration?

01/27/2017 - URGENT: Executive Order Update & Travel Warning

President Trump signed an Executive Order relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees. The Executive Order is titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States."

Among other provisions, Section 3 of the Executive Order, "suspends" the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from certain designated countries for 90 days from the date of the order. Designated countries are those identified in INA §217(a)(12) and later added to the list of countries with Visa Waiver restrictions and would therefore include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Note that INA §217(a)(12) includes restrictions on people who travel to the designated countries, as well. It does not appear that the Executive Order is meant to encompass these individuals; however, it is not completely clear.

The order also does not define what it means to be "from" a designated country. Thus, in an abundance of caution, it may be best to interpret the term broadly to include passport holders, citizens, nationals, dual nationals, etc. Additionally, after 90 days, travel is not automatically reinstated. Instead, DHS is required to report whether countries have provided information "needed … for the adjudication of any … benefit under the INA … to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat." If not, the country would have 60 days to comply, or the travel ban would become indefinite.

Anyone who might be affected by the Executive Order should refrain from traveling outside of the United States. AILA has reached out to CBP for information on how they are currently handling the entry of individuals from designated countries, and will update this alert with additional information as soon as it is available. Please note that the situation is fluid, and may change at any time.

Adapted from AILA Doc. No. 17012670