Executive Order Regarding Travel Ban

Meredith W. Barnette, Esq., Partner
[email protected]

On Friday, January 27, 2017, 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."

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 Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The order does not define what it means to be "from" a designated country. Thus, in an abundance of caution, we strongly recommend interpreting the term broadly to include passport holders, citizens, nationals, dual nationals, etc.

Further, travel is not automatically reinstated after 90 days. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security 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.

On January 29, 2017, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly stated that granting entry to the U.S. by Lawful Permanent Residents ("LPRs") who are citizens of the seven impacted countries is "in the national interest." This followed contradictory statements by a number of administration officials regarding the treatment of such LPRs. It now appears that application for readmission to the U.S. of these LPRs will adjudicated on a case by case basis. Until the treatment of LPRs has been clarified, we advise against travel.

Please note that the situation is fluid, and may change at any time. There are several legal actions challenging this executive order and we are monitoring them closely. Additional information will be posted on our website and will be provided on an ongoing basis, as appropriate.

We strongly recommend that anyone who might be impacted by the Executive Order refrain from traveling outside of the United States. If currently outside the United States, please contact us immediately to discuss your specific situation.

Click here to view a Q & A that addresses many of the issues raised in the Executive Order. Please review the Q & A and contact an attorney at Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm with any questions.