WHO: During the month of January, the President introduced a series of executive orders on immigration affecting non-U.S. Citizens, including green card holders and non-immigrants. These orders were issued to enhance public safety within the United States, to crackdown on illegal immigration by prioritizing deportations of undocumented criminals, to secure our Southern border, and prevent the spread of terrorism to the United States.
WHAT: The major provisions of these executive orders call for:
“Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “ Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”
(1) the immediate construction of a “wall” between the United States and Mexico to prevent and deter illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism;
(2) construction of detention facilities to sustain the anticipated increase in detainees’ subject to removal from the United States;
(3) termination of a “catch and release” policy that allows undocumented immigrants to be released after having been apprehended for immigration related violations, as well as the termination of the Priority Enforcement Program;
(4) directs agencies to expedite the removal of immigrants who have been convicted of crimes in the United States;
(5) a substantial increase in the number of border and immigration officers to intercept, detain and deport unlawful immigrants;
(6) empowers State and local law enforcement agencies to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States;
(7) allows the removal of undocumented immigrants who have been charged, but not convicted, of a criminal offense.
“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” A federal judge has issued a Temporary Restraining Order Halting the Provisions of this Order
(1) immediate suspension of both immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the United States for a 90-day period (affects nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) Excludes foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, and C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations;
(2) the order, indefinitely suspends all Syrian refugees from entering the United States until it has been determined that sufficient changes have been made to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) to ensure that security standards have been met; the Secretary of State may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked;
(3) Suspension of US Refugee program for a period of 120 days; the Secretary of State may continue to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis when it is in the national interest. Priority will be given to those refugee claims that are predicated on religious based persecution, given that the refugee’s religion is a minority religion in his/her country of nationality (meant to assist mainly Christian refugees in predominantly Islamic states);
(4) After the 120 days have lapsed from the order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for foreign nationals of countries which the Secretary of Homeland Security, State, and Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined sufficient safeguards are in place to ensure security of Americans.
(5) suspension of the visa waiver interview program: all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa must submit to an in-person interview, subject to some statutory exclusions;
(6) Implementation of uniform screen standards for all immigrant categories and programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Travel and Refugee ban currently being enforced at all ports of entry?
No, on February 3, 2017 a Federal Judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order halting enforcement of the Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” As a result, the Travel and Refugee ban has been temporarily suspended nationwide, until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether the Restraining Order will remain. DHS will resume inspection of travelers according to standard policies and procedures that were in place before the travel ban was issued. If the Ninth Circuit Court decides to lift the Temporary Restraining Order in the future, the travel and refugee ban will be reinstated.
Who was affected by the travel ban?
All travelers, except U.S. Citizens, traveling with passports from any of the seven Muslim-majority countries named in the Order (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) attempting to enter the United States by air, land, or sea. Dual nationals holding a passport with a valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visa from a country that is not listed in the Order can enter the United States.
I am a citizen of one of the affected countries, and I have a non-immigrant visa, can I travel back home?
At this time, the travel ban has been temporarily suspended, citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries may enter the United States on a valid non-immigrant visa. The suspension however is only temporary, please contact our office before contemplating travel abroad.
TIP: When traveling, always carry proof of lawful status with you such as I-797 Original Approval Notices issued by USCIS, your I-94 arrival/departure record, your passport containing a parole stamp that outlines your duration of stay, I-20 or DS-2019 forms for F-1 and J-1 visa holders, and proof of strong ties to your home country (property ownership abroad, proof of employment abroad, academic or military enrollment abroad, birth certificates of children residing abroad, etc.).
I am a citizen of one of the affected countries, and I have a green card, can I travel back home?
Yes, has indicated that under the Executive Order, the entry of permanent residents is in the “national interest.” Per DHS “Under the recent guidance from the White House, we will continue to ensure that lawful permanent residents are processed through our borders efficiently. Under that guidance, the Executive Order issued January 27, 2017, does not apply to the entry [of permanent residents] to the United States.”
TIP: When traveling, always carry proof of your lawful status including your passport, green card, and proof of strong ties to the United States (property ownership, proof of employment, academic or military enrollment, birth certificates of children in the United States, etc.). If you have filed an I-751 removal of conditions application with USCIS, you must carry your Receipt Notice with you at all times. This receipt notice automatically extends your permanent resident status for a one year period while your case is pending with USCIS.
I am a citizen of one of the affected countries, and I have recently naturalized, can I travel back home without any trouble?
Yes, if you are a naturalized citizen and are traveling with a U.S. passport you will generally not have any problems entering the country, although CBP and immigration officials ultimately have the discretionary power to determine whether a person will be admitted to the United States. Immigration officials may still question you about the nature of your visit abroad and duration of your visit.
TIP: Travelers are processed and admitted into the United States, according to the travel document they present. If you were recently issued a certificate of naturalization, and you plan to travel abroad, and are a dual citizen of one of the affected countries, you should obtain your U.S. passport as soon as possible.
I was born in one of the banned countries, but I am a citizen of a country not on the list, will there be problems?
If you are a citizen of a country that is not on the list, and have a passport from that unaffected country, you will not have any problems while traveling. You may still be questioned by Customs or Immigration Officials.
TIP: To facilitate your entry into the United States, if you are a green card holder, always carry proof of strong ties to the United States. Do not provide any documents that tie you to your country of birth, if you have a valid passport form an unaffected country.
I am waiting for my green card or citizenship paperwork to process, can I travel with an I-131 advance parole document?
At this time, beneficiaries of an adjustment of status application with a valid advance parole document may enter the United States using that advance parole document. However, please be aware that the advance parole document contains an important disclaimer which states that an advance parole document does not guarantee any person admission to the United States. CBP may use their discretion in deciding whether or not to admit a person with an advance parole document into the United States. DHS may also revoke or terminate an advance parole document at any time.
TIP: When traveling with an advance parole document, bring proof of lawful status (arrival/departure record), and proof that your petition is currently pending with USCIS (I-797 Notices of Action).
Does the order affect Dual Citizens?
If you are a dual national with a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa in a passport issued by a country that is not affected by the Executive Order, the travel ban does not apply to you.
How does the Travel Ban affect college students from the affected countries in F1/J1/M1 visa status?
College students in F1/J1/M1 visa status who were in the U.S. at the time the executive order was signed, will not be affected by the executive order. Those who were abroad at the time of the signing, or who travel out of the country and attempt to return will not be allowed to return for this temporary period because of a lack of valid travel documents. The Department is evaluating whether those who are precluded from returning as a result of the Executive Order will be considered to have maintained their status.
The list of the executive orders signed by Donald Trump that affect immigration law are as follows:
1. Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/25/presidential-executive-order-enhancing-public-safety-interior-united
2. Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/25/executive-order-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement-improvements
3. Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/27/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states