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In the executive order (known as Trump Immigration Travel Ban) signed January 27, 2017, President Trump suspends immigrant (such as green card holders) and nonimmigrant (such as B-1/B-2, F-1, K-1, E-1/E-2, L-1, H-2B, H-1B, visas) entry to the United States of individuals from the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days. These countries were previously designated under the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act as countries that are “area of concern”.

Within the next 30 days, additional countries can be added to the Trump immigration travel ban list. The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report within 30 days to the President outlining countries that do not currently have adequate measures in place to ensure that individuals seeking visas or admission to the United States are not a security or public safety threat. The Executive Order carves out an exception for the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to issue visas or other immigration benefits on a case-by-case basis to individuals from countries that have been blocked after a determination that it would be in the “national interest.”

Where is Trump getting his authority to implement such a travel? He is relying on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that states, the President can suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens who may be immigrants or nonimmigrants for such period of time as he/she may deem necessary, if the president finds that the entry of any such alien will be detrimental to the interest of the United States.

More Importantly, the Executive Order suspends the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) for 120 days. In other words, the United States will not be accepting any refugees from any country for 120 days. After the 120-day period, priority will be given to refugees claiming “religious based persecution” if the religion of the refugee is “a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” Apart from the suspension the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may admit individuals as refugees on a case-by-case basis when in the “national interest,” including when the facing religious persecution, conforms to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship.

Lastly, all individuals seeking nonimmigrant visas (including ESTA waivers) must attend an in-person interview (subject to some exceptions). We also suspect that lawful permanent residents or green card holders who stay outside the U.S. for a long period of time may get greatly scrutiny upon re-entry to the United States. Remember, nonimmigrant visa holders and green card holders are ALWAYS applying for admission into the U.S. and admission is NEVER guarantee.

The 90-day immigrant and nonimmigrant entry ban on the aforementioned countries targets Muslim-majority countries. This ban sends an official message of exclusion of Muslims from entering the U.S. Furthermore, this has a significant impact on Muslim families in the United States, as well as for immigrant and nonimmigrant Muslims travelling for religious purposes to Iran or Iraq.

Many complaints and lawsuits were swiftly filed within 24 hours of the signing the Trump immigration travel ban executive order. In response, the U.S. Federal Courts have issued temporary injunctions on the travel ban executive order. Judge Birotte explicitly wrote that the government could not detain them or block their entry into the country. However, ports of entry and U.S. Custom and Border Protection are not applying the court decision uniformly and confusion still remains at many U.S. ports of entry.

For more information on Trump Immigration Travel Ban, email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

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