Trump’s Order Barring Nationals of 7 Countries Causes Chaos, But Situation Remains Fluid

January 30, 2017Alerts Immigration Alert

For noncitizens and their employers, the Executive Order (EO) issued on January 27, 2017, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has caused pandemonium and huge concern.

Effective immediately, the EO suspends entry into the United States by anyone born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

Over the weekend, there was chaos in many of the nation’s airports with hundreds of people detained upon entry and others not permitted to board airplanes. Confusion only worsened with court orders “staying” the EO and conflicting news stories about the status of detainees in various locations. It is no exaggeration to say that panic befell much of the noncitizen community in the United States.

At this point, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a statement that entry into the U.S. of permanent residents who are natives of — that is, born in — these seven nations will be permitted as their entry is in the “national interest.” DHS Secretary John Kelly states that “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our (the government’s) case-by-case determinations.”

Natives of those seven countries who are not U.S. permanent residents who seek to return to the United States may not be able to board planes or otherwise return. U.S. consulates are not issuing visas or visa interviews for nonimmigrants from those seven countries.

Moreover, as the EO requires everyone to have a face-to-face interview before the issuance or reissuance of a nonimmigrant visa, the processing times for the issuance of visas will be extended for all.

The application of this EO and others is fluid. One clear takeaway is that natives of the seven identified countries who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents aren’t likely to be admitted to the United States for at least the next 90 days.

Travel by noncitizens should only be undertaken with caution. During these trying times, we will do our best to provide updated information and support to our clients and their communities.

For questions or more information about this alert, please contact Robert S. Whitehill at 412.394.5595 or [email protected], Catherine V. Wadhwani at 412.394.5540 or [email protected] or any member of the firm’s Immigration Practice.