Update on Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

February 2, 2017Alerts Immigration Alert

The full scope of the Jan. 27 executive order restricting entry into the United States of noncitizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen continues to unfold with several ongoing lawsuits challenging the order and clarifying announcements from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department.

Initially, DHS announced that the 90-day ban applied to permanent residents and nonimmigrants, but that waivers for permanent residents would generally be granted in the national interest. The White House has now announced that Sections 3(c) and 3(e) of the ban do not apply to permanent residents, so the 90-day ban no longer applies to permanent residents who are natives of the listed countries.

Dual citizens are being treated in accordance with the travel document they present. Citizens of nations that participate in the Visa Waiver Program who have travelled to one of the seven countries since March 1, 2011, will need to secure a visitor’s visa (B-1/B-2) after an interview at a U.S. Consulate in order to be eligible to enter the United States.

The executive order allows for the seeking of a waiver by any arriving national of those countries if doing so is in the “national interest,” but very few have been granted.

As a practical matter, permanent residents should be able to reenter the United States unless there is a security issue that would likely result in some additional screening and delay. Nonimmigrants, with limited exceptions for certain diplomats, are banned for 90 days.

In response, Iran and Iraq have banned entry of U.S. citizens.

Several courts have stayed certain aspects of the implementation of the executive order. The Office of Inspector General of DHS has also opened an investigation as to the enforcement of order and compliance with court orders.

The State Department announced that it has provisionally revoked all valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas from nationals of the seven nations. The full scope of this announcement is unclear as to what, if anything, it means for nonimmigrants already present in the United States with valid I-94 records.

Interviews for all immigrant and nonimmigrant visas from citizens of the seven countries are being cancelled or not scheduled by U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. The National Visa Center said it will continue to process, but not schedule interviews for beneficiaries of all categories of visa, including K-1 fiancé visas.

The executive order suspends processing and admission of refugees for 120 days and reduces the number of refugee admissions for this fiscal year to 50,000. Syrian refugee admission is suspended indefinitely.

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.

Fox Rothschild Paralegal Darlene M. Daley contributed to this alert.