President Trump has issued a new Executive Order (EO) with an effective date of March 16, 2017 that repeals the prior EO suspending entry into the United States of aliens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
5 key takeaways
- The updated travel ban does not include Iraq, but does include Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
- The updated travel ban does not include lawful permanent residents or foreign nationals with valid visas.
- The EO also contains provisions for waivers for certain foreign nationals from the six countries listed in the travel ban. Applicants for waivers must establish that: (i) denying entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship; (ii) his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security; and (iii) his or her entry would be in the national interest.
- The EO also suspends the entry of all refugees for 120 days and limits the total number of refugees in the fiscal year 2017 to 50,000. Unlike the prior EO, the updated version does not suspend the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely. Refugees who have already been approved and who are considered to be in transit to the United States prior to March 16, 2017 will still be admitted to the United States despite the ban.
- The EO suspends all Visa Interview Waiver Programs, only allowing exceptions for those foreign nationals applying for and traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic type visas. The India drop box program is included in the list of Visa Interview Waiver Programs that has been suspended.
How did we get here?
President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) on January 27 suspending entry into the United States of aliens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Specifically excluded from the EO were foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas. The EO also granted authority to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to continue issuing visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of otherwise blocked countries, if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest.
Secretary John Kelly issued a statement deeming the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest. According to the statement, “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be dispositive factor in [the government’s] case-by-case determinations.
While Secretary Kelly’s comments suggested that lawful permanent residents may be granted entry to the United States during the suspension period, green card holders from the listed countries should expect a high degree of scrutiny when arriving in the United States.
In the short-term, we recommend that our clients communicate with their employee populations immediately to identify individuals who are from these countries and who may be traveling to and from the United States. Developing an escalation protocol to support impacted employees, and communicating that protocol to your larger employee population may help to allay fears during this period of uncertainty. From both a tactical and public relations perspective this will communicate the appropriate sensitivity, awareness and support.