On Friday night, February 3, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington in Seattle, granted a Temporary Restraining Order (the “TRO”) invalidating key portions of President Trump’s January 27 Executive Order and enjoined enforcement of its ban on the entry to the U.S. of travelers from the 7 designated countries. The TRO was granted on a nationwide basis and potentially allows individuals from the affected countries holding valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visas who are otherwise admissible to once again enter the U.S. at any port of entry. The Trump Administration issued an immediate condemnation of the TRO and intends to challenge it.

The Executive Order became effective on January 27, 2017 and affects nearly all travelers, except U.S. Permanent Residents (green card holders), seeking entry with passports from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen who are applying for entry to the United States at any port of entry—air, land or sea. See our Feb. 2nd Client Alert.

This morning, Department of Homeland Security acting press secretary Gillian Christensen announced "In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.' This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order." She said DHS will resume inspections of travelers as it did prior to the signing of the Executive Order.

Information as to adherence to the TRO by airlines overseas in boarding affected travelers is mixed at this time. Also, although there have been scattered media reports earlier today, there has been no official announcement by the Department of State as to any remedial action with respect to its revocation of visas of individuals from the affected countries.

Given the temporary status of this Restraining Order and the Administration’s determination to challenge it, any affected individual seeking to travel to the U.S. should consider doing so promptly before the situation shifts again.

We will continue to update our readers as additional information regarding these significant U.S. immigration changes becomes available.