What you need to know about President Trump’s Executive Order banning citizens from seven countries and the suspension of the refugee program:
• Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are banned from entering the U.S. for 90 days beginning January 27, 2017.
• The refugee program has been suspended for 120 days to determine which nationalities pose the least risk and the Syrian refugee program has been suspended indefinitely.
• Among other provisions, Section 3 of the Executive Order, “suspends” the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from any of the seven countries. What this means is that lawful permanent residents (green card holders) trying to come back into the U.S. from one of the seven countries, could be denied entry and detained. These are permanent residents of the U.S. who might have been visiting family, or acting as a government interpreter, or providing medical assistance abroad. There are specific reports that many of these green card holders were detained by immigration officials after being denied re-entry back into the U.S.
• Anyone from one of the seven countries who has been granted a visa, either for a temporary stay or permanent stay in the U.S. and has not yet boarded a plane, should understand that they will either be prohibited from boarding the plane in the foreign country or will be denied admission at their U.S. point of entry. In at least one reported instance, two individuals, with immigrant visas already approved, were not allowed to board a plane in Jordan. There have been stories coming out of the American Immigration Lawyers Association of some immigrant visa holders who were able to board but were then detained upon entry.
• Further, all U.S. embassies and consular posts were instructed to immediately suspend the issuance of new nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for nationals from those seven countries. In addition, visa interviews already scheduled have been cancelled.
Besides a nationwide stay entered by a federal court in New York, a federal court in Boston early Sunday morning issued a restraining order. Other courts have entered similar orders. As of now, customs and immigration authorities are carrying out the Executive Order on a case-by-case basis, and the need for immediate legal assistance is critical.
If you have questions about your immigration status or how the executive order may affect you or that of a loved one, contact us today.
Michelle Radie-Coffin is a member of the firm’s Business Law, Real Estate Law, Immigration Law, Employment Law and Estate Planning Group. She is a member of The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and The American Immigration Council (AIC).