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Immigration Focus

Emergency Update on Executive Order Suspending Entry as of January 27 for U.S. Legal Permanent Residents Who Are Nationals of Seven Countries

Emergency Update on Executive Order Suspending Entry as of January 27 for U.S. Legal Permanent Residents Who Are Nationals of Seven Countries

As of this morning, January 28, we are beginning to learn more about the interpretation of the final text of the Executive Order (EO) signed yesterday by President Trump entitled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” It has already resulted in students and visa holders being turned away at airports and sent back to their home country or another location abroad.

Some questions are being answered, but the situation is very fluid. What we appear to know so far:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are applying the EO to legal permanent residents of the U.S. (LPRs). Often, LPRs are referred to as “green card” holders. CBP has the authority to grant an exception to the EO on a case-by-case basis for LPRs returning to the U.S. when in the national interest and if they do not appear to pose a threat to national security or the public.

  1. The EO is being applied to nationals, including dual nationals, of the seven countries in question. So far, the EO is NOT being applied to those who are not nationals of these countries, but who have visited these countries. Nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are affected thus far.
  2. CBP could allow affected immigrant and nonimmigrant visa holders into the U.S. by making an exception to the E.O. on a case-by-case basis (See section 3(g) of the EO), if in the national interest, but travelers should not rely on this discretion.
  3. Refugees from Syria who are barred from entry also have a limited case-by-case window of discretion for possible entry to the U.S. when in the national interest and if they were already in transit on January 27 when the EO was signed. In this case, those in transit could be allowed into the U.S. if denial of their admission would cause undue hardship and they do not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the U.S.

What to do: (This information is not to be considered as legal counsel. Each individual’s circumstances must be reviewed by an attorney to consider options based on the facts. Please contact your attorney.)

  1. If you are refused admission contact your school or employer, if applicable. Ask the employer and/or school to advise the applicable representative of Congress about the circumstances.
  2. An immigration lawyer will be able to assist in determining if options may be available, and if CBP would consider applying the exception to the EO based on your potential admission being in the “national interest.” This suggestion assumes that your visa has not been cancelled. This review may be more time consuming than the initial 90-day tenure of the suspension, but it is a start, especially for those engaged in research or work for the U.S. government or critical research or work in the U.S., which is in the national interest.