President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 27, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
Among other things, this Order put into immediate effect the following directives: a 90 day ban on the issuance of U.S. visas and entry to the U.S. for people from seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen; suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days; and indefinite suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for Syrian refugees. It also stops the visa interview waiver program, which allows previously vetted people to apply for a visa without attending a second interview (also known as dropbox).
This overly broad directive did not parse out who will be affected by this policy. Over the weekend, lawful permanent residents whose country of nationality was one of the 7 were detained, along with refugees, Iraqi interpreters, visitors, students, and many others. Visa issuance for citizens of these countries has also been suspended. Further, many citizens of these 7 nations were not able to board planes because of this directive. Originally, this included dual nationals of these countries who also had citizenship in non-banned countries.
Over the weekend, several courts issued temporary injunctions for this Executive Order to prevent Customs and Border Protection from returning refugees and other affected people to their country of origin. That being said, visa issuance for people from the 7 countries is still suspended, and the orders do not assist people who are unable to board planes to get to the United States.
On Sunday evening, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a statement that entry of lawful permanent residents would be broadly permitted as “in the national interest.” That being said, it is not clear if this policy will be uniformly implemented at every Customs and Border Protection office. As such, lawful permanent residents who hold citizenship from any of the 7 countries may still encounter difficulty when entering the United States, and we recommend against any non-critical travel by these green card holders.
Today, we received further guidance that dual citizens should be able to travel to the United States without issue if they have the visa in their non-banned passport. If you are from any of the 7 countries, including lawful permanent residents and dual citizens, we urge you to contact your Klasko attorney prior to any international travel.
Further, because of the suspension of the visa interview waiver program, we anticipate that Consulates around the world will see an influx of visa applications, leading to lengthened processing times. As such, we ask that you contact your Klasko representative prior to making travel plans.
Finally, if you or someone you know has faced challenges in light of this Executive Order, please notify your Klasko representative. We will be coordinating efforts with non-profits and other attorneys to ensure these messages are heard.