President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 27, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
On February 2, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memo to all its employees indicating that the Executive Order does not apply to USCIS adjudications of any immigrant or nonimmigrant petition, regardless of the nationality of the beneficiary, as USCIS approval notices do not confer travel authorization. USCIS therefore resumed case processing according to existing policies and procedures.
On February 3, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), temporarily disallowing the following provisions of the Executive Order on a nationwide basis:
- Ban on the issuance of U.S. visas and entry to the United States for a period of 90 days for people from seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen;
- Suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days;
- Indefinite suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for Syrian refugees;
- Prioritizing refugee claims based on religion; and
- Reduction of the total number of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
The White House immediately responded by issuing a statement of its intent to challenge the TRO, although on Saturday, the 9th Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request to pause the TRO. President Trump took to Twitter throughout the weekend, voicing his disagreement with the TRO and promising to challenge it in court.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection immediately communicated to airlines worldwide to resume boarding passengers as normal. The Department of State communicated that it reversed its provisional cancellation of visas. We received further guidance that individuals who arrived during the ban who had their visas physically cancelled as a result of the Executive Order do not need to apply for a new visa. These individuals can receive an I-193 Waiver upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry, provided that U.S. Customs and Border Protection deems them otherwise admissible.
For now, the TRO remains in effect nationwide at least until there can be a preliminary hearing on the matter. Normally, it would take a few weeks to have a preliminary hearing, however we cannot guarantee that the TRO hold for a specified period at this time. We therefore recommend that any individual currently outside the United States who was impacted by the Executive Order seek re-entry into the United States as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know has questions about the impact of the Executive Order or TRO, please contact your Klasko representative.