Executive Order: January 27, 2017 – Travel Ban

On Friday, without advance notice the President signed an Executive Order directing the suspension of visa issuance and immigration benefits to “nationals of countries of particular concern”: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia. Shortly thereafter both non-immigrants and Permanent Residents nationals from those countries began being refused entry. This ban will be in effect for an initial period of 90 days.

On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued a statement indicating that entry of Permanent Residents is deemed to be in the national interest. Thus, Permanent Residents from those countries without indication of “significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare” should be found to meet the case-by-case determination standard to be discretionally admitted by DHS.

Before and after the announcement by Secretary Kelly there have been reports of Customs and Border Protection officers pressuring Permanent Residents to officially abandon their residence. It is strongly suggested that those properly maintaining U.S. residence not sign any document to this affect and seek legal counsel; if necessary, then a judicial hearing.

The State Department has indicated that dual nationals including one of the seven countries will be effected. Court cases have been initiated as by law/regulation Permanent Residents may not be refused entry without a judicial hearing. It is not known how these cases may be affected by the DHS Sectary’s announcement. This is a fluid situation and further statements from agencies and Congress are expected, although it should not be expected to result in substantial benefit to those still affected.

For all other foreign nationals, there is not an official impact. In light of this sudden action by the President, it is suggested that all foreign nationals travelling internationally take copies of any documents demonstrating their U.S. Immigration qualification, and be prepared for additional questioning when returning. All international travelers, including U.S. citizens should anticipate increased delays when returning to the U.S., particularly if a transferring flight is scheduled.