Kisshia Simmons, Esq and Cecelia Thomas.
On the evening of January 27, 2017, all U.S. embassies and consular posts were instructed to immediately suspend the issuance of nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for the nationals of predominately Muslim countries. This Executive Order has already caused widespread chaos throughout the immigration world and it is important that everyone know how this executive order will affect them.
What Is An Executive Order and Who Does This Effect?
An executive order is an official statement from the President which tells government agencies how to use their resources. This specific order bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for a period of 90 days. These countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban did include green card holders but the Trump Administration reversed course and those individuals are now exempt as well. However, many green card holders are still being denied when trying to re-enter the United States.
Many critics have found it strange that the ban does not apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
How Does It Affect Refugees?
The ban completely suspends the United States’ Syrian refugee program which accepted refugees from the Middle East over Muslim refugees and bans other refuges admission for 120 days. It also reduces the cap on the total number of refugees allowed to enter the US in 2017 from 110,000 to just 50,000.
What Happens Next?
The Executive Order has been challenged in court and temporary stay is now in place. However many of the Department of Homeland Security officers are not adhering to the stay in several locations, causing many people to be detained at the airport. Opponents of this Executive Order will be launching many legal challenges in the coming months on the grounds the order’s preferential treatment of Christians over Muslims violates the first amendment on freedom of religion. They are expected to argue that the blanket ban violates the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
If you have any questions, we are here to answer your questions. This situation is continuing to evolve but we will continue to let you know how the latest Executive orders affect you and your family.