By: Cecelia Thomas and Kisshia Simmons Esq
On the evening of January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order instructing U.S. embassies and consular posts to suspend the issuance of nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for the nationals of seven Muslim countries. We discussed the first executive order in an article entitled (The-implications-of-president-trumps-executive-order-banning-muslim-refuges/). This order was widely criticized and a temporary restraining order was issued which instructed the Department of State and Homeland Security to immediately stop enforcing the travel-ban order. However, on March 6, 2017, Mr. Trump signed a second executive order blocking citizen from predominately-Muslim countries but with several changes.
Changes from the First Executive Order
In an effort to allow it to be upheld by the courts, the most recent order has several differences.
- Iraq has been removed from the banned countries. The new order bans entry from six Muslim countries, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. It excludes Iraq from the list because the country has agreed to increase cooperation with the U.S. government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States.
- Instead of an indefinite ban, Syrian refugees will now be prohibited from entering the U.S. for 120 days.
- Existing visas and green cards will remain valid. While the original order prevented some with valid visas from entering the U.S., the latest order takes no such action.
- This is not an absolute ban. The State and Homeland Security departments will be able to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis if a foreign national demonstrates that his or her entry into the United States is in the national interest, will not pose a threat to national security, and that denying entry during the suspension period will cause undue hardship.
Because of the new executive order, the first order is now defunct.
What Happens Next?
While the second executive order is much narrower, the executive order will still face many legal challenges. For example, a day after the new travel ban was signed; a challenge in a Hawaii court seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent it from being enforced. In addition, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he is scrutinizing the new ban and is expected to challenge it.
If you believe this latest travel ban affects you or your family, please call our office. As with the first travel ban, this one will be subject to legal challenges and the situation may change rapidly. However, we are closely tracking changes as they unfold and are here to help you navigate this situation.