President Trump’s Executive Order on U.S. Immigration

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that limits U.S. Immigration from admitting foreigners from seven countries that are supposedly Muslim inhabited. All refugee entrants are suspended for 120 days and Syrian refugees are barred for an unspecified time.

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump’s had placed National Security a focus.  At one point, he called for “A total and complete ban” on all Muslims seeking to enter the United States.  However, the executive order does not target Muslims seeking to immigrate to the U.S.  According to the White House Spokesman, Sean Spicer observed that the seven countries were already the seven countries listed by the Obama Administration.

The United States of America allows the citizens of more than 30 countries to visit the U.S. temporarily without a visa under this program. That visa waiver program does not apply if a citizen of an eligible country has visited—with some exceptions—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011—under measures put in place by the Obama administration.  Those foreigners must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. These seven countries listed are under section 217(a) (12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a) (12) of the U.S. code, and it is under this code that Trump’s executive order cited while banning citizens of those nations.

Not a Muslim Ban

While the executive order may include seven major Muslim countries it does not target Muslims.  Muslims from Pakistan, Egypt and Arabia and other nations can still enter the United States for short visits.  The President of the United States is simply ensuring the protection of U.S. Citizens so that those visiting do not engage in hostile activities towards the country’s fundamental truths.  The United States of America cannot and should not, allow entrance to those who do not support the Constitution, or to those who would place violent ideologies over the American laws.  The United States of America should not admit persons who attempt to participate in acts of bigotry or hate crimes (which include, “Honor Killings” or other forms of violence against women, or persecute those who practice religions different from their own) or those seeking to oppress Americans of any sexual orientation, gender, or race.

The Impact on Legal Permanent Residents

Per the statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security, the number of U.S. legal permanent residents from these seven countries is relatively small.  For example: 1,016,518 U.S. Green Cards were distributed in 2014.  Of this given number, 19,153 were provided to the Iraqis and 11,615 to the Iranians.  According to ProPublica, these two countries have many U.S. permanent residents from the seven nations, in which altogether have 500,000 U.S. lawful permanent residents in the U.S.  The seven countries have record of 40% of U.S. refugee intake.

Who is Restricted?

People and countries under the restriction of the executive order.  Any refugee who is out of country and has a pending immigration case on any visa classification in the United States is barred for 120 days from entering the U.S.  Countries on the list that will be denied temporary entry in the U.S. are:

  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen

President Donald Trump stated that more countries could still to be added to the list.

Dual Citizenship and Green Card Holders Affected

One vital question for the thousands affected by the new executive order is: “How will the order affect U.S. Green Card holders and people with dual citizenships?”

  • While there is, some uncertainty regarding dual citizenship holders, immigrants from the 7 countries who have a nationality or dual nationality will be barred for 90 days from entering the U.S., or will not be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. Visa holders of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas will not be allowed entry into the United States throughout this timeframe.  This guidance means that if an Iranian national holds a Canadian citizenship, he or she will not be allowed to enter the United States.
  • If you have a U.S. legal permanent resident status you should not have a problem. In recent news from the White House, the topic of U.S. legal permanent residents has gone back and forth.  First it was stated that U.S. green card holders would be affected by the order.  Then it was stated that each situation will be considered on a case by case basis.  Currently, U.S. legal permanent residents and U.S. Green Card Holders will not be affected, moving forward.

Other Issues Concerning the Executive Order

  • Emergency Situations: In any situation that requires travel out of country, it is best to consult with a U.S. immigration attorney before travelling abroad. However, if you are already overseas and you are a citizen of any of the seven countries under the executive order, you might have an issue returning to U.S. territory.  Seek legal counsel before boarding a flight, it is in your best interest to know your options.
  • Naturalized Citizens: Foreigners from the seven countries listed who are naturalized U.S. citizens should not have a problem. However, if you are travelling frequently during this time, you might be interrogated.
  • Can My Relatives Tag Along: If I am a U.S. citizen and my relative wants to tag along and he or she is not from one of the countries under the order they may not face difficulties at any of the port of entries in the U.S.
  • Family or Friends Who are Refugees: Family or friends who have a Refugee application awaiting an approval must know that the refugee program is currently paused for a minimum of 120 days. This order is not only applicable to the seven countries listed.
  • The Resettlement Process: Regarding the Syrian country, the resettlement process has been halted for an unspecified time.

The United States Policy

Ultimately, it is the United States policy to protect Americans from foreigners who seek to commit terrorist attacks in the United States of America.  The U.S. will prevent admission of immigrants who seek to exploit the U.S. Immigration Laws for hostile purposes.

Consult a Professional Immigration Attorney

If you or a family member is caught up in an emergency and you need to exit or enter the country, visit your nearest immigration attorney to help you.  Contact The Gambacorta Law Office today, 847-443-9303 for an office consultation. Our offices are in Illinois, Arizona and Texas.  Our team is ready to diligently represent you.

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