The Trump Executive Order: Its Effects on Immigration

What we know now

The Executive Order signed on Friday, 27 January, 2017, is designed to at least temporarily (90 days) close US borders to those carrying passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, due to terrorist concerns. This includes Lawful Permanent Residents, those with already approved non-immigrant visas, students, business visitors, etc. and refugees with approved visas.  It has already been put into effect both at the points of entry (POE) into the United States and at the Consular level. 

After an estimated 200 legal immigrants were detained at airports across the U.S., the ACLU requested and was granted a stay of removal/deportation for those legal immigrants/visa holders who were caught unaware when returning to the U.S. from abroad. Many international airlines are not allowing passport holders from these countries from these seven countries to board at the point of departure. (It has been a long-standing rule that airlines who carry those ineligible for entry to the US are fined and must absorb the cost of returning the individual(s) to their point of departure.)

In her decision, Eastern District Court Judge Ann Donnelly said it was likely that the petitioners (the ACLU on behalf of the detainees) would be able to prove that the executive order is unconstitutional. The judge continued: “There is imminent danger that, absent any stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017 executive order.” At this writing, no response has come from the White House or the Department of Homeland Security. 

On the Consular level, visa appointments for non-immigrant and immigrant visas for those carrying the above cited passports, both Muslims and non-Muslims, have been cancelled with no information on when or if they will be rescheduled. 

Please notify your friends/family members that may be affected. Attorneys currently (as of January 29, 2017) are advising their clients to cancel/postpone any plans to leave the U.S. either for business or personal reasons until the full effect of the Executive Order is clarified.

This article comes to us from our partner FAWCO.  We appreciate being allowed to post it, and thank the author, FAWCO Citizenship Chair Judith Furukawa, an immigration lawyer, for sharing her expertise with AARO.

Alert received 30 January from the Department of Homeland Security:

STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JOHN KELLY ON THE ENTRY OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS INTO THE UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON – In applying the provisions of the president's executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.

Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.

U.S. passport renewal: dilly-dallying unwise!

Apply for your passport well ahead of planned travel!

The State Department informs us that there has been increasingly strong demand for U.S. passports in recent years. This is true everywhere, but in addition, nearly 10 years after implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and the associated surge of passport applications, U.S. Embassies in Europe specifically are preparing for an anticipated surge as those applicants renew their passports.

State encourages U.S. citizens to apply for or renew U.S. passports well ahead of planned travel, as they anticipate longer than average wait times for passport processing over the coming months. Current processing time for passport renewals is approximately three to four weeks. They expect that processing time may rise to six weeks or more as demand surges.

Increased demand for passports is projected to continue through 2018.  Accordingly, the Department of State has committed additional resources and personnel to meet the expected record-breaking demand for passports, while also undertaking every effort to adjudicate passports as efficiently as possible in advance of planned travel.

Whether you are renewing a passport or applying for the first time, the passport application process can be completed without added stress if done ahead of time.  

For detailed instructions on how to apply for your passport and schedule an appointment, visit your local embassy’s website.

For additional information regarding passport applications and the expected surge in passport demand, go to:

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html 

and (particularly for some important tips):

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/apply-early.html.

Good News for Immigrant Visa Applicants

We have just learned that “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule expanding the existing provisional waiver process to allow certain individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas, to more easily navigate the immigration process. The provisional waiver process promotes family unity by reducing the time that eligible individuals are separated from their family members while they complete immigration processing abroad.” This regulation expands eligibility for the process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver, not just immediate relatives.

Please also note that the rule does not take effect until 29 August, 2016, and that you should not submit a request under the expanded rules until that date or your application may be denied.

Americans Stranded in Yemen: AARO Voices Concerns to Secretary of State

On May 12, AARO President Lucy Laederich addressed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the plight of American citizens in Yemen who were not evacuated by the U.S. government following the outbreak of recent conflict. Many of these American citizens had to rely on the assistance of other foreign governments to find a way out of the country. Others have not found a way out.

The letter expresses AARO’s deep concern that while Americans may be receiving information from the State Department, they have received no assistance on site. This lack of aid to citizens in grave danger is extremely troubling as AARO considers that U.S. policy should always be to find ways to protect Americans, be it in war zones or in areas of natural disaster. The citizens in question vote and pay taxes in the U.S. and should have a right to assistance in such situations of danger.

Read the letter here: AARO_Yemen_Letter_to_State.pdf

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