President Trump Signs Executive Order Suspending Immigration From Seven Countries: Legal Ramifications Still Uncertain

Late Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump issued an additional Executive Order on immigration. The Order has sparked controversy and protest around the country and around the world.

The President’s Order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” suspends both immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States for 90 days by citizens of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The Order also suspends all refugee admission into the United States for 120 days and Syrian refugee admission indefinitely. Exceptions are permitted on a case-by-case basis for refugees from religious minorities in those countries. The Order also provides that other countries may be added in the future.

The Department of State (DOS) issued a notice the same day advising that, during that 90 day time period, no visas would be issued to nationals of the affected countries and all visa appointments already scheduled are cancelled until further notice. It also advised that citizens of those countries should not schedule visa appointments or pay any visa fees at this time.

Initially, lawful permanent residents (green card holders) from the affected countries were barred from entering the United States. However, on Sunday, January 29, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reversed its position and issued an official statement that those from the countries affected with green cards would be admitted, “absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not yet issued any statements as to how this Executive Order may affect those applying for immigration benefits in the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with other groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project and the National Immigration Law Center have filed a number of legal challenges to the Order. Over the weekend, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York issued the first ruling, granting a temporary nationwide stay of President Trump’s Order, specifically ordering that individuals with valid visas and refugee applications could not be deported. Later, a federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts issued in order barring both detention and deportation of such individuals and limiting Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s screening practices to those in place prior to the Order. However, her ruling was limited to those arriving or held at Logan International Airport in Boston. A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia ordered that all lawful permanent residents being held at Dulles International Airport have access to their attorneys and barred deportations of those individuals affected for 7 days. Finally, a federal judge in Seattle, Washington issued an order barring the deportation of two individuals who filed suit. The courts will still have to determine whether any or all parts of this Executive Order can be legally enforced.

Until then, citizens of those countries currently in the United States and in valid immigration status are advised not to leave the country.

If you or any one you know has been affected by this Order, please contact the offices of RaslanPla & Company, LLC and speak to one of our immigration attorneys. Please visit our website in the coming days for future updates.


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