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Immigration Advisory and FAQs


For the latest updates, please visit our recent news section.

The general information provided below is not intended to serve as a source of legal advice for any purpose. Please contact your designated Gibney representative or immigration counsel for specific legal advice.

Advisory

Updates on Trump Executive Actions on Immigration
February 19, 2017

The Trump administration has issued a number of Executive Orders impacting immigration law, policy and procedures. Executive Orders are published on the White House website.

On January 27, 2017, the Trump administration published an Executive Order banning the entry of nationals of designated countries and refugees.  On February 10, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the State of Washington & State of Minnesota v. Trump upheld a temporary restraining order halting implementation of significant provisions of the executive order nationwide. While the temporary restraining order is in effect, immigration authorities are allowing the entry of nationals of the 7 designated countries and have reinstated valid visas, but this is subject to change. On February 16, the administration announced plans to issue a new order addressing a number of legal concerns raised by the Ninth Circuit, potentially limiting the scope of the original order.   Foreign nationals currently in the U.S. who were impacted by the travel ban or provisional visa revocation should still seek specific legal advice from immigration counsel before departing the U.S.

Key provisions of the original Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 include:

  • Suspension of entry, visas and immigration benefits (but not diplomats) who are nationals – by birth or citizenship – of 7 “designated countries” Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Officials have indicated the ban would not be enforced against permanent residents; however, enforcement has been inconsistent.
  • Suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, requiring all visa applicants, including minors and elderly individuals, to apply for visas in person, and eliminating drop box visa renewal option (mixed reports on implementation
  • Implementation of additional screening standards for U.S. entry, visa issuance, and immigration benefits
  • Suspension of the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days (for all countries), with indefinite ban of Syrian refugees

On January 25, 2017, the administration issued two other orders.

The Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, included the following provisions:

  • “Enforcement Priorities” include the removal of those who have been charged with or convicted of any crime or who “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security”
  • Sanctuary Cities – stated policy to “ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law”

The Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, included the following provisions:

  • Directive to immediately plan and construct a physical wall along the southern border
  • Expand authority and facilities for detention of those who violate immigration laws

Actions being taken by federal agencies to implement these orders are uncertain, subject to change and likely to be challenged in the courts.

All foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. may be subject to increased scrutiny and delays at consulates and ports of entry as a result of the executive order. The recent changes have significantly impacted immigration agency adjudications and there have been reports of inconsistent application of laws and policy by government officials and agencies.
Please contact your designated Gibney representative or immigration counsel for specific legal advice.

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FAQs

FAQs (last updated February 2, 2017):

For the most recent updates, visit our news page.

Executive Order Restricting Entry of Nationals from Designated Countries

Q1: Which countries are currently subject to the Trump Administration Executive Order on Immigration banning entry by nationals of these countries?

Countries currently subject to the order include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen. Note: The administration is evaluating additional countries. These may be added to list of designated countries or subject to restrictions on entry to the U.S. without notice.

Q2: What do the Executive Orders mean for nationals of one of the designated countries?

Nationals of one of the designated countries – by birth or citizenship – who are in the U.S. on a U.S. nonimmigrant visa are subject to the ban on entry to the U.S. and should not depart the U.S. without consultation with an immigration attorney. Those who are subject to the ban and currently outside the U.S. and who intend to travel to the U.S. should contact immigration counsel. Gibney clients are advised to contact your designated Gibney representative immediately. For all other individuals including U.S. green card holders or U.S. citizens with dual nationality, we recommend that you refrain from travelling internationally until you have obtained advice from your designated Gibney representative or other immigration counsel.

Due to the ongoing uncertainties surrounding implementation of the ban, foreign nationals should consult with immigration counsel before departing from or traveling to the U.S. There are significant risks associated with international travel if you are from or have traveled to one of the designated countries or any other country reported to be of potential concern.

Q3: What does the order mean for U.S. citizens originally from one of the designated countries?

Based on recent reports, it is uncertain what impact, if any, this may have on international travel and entry of U.S. citizens. Please consult your designated Gibney representative before departing the U.S. This includes U.S. citizens with dual nationality or nationals/citizens of other countries who were born in one of the designated countries. Please note that additional countries may be added to this list without advance notice.

Q4: What is the impact of the order on U.S. green card holders from one of the designated countries?

U.S. permanent residents (i.e. green card holders) are advised to consult with immigration counsel before departing the U.S. or traveling to the U.S. Gibney clients from who are currently outside the U.S. are advised to contact your designated Gibney representative immediately. U.S. permanent residents may be admitted to the U.S. but may be sent to Secondary Inspection, detained, and questioned upon admission to the U.S. (on a case-by-case basis).

Recent reports suggest that delays and detention at U.S. ports of entry may last many hours and travelers should be prepared to have personal effects (luggage, cell phone, laptop, social media accounts, etc.) reviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. You may be separated from your family members and you may not have access to legal counsel. Nationals of other predominantly Muslim countries may also be subject to detention and additional scrutiny on return to the U.S., even without an Executive Order pertaining to one of these countries. Permanent residents should avoid signing any waivers of their rights without consultation with immigration counsel.

Q5: What does the ban mean for nationals from one of the designated countries in the U.S. with a valid visa?

Foreign national visa holders from one of the designated countries should not travel to or depart from the U.S. Gibney clients outside the U.S. should contact your designated Gibney representative immediately. Foreign nationals who are outside of the U.S. and who are from one of the designated countries and are attempting to enter the U.S. as a business visitor, tourist, or on a temporary work visa (including but not limited to B-1/B-2, F, J, H, L, and O) will not be admitted nor issued a visa at a consulate abroad during the ban and should not plan to travel to the U.S.

Foreign nationals who are presently in the U.S. and who are from one of the designated countries and who hold valid business visitor, tourist, or temporary work visas (including but not limited to B-1/B-2, F, J, H, L, and O) will have all applications for immigration benefits subject to a hold on adjudication of the application or petition. The case may not be approved during the ban and this may impact the validity of work authorization or legal stay in the U.S. for some applicants. This impacts applications to extend nonimmigrant status or apply for any other immigration benefit during the ban, including Adjustment of Status (green card) applications and naturalization (citizenship) applications.

Additionally, on February 1, 2017, the U. S. Department of State (DOS) provisionally revoked non-immigrant and immigrant visas held by nationals of the designated countries. As a result, these visas are no longer valid for travel. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Q6: What is the impact of the order on U.S. visa holders or U.S. permanent residents from countries NOT on the designated list of countries?

The Executive Order does not currently address any other countries. However, it is possible that other countries will be added without advance notice. Those foreign nationals who are outside of the U.S. and are from a country with a majority Muslim population should consider returning to the U.S. at the earliest opportunity. Based on recent reports, foreign nationals from other countries may be detained on a case-by-case basis and questioned about travel by CBP upon re-entry to the U.S. Detention may last many hours and travelers should be prepared to have personal effects (luggage, cell phone, laptop, social media accounts, etc.) reviewed by CBP and/or ICE officials. Travelers may be separated from family members and may not have access to legal counsel. If you have any concerns, please consult with your designated Gibney representative or other immigration counsel.

Q7: What is the impact on non-citizens in the U.S. who are NOT nationals of a designated country but who have travelled to one of the designated countries?

The Executive Order does not address this specific point. However, foreign nationals may be detained on a case-by-case basis and questioned by CBP about travel upon re-entry to the U.S. Detention may last many hours and travelers should be prepared to have your personal effects (luggage, cell phone, laptop, social media accounts, etc.) reviewed by CBP and/or ICE officials. Travelers may be separated from your family members and you may not have access to legal counsel. If you have any concerns, please check with your designated Gibney representative.

Additionally, those who have travelled to one of the designated countries are no longer able to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, but will need to make an application for a visa at a consulate abroad. On completion of the Form DS-160, travelers must disclose any international travel and travel to any of the listed countries may trigger additional questions and delay visa issuance.

Q8: Will the order impact families of principal U.S. visa holders sponsored by employers if family members are from one of the designated countries?

Yes. Family members on visas who are nationals of one of the designated countries are impacted directly as outlined above and should obtain advice legal advice prior to travel.

Q9: What is the impact on international travel or immigration processing generally?

All travelers should expect delays at ports of entry into the U.S. In addition, the Executive Order eliminated procedures to waive interviews for applicants renewing their visas at the U.S. consulates abroad. As a result, consular workloads are expected to increase, resulting in delays in visa processing and visa issuance. Additional security measures may also be implemented, increasing visa processing times. Finally, the federal government is currently subject to a hiring freeze, and additional resources are not likely to be added to meet the increased workloads. Processing times for all applications are expected to increase.

Q10: Where can I find additional information and the latest government notices?

General information is available on U.S. federal government websites listed below. The information published changes frequently and should be checked regularly. NOTE: The guidance issued thus far has been conflicting and rules are being applied inconsistently.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Customs & Border Protection
The White House

For additional links, please visit our Useful Links here.

Please contact immigration counsel for specific legal advice on your case.

If you have any queries not covered by the above FAQs, please contact your designated Gibney representative for further information. We will be continuously updating these FAQs as more information becomes available.

This website contains general information about Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP and is not intended to serve as a source of legal advice for any purpose. Neither receipt of information presented on this site nor any email or other electronic communication sent to Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP or its lawyers through this site will create an attorney-client relationship, and no such email or communication will be treated as confidential. No user of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP expressly disclaims liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) www.dhs.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) www.uscis.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) www.cbp.gov

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) www.ice.gov

U.S. Department of State (DOS) www.travel.state.gov

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) www.dol.gov

U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) www.ssa.gov

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) www.irs.gov

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