Executive Order Alert
“An Executive Order is anticipated to be signed today relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees. The draft Executive Order is titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals.” Please note, that this is NOT the final version of the Executive Order and it has not yet been signed by the president.
Among other provisions, Section 3 of the draft Executive Order, if implemented as written, would “suspend” the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from certain designated countries for 30 days from the date of the order. Designated countries are tied to the Visa Waiver provisions of the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and if implemented without change, would include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Additional countries could be included. Note that the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act included restrictions on people who travel to designated countries, as well. It is unclear whether the draft Executive order is meant to encompass these individuals.
The order also does not define what it means to be “from” a designated country. Thus, in an abundance of caution, it may be best to interpret the term broadly to include passport holders, citizens, nationals, dual nationals, etc.
Additionally, after 30 days, travel is not automatically reinstated. Instead, DHS would be required to report whether countries have provided information “needed … for the adjudication of any … benefit under the INA … to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.” If not, the country would have 60 days to comply, or the travel ban would become indefinite.
Therefore, in an abundance of caution, anyone who might be affected by the Executive Order should refrain from traveling outside of the United States if they are already here, or try to return to the United States as soon as possible (tonight or early tomorrow) if they are outside of the country.””