Banned from Entry: Nationals of Certain Countries Designated by Executive Order

breaking-news-2As of January 29, 2017, the United States Government has ceased all travel for refugees and others from seven (7) designated countries.  The only exception was for refugees and certain other entrants who were already “in transit.”  For others who are outside of the scope of “in transit,” the Executive Order stands.  Again, the Executive Order stands, as the recent injunctive relief that the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued, applied only to those “in transit.”

What the Executive Order Means?

The Executive Order applies to all individuals from seven (7) designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  This includes Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), nonimmigrant visa holders, immigrant visa holders, refugees, derivative asylees, Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), as well as other visa categories.

Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being from the designated country, including dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country (Australia, Lebanon, and, it appears, even the United States).

Customs and Border Patrol officers will be processing any and all entrants to the United States based on the manner in which the person presents him or herself at primary inspection.  The CBP officers have wide discretion on the scope of individuals that may be turned away at the time of entry into the United States.  A lawful permanent resident may be turned away at the time of initial inspection at a port-of-entry.  Nonimmigrants attempting to enter, notwithstanding a valid visa and/or other entry document will be denied entry and provided the option to return to their originating or home country, or be placed in expedited removal proceedings.

A review of the Executive Order makes it appear that it does not apply to people who merely traveled to designated countries; nonetheless, travel to the designated countries is strongly discouraged.  Additionally, the Executive Order does not appear to halt the travel into the United States of refugees that are NOT from the designated countries that had been scheduled to arrive in the next few days.

The situation is fluid, and may change without notice and at any time.  Nonetheless, those who may be affected by the Executive Order should seek legal counsel.