01/28/2017 - Executive Order and Travel Impact

Additional Executive Order Impacting Travel
Yesterday afternoon President Trump signed another Executive Order; this one is entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” and takes effect immediately.
Of note is the fact that this Executive Order bans the entry of nonimmigrants (people who have different visa status) and immigrants (people who already have U.S. green cards) from entering the United States if they are from certain designated countries.  Reports indicate that this has also been practically applying to dual citizens.  Such countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  This ban takes effect immediately and is good for 90 days.  It is not clear whether the ban will be lifted after the 90 days. 
While technically the Executive Order grants officers at airports and ports of entry discretion to make exceptions if they find the individual not a security risk, not detrimental to the interests of the U.S., and in the national interest of the U.S., it is unknown  as to whether, or under what circumstances, such discretion is being exercised.  We are receiving reports nationally of a wide range of results.  Some individuals are admitted without issue, others are released after hours of questioning, and others are turned away.  We will continue to monitor the situation. 
Clark Lau’s recommendation at this point is to avoid travel.
In addition to the ban on entry of nonimmigrants and immigrants, the Executive Order restricts the admission of refugees to the United States.
The order further instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence, to take steps to ensure that visa applicants are not a threat to national security. To do this, the Secretary will request additional information from the applicant’s home country before issuing the visa, unless it is in the national interest to issue a visa to the applicant.  Likewise, the administration will implement uniform screening standards to “ensure the applicant is who he claims to be, evaluate the likelihood of the applicant’s ability to become a positive contributing member of society, and assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.” In addition, the Secretary of State will immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and require that all applicants seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview. Apart from restricting visa issuance procedures, the order will also seek to suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days while the administration determines which countries pose the least risk. The order will make an exception for asylum applicants who are applying on the basis of religious-based persecution, as long as the applicant’s religion “is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” Likewise, the total refugee admissions will be capped at 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.  
The above information has been provided for educational purposes only.  Please contact Clark Lau LLC for how such details may impact your particular circumstances.  Please stay tuned.

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