September 29, 2017
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a new travel ban…again. The newest travel ban is a “presidential proclamation” instead of an “executive order.” In practical terms, the title does not make a difference – it is still a travel ban that stops immigration from several Muslim- majority countries, with a few additional countries added.
It is important to note that there is one particularly concerning detail in the new ban. This new edition provides absolutely NO time limit or deadline for the ban. In other words, it is an indefinite ban that could become a part of the immigration policies of the country for years to come. As we have seen with the previous executive orders, it is possible that lawsuits will stop the travel ban from taking effect, but we have to wait to see what happens with the Supreme Court case and other state lawsuits.
If you or a loved one is affected by this new presidential proclamation/travel ban/Muslim ban, here are some things to you need to know:
- Countries in the Ban: Somalia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. Also, nationals of Iraq will be subject to more screening measures as well.
- Country-Specific Restrictions: The restrictions for each country is a little different.
- Somalia: Immigrants are suspended and there will be enhance screening for nonimmigrants.
- Syria: All immigrants and nonimmigrants are suspended.
- Iran: All immigrants and nonimmigrants are suspended, except for students (F visas), vocational students (M visas), and exchange visitors (J visas). However, those that are permitted will be subject to enhance screening requirements.
- Yemen: Immigrants are suspended and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas are suspended (B-1/B-2).
- Libya: Immigrants are suspended and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas are suspended (B-1/B-2).
- Chad: Immigrants are suspended and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas are suspended (B-1/B-2).
- Venezuela: Government officials and their immediate family members are suspended from entering on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
- North Korea: All immigrants and nonimmigrants are suspended.
- Effective Date of New Travel Ban: The new presidential proclamation will take effect on October 18, 2017. However, because of the Supreme Court’s previous ruling, citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who do not have a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States are not allowed to immigrant even before October 18, 2017. If citizens of those country have a valid visa and have a qualifying relationship, they can travel to the United States before the October 18, 2017, effective date.
- Waivers Are Available: The travel ban does provide for waivers on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must show that a denial would cause undue hardship, that he or she does not pose a national security threat and that the approval “would be in the national interest.”
- Exceptions: The new travel ban does not apply to (a) lawful permanent residents (green card holders); (b) dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-designated country; (c) any foreign national traveling on a document other than a visa such as advance parole, humanitarian parole, or transportation letter.
- The Supreme Court Case: As we mentioned in a previous bulletin, the Supreme Court had set oral arguments in October regarding whether the travel ban is unconstitutional and therefore should be stopped. However, in light of the newest travel ban, the Supreme Court has canceled the oral arguments and has requested court filings regarding whether the new presidential proclamation is constitutional because, with the new countries added, it is arguably not a ban based on a prejudice against Muslims.
- What Happens if the Supreme Court Decides the Ban is Constitutional: As mentioned, the presidential proclamation provides no time limit for the ban. Therefore, if the courts decide it is not bias against Muslims, the ban will effectively bar immigration from the eight countries listed for years to come.
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Sister Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Orange County, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Sister Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
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