President Trump signed a new Executive Order travel ban on March 6, 2017. The travel ban was set to take effect on March 16, 2017. However, on March 15th, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against the implementation of the travel ban. The judge has temporarily stopped the ban on the basis that it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by disproportionately targeting Muslims.
While the travel ban has currently been temporarily stopped by the Hawaiian federal court decision, like the first ban, the decision is likely to be appealed. Therefore, the travel ban may still affect travelers. In such case, here is what you need to know about the travel ban’s restrictions and your rights at the border:
Countries Designated: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Unlike the first travel ban, Iraq is not a designated country anymore; however, Iraqi foreign nationals can expect heightened scrutiny when traveling.
Who Will Be Affected: People from the six designated countries who travel on their foreign passport will be affected by the new travel ban if they: (1) are outside of the United States on the new travel ban effective date; (2) did not have a valid visa as of 5 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017; and (3) do not have a valid visa on the new travel ban effective date.
Exceptions: As a response to the criticism of the first travel ban, a few exceptions have been provided. The ban does not apply to: (1) green card holders (legal permanent residents); (2) dual nationals using a passport issued by a non-designated country; (3) someone admitted or paroled into the United States on or after the travel ban effective date; (4) someone traveling with an immigration document that permits travel and entry into the United States such as advance parole; (5) someone traveling on a diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa, or G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa; (6) someone granted asylum; (7) refugee already admitted to the United States; and (8) someone granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
Waivers Are Available: On a case-by-case basis, waivers may be granted. The Executive Order outlines some reasons by which a person can apply for a waiver including, but not limited to, (1) if someone was previously admitted for continuous period to work or study; (2) if someone has significant business or professional obligations; and (3) if someone has a close family member in the United States and the denial would cause undue hardship.
Suspension of the Refugee Program: For all countries (not just the designated countries), the refugee program will be suspended for 120 days. Furthermore, the 2017 annual limit for refugee admissions will be reduced from 110,000 to 50,000.
Lawsuits and Legal Actions Against the New Travel Ban: As seen with the first Executive Order, many states, organizations, and individuals are filing lawsuits against the new travel ban. Currently, there is a nationwide temporary restraining order in place as of March 15th. However, as the title of the order suggests it is a temporary stop to the ban. Government is likely to take further action such as appealing to continue the implementation of the travel ban.
Know Your Rights: If you or your loved ones have trouble at the border, it is imperative that you know your rights. If you are denied entry or detained at the airport, please remember:
- You have a right to an attorney. Ask to speak with an attorney and discuss details of your case with only your attorney. As extra precaution, travel with a signed G-28 (attorney representation form) and a legal opinion letter from your attorney with the legal basis for your entry to the United States.
- You have the right to a hearing with an immigration judge. Do NOT relinquish that right.
- If you are a green card holder, do NOT sign form I-407. Form I-407 means that you abandon your legal permanent residency, which means that you will give up your green card and your permission to live in the United States on a permanent basis.
For the next Justice360 Bulletin, we will provide some tips and safeguards for protecting your electronic devices and data from searches at the border.
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Sister Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law
(www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Sacramento, California,
representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Sister
Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
Justice360 Legal Bulletins are meant to assist in the general understanding of the current law relating to the stated topics. JUSTICE360 LEGAL BULLETINS SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. Organizations or individuals with specific questions should seek the advice of legal counsel.