President Trump's Executive Order on Immigration
President Trump believes that it is necessary to temporarily restrict entry into the United States for citizens of seven countries in order to protect the country from terrorist threats. To this end, he issued an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. Because this order was so sudden and unexpected, it has created confusion among federal officials and the immigration community. This article seeks to clarify who is and who is not affected by the order. (Read the text of the executive order on the White House website.)
Who is Affected by This Order?
For the time being, only citizens from seven countries are affected by the order: Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. Some people traveling on passports from these countries will be barred from entering the U.S. for 90 days (until April 27, 2017).
Lawful permanent residents of the United States from one of these seven countries will be allowed to enter the U.S. on a case by case basis, as long as there is no indication that they are a threat to public safety and welfare. Anyone from one of these seven countries who is not a permanent resident of the United States will be denied entry. Although there was initial confusion about whether lawful permanent residents from the 7 banned countries were included in the ban, a memo issued by the administration clarified that such individuals are not included and will be allowed entry to the United States. (Read the memo here.)
This order does not apply to American citizens or lawful permanent residents from any other country.
However, the order also affects refugees. Refugees from Syria will be barred entry to the United States indefinitely. Refugees from any other country will be blocked from entering the country for only 120 days.
The table below summarizes the impact of the executive order.
Who is banned from entering the U.S.?
Who is allowed to enter the U.S.?
What about H-1B visa holders?
While the language of the order does not specifically mention H-1B visa holders, it should be assumed that H-1B visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen are included in the ban, as they are not permanent residents or American citizens. However, it may be the case that H-1B visa holders who have dual citizenship with a non-banned country will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they present passports issued by a non-banned country.
The executive orders issued so far apply only to citizens of the 7 countries mentioned. However, it is believed that the Trump administration is planning to issue further executive orders that may impact H-1B visa holders from other countries as well. The draft of an executive order on “ProtectingAmericanJobsandWorkersbyStrengtheningtheIntegrityofForeignWorkerVisaPrograms” has been leaked, although this document is only a proposal and has not yet become law. The draft contains vague language about the H-1B program, including that the Secretary of Homeland Security should “consider ways to make the process for allocating H-1B visas more efficient and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest”. While it is important to emphasize that this draft has not been officially issued, it may indicate the future direction of the administration’s policy on the H-1B program. Given President Trump’s previous antagonistic statements about the H-1B program (“The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration; these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.”), it can be assumed that further changes to the program are in the works.
What about citizens of the 7 banned countries who are already in the U.S.?
The executive order only prohibits people from entering the country. It will not force anybody who is already in the country to leave. However, it has had some effects on the workings of U.S. Customs and Immigration (USCIS) and its decisions on cases involving citizens from the affected countries. In particular, according to a leaked email from the agency, USCIS has suspended decisions on petitions for asylum, adjustment of status, and naturalization for citizens of the 7 banned countries. Thus, these citizens will have delays in their application process, which might affect their visa status, as no decisions will be made on their cases. It is unclear how long this suspension will last.
It is important to remember that this executive order is not explicitly a ban of people of the Muslim faith and does not target anyone for their religious beliefs.Adherents to any faith are free to practice their religion in the United States, and Muslims from any country not on the ban list are free to travel and immigrate to the United States in accordance with the law. While some may find this executive order mean-spirited or discriminatory, most Americans are still tolerant, open-minded, and welcoming of immigrants of all faiths.
We at Zhang and Associates believe that immigration makes the country better for everybody. We have helped thousands of people obtain immigrant and non-immigrant visas and we are proud of our work in helping the country retain its traditional reputation as a nation of immigrants. In this time of divisiveness and uncertainty, we want our clients to know that we will continue to serve them and help them become productive and valued members of American society. We welcome people of any faith, race, ethnicity, gender, and nationality and we will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is given the full consideration it deserves.
Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.
At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past twenty years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (email@example.com) for a free evaluation.
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