President Trump’s New Executive Order on Immigration

President Trump yesterday morning signed a revised travel ban, which bars the issuance of new visas for people from six of the seven originally listed Muslim-majority countries; Iraq was excluded from this executive order. The ban, which is set to take effect on March 16, also suspends the U.S. refugee program for three months, while reducing the cap on refugees to be admitted this year from 110,000 to 50,000.

Who is affected by the revised order?

With the exception of Iraq, the targets of the new order remain the same: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The administration seems to have considered concerns raised about the original ban in federal courts last month, as the following additional changes were implemented:

  • Current visa holders are not subjected to the ban. This means that people from the six countries with valid F, M, or J visas will still be allowed to travel to the country.
  • People from the six countries who are newly eligible to travel to the U.S. on immigrant visas will be barred from entry. However, those who have already secured a green card or other special immigrant status are exempted from the ban.
  • For Syrian refugees, the ban is no longer characterized as permanent, but rather temporary; the order stipulates a halt to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, Syrians included, for a period of 120 days, during which the administration plans to reevaluate from which countries to allow refugee resettlement. Moreover, the order does not cite an explicit preference for admitting refugees of minority religions.

The order will not affect American citizens or lawful permanent residents from countries outside of the six included.

The table below summarizes the scope of the executive order.

Impacted by the Revised Order

  • Citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for a period of 90 days, starting March 16; this includes citizens from these countries who are newly eligible for immigrant visas
  • Refugees, including those from Syria, for a period of 120 days

NOT Impacted by the Revised Order

  • American citizens
  • Lawful permanent residents from any country
  • Foreign nationals admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after March 16
  • Foreign nationals who are permitted to travel to the U.S. on documents other than visas that are approved on or after March 16
  • Dual nationals of the six countries who are traveling on a passport issued by a country other than the six listed
  • Diplomats and those traveling on related visas, including NATO, C-2, and G visas
  • Foreign nationals already granted asylum, including refugees from any country already admitted to the U.S.


Accompanying the revised order were implementation guidelines issued in an executive memorandum to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Attorney General.

Final thoughts

Despite the implications of the travel ban, it is necessary to consider what the text explicitly says and doesn’t. While the six countries included in the revised order are indeed Muslim-majority, there is no direct mention of the Islamic faith. Instead, the order focuses on country-specific details to justify each of the six nations’ inclusion. Further, the president effectively took into account the ramifications of prioritizing certain religious groups in his original order, and accordingly did not single out any faith groups in his revised ban.

Stories in the news that garner the most attention are often the most extreme. For every one article about anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant bias, there are countless untold episodes of interfaith inclusion, and strength in and support of diversity. This is not to say that those who consider the revised order discriminatory, at worst, or unnecessary, at best, are mistaken. (We, for one, identify with the statement issued by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.) Rather, we write this to remind readers of the centrality of freedom of religion in this country, of the indelible legacy of immigration in our shared histories, and of the generosity of spirit and openness of the majority of Americans.

Zhang & Associates continues to believe that the U.S. strongly benefits from immigration. And the data reflect this. Over the past two decades, we’ve successfully facilitated the shared dream of thousands of people, irrespective of their religious or national backgrounds: to come to this country to work, to learn, and, in some cases, to start a new life in a new home here. We will continue this mission, and thereby do our part to ensure that the U.S. remains a proud nation of immigrants. Our clients, whether past, current, or future, should know that we stand to ready to assist all people, from anywhere, in their desire to become lawful, productive, and cherished members of American society.

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 ( for a free evaluation.

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