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Immigration Ban Executive Order Update – Feb. 1, 2017

Here are the latest updates on the Trump Administration’s Executive Order, often referred to as the Immigration Ban.

Further confirmation: all USCIS applications on hold for affected countries.

It now appears clear that USCIS will halt processing of all application file by citizens of the 7 banned countries. The following is a quote from an email from Daniel M. Renaud, associate director of field operations for USCIS, as reported by The Intercept.

Effectively [sic] immediately and until additional guidance is received, you may not take final action on any petition or application where the applicant is a citizen or national of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya. […]Field offices may interview applicants for adjustment of status and other benefits according to current processing guidance and may process petitions and applications for individuals from these countries up to the point where a decision would be made.

At that point, cases shall be placed on hold until further notice and will be shelved with specific NFTS codes which will be provided through the Regional Offices […] Offices are not permitted [to] make any final decision on affected cases to include approval, denial, withdrawal, or revocation.

Please look for additional guidance later this weekend on how to process naturalization applicants from one of the seven countries listed above who are currently scheduled for oath ceremony or whose N-400s have been approved and they are pending scheduling of oath ceremony […] We expect to issue more detailed guidance and procedures as needed in the coming days.”

According to the Intercept, the guidance email was sent Saturday morning.

If appears USCIS will be processing cases to the point of a decision, but not issuing a decision until permitted by the White House. The email leaves open the possibility that naturalization cases (N-400s) that have been approved may still be allowed to proceed to interview. And in fact, a CBP webpage seems to indicate that is the policy being adopted:

Does the Executive Order apply to those currently being adjudicated for naturalization?

No. USCIS will continue to adjudicate N-400 applications for naturalization and administer the oath of citizenship consistent with prior practices

The USCIS email might also suggest that USCIS could issue green cards in cases that have already been approved. Many are concerned that USCIS may refuse to issue green cards in cases that have been approved, but where the physical green card has not been issued.

Dual citizens.

The U.S. Consulate in the United Kingdom was the first to issue guidance for dual-citizens of that country. According to a policy released on the consulate’s website, dual citizens of the UK and one of the 7 banned countries will not be subject to the Immigration Ban Executive Order.

Other countries appear to be in the process of requesting similar rules for their dual national citizens. This may include such countries as Australia and Canada. We expect many more developments in that regard.

In fact, the guidance on this issue appears to be somewhat inconsistent. CBP states that – when individuals are screened at the border – they will be processed on the basis of the identification they provide. So if a Canadian-Syrian dual citizen shows his Canadian passport, he will be treated as a Canadian. But the Department of State has not adopted a similar policy, it appears.

CBP issues FAQ sheet on Executive Order.

Customs and Border Protection has issued an FAQ sheet addressing implementation of the Immigration Ban.  CBP reported the following statistics:

Below are the actions taken in accordance with the Executive Order signed January 27, 2017.

CBP Executive Order Actions
Recommended Denial of Boarding 721
Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) waivers 1,059
Visa holders granted waivers 75

(Statistics are valid as of 1500 hrs, January 30, 2017)

Most interestingly, CBP seems to be taking a different approach from the State Department with respect to dual citizens. According to CBP,

Travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present.

In other words, any dual citizen can pick the citizenship under which she will be inspected (assuming she has valid credentials).

CBP confirms that students from the affected countries will not be allowed to re-enter:

F1/J1/M1 visas are currently temporarily suspended due to the executive order. Individuals who were in the U.S. at the time of the signing of the executive order are not affected by the order. However, individuals who were out of the country at the time of the signing, or who travel out of the country and attempt to return will not be allowed to return at this time.  The Department is evaluating whether those who are precluded from returning as a result of the Executive Order will be considered to have maintained their status as F1 or M1 students.

What about refugees already in transit?

CBP has issued a meaningless statement on how it will address refugees from the impacted countries who are already on their way to the U.S. It states:

There are currently 872 refugees who are considered to be in transit who are scheduled to arrive in the United States this week. The Secretaries of State and DHS have coordinated and will process the 872 individuals consistent with the terms of the Executive Order, which we’ve operationalized by assessing each traveler on a case-by-case basis.

“Operationalized” refers to how an agency has implemented a vague guideline it has been given. “Case-by-case-basis” means that the agency has no policy. In other words, we have absolutely no idea how the refugees in transit are going to be handled.


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All Sound Immigration attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Associations. They practice immigration law exclusively, focusing on helping families start new lives in the United States.

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Hi
    I recently applied for I 485, I 765 , I 131 .
    Still I have not received my ead and advance parole combo card which I’m expecting to receive in June ending . Can I travel abroad with advance parole for 6-7 weeks and my husband valid h1b valid visa is getting expire in June ending as well .
    Kindly post your valuable suggestions .

  2. My citizenship interview was in September 2016. I was approved, but they have not scheduled my oath yet. Each time I call I get the run around and am told everything “looks fine”. I was born in Mexico. Do you know if they are shelving all applications? Should I be worried or get an attorney to help me?

    1. Hi, Bri: That’s really a pain – sorry to hear about it. No, Mexican N-400s aren’t being shelved. It can take several months to get the oath scheduled, but this is pretty excessive. You may want to consider submitting an ombudsman complaint.

  3. U hve been dinied visa under section 221g after that we applied again visa 2016 august February 2017 uscis case transfersed local office I’m from panned country my case still working or temporary

    1. Hey Sweety, how did you deal with the issue of your wife’s shenasnameh ?
      Did she get one or did she have a consular birth certificate ?

      1. Hi Ramdev

        what is the issue with shenasnameh of iranian, a translated copy is not considered a birth certificate by usis for cross changeability purpose?
        Could you please explain

        1. Zaidi,
          I am not sure what you mean by translated copy.
          Iran does not provide Shenasnameh to Non-Iranian nationals ( only citizens are allowed to have it )

          Usually, you would register your birth with the local consulate or whatever regulation your country has laid down.

  4. I’m currently applying for I -485 application under cross chargeability using my spouse country of birth in one of the recently banned countries. I’m India born India citizen but my wife is Iran born and Indian citizen . Will they reject my application If i apply now ? or do I need to wait for few months and then apply this process ?
    Thanks please send me your valuable suggestions

    1. Hi Sweety,

      I am also applying for the same case.. I am Indian citizen but my husband was born in Iran and is an Indian citizen too.So I am planning to cross charge to his country of birth. Were you able to apply for I-485 and can you please share the update on your case. It will really be helpful/

        1. Hi Sweety, GPS, Ramdev am in the same boat as you all are, spouse is iranian national and about initiate the GC process using cross charge ability, can we stay in touch and give updates-advise each other during this journey. There is so limited information-case histories available on the net/immigration forums about cases like ours.

          1. Perm was filed 2 months ago … waiting for approval. Once approved will start I 140 and 485 process. Hopefully with in a month or two. My email is Can you please drop me a note..

        2. Hi Sweety,

          When did u file for I485? Did you hear anything for USCIS.
          We will be filing our application this week.

  5. Hi! Im chester,a permanent resident or green card holder in a Filipino(from philippines) planning to have a vacation on april 2017. Will i be able to come back after my vacation? I’m worried about Trumps banning.

  6. Thank you so much for the service you’re providing. I am a US citizen. My husband is Filipino, from Manila, with an N-400 in process – he just finished biometrics and is waiting for an interview. I read a leaked draft yesterday that said the “Southern Philippines” would be added to the list. Based on the reports you’ve heard is it the entire Philippines or just the South / Mindanao? If it’s the latter how could this be enforced, i.e. would this actually mean the whole Philippines in practice?

      1. Thank you! Huge relief – keeping fingers crossed that’s the case and hopes high for other countries affected.

  7. I have a pending derivative I-485 with USCIS. I am an Indian citizen with Indian passport. However, my I-485 has been filed with cross-chargeability to one of the “banned” countries. The primary green card has already been approved and received by mail, but my derivative I-485 was pending when the executive order was signed. Is my case going to get affected?

    1. Hi, Anand: It appears that dual-citizens of banned countries may be unable to proceed, though USCIS has not released official guidance on that. But if you were merely a resident of the banned country that should no prevent your application.

      1. Thank you for your reply! Just want to clarify- I was not a resident of the banned country. It’s just that my I 485 was filed under cross chargeability of a banned country- my spouse’s country of birth. My spouse has already received the green card, but mine is pending. Should this affect?

  8. my mother AN AMERICAN CITIZEN has filed for F3 family visa for me and my wife The priority date is February 2008 Will the new lexecutive order affect our chances of getting a GREEN CARD How long will it take for us to get our Green Card We are from INDIA and hold INDIAN passport

  9. Hi! I’m from the Philippines green card holder with misdemeanor shoplifting reduced to trespassing back in 2006. I want to apply for citizenship but I am afraid I could be deported. Should I continue with my application? I also have a trip this March to the Philippines should I cancel it?

    1. Hi, Angelo: You absolutely must get an attorney to review your actual “record of conviction” before applying for naturalization. As it stands, the Executive Orders would not prevent you from applying. But yesterday we received unconfirmed reports that Philippine nationals may be subject to future restrictions. We will update the website immediately if we get further news on that.

      Regarding travel, we are currently advising our clients against non-essential travel.

      1. I’m from the Philippines and got married here in 2015 and he didn’t file for my adjustment of status he was abusive to me verbally. Am I gonna be fine?

  10. Hello am a permanent resident from one of the banned countries but i didn’t receive my plastic green card yet can i travel with my temporary I-551 stamped on my passport ??

  11. Hi there,

    I am a French citizen, born in France, with a French passport. My dad is Iranian (born in Iran, naturalized French 20 years ago). I had an iranian passport when I was a child, as I believe the law in Iran makes you an Iranian citizen if your father is. I’ve been married to a US citizen for 2 years, I need to remove the conditions on my Green card before May. Will my application be affected? Am I considered French AND Iranian? Can I travel freely since I was born in France? The situation is extremely confusing to me. Thank you for your kind help.

    1. Hi, Juju: We don’t yet have formal guidance from USCIS on this issue. But leaked information suggests the I-751 will be processed but not approved until the policy is changed. You absolutely need to get it filed or your status will automatically terminate. We strongly advise against non-essential foreign travel at the moment. Some information about I-751s here.

      1. Thank you for your prompt reply. You say: “But leaked information suggests the I-751 will be processed but not approved until the policy is changed.” I do not understand since Trump said Green card holders were not affected by the ban anymore. Has it changed now?

        1. DHS said that greencard holders may reenter, but they have not announced policies on I-751 processing. It currently appears that no application from the 7 country nationals will be approved. Processed, yes, but not approved.

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