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Order ends visas in 7 countries (more later) and suspends refugee program

An Executive Order will end visas from seven countries and could be a first step toward banning immigration by Muslims. We have reviewed a draft copy of the Executive Order, which has not yet been signed by the President. The draft copy may be downloaded here: Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

Summary of the Order’s main elements.

  • Temporary visa ban from certain countries. Effect 30 days after signing the Executive Order, visa issuance will be immediately halted in certain countries. According to Vox news, those countries will be Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syri, and Yemen.

The countries in question are those included in the State Department’s list of terrorism-sponsoring countries (Iran, Sudan, and Syria), those designated by the Department of Homeland Security as countries of concern (Libya, Somalia, and Yemen), and Iraq, which is specially designated in the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the law from which the executive order gets its list of barred countries. (Syria is specially designated too, but it’s already banned due to the terrorism list.)

  • Identify other countries to ban. The Order directs federal agencies to identify other countries that provide inadequate information to determine whether visa applicants are security threats. Those countries might include other Muslim-majority nations like Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. They could also include non-Muslim countries that simply lack sophisticated civil infrastructure.
  • 120-day ban on all refugees. The nation’s entire refugee admissions program will be suspended for a period of four months immediately after the Order is signed. This includes refugees from any country, not just those viewed as terror-prone. During the suspension, federal agencies are supposed to study how to make the refugee admissions program more secure against would-be terrorists.
  • Indefinite ban against Syrian refugees. The order will indefinitely prohibit any refugees from Syria.

  • Require immigration agencies to screen for “American” values? The Order will require federal agencies to implement a “uniform screening standard” for all immigration programs. The screening will, not surprisingly, have security-related components. But it will also ask immigration officers to “evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positive contributing member to society.” It is hard to imagine how the agencies will implement that extremely open-ended standard – nor is clear that agencies have the legal authority to reject applications where they do not believe an individual will be sufficiently “positive” for our society.
  • Work on entry-exit tracking system. Currently, the U.S. has no program for tracking when visa-holders are in the U.S., when their visa expires, and when they leave. Implementing such a program has been studied in the past and was determined to be cost-prohibitive. The Order will require the program to be pulled off the shelf and implemented.
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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 20 Comments

  1. I am from one of seven ban countries and currently in USA, i m getting married to my boyfriend this month. can i still go through te process ?
    will the accept my documents ?

    1. Hi, Lina: Sadly, no. Under the guidance currently available you would be able to file the application, but it would not be approvable until the policies change. In some circumstances we would recommend to our clients that they get the application filed, so it is at least moving through the system.

  2. hello,I herd in the news that president Trump signed a temporary ban on visa issued for citizen from countries like Libya. Is this going to affect my I-485 application process under DV lottery visa program and did fingerprint. and am i still eligible for EAD if my appliction take long time to process.

  3. I would like to know if I will be allowed to enter into US as I’m having immigrant visa obtain through my US citizen wife November of last year. We both live in Hong Kong . Thanks

  4. Heey first thank you for your article i have a question am a permanent resident from sudan can i return back to the us now or iam all ready banned ??

  5. Thanks for information. I am an Iranian and I got my green card five years ago. I was the winner of dv lottery. I want to go to Iran next week to visit my family and stay there for two months. I was wondering if I will have any problem to come back to United States after two months.

  6. I am an American citizen who one year ago married an iranian woman that was here on a tourist visa. We have filed all required forms and she has received her advance parole card but no green card. She has recently flew back to iran to be with her daughter who just gave birth. She was to return ho m e Feb.3 but since trumps new orders she has decided to change her flight to this weekend. Do you think she will have any problems getting back?

  7. Hi,

    I am a US citizen my fiancee is Iraqi. We applied for fiance(e) visa and USCIS and NVC approved it and sent it to the US embassy in Jordan. The Visa appointment is 03/2016. Will I be affected?


  8. Thanks for your tremendous efforts, I’m a green Card holder, I’m Iraqi citizen currently outside the USA for a United Nations official mission, I have a deplomatic UN passport and I’m coming back to USA to visit my family on 28 February. Will I face a problem getting the admission when I come back?

    With my appreciation.

    1. Hi, Dave: Under the Executive Orders, diplomatic visa holders are exempt from many of the harsh new rules. It would be worth your while to have an attorney give you individualized advice based on your visa status and credentials. We assume your U.N. Mission should have the capacity to provide this advice in-house to you.

      1. Appreciate your kind reply!
        In fact my green card based on refugee status, but I’m official of United Nations and I’m currently on a UN mission overseas as I mentioned in the previous comment and I’m visiting my family in USA every two months. But my concern I might face a prob when I come to USA to DSE my family.

        Best regards.

  9. thank you for the post, I am really nervous since I am a green card holder that came to the united states 5 years ago with an SIV visa, and I have booked a flight to go on vacation to brazil and i should travel in 2 days and now I do not know whether I should cancel or go , I have an Iraqi passport and I am waiting for the order to be published and it has not came up yet, will I have problems to Re Enter or not?

    1. Hi, Justin: If we were advising an Iraqi friend, we would discourage them from leaving the States right now. The memo bars “admission” from the designated counties, so you could be stuck.

  10. This series is very helpful in this desperate time. Thank you!
    Could you also comment on how this eo will affect Iranians with pending employment based i-485? We got our combo card just recently.

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