On March 6, 2017, the new administration re-issued an Executive Order that halts all refugee admissions for at least 120 days and bans entry into the United States for at least 90 days for persons from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which had been included in the prior Executive Order, is not included in this updated version. The notable points of this latest Executive Order ("EO") include:
- The EO expressly states it revokes Executive Order 13769, originally issued on January 27, 2017. Executive Order 13769 was the subject of dozens of lawsuits and temporary restraining orders across the country: most notably, in Washington State and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed an injunction blocking key parts of that prior Order.
- Effective March 16, 2017, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are prevented from entering the United States for a period of 90 days, does not apply to the following:
o Lawful permanent residents ("green card holders") from those six countries;
o Persons from one of those six countries with a valid visa obtained on or before January 27, 2017;
o A foreign national with a valid travel document other than a visa (for example, advance parole), valid as of the date of the EO or issued thereafter;
o Dual nationals of those six countries when traveling on a passport of a non-designated country (for example, a dual Iranian Canadian citizen seeking to enter the U.S. on a Canadian passport);
o Persons traveling on diplomatic visas, NATO, or U.N.-specific visas; and,
o Foreign nationals granted asylum, refugees already admitted to the U.S., granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
- The EO allows for consular officers or the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"), in their discretion, to issue a visa or permit entry, on a case-by-case basis, for individuals affected by this order if the foreign national demonstrates that denying entry would cause undue hardship, his/her entry would not pose a threat to national security, and would be in the national interest. The specifics of how to seek or request this waiver is unclear from the text of the EO, but the EO lists several examples of circumstances, including returning students or temporary workers outside the U.S. on the effective date of the order, foreign nationals seeking to visit or reside with a spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or non-immigrant, persons needing urgent medical care, landed Canadian immigrants applying for U.S. visas in Canada, or U.S. government-sponsored exchange visitors.
- Additional countries may be added for restrictions or limitations based on input from the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of Homeland Security.
- As of the effective date of the EO, all refugee admissions under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program are suspended for at least 120 days, with admissions resuming only after the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence have determined that additional procedures for screening refugees described in the order are adequate.
- Reduces the number of refugees in Fiscal Year 2017 to 50,000 (the Obama Administration had set the commitment figure at 110,000), with exceptions for admitting refugees to conform with international agreements or other limited circumstances.
- Directs the Secretary of State to examine existing law to determine the extent to which state and local governments "may have greater involvement" in determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdiction.
- Suspends Visa Interview Waiver Program, requiring individuals from all countries who seek to renew their nonimmigrant visas to undergo in-person interviews.
In addition to posting this latest Executive Order, major media reports the Trump administration has also circulated a Fact Sheet and Q&A for implementation of the EO. We will bring further updates related to this new Executive Order as they become available.