From AILA - Practice Alert: On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed
an Executive Order relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees. The Executive Order is titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States."
Among other provisions, Section 3 of the Executive Order, "suspends" the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from certain designated countries for 90 days from the date of the order. Designated countries are those identified in INA §217(a)(12) and later added to the list of countries with Visa Waiver restrictions and would therefore include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Note that INA §217(a)(12) includes restrictions on people who travel to the designated countries, as well. It does not appear that the Executive Order is meant to encompass these individuals; however, it is not completely clear. The restrictions do not apply to those foregin nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G Visas for International Organization Staff (G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4).
The order also does not define what it means to be "from" a designated country. Thus, in an abundance of caution, it may be best to interpret the term broadly to include passport holders, citizens, nationals, dual nationals, US work visa holders, green cards, etc. Additionally, after 90 days, travel is not automatically reinstated. Instead, DHS is required to report whether countries have provided information "needed ... for the adjudication of any ... benefit under the INA ... to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat." If not, the country would have 60 days to comply, or the travel ban would become indefinite.
We are advising clients who might be affected by the Executive Order to refrain from traveling outside of the United States. AILA has reached out to CBP for information on how they are currently handling the entry of individuals from designated countries. We will update this practice alert with additional information as soon as it is available.
This practice alert is not legal advice. Attorneys and clients should discuss and make decisions based on their individual circumstances. There are many additional questions raised by the Executive Order, and we will continue to release information and analysis as it becomes available.