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Important Immigration Law Update: Executive Orders on Immigration

February 13, 2017

On Wednesday and Friday of last week, President Donald Trump signed

 

Executive Orders having far reaching effects on U.S. immigration law and procedure. In an effort to inform and advise our clients and the public about these Executive Orders, we've prepared the below summary and relevant advisories.

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States, signed January 27, 2017:

  • Suspends visa issuance and admissions for 90 days for any citizens or nationals from the following countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, with case-by-case "national interest" exceptions - see National Visa Center Advisory

  • In 30 days DHS must identify countries that are unable or unwilling to provide adequate information to the U.S. government, and then subsequently ban admissions for citizens of all such countries as well

  • Suspends refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days, during which period DHS is directed to review what procedural measures can be implemented to ensure that those refugees admitted do not pose a "threat to the security and welfare of the United States."

  • Indefinite suspension of refugee admissions for citizens of Syria

  • Reduction of refugee visas from 110,000 to 50,000 for 2017

  

 
Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, signed January 25, 2017:

  • Directs DHS to rescind any prior "removal priority" guidance and effectively assign any and all apparent violations of U.S. immigration law as "priority" for removal, including those who have been charged with any criminal offense where such offense has not yet been resolved.

  • Directs DHS to issue guidance to ensure the collection of fines from immigration law violators and those who facilitate their presence in the U.S.

  • Directs the Attorney General and DHS to identify and designate "sanctuary cities," for the purpose of eliminating certain federal funding to those locales.

  • Directs DHS to review and potentially rescind any prior issued or pending immigration related regulation or guidance.

  • Directs DHS and State Department to implement economic and diplomatic sanctions against countries that refuse to accept their citizens who have been ordered removed by the U.S.

  • Directs ICE to create the "Office of Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens."

Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, signed January 25, 2017:            

  • Directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) make plans for the design and construction of a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Directs DHS to allocate and assign resources to build, operate, and staff additional detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as hire 5,000 additional border patrol agents.

  • Directs DHS to issue new guidance to end the practice of releasing detained individuals accused of violating immigration laws and to quickly remove foreign nationals who have been ordered removed.

  • Directs DHS to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to empower their officers to enforce federal immigration laws.

  • Directs DHS to promulgate new regulations and training regarding the application of immigration parole, asylum, and Special Immigrant Juvenile laws and procedure.

  • Directs the Attorney General to establish new guidelines for federal prosecutors to treat criminal offenses related to the U.S.-Mexico borders as "high priority."

Given these executive actions, we have the following advisories:

  1. Any foreign national citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, or Sudan who are lawfully present  SHOULD NOT depart the United States. DHS and the State Department have indicated that the current ban on admissions for citizens of these seven countries includes dual citizens of other countries (such as dual citizens of the Iran and Canada for example). This means that citizens of these seven countries WITH lawful status will be barred from reentering the U.S. if they depart for any reason. Lawful Permanent Residents (or "green card holders") are not specifically barred from reentering the United States, however we strongly advised against any international travel while the travel ban is in place. Please note, this advisory is specific to the current Executive Orders. Any foreign national present in the United States for temporary duration and/or subject to specific terms should continue to comply with the terms of their visas as normal.

2. All foreign nationals should carry their documents at all times. We strongly and earnestly advise everyone to carry with them at all times proof of their immigration status. 

  1. US citizens should carry with them their passport (see below), US birth certificate, naturalization or citizenship certificate, or consular report of birth abroad. 

  2. Lawful permanent residents ("green card" holders) should carry with them their permanent resident cards, travel documents, or passports with I-551 stamps. 

  3. Nonimmigrant (or "temporary") visa holders should carry with them their passports with current visas as well as their current I-94 documents (many should be able to go online and print their current I-94s here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home ), or Form I-797 change or extension of status approval notices. 

  4. TPS and DACA holders, pending asylum or pending adjustment applicants, parole or deferred action holders, and anyone else with an Employment Authorization Document ("EAD" or "work permit") should carry such EADs with them at all times. 

  5. Anyone with pending change of status, extension of status, adjustment of status, removal of conditions, or renewal applications should carry with them their I-797 receipt notices at all times.  

  6. Anyone without current lawful immigration status should carry with them proof of their physical presence in the US for the past two years (tax returns, pay-stubs, bank statements, school transcripts, lease agreements, account statements, etc., anything with your name and date on it), as well as proof of family and property ties (children's birth certificates, marriage certificates, titles to vehicles, deeds to houses, etc.) at all times. This is critical to avoid "expedited removal" if one encounters law enforcement officers.

 

3. Family, friends, and supporters should have attorneys contact information and copies of important documents on hand if needed. Family, friends, and supporters of foreign nationals who are at risk for apprehension or detention should be prepared to contact their attorneys and have copies of important documents saved in a safe place. Such documents include:

a. Immigration documents including passports, proof of lawful entries, etc. 

  1. Proof of long duration in the U.S., including tax returns, pay-stubs, bank statements, school transcripts, lease agreements, account statements, etc., anything with your name and date on it. 

  2. Evidence of family and property ties to the U.S., including children's birth certificates, marriage certificates, titles to vehicles, deeds to houses, etc. 

  3. Contact information including current addresses and phone numbers for family members with U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other secure immigration status in the event children need to be quickly and safely placed with relatives.

The attorneys at Charlotte Immigration Law Firm will continue to monitor the news and advise our clients accordingly. Should you have questions or concerns specific to yourself, your loved ones, or your business, please contact our office at 704-944-3239 or contact@charlottelaw.net  to schedule an in-person or telephonic/Skype consultation.

Updates:

February 9, 2017   9th US Court of Appeals denies government's request for a stay pending an appeal, rules unanimously against restoring the travel ban. 

February 4, 2017     US Court of Appeals 9th Circuit denies government motion for a stay pending appeal in order to resume travel ban. 

February 3, 2017      USCIS confirms that it continues to adjudicate applications and petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, or Sudan  

February 3, 2017     US District Court, Western District of Washington  grants temporary restraining order halting implementation of executive order provisions impacting travel 

February 2, 2017      US Department of State Alert - US Department of State's announced lifting the provisional revocation of valid visas of nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen:


"This Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals from any country with a valid U.S. visa in a passport of an unrestricted country.  Our Embassies and Consulates around the world will continue to process visa applications and issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from an unrestricted country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the seven restricted countries. Please check with your local Embassy or Consulate for country specific information."

February 2, 2017     DHS releases Q&A for Executive Order  

January 29, 2017      Statement by Sec. John Kelly on the entry of Lawfull Permanent Residents into the US confirming that green card holders from the seven nations are not affected by the travel ban. 

January 29, 2017      USCIS Releases Fact Sheet on Executive Order 

January 28, 2017      US District Judge in Virginia issues a temporary restraining order blocking the removal of lawful permanent residents from Dulles International Airport. 

January 28, 2017      US District Court Judge in Brooklyn, NY grants to stay deportation of individuals with approved refugee applications and US visas detained upon entry into the US following Trump's executive order. 

January 27, 2017       US Department of State document regarding implementation of executive action and visa revocation

January 27, 2017       President Donald Trump signs Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States    suspending visa issuance and admissions for 90 days for any citizens or nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days, and indefinitely  suspending refugee admissions for citizens of Syria.

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February 13, 2017

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