Monday, January 30, 2017

Analysis of Trump's temporary restrictions on refugees

WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP signed an Executive Order placing restrictions on refugees and immigration from entering the U.S., it went into effect immediately.

However, it appears that detailed instructions were not given to the government employees at the airports on how to enforce the EO. According to the NYTimes, Trump’s plan received little or no legal review. The secretary of homeland security was not asked for guidance, and Customs and Border Protection officers were unaware.

The treatment of refugees or other people coming from the seven countries cited in the EO - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen - was uneven depending on which airport you landed in. Some homeland security staff were harsh and others were more lenient. Some airports were lax and released the immigrants/refugees/permanent residents; others placed arriving passengers who were impacted by the EO back on planes and returned them from their countries they came from. Still others, unsure about the court decision in New York, released the detained passengers to their families and communities and there are reports that some of those who were detained are still under guard at the airports. Attorneys who tried to provide legal assistance were denied access and were not even given names of those affected.

Meanwhile, here is the National Immigration Law Center's final analysis on the immediate consequences of Trump’s order, which gives insight to the impact the travel ban will have on people from different countries.
If you are an Iranian national outside of the U.S. with a valid U.S. visa, you will not be able to enter the United States.
  • Iranian nationals who are also citizens of a 3rd country (e.g. Canada) will still be barred from entering the United States, according to the State Department.
  • U.S. permanent resident aliens (green card holders) from Iran who are outside of the United States will be barred from reentry, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson.
    • Green card holders must apply for a case-by-case exemption from the Department of Homeland Security to be allowed reentry to the United States.
  • U.S. citizens will not be directly affected by the ban.
  • There is nothing to indicate that persons on valid visas inside the United States will be expelled so long as they do not leave the country and have a legal basis for remaining in the U.S.
The best bet is to remain cautious. If you are uncertain what your status is, consult an immigration attorney. If you don't need to travel out of the country - don't. Carry the phone number of your local ACLU office with you and exercise caution.

The possibility of the Trump administration adding more countries to the list is very likely. The stay issued by the New York judge and other courts around the country are only temporary. A final ruling is yet to come.
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