On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” that significantly changes U.S. immigration policy for at least four months.
When this executive order was issued, there was widespread confusion as to what it meant, and we anticipate that as further changes are made, more issues will arise. We are continuing to monitor this and other anticipated changes to the US immigration policy.
- 90-day suspension on entry into the U.S. by nationals of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Somalia
- Indefinite ban on entry by Syrian refugees
- 120-day suspension on refugee admission
- 50,000 person cap on refugee entry in Fiscal Year 2017
What this Means for Your Business and Affected Employees
If you employ foreign nationals from the seven affected countries, we recommend that you advise them not to travel internationally for at least the next 90 days. Other international employees should use caution and exercise discretion when travelling abroad. If international travel is unavoidable, then advise foreign national employees to carry and maintain adequate immigration documentation. That documentation can vary depending on the type of case, the purpose of the travel, and the nation that the foreign national is visiting. Please be sure to consult with your counsel for more specific information related to your case.
So far, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a temporary stay on this order, and numerous lawsuits have been filed by individuals and groups in attempts to reverse the order based on constitutional challenges and other grounds. A lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General of Washington, and the States of New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia have moved to intervene in actions filed in their states. In the meantime, the Administration has clarified that lawful permanent residents will be allowed re-entry to the United States.
The resolution of these issues will take some time as the new Administration works to develop clear policies for entry into the United States. The order does require ongoing investigation and reporting by the Secretary of Homeland Security, which could lead to the addition of other countries beyond the list of seven. Also, we anticipate additional Executive Orders may be issued addressing specific visa categories widely used by U.S. employers to augment their workforce, such as the H-1b and L-1 programs.
We will continue to monitor and report on these changes in order to help clients navigate the evolving complexities of the U.S. immigration laws.