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New Trump Immigration Executive Order Blocks Immigration from Six, Not Seven, Countries

The new so-called “travel ban” issued by President Trump this week by executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” goes into effect on March 16, 2017. The previous Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017, blocked by federal courts, is explicitly to be revoked on March 16, 2017, and replaced with this reissued order.

The following is a comparison of the two executive orders:

Travel Ban, Comparison

The new executive order bans for at least 90 days immigrant and nonimmigrant entries for nationals of six designated countries: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. However, Iraq was removed from the list and Iraqi nationals are not included. The order also calls for the establishment of a baseline screening process for visa applicants and benefits adjudication. It also requires a worldwide review by homeland security and intelligence agency directors to identify the information needed from each foreign country in order to issue a visa to a citizen of that country; additional countries could be added to the list depending upon this review.

Nationals of these six countries who had visas issued prior to January 27, 2017, are not affected by the order, which also exempts lawful permanent residents, parolees, travel document holders, dual nationals entering on a non-designated country passport, diplomats, refugees and asylees already admitted. It allows case-by-case waivers in certain situations involving undue hardships that do not pose a threat to national security and are in the national interest. However, these exempt individuals are still subject to scrutiny by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers at all U.S. ports of entry and preflight inspection points. It is extremely important to remember that there is no right to counsel at these ports of entry.

Additionally, the order suspends the U.S. Refugee Assistance Program for 120 days after March 16, 2017 (subject to certain case-by-case exceptions). As part of the “heightened vetting and screening procedures,” it suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program for all visa applicants.

Specifics are given on this baseline system for vetting and they include:

  • In-person interviews without exception. This occurs now routinely with limited exceptions for elderly and subsequent visa renewals for the same foreign national.
  • Database of identity documents proffered by applicants. This occurs at consular post now with the issuance of visas. This may suggest that other documents maybe requested.
  • Amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent.
  • Mechanisms to ensure applicants are who they claim. Biometric data is captured now of all visa applicants and refugees so what additional mechanisms might be (iris scans, genetic screening) remains to be seen.
  • Mechanisms to assess whether an applicant may commit aid or support any kind of violent, criminal or terrorist acts after entry.
  • Any other appropriate means of ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary for a rigorous evaluation of all grounds of inadmissibility or grounds of denial of other immigration benefits. This provision could cause enormous delays in processing at all levels not just at consulates but also by USCIS adjudicators for benefits such as permanent residence and citizenship.
  • The order also directs the Department of Homeland Security to expedite completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system.

Given this new executive order, it is important for human resources professionals and legal departments to determine whether any personnel are affected and to review their travel limitations. This order could also affect the processing of benefits for nationals of these designated countries.


© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 68


About this Author

One of the consequences of the globalization of world economies is the globalization of human resources. Barnes & Thornburg LLP's immigration practice complements our international and labor and employment practices and serves the needs of both corporate and individual clients by advising them on compliance with current immigration laws, U.S. Department of Labor regulations governing the employment of foreign nationals in the United States, and the movement of international personnel under the NAFTA. Individual clients who seek counsel from the firm's immigration services include,...

Mercedes Badia-Tavas Immigration Attorney

Mercedes Badia-Tavas provides legal and business guidance to clients on a broad range of immigration law cases, with focus on Fortune 500 and small companies alike. Mercedes supports her firm’s offices and clients across various states on immigration employment transfers and up-to-date compliance.

As an immigrant herself, Mercedes finds particular fulfillment in helping companies and individuals immigrate to the United States and participate in the American dream through startups and business transactions that also can benefit the U.S. economy.

Mercedes attributes much of her practice today to her dedication to resourcefulness from years of experience, meticulous preparation and organization skills. This entails a thorough understanding of her client’s industry, operations, culture, practices and financial goals in order to lay out realistic expectations and alternative strategies, as needed. Mercedes believes in being organized in her approach and documentation as a way of helping her clients manage costs. She and her team are committed to employing systems-driven tracking, timely updates and follow-ups with clients, and being pragmatic when unexpected issues arise.

Mercedes advises on a range of employment-based immigration needs, including temporary (nonimmigrant) and permanent (immigrant) visas for executives, managers, investors, professionals, aliens of extraordinary ability, and essential, specialized and skilled workers. She works hand-in-hand with clients on their corporate global mobility policies and compliance documentation regarding sponsoring foreign nationals for employment-based visa classifications. She is regularly involved in I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) and H-1B Labor Condition Application compliance.

Mercedes also provides in-house and on-site training on immigration planning for personnel transfers, immigration-related due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, consular applications, and naturalization and citizenship initiatives. She guides clients through internal immigration program administration and monitoring, and trains human resource personnel and other managers on the evolving areas of immigration law and practical integration of immigration policies, procedures and compliance statutes to everyday business operations.

Born in Cuba and bilingual in Spanish and English, Mercedes has sincere compassion for and sensitivity to her clients, keenly aware of the legal land mines and tedious pathways they would navigate through the U.S. immigration system. Whether Mercedes is advising on an immigration matter for an individual relocating from abroad, transferring within the U.S. from another employer, entering the U.S. workforce from student status, looking to build a U.S. business or someone part of a cultural exchange program, she provides her experience with the same strong zeal and commitment toward the best outcome.

Notably, Mercedes has been featured on NPR and Spanish-language broadcasts on immigration topics, many of which included audience call-ins. Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mercedes had built her own legal practice over nine years as the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, representing similar categories of clients she now services, with a little more individual and family-type immigration cases involved. She has traveled and lived throughout Latin America.