January 20, 2020

January 17, 2020

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Travel Update under Trump’s Executive Order

While daily governmental guidance for affected individuals, in the United States and abroad, has followed the signing of Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” on January 27, 2017, reports of inconsistent treatment of individuals abound. The following illustrates some of the confusion regarding individuals “from” Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

New Temporary Restraining Order

In the evening on January 31, the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles issued a temporary restraining order enjoining certain parts of the EO. Judge Andre Birotte, Jr.’s order requires the government to allow people to enter the United States who have valid immigrant visas — i.e., individuals who have been approved for legal permanent residence and are entering the U.S. for the first time in their new status on immigrant visas. The TRO appears to apply nationally. The Department of Homeland Security’s interpretation of the ruling is expected.

Green Card Holders

On February 1, the White House Counsel issued “authoritative guidance” stating that Green Card holders will no longer be subject to the Executive Order. They will no longer need the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s “categorical waiver,” according to that announcement. This guidance likely was issued because of continued reports of intense scrutiny at secondary inspection and even reports of individuals being asked to surrender their Green Cards. We await clarification on whether this is meant to apply to individuals covered in Judge Birotte’s order as well.

Visa Interview Waiver Program

Based upon statutory exceptions in the EO, the Visa Office clarified that certain visa interview waivers would remain available to applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79 and to persons whose visas expired within the past 12 months applying in the same category. Nevertheless, anyone applying for a visa should check with the relevant Consulate regarding the applicability of any visa interview waiver program.

Dual Nationals

DHS has stated that dual nationals “from” the seven countries were subject to the EO’s travel ban, but that Customs and Border Patrol would process people “based on how they present themselves at primary inspection.” Persons presenting their “non-restricted country” passport will be treated as citizens of the non-restricted country. U.S. citizens who are dual nationals should not be subject to the restrictions. Reports of dual nationals subjected to inconsistent treatment by CBP continue.

Benefit Processing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may continue to process visa applications and even to conduct interviews for individuals “from” the seven countries, but final decisions will be deferred, according to reports. There may be an exception for citizenship applications. However, the Department of State announced the National Visa Center has cancelled all scheduled immigrant visa interviews for February, whether family- or employment-based, including fiancé visa interviews.

The situation is in flux and is subject to further changes. Individuals from the seven countries who are in the United States and are planning to travel outside the country should consult an attorney before leaving.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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Michael H. Neifach, Jackson Lewis, Employment visa Lawyer, border security matters attorney
Principal

Michael Neifach is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is a recognized leader on immigration, visa and border security matters, and he is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Mr. Neifach has held senior positions at the White House Homeland Security Council, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He served as General Counsel at ICE from July 2007 through January 2009. Following his government service, Mr. Neifach oversaw...

(703) 483-8300
Amy L. Peck, Immigration Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Worksite Compliance Lawyer
Principal

Amy L. Peck is a Principal in the Omaha, Nebraska, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She dedicates her practice exclusively to immigration law and worksite compliance, and she is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Ms. Peck is one of 21 Directors elected to serve on the 14,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Board of Governors. She currently is serving on the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council.

Ms. Peck is a member of the AILA National Verification Committee, which liaises with USCIS, ICE and OCAHO on I-9, E-verify and related worksite issues. Ms. Peck recently served on the AILA National USCIS Benefits Committee, the Interagency Committee, the Annual Conference Committee, previously chaired the AILA FOIA Liaison Committee, the AILA Comprehensive Reform Committee (2010-2011) and is a founding member of the Global Migration Action Group (2009 to present). She served as Chair of the AILA National Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) liaison committee (2008-2010). Ms. Peck also served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for AILA (2008-2009) and served on the Spring Conference committee (2008-2010). She was chosen as the editor of the AILA Midyear Conference materials in 2010, and past Chair of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) liaison committee (2004-2006). She is past Chair of the AILA Iowa-Nebraska chapter (2001-2003), and previously served as its treasurer (1999-2000).

(402) 391-1991
William J. Manning, Jackson Lewis, Employment Immigration Lawyer, Visa Strategies Attorney
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William J. Manning is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has been advising both U.S. and foreign employers with regard to immigration matters since 1986. Mr. Manning established the Jackson Lewis Immigration practice in 1998.

Mr. Manning’s practice covers all aspects of employment-based immigration into the United States. He works closely with employers to structure their immigration programs and develop long-term visa strategies for key employees. He has extensive experience in...

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