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Stay Put or Stay Out: Trump’s Travel Ban

Update – 2/10/17

In a decision issued by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the court unanimously ruled that a nationwide restraining order against the President’s executive order travel ban from seven majority Muslim nations and suspending  refugee admissions may continue while a federal judge considers a lawsuit over the merits of the policy. This decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court by the Trump administration. 

While the administration has informally clarified that the travel ban does not apply to legal permanent residents, during this period of uncertainty, we continue to advise against foreign nationals from the affected nations (legal permanent residents as well as those with valid visas) from traveling abroad. 

Update – 2/6/17

On Friday, February 3rd, one week after the President’s executive order banning entry to nationals of seven countries, federal Judge James Robart of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order, suspending key parts of the executive order.  The effect of the judge’s decision was to place a hold on the enforcement of the travel ban and suspension of refugee admissions on nationwide basis.  The government immediately appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and sought emergency relief from the 9th Circuit, requesting a stay of the lower court’s order.  That request was denied by the 9th Circuit, allowing the lower court’s suspension to remain in effect pending a decision by the court on the merits of the government’s appeal.  A decision on the merits is expected as early as Tuesday, February 7th.  Regardless of the decision by the 9th Circuit, it is expected that the case will ultimately be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court.

What does all of this mean?  Certainly, anyone from the affected countries with a valid visa who remains outside of the United States may want to consider immediate travel to the U.S. while the executive order is suspended.  As for employers, due to the state of uncertainty, it is well advised to refrain from sending affected foreign national employees abroad.

This is a fluid situation with rapidly developing updates.  We will continue to monitor the situation.

On January 27, 2017, the Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” was executed by the President.  The order applies to all individuals from 7 designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. While the order is being challenged in court, the order remains in effect.

All immigrants and non-immigrants from the countries listed above who were outside of the United States on January 27th have been and will continue to be denied re-entry to the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. The order applies to those currently possessing valid visas, including individuals employed in the United States and those with families in the U.S. –  resulting in individuals being stranded from their families and/or prevented from returning to their jobs. The stated purpose of the ban is to ensure that the United States government can conduct an analysis of the national security risks posed by our immigration system.

The status of legal permanent residents of the United States (“green card” holders) from the above-listed countries is unclear and in a state of flux.  Such individuals have been detained at points of entry for interviews with entry being permitted on a case-by-case basis.

Numerous legal actions have been filed challenging this executive order travel ban although the only injunctions yet to be issued apply only to those in transit at the time the executive order was issued.  Accordingly, employers with foreign national employees from any of the seven countries should not send any such foreign nationals outside of the country for any reason, including business related travel.  In addition, foreign nationals from any of the affected countries should not leave the U.S. if the intent is to return to this country.

Stock and Leader will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as further actions are expected relating this executive order and to immigration matters, generally.

Questions? Contact Stock and Leader’s Immigration Law Group.

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