President Donald Trump continues his sweeping changes on immigration with a new Executive Order, called “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”. This is just one of multiple executive orders on immigration recently issued by President Trump; however, this particular order has spurred an enormous amount backlash from immigration advocates, religious leaders, and civil rights groups who describe President Trump’s policies as unconstitutional and counterproductive. Below are details about this new executive order:
1. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Predominantly Muslim Countries. President Trump has suspended entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of citizens and nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days from the date of this executive order. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will be required to submit a list of countries that do not comply with new information requests to help DHS determine whether an individual “is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.”
2. Uniform “Extreme Vetting”. President Trump is requiring a new screening program “to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis, with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.” President Trump is apparently following up on a campaign promise for “extreme vetting” of refugees and would-be immigrants, despite the fact that refugees currently go through a 21-step screening process involving multiple federal agencies.
3. Massive Drop of U.S. Refugee Admissions. President Trump has asked the Secretary of State to suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (“USRAP”) for 120 days, and has decreased the number of refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 2017 to 50,000 from President Obama’s goal of 110,000. Upon resumption of USRAP, DHS and the Secretary of State President Trump has also called on DHS and the Secretary of State to cease the processing and admission of Syrian nationals as refugees until such time as he has determined such admissions would align with the national interest.
4. Visa Interviews Required. President Trump has directed the Secretary of State to require all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa to undergo an in-person interview.
5. Expedited Completion of Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. President Trump has directed DHS to expedite the implementation of the biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the U.S. The purpose behind this system is to deter visa overstays, who can be denied for admission in a future entry.
Please contact your Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP immigration attorney today if you have any questions on how President Trump’s new immigration policies may affect you or your immigration status.