Wow what a week for immigration lawyers and our clients. As you all now
know, on 1/27/17, President Trump signed an Executive Order called "Protecting
the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the US" which essentially
banned travel from seven countries in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Libya,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen).
The order was poorly thought out and executed and it brought chaos to airports
and travelers worldwide. The order revoked visas for people from those
countries who were abroad, stopped the processing of visas for people
who were planning to enter for business or pleasure, and caused the detention
of individuals who landed in the US shortly after the order was signed
if they presented a passport from one of the listed countries.
Due to the confusion, Customs and Border Patrol was also enforcing the
order against lawful permanent residents. Our office received calls and
emails from families separated and concerned as to how long the ban would
be in effect. Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
and other groups traveled to the airports to provide legal advice and
comfort to those families affected.
On 2/3/17, due to the efforts of lawyers in Washington State, Judge James
Robert of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington
issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the federal government
from enforcing the order on a nationwide basis. As a result, all revoked
visas were once again valid for travel and all ports of entry were instructed
to resume admission of travelers with proper documents.
On 2/4/17, the President filed an emergency appeal requesting that the
Court immediately reinstate the travel ban. However, a few hours later,
the Court denied the President's appeal. The Court requested additional
briefs and we expect more on their decision shortly. But for now, travel
to the US from those countries may continue. Stay tuned!