Travel Ban Update

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!