Tag: Immigration Executive Action

March 10, 2017

Rather than pursue further court challenges to the original “travel ban” executive order of January 27, the president instead issued a new Executive Order scrapping and attempting to cure legal deficiencies of the first one. Implementation of the first Executive Order was stopped by a Temporary Restraining Order issued by a federal court in Washington state, and upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The new Executive Order, issued March 6, 2017, bears the same title as its predecessor, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” As an attempted end-run around litigation, this new edict shows a White House apparently both undeterred and uninformed by the internal DHS memorandum entitled “Citizenship Likely an Unreliable Indicator of Terrorist Threat to the United States,” leaked to the Associated Press.

The President cited vague terrorism concerns for implementing the refreshed ban on entry of nationals from a few mostly-Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria & Yemen. It bars entry of nationals from these countries for 90 days, and the ban is to be revoked, reviewed, and expanded or extended as of June 14, 2017, if those countries fail to cooperate. Like its predecessor, it suspends refugee admissions and cuts the annual total limit on all refugees to 50,000. It also drastically curtails the availability of mail-in & drop-box programs for visa renewal applicants.

The initial ban and its replacement do not name or impact nationals of a broad array of other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which gave us the 9/11 hijackers, nor do they target many other Muslim countries that happen to be home to certain gold tinted hotel properties.

Vainly hoping to avoid the legal impediments of its namesake, the new travel ban specifically excludes the following individuals from its impact:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents and nationals of the six named countries who hold valid nonimmigrant visas to the U.S.;
  • Any person lawfully admitted or paroled into the United States before the effective date of the Executive Order, March 16, 2017;
  • Any dual national of the six named countries seeking admission to the U.S. under  the passport of a country that is not on the list;
  • Any national of one of the six countries traveling on an A or G diplomatic visa, NATO visa, or C-2 transit visa for travel to the United Nations;
  • Anyone already admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, granted asylum in the U.S., granted withholding of removal, granted advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture, as of the effective date (3/16/2017).

As a way to avoid legal challenges, travel ban 2.0 has failed spectacularly: the revised Executive Order has already prompted lawsuits by Hawaii, Washington, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon, joined in Maryland by immigrant advocacy groups & the ACLU. On Wednesday March 15,  judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii issued a TRO halting implementation of the new travel ban, and on Thursday, March 16, judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland issued a narrower order striking down the portion of the ban refusing to issue visas to nationals of the six countries.

Last updated March 17, 2017

November 25, 2014

The first important thing to know about the immigration relief announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014, is that it’s not an “amnesty.” Unlike President Reagan’s amnesty in 1986, the recent Executive Action does not create a new basis for residence that will legalize several million people who currently have no status, it only offers new temporary forms of relief from deportation or removal, and temporary work authorization, for limited classes of people. The second thing to know is, no one can apply right away.

None of the immigration initiatives announced as a part of the President’s Executive Action are in place yet, nor will any of them be in place before the end of calendar 2014. Don’t pay anyone to file an application for you for one of the new forms of relief included in that announcement until USCIS publishes new forms, and announces the new application procedures and their effective dates. The agency needs time to update, revise and publish new forms, establish rules for the supporting documentation, set fees and filing procedures for the new application types, and allocate and train staff to review those new types of applications, before those processes go live.

Some of the immigration initiatives mentioned, such as measures to ease employment-based immigrant quota backlogs and enhance “portability” for foreign workers, do not even have anticipated timelines yet. The most urgent benefits for some of those currently without status do have projected timelines, but they will not be in place until the spring of 2015.

Specifically, USCIS expects an application process for the expanded version of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to be in place about 90 days from the announcement, i.e. after February 19, 2015. This new expanded DACA benefit covers those who arrived in the United States before age 16, and have resided continuously in the US since January 1, 2010.

USCIS expects to have an application process for the new DAPA benefit, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, in place about 180 days from the announcement, i.e. after May 19, 2015. The DAPA benefit covers parents of a US citizen or permanent resident child born on or before November 20, 2014, and have resided continuously in the US since January 1, 2010.

In the meantime, people who may qualify for immigration relief who are awaiting the publication of specific filing procedures may want to consult with a pro bono or low-cost legal service provider, a qualified immigration attorney, or an accredited BIA representative, to ask basic questions about eligibility, and about gathering documentary evidence that will be needed to prove identity, qualifying relationships, and proof of continuous residence in the United States.