The executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump last week, barring immigration for nationals of seven countries, has led to mass confusion in both the United States and around the world. Hundreds of immigrants have been detained at airports since the order was issued, and even Trump’s administration has made contradictory statements about the ban.
Immediately following the ban, one of the main concerns was how the order would affect holders of valid U.S. Green Cards, as well as those who hold dual citizenship from an approved country and one of the banned countries. The countries that Trump has halted immigration from are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, including refugee applicants. While a temporary stop on immigration from these countries is in effect for only 90 days, the stop on accepting Syrian nationals
is applicable for an indefinite period.
Trump’s executive order was poorly implemented and the administration was called upon to make appropriate revisions with respect to both Green Card holders and dual citizens from countries permitted to enter the U.S. Below are the current interpretations of the order:
For U.S. Green Card holders
Green Card holders were initially included in those affected by the executive order. However, a federal judge temporarily blocked part of the order, indicating that those who hold valid U.S. visas and have already arrived in the U.S. would be permitted entry. Those who were in transit at the time of signing the order were detained at the airports until the judicial ruling was made.
On Sunday, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement clarifying that Green Card holders will be allowed back into the United States. Green Card holders from one of the barred countries would go through a secondary screening process upon landing, and unless they had links to terrorism and were judged to be a national security threat, their entry back to the U.S. would be granted. The International Air Transport Association also confirmed the second interview process for Green Card holders entering from one of the barred countries, and that a border officer may use their discretion in questioning travelers from these countries.
Dual citizenship holders that possess one passport from a banned country and one from an approved country have experienced similar confusion. The initial instruction was that dual citizens would also be barred from entering the United States. On Saturday, a State Department official said “Travelers who have nationality or dual nationality of one of these countries will not be permitted for 90 days to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.”
This was interpreted to mean that a national from one of the seven countries who is also a Canadian citizen would be barred from entry to the U.S. Given Canada’s trade ties with the U.S.
, and the mutual arrangement allowing Canadian citizens to visit the U.S. without a visa (and vice versa for American citizens), the initial understanding of the executive order was alarming. Many Canadian citizens who are from one of the seven targeted countries have relatives living in the U.S. Given the indefinite barring of Syrian nationals, this would mean that Syrian-born Canadians would no longer be able to visit their relatives living south of the border.
On Sunday, the International Air Transport Association clarified that dual nationals with a passport from an approved country, including Canadian citizens, would be allowed into the U.S.
Despite the administration’s clarifications concerning both Green Card holders and dual citizens, many U.S. companies are cautioning their employees who are nationals from one of the seven countries to stay in the U.S. until further clarity on the executive order is provided.
In light of the current immigration ban, if you are a national of one of the above-mentioned seven countries, we are currently offering a free consultation to discuss your immigration options. Contact our office
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