On January 27, President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. The executive order has raised a number of legal questions. Protests took place in several cities as persons already approved to enter the United States were detained at airports. As the confusing legal situation continues to unfold, individuals and families affected by the executive order may require the legal counsel of an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

WHAT HAS THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT ORDERED?

On February 3rd in Seattle, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order that stops the federal government, on a nationwide basis, from enforcing several sections of the president’s January 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Those sections are:

  • Section 3(c): the 90-day travel ban on “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from designated countries
  • Section 5(a): the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
  • Section 5(b): the prioritization of certain refugee claims
  • Section 5(c): the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions
  • Section 5(e): the case-by-case admission of refugees on an individual basis

Officials at U.S. ports of entry are prohibited from enforcing these portions of the executive order until further action by the court. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has reversed the revocations of visas that were temporarily revoked by the executive order, and those visas are now again valid for travel. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field offices have resumed their standard policies and procedures for the inspection of travelers. In addition, airlines and airports have been informed they may board all passengers without regard to a passenger’s nationality.

Travelers whose visas were cancelled because of the executive are not required to reapply for a new visa. If there are no other admissibility issues, travelers will be given an I-193 waiver application – an “Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa” – when arriving in the United States. The temporary restraining order issued by the U.S. District Court will probably not be in effect more than a few days. While the District Court is expected to make a ruling quickly, the case will probably be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that will take some time.

WILL TRAVELERS FROM OTHER NATIONS HAVE VISAS REVOKED?

On February 2nd, the DOS announced that there is no plan to expand visa revocations or to expand the travel ban to additional nations other than the seven currently named in the executive order: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. At this time, citizens of those nations are being advised not to schedule new visa appointments, not to attend previously-scheduled appointments, and not to pay any visa fees until the visa suspension is lifted. U.S. consulates are trying to reach individuals with scheduled visa appointments to inform them that interviews have been cancelled and must be rescheduled after the suspension of visas is lifted.

Separately from the U.S. District Court’s restraining order, litigation is also pending in several courts around the country that may affect immigrants and nonimmigrants from the seven designated nations. As various courts render rulings and as those rulings are appealed, the legal situation could change rapidly. Until the United States Supreme Court makes a definitive ruling that resolves the legal questions, immigrants, nonimmigrant visa holders, and families affected by the executive order may need the legal advice and guidance of an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.