On Sunday, September 24, 2017, President Trump's administration issued an official
Proclamation expanding the highly controversial travel ban, which was initially signed as an Executive Order in Trump's first days of presidency. The expansion includes new restrictions on the admission of persons from eight countries, an increase from the previous six majority-Muslim countries.
New Restrictions on Visa Issuance The new restrictions are the result of a "comprehensive report," which the proclamation describes as having "evaluated the information sharing in support of immigration screening and vetting of 200 countries."
The administration now seeks to limit the entry of citizens and nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia, arguing that the governments of those countries are deficient with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, as well as having a significant terrorism presence within their territory.
According to the administration, the new restrictions are "conditioned based, not time-based", will be phased-out overtime, and will not impact those who already have a visa to enter the US.
The "Travel Ban 3.0" Proclamation specifically bars all immigrant and most nonimmigrant visa admissions from all countries on the list, except for Venezuela, for which, the administration stated, it will afford a more tailored approach focusing primarily on Venezuelan government official and their family members seeking to enter the US as tourists. Nationals of countries willing to cooperate with US identity and vetting requirements, improve vetting, or play a substantial role in combating terrorism, will be allowed entry on certain categories of nonimmigrant visas.
Countries Affected by Travel Ban Chad: The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on Business (B-1), tourist (B-2), is suspended.
Iran: The entry of all Iranian nationals as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except for nationals under valid student visa (F and M) and exchange visitor visa (J).
Libya: The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on Business (B-1), tourist (B-2), is suspended.
North Korea: The entry of all North Korean nationals as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended.
Syria: The entry of all Syrian nationals as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended.
Yemen: The entry of all Yemeni nationals as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended.
Somalia: The entry of Somali immigrants is suspended, while other visa adjudications will be subject to additional screening and scrutiny.
Venezuela: Certain government officials and their immediate family members are barred from entering the U.S. as visitors.
Scope and Implementation The suspensions of and limitations on entry shall apply to those foreign nationals of designated countries who:
are outside the United States on the applicable effective date (see below);
do not have a valid visa on the effective date; and
do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document
The suspension of entry should not apply to:
Lawful permanent residents of the US
Foreign nationals admitted to or paroled into the US on or after the effective date,
Foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa, such a transportation letter or advance parole document, valid on the effective date or issued thereafter, that permits travel to the United States or seek entry or admission
Dual nationals of designated countries travelling on a passport issued by a non-designated country
Foreign nationals travelling on diplomatic visas
Foreign nationals granted asylum by the United States, a refugee admitted to the United States, or an individual granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
Waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis if foreign nationals can demonstrate that waivers would be appropriate and consistent with the spirit of the Proclamation. The Department of State will issue further guidance on the exercise of waiver authority, and such waivers will apply to the issuance of visas as well as admissions by Customs and Border Protection. Though waivers are not categorical, examples in which waivers may be appropriate include:
The foreign national has previously been admitted to the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date, seeks to reenter the U.S. to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the U.S. but is outside the U.S. on the applicable effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity;
The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
The foreign national seeks to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a U.S. citizen (USC), LPR or lawful nonimmigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship;
The foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by special circumstances;
The foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. Government;
The foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the U.S. Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
The foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
The foreign national is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
The foreign national is traveling to the U.S. at the request of a U.S. Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.
Effective Dates The provisions of the Proclamation are to be phased in starting:
Sept. 24, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. EST: the restrictions in Section 2 (identifying the countries) are effective for those who were subject to the entry restrictions under section 2 of Executive Order 13780, or would have been subject to the restrictions but for section 3 of that Executive Order and lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with the U.S. person or entity.
Oct. 18, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. EST: the restrictions in section 2 are effective for all other persons subject to the Proclamation, including Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity; and nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.
Ongoing Litigation The Trump Administration's "Travel Ban 3.0" comes in the midst of ongoing legal battles between the administration and immigrants' rights and advocacy groups such as a the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that have reached the country's highest courts. The Supreme Court announced that, in light of the Administration's latest travel ban, it has cancelled oral arguments scheduled for October 13, 2017 and has instead ordered the sides to file new briefs explaining their positions on how the new travel ban affects pending litigation. President Trump's March 6, 2017 travel ban, or "Travel Ban 2.0," was blocked by court orders from Hawaii and Maryland, which were upheld by the appeals courts for the 9th and 4th Circuits. The Supreme Court issued a ruling in late June largely upholding the block on the travel ban.
Whether or not the courts will permit this latest version of the Trump Travel Ban to be implemented, and if so, how it will actually be implemented, remains to be seen. Charlotte Immigration Law Firm will continue to monitor the news closely and advise our clients as best we can in this ever changing landscape of immigration law under President Trump.