Trump Revokes January Immigration Order, Issues New Mandate

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

UPDATE: A federal court has granted a temporary restraining order that halts the implementation of key aspects of the Executive Order "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."

March 6, 2017

President Donald J. Trump has issued a new executive order on immigration entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States. The President revoked the January order of the same name, which was successfully challenged in federal court. The order takes effect on March 16, 2017.

The new mandate reiterates the policy of the US "to improve the screening and vetting protocols and procedures associated with the visa-issuance process and the US Refugee Admissions Program."

The ban does not include:

  • Those with current, validly issued visas;
  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • Dual nationals of any country included in the travel ban when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • Those traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic-style visas;
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum;
  • Any refugee who has already been admitted to the US; and
  • Any individual granted a waiver of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Priority for members of religious minorities has been removed from the new directive.

The executive order continues to include:

  • A travel ban for 90 days, including suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. (Notably, Iraq is no longer included in the list of designated countries);
  • A 120-day suspension of refugee admission from all countries in the US; and
  • A reduction of refugee admissions by half, to 50,000 a year.

Waivers of the order's requirements may continue to be made on a case-by-case basis by consular officers or US Customs and Border Protection. Examples of circumstances where a waiver would be appropriate, such as if a foreign national that has been previously admitted to the US for a continuous period of work and seeks reentry, are provided in the order.

The order requires a number of reports from the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Attorney General. In addition, the President calls for the expedited completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system.

The order suspends the State Department's Visa Interview Waiver Program, so that, subject only to specific statutory exceptions, all individuals seeking nonimmigrant visas must undergo an in-person interview.

A memorandum to the Attorney General and the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security was issued in conjunction with the executive order. The memorandum directs the departments to:

  • Implement vetting protocols and procedures for visas;
  • Enforce all laws for entry into the US;
  • Issue new rules, regulations or guidance as necessary; and
  • Report on relevant activities, such as the number of visas issued, the number of adjustments of immigration status granted and the ongoing support of refugees.

Employers continue to be affected by the travel ban. Issues to be considered by employers may include the:

  • Suspension of travel abroad for foreign nationals of the affected countries;
  • Impact on international recruiting efforts; and
  • Option to recall workers from the six countries identified in the executive order.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who led a successful federal lawsuit against the original extreme vetting order, stated in a press release, "We are carefully reviewing the new Executive Order to determine its impacts on Washington State and our next legal steps."