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President Likely to Order Travel Ban on People from Certain Countries

Immigration Law Alert

It is likely that a new Executive Order will be signed by the President today or in the next few days that will prohibit entry to the U.S. of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 30 days.

This Executive Order will likely relate to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees. The draft Executive Order is titled "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals." It has not yet been signed by the president and this alert is based on the draft version.

If it is signed as drafted it would "suspend" the entry of nationals from certain designated countries for at least 30 days from the date of the order. This includes anyone with a visa or a green card (permanent resident status). It may also include people with dual citizenship from one of the countries. The countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Additional countries could be included. The draft Executive Order does not specifically say the ban includes U.S. citizens and others who travel to these countries during the 30-day period.

The order also does not define what it means to be "from" a designated country. Thus, in an abundance of caution, it may be best to interpret the term broadly to include passport holders, citizens, nationals, dual nationals, etc. Additionally, after 30 days, travel is not automatically reinstated. Instead, DHS would be required to report whether countries have provided information "needed … for the adjudication of any … benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act … to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat." If not, the country would have 60 days to comply, or the travel ban would become indefinite.

Those affected by the Executive Order are cautioned to refrain from traveling outside of the United States if they are already here, or try to return to the United States as soon as possible (but only before this Order is signed) if they are outside of the country.

There are many questions raised by the draft executive order, and we will continue to release information and analysis as it becomes available.

Congress and the White House are also considering other changes to the immigration system as it relates to employers and employees. We will provide more information on these moves in the coming days.

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