Another quicksilver change in immigration policy is happening, based on a proclamation issued by Trump on Sunday evening. A mix of travel restrictions, and outright bans are being placed on eight countries, most – but not all – of which are Muslim. These new restrictions replace the parts of the controversial March 2017 travel ban that had expired on Sunday night, and are far more extensive. Rather than the original 90-day suspension that was issued in March, the new travel ban imposes PERMANENT restrictions on these countries. Trump said these new restrictions are based on the recommendations of homeland security, based on whether the countries listed would, or could, meet screening standards laid out by the United States for travellers on their end. Below is the list of your top questions answered regarding Trump’s latest travel ban.
1)WHAT COUNTRIES ARE AFFECTED BY THE TRAVEL BAN?
- North Korea: (NEW) Banned from Entry (not that we see any nationals from there coming to America)
- Syria: Banned from Entry
- Venezuela: (NEW) Faces restrictions or heightened scrutiny, ban only on a group of government officials and their families
- Somalia: Can no longer emigrate, but can visit with heightened scrutiny
- Chad: (NEW) Banned from Entry
- Iran: Banned from Entry. BUT students can still come on exchanges/will face enhanced screening
- Libya: Banned from Entry
- Yemen: Banned from Entry
- Iraq: Faces restrictions or heightened scrutiny
- Sudan: Has been dropped from the list
2)WHEN DOES THE EXPANDED TRAVEL BAN COME INTO AFFECT?
The new restrictions are supposed to be put in effect generally starting October 18 2017; so less than one month from today. Each country will have its own specific date, and regulations.
3) WHAT DOES “BANNED FROM ENTRY” MEAN?
Quite simply it means that while each of the countries will be under its own set of travel restrictions, in most cases citizens of the banned countries will be unable to get green cards (become permanent residents of the US), and most will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America. For some countries only part of the population will be barred, and the rest will face enhanced screening. Some will still be able to visit, but they will be unable to apply for a green card, or permanent residency.
4)WHAT ABOUT CURRENT LEGAL RESIDENTS, OR THOSE HOLDING A CURRENT WORK/ SCHOOL VISA?
Those currently working, or studying, or visiting in the United States can stay for as long as their visas are valid. They will be restricted by the travel bans for their countries as soon as the visa expires.
5) WHAT ABOUT REFUGEES?
This new ban has not addressed refugees, but expect something in the next few days.
6)WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE COURT CASE LOOKING INTO THE LEGALITY OF THE BAN?
Oral arguments for and against the legal ban were supposed to go before the Supreme Court on October 10th, but the court has cancelled those hearings for the moment, and is expecting to see briefs from both sides by October 5th. Some experts think that this will throw a wrench into the legal proceedings, others think that it will render the Supreme Court case moot, and send it back to the lower courts – who were by and large critical of the ban in the first place.
If you need to come to the United States and you are from one of the countries on the list above, I would strongly advise getting a good immigration lawyer. It seems with this administration there are changes that can come on quickly, and it is best to get professional help to navigate through the legal quagmire. The last time Trump imposed a travel ban, the airports were chaotic to say the least, be prepared, informed, and know your rights before you travel to the United States from any of the countries listed above.