President Trump’s Third, Indefinite Travel Ban Takes Blow from Courts

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have temporarily blocked the implementation of President Trump’s most recent travel ban, which was issued by Presidential Proclamation on September 24, 2017 (Proclamation) and set to take effect October 18, 2017. The more sweeping ruling by the federal court in Hawaii blocks implementation of the Proclamation as to all countries except Venezuela and North Korea, and the decision by the Maryland federal court declares the ban unenforceable toward those individuals with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States (U.S.).

Essentially, the Proclamation imposes certain restrictions on the entry of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The type of restriction varies from country to country and the restrictions are of indefinite duration. The Proclamation was allegedly crafted based on recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to Executive Order 13780, which included a requirement for a global review of each foreign government’s information sharing practices, policies, and capabilities.

For a detailed analysis of the Proclamation, which is President Trump’s third attempt at instituting a travel ban, please click here.

What Are the Takeaways from the Two Decisions?

The Hawaii Decision: U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the Proclamation likely exceeds the scope of presidential authority permitted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. His ruling is effective nationwide and prohibits implementation of the Proclamation’s provisions, except as to nationals of North Korea and Venezuela.

The Maryland Decision: U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang found that the Proclamation likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as well as the INA. As for the scope of the injunction issued by the Maryland district court, Judge Chuang ruled that the Proclamation is blocked as it would apply to those with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. This language echoes that used by the U.S. Supreme Court when it temporarily restored President Trump’s second travel ban issued by Executive Order (E.O.) back in June of this year. In that decision, the Supreme Court temporarily allowed implementation of the E.O. but eliminated from its purview those with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Where Are We Headed?

These court actions are just the beginning of what is anticipated to be a protracted legal battle that may very likely head to the Supreme Court yet again. The Supreme Court was positioned to hear oral arguments on the legality of an earlier iteration of the travel ban this month. One of those cases has been dismissed, and the other will likely be dismissed as well. Both of the cases that were set for argument this month were based on the decisions of these same two federal courts that have issued injunctions on the Proclamation. This travel ban battle is far from over.

What Should Employers Do?

It is unlikely that the Proclamation in its current form will have much of an effect on employers because the current pool of affected travelers is very small. It is important to remember that the Proclamation is still in effect for certain government officials from Venezuela seeking visitor visas as well as travelers from North Korea who do not have bona fide relationships with persons or entities in the U.S.

U.S. consulates still exercise, however, a great deal of discretion in adjudicating visa applications. Thus, while the Proclamation may be “mostly dead” for now, individuals from the restricted countries should expect increased scrutiny and prepare for it accordingly with counsel. Additionally, we are just at the beginning stages. An appeals court or the Supreme Court could ultimately reinstate the Proclamation or a portion of its content. Thus, careful pre-planning for visa applications is crucial.

Here are a few things that an employer can do:

  1. Assess travel plans for employees of affected nationalities based on implementation.
  2. Consider the ability of those who are dual nationals to travel on a non-restricted country (under the ban) passport.
  3. Consider rescheduling meeting locations and using internet-based meeting options.
  4. When necessary, compile documentation and information for a potential waiver application under the standards set forth in the Proclamation even though it is not in effect in full, such documentation may be required to withstand the heightened scrutiny that will likely continue to be applied toward individuals from these targeted countries.
This post was written by Heather L. Frayre of Dickinson Wright PLLC., © Copyright 2017
For more Immigration legal analysis go to The National Law Review

US State Department Clarifies Implementation of Travel Ban Exemptions

The diplomatic cable instructs consulates on how to interpret the US Supreme Court’s direction to enforce the restriction only against foreign nationals who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

This Immigration Alert serves as an addendum to our prior summary of the Supreme Court decision partially granting the government’s request to stay enforcement of two preliminary injunctions that temporarily halted enforcement of Executive Order (EO) No. 13780. As a result of this decision, foreign nationals from six countries (Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iran, and Yemen) who cannot show bona fide ties to the United States may be denied visas or entry for 90 days starting Thursday, June 29 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

The communication from the US Secretary of State’s office enumerates the following situations where the EO’s travel restrictions will not apply:

  • When the applicant has a close familial relationship in the United States, which is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships, but does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, or any other “extended” family members.

  • When the applicant has a formal, documented relationship with an entity formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the EO. This includes established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa in any classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K, as a bona fide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification.

  • When there are eligible derivative family members of any exempt applicant.

  • When the applicant has established eligibility for an immigrant visa in the immediate relative, family-based, or employment-based classification (other than certain self-petitioning and special immigrant applicants).

  • When the applicant is traveling on an A-1, A-2, NATO-1 through NATO-6, C-2 for travel to the United Nations, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa, or a diplomatic-type visa of any classification.

  • When the applicant has been granted asylum, is a refugee who has already been admitted to the United States (including derivative follow-to-join refugees and asylees), or is an individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Applicants admitted or paroled into the United States on or after the date of the Supreme Court decision are also exempted, as are those currently in the United States who can present a visa with a validity period that includes either January 27, 2017 (the day the EO was signed) or June 29, 2017. Any document other than a visa, such as an advance parole document, valid on or after June 29 will also exempt the holder.

As described in the prior alert, any lawful permanent resident or dual foreign national of one of the six named countries who can present a valid passport from a country not on the list is not impacted by the EO. The EO also permits consular officers to grant case-by-case waivers to otherwise affected applicants who can demonstrate that being denied entry during the 90-day period would cause undue hardship, that entry would not pose a threat to national security, and that their admission would be in the national interest.

This post was written by Eric S. Bord and Eleanor Pelta of  Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Fourth Circuit Ruling Continues Star-Crossed Fate of Trump Administration Travel Ban

On May 25, 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court’s nationwide injunction against the Trump administration’s executive order (EO) suspending entry into the United States of foreign nationals from six designated countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This ruling maintains the current status quo under which key provisions of the travel ban have been blocked. As a result, employees from the designated countries remain free to travel to and request admission into the United States.

The EO at issue in the case, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” is a revised version of the original executive order that had also encountered legal obstacles. Under the revised version of the executive order, the Trump administration had attempted to address some of the early objections to the original executive order by excluding certain foreign nationals from its scope, such as those who already had visas, or who were green card holders or dual nationals traveling on a passport from a non-designated country. Despite those changes, the revised EO, issued on March 6, 2017, met with challenges and legal objections similar to the original. Section 2(c) of the revised EO, “Temporary Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern During Review Period,” was the central focus in this case.

While the court was not directly evaluating the constitutionality of the travel ban, the judges took a close look at the strength of the plaintiff’s Establishment Clause claim against the EO. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law respecting an establishment of religion. In defense of the EO, the administration has asserted a need to accord deference to the president’s actions taken to protect the nation’s security. The court, however, noted that the president’s authority cannot go unchecked, and included an examination of past statements made by President Donald Trump in its analysis.

Stating that the Trump administration’s travel ban was rooted more in the intent to bar Muslims from the country rather than in the government’s asserted national security interest, the court found that the public interest argued in favor of upholding the district court’s preliminary injunction.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement confirming that the government intends to appeal the Fourth Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. A separate nationwide injunction against the EO is currently under appeal in the Ninth Circuit. Oral arguments were heard in that case on May 15, 2017, and a decision is pending. Because the case is still ongoing, this latest decision should not be considered a final determination of the EO’s fate.

This post was written by Jordan C. Mendez and Lowell Sachs of  Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Tips for Surviving in a Time of Immigration Uncertainty

immigration travel banWe planned to write a blog about the revised travel ban Executive Order as soon as it came out. That the revised order was delayed for several weeks until March 6 highlights the uncertainty we face in 2017.[1] Below we try to answer various questions we regularly receive about immigration issues.

  1. Is domestic airplane travel OK? This may sound like a simple question, but recent events suggest more caution may be wise. For example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents recently met a plane landing at JFK Airport in New York City, and asked everyone about their immigration status.[2] The agents were looking for someone who had an old deportation order, but it is possible that anyone without evidence of status could have faced delays. This is a good time to remind ourselves that the law requires anyone who is not a U.S. citizen to carry evidence of status at all times (green card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-94 or electronic I-94 printout, valid, unexpired nonimmigrant DHS admission or parole stamp in a foreign passport, etc.).[3] Try to make it easy for a government officer.

  2. Isn’t that overreacting based on one incident? Maybe, but the bigger picture is that immigration enforcement agents have more discretion and wider operating room than before.[4] Two memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on February 20 allow for “expedited removal,” which is a fast track process that skips a hearing with an immigration judge.[5] Expedited removal now can apply to anyone who entered the country within the past 2 years (used to be 2 weeks), and anywhere in the United States (used to be within 100 miles of the border).[6] Expedited removal happens quickly, sometimes within a matter of days. Having a copy of a document showing status and that you have been in the United States more than two years could help avoid questioning and expedited removal.

  3. How about electronic devices? Can those be searched at the airport or border? The simple answer is “yes,” and this is happening more often.[7] We recommend that private information, such as a doctor with patient information, should be encrypted. According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website,[8] CBP officers may search laptops, cell phones, or other electronic devices. CBP may not select someone for a personal search or secondary inspection based on religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs. U.S. citizens may also be questioned and have their devices seized for refusal to provide passwords or unlock devices, but cannot be prevented from entering the United States. Noncitizens may, however, be denied entry. Adding to the uncertainty about how this will play out is a section in one of the January Executive Orders that directs federal government agencies to make sure they “exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents” from Privacy Act protections concerning personal information.

  4. What does this mean for people from the six countries covered by the new travel ban? Will the court battle still continue? The new order clarifies that green card holders and Iraqis are NOT affected by the visa ban, and that people who had visas revoked or cancelled by the first order may be able to get a travel letter to return. The new order takes effect March 16, 2017, and lasts for 90 days. People with valid visas stamps in their passports can still use them, but new visa stamps will not be issued with very limited discretionary exceptions. The Visa Interview Waiver program is suspended for all countries, and the order states that DHS may add countries to the list after further review. People who are citizens of the six countries can still face additional questioning when they enter the United States as part of a general pattern of enhanced vetting. Travel for citizens of the six countries remains a calculated risk.

We expect that court challenges will continue. The ban still focuses on six predominently Muslim countries, which some see as a religious-based action.[9] There are still arguments about the negative effects on U.S. business and academic programs.

  1. What does this all mean for DACA recipients? The January Executive Orders state that the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program remains in effect, but that DACA “will be addressed in future guidance.” This is good news for the 750,000 plus people who have DACA. However, continuation of the program is not guaranteed. And the January Executive Orders call for greater enforcement against anyone with any kind of criminal issue or with a previous deportation order. Some DACA recipients have minor criminal issues – will they be able to renew? Some recipients have previous deportation orders – how will they be treated? DACA recipients should carry their DACA approval and work card with them, should keep investigating ways to get back into status, and talk to an attorney or legal service agency if they have ANY criminal issue, no matter how minor.

  2. What does this mean for undocumented parents of students who want to fly within the United States for their child’s graduation? Some of them have traveled before with no problems. President Obama’s “Priorities Memo” used the idea of prosecutorial discretion to give some level of comfort to those at the bottom of the priority list for enforcement. The new orders make clear that there is a top of the list, but no bottom. The law is the law, and anyone undocumented who is caught could be removed. Anyone who is undocumented who is considering traveling should talk to an attorney or legal service agency to evaluate their own particular situation. For example, immigrationlawhelp.org has a list of accredited agencies. Also, this is not a completely new situation. Every year we see family members abroad who do not receive tourist visas to come to the United States. For those situations, some schools have set up a Skype feed of the ceremony through someone’s cell phone, or sent the family a photo of the student graduating, or other clever ways of trying to include the family in the event.

  3. Speaking of DACA, can many of them really move beyond DACA now? It is certainly worth asking. Many filed for DACA on their own, and have never had a legal consultation despite the fact that their immigration histories can be incredibly complicated. Most interestingly, a growing number of DACA recipients got DACA under age 18½ and now have degrees. Those people MAY (emphasize “may”) not have what is called “unlawful presence,” and MAY be able to consular process an employment based visa or green card.

  4. Going beyond travel, are there any other ways campuses can prepare for new immigration enforcement priorities, short of declaring a “sanctuary campus”? Yes, there are some basic steps that campuses can take. One set of model guidelines focuses on interaction with government officials.[10] Campus response has varied but generally been strong in favor of international education and diversity. A Washington Post article found that the vast majority of schools have made some kind of statement.[11] Some schools have been concerned about the political effects of opposing the travel bans. They worry that if they declare themselves immigration sanctuaries they may put a target on their backs. While some schools may be less vocal in their responses, most are supporting students and scholars who are concerned, and connecting students with extra services including counseling and legal services.

  5. If I feel my school is not doing enough, what can I do? In immigration, stories matter. For example, an Iranian graduate student may be thinking of leaving the United States to do a post doc in another country, or cannot travel to present work at a conference abroad, or is simply not sleeping or eating well out of concern, or have a spouse is not still able to enter the United States. These stories help show the real impact of the travel ban. And facts matters – there are some good articles and websites that provide data on the basis of the travel ban and the effects, and also on the positive impact of immigrants on our economy.[12]

  6. I heard the Executive Orders canceled all of President Obama’s orders except for DACA. Does that include the “sensitive locations” memo that said enforcement should not take place at sensitive locations such as campuses, churches, and hospitals? It appears that the ban on enforcement at sensitive locations survives. This policy is still on the ICE website, and in a DHS Q&A.[13] We hope this will continue.

  7. Is it true that the Administration and Congress plan to cut back F-1 STEM OPT and the H-1B program, and raise the minimum salaries for H-1B workers? A lot of ideas and draft memos are floating around Washington how to “fix” immigration, including the H-1B system. Bills pending in Congress would amend the H-1B process. The White House may ask DHS to conduct a study of the visa process to determine which visa regulations may or may not be in the national interest, and to make recommendations on how to improve visa systems, including the H-1B system. Are we sure that nothing like this will happen quickly, surprising us the way the travel ban did? Not sure, but passing legislation in Congress and amending federal regulations are normally long-term projects. Remember, the Obama administration was successfully sued for trying to make big changes without formal procedures.

  8. That’s 11 questions – anything else I should know? We all need to remember the energy it takes to operate in uncertainty. In a recent presentation at a university, the director of the counseling center explained that uncertainty can be more tiring and emotionally challenging than bad news. At least with bad news, we can focus attention on how to address it. So hang in there!

ARTICLE BY  Steve Yale-Loehr of Miller Mayer LLP & Dan Berger of Curran & Berger, LLP
© Copyright 2013 – 2017 Miller Mayer LLP. All Rights Reserved.

[1] The new executive order is at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states (Mar. 6, 2017).

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/papers-please/517887/?utm_source=fbb.

[3] INA § 264(e) provides: “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.” 8 C.F.R. § 264.1(b) lists the acceptable types of “registration” document that must be carried.

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/25/us/ice-immigrant-deportations-trump.html.

[5] The DHS memos and accompanying fact sheets and Q&As are at https://www.dhs.gov/executive-orders-protecting-homeland.

[6] For an article discussing whether expedited removal is constitutional, see David Savage, Trump’s fast-track deportations face legal hurdle: Do unauthorized immigrants have a right to a hearing before a judge?, Mar. 3, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-deport-legal-20170302-story.html.

[7] For general information on the rights of travelers regarding social media accounts and electronic devices, see https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement-airports-and-other-ports-entry-us. For an interesting NPR piece on this issue, see http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/02/16/border-agent-unlock-phone.

[8] https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states.

[9] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-evidence-for-trumps-travel-ban-simply-isnt-there/2017/02/27/90e228ac-fd36-11e6-8f41-ea6ed597e4ca_story.htmlhttp://wapo.st/2mZbkx8.

[10] https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement/campus-safe-zones-language-college/.

[11] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/20/universities-overwhelmingly-objected-to-the-trump-travel-ban-here-are-the-values-they-emphasized/

[12] https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/visas-impact/; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-31/trump-s-immigration-ban-could-cost-u-s-colleges-700-million; immigrationimpact.org.

[13] https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc; https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/21/qa-dhs-implementation-executive-order-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement (Question 28).

Trump EO Biometric Entry-Exit Section Raises Concerns of Lawmakers over Costs, Logistics

fingerprints biometricMembers of Congress from states bordering Canada, the Northern Border Caucus, have focused on a section of President Donald Trump’s Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” Executive Order directing DHS to expedite “the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States.” Calling it “unnecessary” on the northern border, representatives from New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Vermont, and Washington are concerned the system will lead to long lines and waits, interfere with commercial traffic, and damage tourism in their states.

In Buffalo, New York, there is bipartisan opposition to implementation of the biometric system. Representative Brian Higgins (D) believes the cost of implementation, $6.5 billion, will bring it to a halt when it comes to Congress for funding. In fact, that was where a similar proposal died two years ago. Representative Chris Collins (R) expressed particular concern about a reduction in sports tourism – reducing fan attendance at Buffalo Bills football and Buffalo Sabres hockey.

Because there is already a joint biometric entry-exit partnership agreement in effect between the United States and Canada, the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Caucus has asked that the Administration do a careful cost-benefit analysis and coordinate with the Canadian government before instituting a costly enhancement.

The Canadian government, perhaps in reaction to Trump Administration policies, is considering legislation to expand preclearance at Canadian airports. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that Canadians would be better protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights if they cleared U.S. Customs on Canadian soil. But the measure would give CBP officers the right to question, or detain for hand-over to Canadian officials, any Canadian suspected of violating Canadian law. There is opposition. Canadian lawmakers are concerned about granting additional authority to CBP because the bill “does not address Canadians’ concerns about being interrogated, detained and turned back at the border based on race, religion, travel history or birthplace.”

Meanwhile, Canada is prepared to capitalize on the controversy swirling around the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. Trudeau has extended his welcome, and so has the City of Vancouver, just a two-hour flight from the Silicon Valley. Indeed, a Canadian start-up, True North, is introducing high-skilled foreign nationals and their companies to the advantages of having a back-up plan in Vancouver, providing introductions to Canadian immigration lawyers, and exploratory trips.

This post was written by Moni Gill.

ARTICLE BY Moni Gill and the Immigration Team at Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017