Latest Update from the American Immigration Lawyers Association on Travel to the United States Ban

Mailing or Enclosure | New York

With thanks to Elizabeth Ruddick at Wesley Gryk 

The US Department of Homeland Security has been ordered by at least four federal courts not to implement the Executive Order known as the “Muslim ban.”  The orders are temporary —  either for seven days or until further hearings — so that those seeking to travel to the US might wish to do so now. 

DHS has stated that they will comply with the court orders, but of course legal opinion remains divided about whether they are in fact interpreting them correctly.  In the meantime, at least, DHS has “deemed” that the return of green card holders is in the public interest.

The latest update from the American Immigration Lawyers Association is:

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” People all over the United States are rallying in opposition to this EO and showing their support for all of those individuals affected by President Trump’s EOs. AILA lawyers across the country are showing up en masse to provide legal support to those detained, as well as to families and friends waiting for their loved ones to be released.

Last night, lawyers filed actions across the country to halt the January 27 EO. A federal judge in the Eastern District of New York issued the first order, granting a nationwide stay of removal preventing deportation for individuals with valid visas and approved refugee applications affected by the EO. The next decision came out of a federal court in Massachusetts – it went a bit further and barred federal officials from detaining or removing individuals subject to the EO. Two other courts also issued rulings. In a case filed in Virginia, the court ordered federal officials to provide lawyers access to “all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport” and barred officials from deporting covered individuals for the next seven days. In the case out of Washington State, the federal judge barred the federal government from deporting two unnamed individuals from the United States.

Lawyers in the New York case are seeking clarification from the court.

The Department of Homeland Security put out a statement early today stating only that the agency “will comply with judicial orders.”

More clarity was provided by Secretary Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security, who released a press statement this evening clarifying how the EO applies to LPRs: “I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.”

Anyone travelling to the US may wish to take copies of the relevant federal orders with them.  They can be found here:

A useful statement from the Department of Homeland Security confirming that they will respect the orders can be found here:

Anyone covered by the order who is travelling to Massachusetts is urged to contact the Massachusetts ACLU.  They need details of travellers in order to apply to have the temporary restraining order made permanent.

An AILA member who spent three hours at Heathrow yesterday talking to airline staff said that the airlines were confused but there were certainly travellers being refused boarding.  Travellers were also denied boarding at many other airports, including in the UAE and Paris.  There was never any suggestion before this morning’s surprising statement from the FCO that the order’s reference to travellers “from” certain countries meant those travelling from those countries.

In another welcome u-turn described as a clarification, it was the position of the DHS that dual nationals were covered.  US Embassies were posting this message on their websites over the weekend: 

Per U.S. Presidential Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to aliens from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification. If you are a national, or dual national, of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND your appointment as we will not be able to proceed with your visa interview. Please note that certain travel for official governmental purposes, related to official business at or on behalf of designated international organizations, on behalf of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or by certain officials is not subject to this suspension. Please contact to inform them of your appointment time and date and request cancellation. Please continue to monitor and for further updates.



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