President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order temporarily bans entry into the United States of foreign nationals from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen, including those with valid visas or green cards (lawful permanent residents). Its key provisions include the following:
- Suspends, for 90 days from the date of the Order, entry into the United States of aliens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security develops more robust “vetting procedures” for visa issuance, but states that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of those countries.
- Suspends, for 120 days from the date of the Order, the admission of refugees to the United States while federal agencies review the refugee application and admission process to determine whether additional procedures are necessary to protect the security and welfare of the United States, but states that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest (including when an individual in a religious minority faces persecution, or when admission of certain individuals would be consistent with a preexisting international agreement or when a person in transit would face undue hardship) admit as refugees certain individuals, if it would not pose a risk to security and welfare of the United States.
- Suspends indefinitely the entry into the United States of aliens from Syria as refugees until the President has “determined that sufficient changes have been made” to the refugee application and admission process to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is “consistent with the national interest.”
- Limits the entry of refugees during FY 2017 to 50,000 (about half of those entering in FY 2016)
The January 27, 2017 Executive Order has no direct impact on citizens of those countries who are currently in the United States and do not plan to travel outside the country. But those who do plan to leave the United States may face one of the following scenarios:
- they may not be permitted to board a plane to return to the United States;
- they may be able to return to the U.S. but may be detained temporarily when they arrive in the U.S.; or
- they may be able to board a plane to return to the U.S. but may be detained and not permitted entry when they arrive in the U.S.
Students and faculty who are citizens of the affected countries or dual citizens of one of the affected countries and a country not on the list should seek legal advice before making a decision about traveling outside the United States. International students and faculty from other countries not currently listed should be aware that the entry ban could be expanded in the coming months.
Institutions may wish to communicate the above information to their campuses, and offer support services to those affected.