Immigration executive order FAQ

As you might have heard, last week the Trump administration issued a Proclamation restricting travel to the United States.  The Proclamation has replaced the previous Executive Order, which was issued in March, and which expired on Sunday, September 24.

Lawsuits were brought arguing that the March travel ban was unlawful, and two different courts enjoined it from taking effect. The injunctions were upheld by two United States Circuit Courts.

The Trump Administration appealed the decisions to the United States Supreme Court.  In June, the Supreme Court narrowed the injunctions so they applied only to people who had an existing connection with the United States.  This meant that the travel ban still was not in effect for students from the six countries. 

The limited travel ban began in June, and its 90 days expired this past weekend.

What does the Proclamation do?

The Proclamation replaces the travel bans.  Unlike the travel bans, it will last indefinitely.  Eight countries are affected, although in different ways.

  • Syria and North Korea. Entry into the United States from Syria and North Korea has been suspended indefinitely. In the case of North Korea, this continues prior practice.
  • Iran.  Most entry from Iran is suspended.  Individuals with valid F,M, and J visas are not suspended, but individuals will face 'enhanced screening and vetting'
  • Chad, Libya, and Yemen.   Individuals on business and tourist visas (B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas.
  • Somalia.  The Proclamation states that visa applications from Somalia are to be subject to additional scrutiny to look for connections to terrorist organizations, or for criminal links.
  • Venezuela.  Officials of certain Venezuelan government agencies and their immediate family members may not enter on business or tourist visas.
  • Sudan. Sudan is no longer on the list.

I heard something about separate restrictions on immigrants.

Except for immigrants from Venezuela, entry for purposes of immigration has been suspended.

So what's all this mean to me?

In the short term, and if you are here on a student visa, probably not much. Except for Syria and North Korea, the Proclamation doesn't specifically restrict student visas.  There was almost no travel from North Korea, which already was restricted, and only a very small number of people from Venezuela are affected. 

So my visa is still good? 

Yes. 

What about somebody who wants to attend Wayne but isn't yet admitted?

We think that should still be possible, although the person may face more intensive screening.  The person still needs to complete the application process and be admitted and will need to have his or her I-20 to get a visa, of course, but that's always been the rule.

The Travel Ban had several exceptions.  Are they still in place? 

For the most part, yes.  The Proclamation won't affect someone who has permanent residency status, or someone with dual citizenship traveling on a passport from a country not mentioned in the Proclamation, or someone with an approved advance parole authorizing travel to and from the United States. There are also provisions for case by case waivers.

How do the waivers work?

The first thing to know about waivers is that if you have a student visa, you won't need a waiver.  Waivers are to be granted on a case by case basis – there is no right to a waiverUnder the Proclamation, a waiver may be granted to someone who isn't otherwise eligible for entry, but who demonstrates to the satisfaction of Customs and Border Patrol that

  • Denying the waiver would cause undue hardship; and
  • Entry would not pose a threat to security or public safety of the United States; and
  • Entry would be in the national interest.

Is there a formal waiver application?

No.  We're waiting to see if the State Department will issue any guidance on how to apply.  In the meanwhile, we can get an idea of how the waiver application might work from looking at how waivers were supposed to work under the March Executive Order. Someone who believed he or she might be eligible for a waiver was to apply for a visa as normal, and also to include whatever information he or she had that would support why the waiver should be granted. 

I'm from Syria, and I am here on a valid student visa.  Any special advice for me?

Yes.  If you can possibly avoid it, try not to leave the country.

What about if I'm from one of the other countries mentioned in the Proclamation.  Should I do anything?

We suggest that if you leave the country, you carry evidence that you were admitted to Wayne and have been a student here, just in case. Make sure you visit OISS to get the proper signature/documentation before you leave the country.

Why?

In June, the Supreme Court attempted to distinguish between 'bona fide' relationships and relationships that might be created just to get around its decision. This notion - that someone must have a 'bona fide' relationship with the United States – has been carried over into the Proclamation.  If you are asked about your relationship with Wayne, it will be helpful to have something with you that shows you have a 'bona fide' relationship with us.

Isn't this case supposed to come before the United States Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on October 10 on the legality of the March travel ban. In light of the Proclamation, the Court has cancelled the hearing, and instead asked both sides to submit written arguments on the issue of 'mootness.'  The written arguments are due on October 5.

What is 'Mootness?'  Is that even a word?

Yes.  'Mootness' is a legal doctrine.  The question as to whether something is 'moot' can come up when someone takes an action, someone else goes to court to get the action declared unlawful,  but before the court rules (or here, before the Supreme Court can rule) on its merits, the action is discontinued.  The argument is that because the challenged action is no longer in effect, there is nothing left to be decided – that the case is moot.

How does 'mootness' apply here?

It's not clear whether it does.  But the argument would be that the earlier travel ban, which was the subject of the lawsuits, is no longer in effect, and therefore whether it was legal doesn't matter anymore.

Does the Supreme Court have to accept that argument?

No.  It gets legally complicated fast, but those who think the case is not 'moot' point to a couple of things right off:

  • Like the earlier Executive Orders, the new Proclamation applies almost entirely to Moslem-majority countries.  As we've mentioned earlier, while North Korea and Venezuela have been added, entry from North Korea was already heavily restricted, and the restrictions on Venezuela affect very few people.
  • The arguments likely to be made against the legality of the Proclamation are similar to the arguments that prevailed against the earlier travel ban, and it is likely that the Proclamation will be challenged.  A ruling by the Supreme Court will help provide legal guidance. 

What happens if the Supreme Court decides the case is not moot?

We think the Court would then reschedule the case for oral arguments.

When will the Supreme Court decide?

That's hard to guess. The Court has had this case on a fast track.  Perhaps before the year ends.

Any Predictions? 

Only that we'll be watching, and when we know, so will you.