Wayne State University

Immigration executive order FAQ

On March 15, the federal district court in Hawaii issued a nationwide injunction temporarily preventing the revised Executive Order from taking effect. The Trump Administration is expected to challenge this decision. In the meantime, we are leaving in place our analysis of the march Executive Order

On March 6, President Trump signed a new Executive Order restricting travel into the United States by individuals from six countries.  The Executive Order replaces the January 27, 2017 Executive Order.  As you will remember, that order was successfully challenged in Court

This FAQ discusses the March Executive Order under the assumption that the travel ban will take effect.  At least six states have announced that they intend to bring legal challenges against the March Executive Order.  We will be closely monitoring the lawsuits, and expect to update this page to keep up with those and other developments.  

This FAQ also discusses the main points of the March Executive Order and how it differs from the January Executive Order. 

What is an executive order?

The President of the United States has authority to issue directions as to how to interpret or apply federal law.  This is often done by an “Executive Order.’

Does the President have authority to issue such an executive order?

Yes.  The President has authority in this area based on a law that gives him the authority to ban entry to ‘any alien or class of aliens’ if he finds that allowing them to enter the United States would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States”

If he has that authority, how come some courts stopped the January Executive Order from taking effect?

There were several lawsuits, but the common argument against the January Executive Order was that it violated the United States Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion.  The enormous confusion and visible hardship in the wake of the issuance of the January Executive Order made it more urgent for courts to become involved to prevent it from causing immediate harm to people. In at least one case, the Administration argued that Courts could not even review the January Executive Order, which also offended the courts.

What’s different about this Executive Order?

This Executive Order is more carefully written, and applies to fewer people than did the January Executive Order.  This Executive Order is clearer about who it applies to and who is or is not is not affected. 

Does that mean it will be in effect?

We don’t know.  The people challenging the Executive Order maintain that the changes are superficial, and that like the January Executive Order, it discriminates on the basis of religion.  We can expect a period of uncertainty as this is fought out in the courts.  For purpose of these FAQ, we are assuming that it will be in effect.

Which Countries are affected?

The March Executive Order applies a 90 day travel ban to certain individuals from Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

What about Iraq? 

Iraq was included in the January Executive Order, but is no longer included.

Why not?

According to the March Executive Order, partly because the United States and Iraq are allies in fighting ISIS in Iraq, and partly because Iraq has taken steps to improve its ability to screen against dangerous individuals flying to the United States.  Even though Iraqi nationals are not subject to the ban, the Executive Order provides that visa requests from Iraqi nationals should be subject to ‘thorough review.’

So who does the travel ban apply to?

The 90 day travel ban applies to individuals from any of the six countries, who are outside the United States when the Executive Order takes effect, and who did not have a valid visa on January 27, and who do not currently have a valid visa.

When does this Executive Order take effect?

It takes effect March 16, 2017, one minute after midnight.

What about people who have valid visas, but are in transit to the United States when it takes effect?

They are to be allowed entry.  This was a huge problem with implementing the January Executive Order.

Does it apply to people from those countries who have permanent residency status?

No.  This wasn’t clear in the January Executive Order.

What if I have dual citizenship, and one is from a country not named in the Executive Order?

People with dual citizenship can be admitted to the United States if they are travelling on the passport from the unaffected country.  This also wasn’t clear in the January Executive Order.

I will have to be out of the United States for the next few weeks, and won’t be able to get back before this Executive Order takes effect.  I have a valid visa, but I’m from one of the six countries affected by the travel ban.  Will I be able to get back in?

Not automatically.  You would have to apply for a waiver.  The Executive Order allows for case by case waivers, and one of the reasons is that someone has previously been admitted to the United States for ‘a continuous period’ of work or study, and wants to return to the United States to resume that activity.  We don’t know how likely it would be that waivers will be granted, or how long a waiver application would take.  It is safer not to leave.

But if I stay in the United States, my visa is still valid?

Yes.  The Executive Order doesn’t revoke your visa.

Does the Executive Order mention other reasons waivers might be granted?

It does, and there are several. We are focusing on the parts of the Executive Order most likely to be important to our international students and scholars.  If you need more information on this, please contact OISS. Again, we don’t know how long a waiver application will take, or what the chances are that a waiver request would be granted.

In your earlier FAQ, you urged us not to leave the United States because we might not be able to get back.  Is that still your advice?


I live in Canada.  Will that help?

Maybe. People who have landed immigrant status in Canada and apply for visas in Canada can apply for waivers.

Will the travel ban end after the 90 days?

Not necessarily.  The Executive Order contemplates that other countries will provide information to the United States within the 90 day period that will help determine whether or not its nationals can be safely admitted.  It is possible that the list of countries could be reduced, modified, or expanded after the 90 day period is up.

Wait.  The travel ban could be extended to other countries?


What happened to the refugee ban in the January Executive Order?

The March Executive Order keeps the 120 day ban on the admittance of refugees. The January Executive Order also included an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.  That has been eliminated.

What is Wayne doing?

We pride ourselves on being a welcoming place for students and scholars from around the world, regardless of religion, racial or ethnic background, sex, or nationality.  International students and scholars, through their contribution to our society, culture, and economy, enrich not only the campus community but also our city, state and country.

We will continue to do whatever possible to provide our international students and scholars with the support they need and deserve during these uncertain times. 

We will continue to monitor the progress of this Executive Order and of other actions that may affect our international community.  We continue to protect student privacy, and will not share private student information unless required by law or a court order, nor will we require students to disclose their immigration status except as required by law.  Our police do not ask or record the immigration status of students or other persons unless a serious crime has been committed.  Wayne uses E-Verify only for its intended purpose, which is concerned solely with determining employment eligibility.

In short, Wayne remains committed to ensuring that our campus is welcoming, inclusive, and nurturing of people from all backgrounds

What if I want more information about what is going on?

Our staff in the office of International Programs stand ready to support students and scholars who are impacted by the recent policies.  We encourage them to contact our advisors at the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at (313) -588-3422 or at OISSmail@wayne.edu.

OISS will continue to coordinate various activities to help answer our international students’ and scholars’ questions and concern and to provided needed assistance and support during these challenging times. 

Several offices have had meetings or forums to discuss these important issues, and we expect we shall do so going forward as needed.

What if I feel harassed because of my religion or ethnic background?

If you feel physically harassed or threatened, please immediately contact the Wayne State University Police Department at (313) 577-2222.  You can also file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity at (313) 577-2280 or at oeo.wayne.edu. 

You can also contact Marquita Chamblee, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, at (313) 577-2200 or diversity.wayne.edu.