DETAILS ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION'S NEW TRAVEL BAN
On Monday March 6, 2017, the Trump Administration signed into effect a new executive order once again seeking to prevent travelers from Muslim majority countries from traveling to the United States. Like the prior executive order, the intent of the order is largely unchanged; however, the current order seems to have stripped out the most nakedly discriminatory and constitutional violations in an attempt to allow it to be implemented.
The new order prevents visas from being issued to the following six countries for the next ninety days: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Officially, visas already issued to travelers from these countries are to be honored and individuals in “extreme circumstances” can file a waiver of this ban, but it seems unlikely that the government will grant any waiver requests on this matter regardless of the circumstances. Likewise, the order also specifically exempts green card holders from the affected countries.
The order also will not allow any refugee, from anywhere worldwide, into the country for a period of 120 days. Unlike the prior order there is no exception for religious (ie. Non-Muslim) minorities in the affected countries nor is there a specific ban on refugees from Syria. However, the order also specifically mentions that it will demand additional evidence and new standards (to be set by the DHS) for all refugees and orders that any country which can’t meet these standards to be placed on a permanent blacklist preventing refugees from ever traveling to the United States from these countries. Depending on what these standards are this could, and frankly seems designed to, essentially ban refugees wholesale. The order also scales back the numbers of refugees the United States will accept in a year by half to only 50,000.
Over all this order is much less wide reaching than the prior order and seems designed to try and avoid the chaos that the prior order caused. As such fewer individuals will be immediately affected by it and those who are will largely be affected before they have left their home countries. That said this order makes applying for refugee status in the United States vastly more difficult and seems to be a first step in doing away with the refugee program entirely.
This order will likely also be challenged in the federal courts and there are numerous grounds on which it could be challenged but it is less likely to be immediately stayed from implementation because of the less openly discriminatory and non-immediate nature of it.
If you are from one of the affected countries I would advise extreme caution before traveling out of the United States. Although the order states that issued visas and green cards are to be honored and individuals with them are not to be detained nevertheless the prior actions of the CBP indicate that any travel into or out of the United States may well subject you to harassment or indefinite detention. If you must travel make sure to take precautions such as having family members who know about your itinerary and to have the number of an immigration attorney in your cell phone.