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Are Green Card Holders and Visa Holders Safe to Travel With the Rewritten Travel Ban?

An Executive Order titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which is the re-written travel ban, was signed by President Trump on March 6, 2017. The prior travel ban, Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017, will be revoked on March 16, 2017.

Travel Ban for Nationals of 6 Countries

For the next 90 days beginning March 6, 2017, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who are outside the United States on the effective date of the order, do not currently have a valid visa on the effective date of this order, and did not have a valid visa at 5:00 eastern standard time on January 27, 2017, are not eligible to travel to the United States. The 90-day period will allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals. As a result of this increased information sharing, Iraqi citizens are not affected by the Executive Order.

Green Card Holders and Visa Holders Exempt from the Travel Ban

Clearly, the Executive Order does not apply to certain individuals, such as lawful permanent residents of the United States; foreign nationals admitted to the United States after the effective date of the order. Those who are outside the United States with a document that is valid on the effective date of the order or any date thereafter which permits travel to the United States are also not affected by this executive order.

Normal Immigration Processing to Continue

In the prior travel ban contained in the Executive Order dated January 17, 2017 those entering with valid visas or green card holders were adversely affected. While this re-written travel ban specifically mentions that green card holders are exempt, there is a caveat that applies to all residents and visa holders entering the United States. It states that all normal immigration processing requirements shall continue to apply. This means that all grounds of inadmissibility if they exist will also affect certain green card holders who may have an immigration history of fraud or have criminal history that may render them inadmissible. The same rule applies to non-immigrant visa holders. If there is fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining the visa at the U.S. Embassy abroad, there is a possibility of an expedited removal at the port of entry.

It is important to remind non U.S. citizens that the political climate is very different and that all those attempting to enter the U.S. even if with valid visas must understand the consequences of past actions on their immigration status and their ability to enter the United States.

If no legal grounds exist to deny admission at the port of entry, then there should be no need to worry about traveling. Each case will be assessed by the immigration officer at the port of entry based on the individual’s immigration history. Note that the Department of Homeland Security officers at the Customs and Border Protection have wide discretionary authority whether to allow the entry of non US. citizens. Even if Filipino nationals are not affected by the travel ban, it is important to understand past actions and its impact on present immigration policies.

(Atty. Lourdes S. Tancinco is a partner at Tancinco Law Offices, a San Francisco based law firm, and may be reached at law@tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw, or 1 888 930 0808)

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