On the 27th of January, President Trump signed a new executive order which suspended refugee resettlement and also the entry of people from a number of countries into America. A highly controversial move, which has sparked protests, court cases and mass uprise across the world. To give you a clear breakdown regarding the order, we’ve put together this explanation for you.

The Overview

The order has brought about a suspension for all refugee resettlement into the country for a total of four months. This ban includes an indefinite suspension for anyone looking to resettle from Syria. In addition, he also suspended the entry of the following 7 nations – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for a period of 3 months who arrived on immigrant or non-immigrant visas. In some cases, this has been reported as affecting those holding dual citizenship with other nations but we cannot confirm this.

The president himself justified the suspensions as the need to protect the nation from potential terrorists he believes could make their way into America whilst the national security unit and himself, figure out how to best improve the current test processes. He also reduced the number of refugees that are allowed into the country in 2017 by over half (110,00 to 50,000), which means that when the bans are lifted, a lot fewer people will be granted settlement.

Who Does This Apply To

As mentioned above, the order effects any person with a visa who came from those countries – including permanent legal residents or ‘green card’ holders who have permission to be in the US. This has brought about mass lawsuits as it means if they have been away and have tried to return, they would be banned. Since the announcement, Homeland Security has since stated they’ll allow people to come back in if they are free from any terrorism-related reason to do so.

The ban, however, still refuses the ability of many individuals including students, professional employees, entertainers and athletes to name a few. People who want to leave and return will be reviewed on a ‘case by case’ basis by border officials.

For those with diplomatic clearance, they are the only sure visas that will guarantee people’s admission.

So Why Have These Countries Been Chosen?

In order to define these countries, Trump’s team used the US’ already targeted for extra scrutiny and not allowed to receive visa waivers from visiting. The countries in question were included in legislation which was passed by Congress, including former President Obama’s signature despite those bans being much less wide-ranging than Trump’s are now.

What Is the Legality of the Move?

This is still in question. Whilst Trump has the power to suspend refugee resettlement and non-immigrants indefinitely, matters in relation to immigration may be different. Congress have previously said that nationality can’t be used to determine immigration. However, the United States law gives Trump the permission to ‘suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants’ if he finds them to be ‘detrimental to the interests of the U.S’. This suggests it could be an issue that will have to be concluded within the courts. Trump’s administration believes that they are in fact operating on firm grounds from a legal perspective. Trump even replaced the Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, following the ban as she refused to defend it in court.

An interesting piece of news that came over the weekend, was the announcement that following immigrants’ rights lawyers, the ban ran into a temporary stop after the District judge in Brooklyn granted an emergency stay. 

As the ban is still a relatively new announcement, more clarification is likely to surface over the coming weeks. If in the meantime, you have any questions that we could possibly assist you with, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.