Updates regarding executive actions on immigration

Executive Proclamation regarding travel restrictions, issued September 24, 2017

UPDATE - OCTOBER 17, 2017 

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson issued a ruling to block the new travel restrictions from going into effect tomorrow.

Judge Watson noted in his ruling that the September 24th executive proclamation ignored the "guidance afforded" by the earlier legal proceedings related to the issue.


SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Last night, President Trump issued a proclamation – Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats – which will go into effect in two phases. Effectively, the first phase extends the restrictions of the March 6 executive order which just expired. The second phase includes new country-specific restrictions, which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time on October 18, 2017.

According to the proclamation, after “a worldwide review to identify whether, and if so what, additional information will be needed from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa, admission or other benefit under the INA in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat,” the U.S. government has determined that the following countries continue to have “inadequate” identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  Sudan has been removed from the list. 

Each of the countries will be under its own set of travel restrictions, given “the unique conditions in and deficiencies of each country”:

  • Chad – suspension of entry on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 business/tourist visas and by prospective immigrants
  • Iran – suspension of entry by non-immigrants and prospective immigrants 
    • Iranian nationals in F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 status are not subject to this new restriction.
    • Iranian nationals in other nonimmigrant statuses, such as H-1B, will go through a waiver application process (see below).
  • Libya – suspension of entry on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 business/tourist visas and by prospective immigrants
  • North Korea – suspension of entry by both prospective immigrants and nonimmigrants
  • Somalia – suspension of entry by prospective immigrants
  • Syria – suspension of entry by both prospective immigrants and nonimmigrants
  • Venezuela – suspension of entry by certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 business/tourist visas
  • Yemen - suspension of entry on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 business/tourist visas and prospective immigrants

Nationals of these countries continue to be subject to additional screening and scrutiny. So, even if you are not subject to the new travel restrictions, your international travel needs should be carefully determined after weighing multiple factors. If you must travel, please consult your ISSS advisor prior to making any international travel plans. Depending on the situation, ISSS may recommend that you work with an immigration attorney on the ground in your home country.

The new rules apply only to foreign nationals from these eight countries who:

  • are outside the U.S. on the effective date.
  • do not have a valid visa on that date. Previously issued visas, if valid, will not be revoked.
  • do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document as an asylee, refugee, etc.

The new rules do not apply to:

  • Foreign nationals who are already in the U.S.
  • Dual citizens who present a passport from a country not on the list. Travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present. For example, if an Iranian national presents a Canadian passport, they are processed based on their Canadian passport for entry.
  • Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (= green card holders)
  • Foreign nationals on diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa
  • Foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa, such as an advance parole document

Like March 6 executive order, the new rules include some flexibility relevant to those impacted within the Emory community. Case-by-case discretionary waivers by the Department of State (for visa issuance) and the Department of Homeland Security (for entry) may be given in the following situations:

  • The foreign national has previously been admitted into the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on October 18, and seeks to re-enter the U.S. to resume that activity, if the denial of re-entry would impair that activity.
  • The foreign national is applying to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations, and the denial of entry would impair those obligations.
  • The foreign national is applying to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g. a spouse, child, or parent) who is a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or non-immigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship.
  • The foreign national needs urgent medical care.
  • The foreign national is a Landed Immigrant of Canada (which is a U.S. green card equivalent in Canada) who applies for a U.S. entry visa at a U.S. consulate located within Canada.
  • There are additional grounds for exclusions or waivers; however, they aren’t readily applicable to the Emory community. All criteria for a waiver will consider whether the traveler’s entry is in the national interest of the U.S. and will not pose a threat to national security. The process will also consider whether denying entry during the suspension period will or will not cause undue hardship.

Emory has been actively advocating on the travel ban issue as international students, faculty, and scholars are crucial members of U.S. universities.

We want to remind all international students and scholars who are under Emory's immigration sponsorship to fill out a Travel Information e-form for each trip outside of the U.S., including brief trips to Canada or Mexico. The Travel Information e-form allows us to review your immigration status under the current immigration rules and to offer re-entry advising, including travel signatures if applicable. If you find yourself in need of help, please refer to our emergency protocol so that Emory can assist you both during and after normal business hours. If you have not done so already, stop by our office to pick up an Emergency Contact Information card listing phone numbers to call for immigration or life-threatening emergencies. They are small enough to fit in your wallet or passport.

Please do not hesitate to contact your ISSS advisor if you have any questions or need support.  

Expired - Executive Order regarding temporary entry ban, issued March 6, 2017

UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 24, 2017

This executive order expired on Sunday, September 24, 2017.


UPDATE – JUNE 26, 2017

As you may have heard, the U.S. government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the March 6 Executive Order as two Circuit Courts have ruled against banning entry of citizens of six countries (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen).
 
According to today’s announcement, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in the fall (October 2017) to determine if the travel ban is legal. In addition, the Supreme Court is allowing parts of the executive order to take effect, but in a much narrower scope.  According to the Supreme Court decision, the government cannot block entry of affected individuals if they have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” which is “…formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course…” rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order.  The Supreme Court decision goes on to provide the following examples of bona fide relationships:
  • An international student who has been admitted to a U.S. university (e.g. F-1 or J-1)
  • A worker who has an offer of employment from a U.S. company (e.g. H-1B, O-1, etc.)

Based on these examples, individuals from the six designated countries should not be subject to the travel ban if they are under Emory's immigration sponsorship as documented by their immigration paperwork.  The temporary entry ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (i.e. green card holders), valid U.S. visa holders, and dual citizens who present a passport from a country not on the list. Travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present. For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry. 

We want to remind all international students and scholars who are under Emory’s immigration sponsorship to fill out a Travel Information e-form for each trip outside of the U.S., including brief trips to Canada or Mexico. The Travel Information e-form allows us to review your immigration status under the current immigration rules and to offer re-entry advising, including travel signatures if applicable.
 
When you find yourself in need of help, Emory University stands to offer assistance. Please refer to our emergency protocol so that we can assist you both during and after normal business hours. If you have not done so already, stop by our office to pick up an Emergency Contact Information card listing phone numbers to call for immigration or life-threatening emergencies. They are small enough to fit in your wallet or passport.
 
Emory is what it is today thanks to significant contributions by the best and the brightest from across the globe. Everyone at Emory University recognizes the values of international education, research, and collaborations. We will continue to closely monitor immigration-related developments and work with our professional associations and colleagues to advocate for favorable immigration policies that benefit everyone. We recommend that you regularly visit this page for updates.
 
Please do not hesitate to contact your ISSS advisor if you have any questions or need support.


UPDATE - JUNE 12, 2017

A three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of major portions of the travel ban enacted by the March 6 Executive Order. While much of the travel ban continues to be suspended, the court did allow for the internal review of vetting processes to move forward. We will continue to post updates if anything changes with regard to travel requirements. 


UPDATE - May 25, 2017

A federal appeals court upheld a preliminary injunction that blocked March 6 executive order/travel ban.


UPDATE - March 30, 2017

Yesterday the U.S. District Court in Hawai'i converted its March 15, 2017 temporary restraining order (which was valid for a maximum of 14 days), into a preliminary injunction, which will continue to block enforcement of the Executive Order for the duration of the litigation in the Hawai'i District Court. The Government can choose to appeal this court order.


UPDATE - March 15, 2017

Judge Derrick Watson in Hawai'i has issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on President Trump's March 6 executive order.

This ruling prevents that executive order from going into effect on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Travelers from the six affected countries will still be able to travel to the U.S. while the temporary restraining order is in effect.


UPDATE - March 7, 2017

Dear international students and scholars,

Yesterday President Trump revoked his January 27 Executive Order and issued a new Executive Order on immigration, effective at 12:01 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time on March 16, 2017, with the following provisions:

The first provision applies to persons from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq was removed from the list. The U.S. will place a 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. for nonimmigrants (e.g., F-1, J-1, H-1B, B-1, B-2, etc.) from these six countries who are outside the U.S. on March 16.

If you (or your dependents) are a nonimmigrant from one of the six countries, we recommend that you refrain from international travel outside the U.S. until this temporary entry ban expires.

The temporary entry ban applies to people from these six countries who:

  • Are outside the U.S. on or after March 16;
  • Did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27; and
  • Do not have a valid visa on March 16.

The temporary entry ban does not apply to:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (i.e. green card holders).
  • Valid U.S. visa holders
  • Dual citizens who present a passport from a country not on the list. Travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present. For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry.
  • People who have an advance parole document (e.g. for pending green card applicants, etc.) that was valid on or after March 16.

Unlike the previous executive order, this one includes some flexibility relevant to those impacted within the Emory community. Case-by-case discretionary waivers by DOS (for visa issuance) and DHS (for entry) may be given in the following situations:

  • The foreign national has previously been admitted into the U.S. for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the U.S. on March 16, and seeks to re-enter the U.S. to resume that activity, if the denial of re-entry would impair that activity.
  • The foreign national is applying to enter the U.S. for significant business or professional obligations, and the denial of entry would impair those obligations.
  • The foreign national is applying to enter the U.S. to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g. a spouse, child or parent) who is a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or non-immigrant, and the denial of entry would cause undue hardship.
  • The foreign national needs urgent medical care.
  • The foreign national is a Landed Immigrant of Canada (which is a U.S. green card equivalent in Canada) who applies for a U.S. entry visa at a U.S. consulate located within Canada.

There are additional grounds for exclusions or waivers; however, they aren’t readily applicable to the Emory community. All criteria for a waiver will consider whether the traveler’s entry is in the national interest of the U.S. and will not pose a threat to national security. The process will also consider whether denying entry during the suspension period will or will not cause undue hardship.

It appears that the new executive order focuses on suspending “entry” into the U.S. So, we do not believe that USCIS will halt processing of applications and petitions for people who are in the U.S. If USCIS announces anything contrary, we will provide an update.

The second provision continues to suspend the in-person visa interview requirement waivers, which means that individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa—whether initial or a renewal—will be required to undergo an in-person interview at the U.S. Consulate. Before President Trump took the office, the U.S. Consulate could waive the in-person visa application interview requirement based on the applicant’s age or if the individual was applying to renew a visa within the same category. This rule most likely means that it will take longer to obtain U.S. entry visas. This applies to people from all countries, unless you are from a visa-exempt country, such as Canada or Bermuda. We recommend that visa applicants check the website of the relevant U.S. consulate for specific information, which may differ among the consulates and is subject to frequent change.

The new executive order clarifies the following:

  • No immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before March 16 shall be revoked pursuant to this new executive order.
  • Any foreign national whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of January 27 executive order shall be entitled to a travel document confirming that the person is permitted to travel to the U.S.

If your nonimmigrant visa was revoked as a result of January 27 executive order, please contact your ISSS advisor.

We want to remind all international students and scholars who are under Emory’s immigration sponsorship to fill out a Travel Information e-form for each trip outside of the U.S., including brief trips to Canada or Mexico. The Travel Information e-form allows us to review your immigration status under the current immigration rules and to offer re-entry advising, including travel signatures if applicable. When you find yourself in need of help, Emory University stands to offer assistance. Please refer to our emergency protocol so that we can assist you both during and after normal business hours.

International students and scholars have made and will continue to make Emory University a vibrant home to the best and the brightest from all over the world. Everyone at Emory University recognizes the values of international education, research, and collaborations. We will continue to closely monitor immigration-related developments and work with our professional associations and colleagues to advocate for favorable immigration policies that benefit everyone. We recommend that you regularly visit this page for updates.

Please do not hesitate to contact ISSS advisor if you have any questions or need support.


March 6, 2017 - ISSS is currently analyzing the text of the most recent executive order on immigration. Information on its contents and implications for Emory students and scholars will be posted here as soon as that analysis is complete.

Executive Order regarding H-1B program and others, issued April 18, 2017

UPDATE - APRIL 19, 2017

Dear international scholars, supervisors, and department administrators,

On April 18, President Trump signed a new Executive Order titled "Buy American and Hire American," which, among other things, addresses the H-1B Specialty Worker program.
 
First, we want to clarify that no immediate changes will occur with H-1B or other employment-based regulations due to this executive order.
 
Instead, the relevant government agencies will begin reviewing employment-based visa programs and propose new rules and/or guidance, if appropriate.  The order also calls for reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are granted to the most skilled or highest paid applicants in an effort to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers.  Changes to the actual immigration regulations require compliance with federal rulemaking procedures, which can take months or years to unfold.
 
The most immediate change may be an increase in government enforcement efforts, as the executive order directs the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Labor to crack down on fraud and abuse.  
 
Since 2010, the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security unit (FDNS) has conducted both announced and unannounced inspections of the H-1B worksites.  The revenue generated from $500 anti-fraud fees funds the FDNS unit.  The goal of these site visits is to verify that the petitioning employer (e.g. Emory University) and the foreign beneficiary (e.g. H-1B employee) are fully complying with the terms of the previously approved employment petition. Government officials may visit with the employee at the worksite indicated in the H-1B petition, their supervisor, ISSS, or central HR as they handle H-1B LCA’s.  Although it could be nerve wracking, site visits are not something that you should worry about as long as both the hiring department and the employee have stayed consistent with the exact terms and conditions of the previously approved H-1B petition.  If you need a refresher on how to handle site visits, please visit our website for the protocol. 
 
The order also calls for the review of all trade agreements in regard to their impact on the domestic economy.  It is too early to understand the possible impact of such reviews to the TN or E-3 categories.  If there are future changes to those programs, they are likely to happen over a long period of time.  
 
We are closely monitoring legislative, regulatory, and policy developments, and will provide updates as they become available.  As always, please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Best regards,
Your ISSS staff
 

Revoked - Original Executive Order regarding entry ban, issued Jan 27, 2017

UPDATE: January 27 executive order no longer in effect

Please refer to information on new executive order above.


UPDATE: A federal appeals court rules against reinstating travel ban

On February 9, 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against reinstating the entry ban.

This means the temporary restraining order from February 3rd remains in effect, and the 90-day entry ban for those seven countries is still halted.


UPDATE: On February 3, 2017, federal judge James Robart (Seattle, WA) issued a restraining order temporarily halting the January 27th executive order nationwide, effective immediately for most international travelers. Immigration officers at airports and other ports of entry are expected to be bound by this decision.

It is important to note that this restraining order does not halt all aspects of the January 27 executive order:

  • Halted: The temporary 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen has been halted.
    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately communicated to airlines worldwide to resume boarding passengers as normal. 
  • Still in effect: The restraining order does not affect the suspension of the in-person visa interview requirement waivers. Individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa—whether initial or renewal—will be required to undergo an in-person interview at the U.S. Consulate. 

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until the case is decided by a federal appeals court.


UPDATE: According to USCIS's press release on February 3, USCIS will continue to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin, and applications and petitions of lawful permanent residents outside the U.S. USCIS also continues to adjudicate applications and petitions for individuals outside the U.S. whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization. Applications to adjust status also continue to be adjudicated, according to existing policies and procedures, for applicants who are nationals of countries designated in the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order.


UPDATE: A February 1, 2017 memorandum from White House Counsel Donald McGann stated that the 90-day entry ban for persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen does not apply to permanent residents. 

Also, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website has been upddated -- "Under the recent guidance from the White House, we will continue to ensure that lawful permanent residents are processed through our borders efficiently. Under that guidance, the Executive Order issued January 27, 2017, does not apply to their entry to the United States." 


UPDATE: What about dual citizens of the seven countries who want to enter the U.S.? Does this Executive Order apply to dual nationals of the seven countries who want to enter the U.S.? If they apply for entry based on their citizenship from one of the countries NOT on the list, will they be allowed entry?

-- According to the CBP website, "Yes, but travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present.  For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry."


UPDATE: Information session on February 1 for Emory community members impacted by recent executive order

The executive order issued on January 27 affects a wide array of university community members. We want to ensure that all impacted community members receive support and timely and accurate information.

To that end, on Wednesday, February 1, the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives, Campus Life, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), and the School of Law are co-hosting an information session for Emory students, faculty, and staff impacted by the recent executive order. Legal experts will be on hand to consult with impacted community members.

The panelists will include immigration attorneys and representatives from ISSS, Campus Life, and the School of Law.

How does the Jan 27 executive order affect me?
An information session for impacted Emory students, faculty, and staff
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Winship Ballroom, Dobbs University Center


UPDATE: A new exception for permanent residents from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen

On January 29, 2017, DHS Secretary John Kelly determined that permitting the entry of permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) is "in the national interest." Thus, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, DHS expects swift entry for green card holders from these seven countries.  We still advise green card holders from these countries to exercise caution by refraining from international travel until the temporary entry ban expires. 


January 28, 2017

Dear international students and scholars,

We would like to inform you of two key changes announced as part of an executive order signed by President Trump on January 27th. Government agencies have not yet announced details as to how each of these directives will be implemented.

The first change applies to persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The U.S. will place an immediate 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. for people from these seven countries. The prohibition on entry extends to both immigrants (i.e., green card holders) and nonimmigrants (e.g., F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.). The language of the Executive Order does not specify if the restriction applies only to those people traveling with a passport from one of the above countries of concern, or if it applies to those born in one of these countries but who have acquired dual citizenship in another country not on this list. Until there is further clarification or guidance, we advise that all people who are citizens of, or were born in, one of these countries exercise caution by refraining from international travel.

Second, the U.S. will suspend the in-person visa interview requirement waivers, which means that individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa—whether initial or renewal—will be required to undergo an in-person interview at the U.S. Consulate. Before this Executive Order, the U.S. Consulate could waive the in-person visa application interview requirement based on the applicant’s age or if the individual was applying to renew a visa within the same category. This new rule most likely means that it will take longer to obtain U.S. entry visas. If you are from a visa-exempt country, such as Canada or Bermuda, this change should not affect you.

We want to remind all international students and scholars who are under Emory’s immigration sponsorship to fill out a Travel Information e-form in ISSS Link for each trip outside of the U.S., including brief trips to Canada or Mexico. The Travel Information e-form allows us to review your immigration status under the current immigration rules and to offer re-entry advising, including travel signatures if applicable.

Everyone at ISSS appreciates your contributions and unique needs. We will continue to closely monitor immigration-related developments and work with our professional associations and colleagues to advocate for favorable immigration policies that benefit everyone. We will provide an update as soon as possible should there be any immigration policy changes that affect you. Please contact your ISSS advisor if you have any questions or need support.