Trump issues new, permanent travel ban aimed at 8 countries

| Sep 26, 2017 | US Immigration Law

President Trump has signed a new executive order restricting travel from eight nations: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. The ban, announced on Sunday, is meant to be the permanent replacement of the temporary travel ban issued in January and revised in March. It goes into effect just as parts of the temporary ban expire.

The new ban is the result of a joint effort by the White House and the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments. The eight countries were chosen because of their inability or unwillingness to meet a security baseline. That baseline was an acceptable level of identity verification and criminal background checks for prospective travelers and the ability to assist the U.S. in assessing the risk they pose.

Here’s what we know so far about the new ban, although a number of details still need to be clarified.

The ban specifically does not apply to:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders)
  • U.S.-citizen dual nationals
  • Refugees who have already been approved for entry into the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals already in the U.S.

The restrictions vary by country:

  • People from North Korea or Syria can no longer enter the United States unless they qualify for a specific exception, such as having been granted asylum or having a diplomatic visa. However, the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees has been replaced by a 120-day ban on all refugees.
  • People from Chad, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran will no longer be eligible for any immigrant visa or most types of non-immigrant visa.
  • Certain Venezuelan security officials and their families are barred from business and tourist travel to the States.
  • American consular officials will be able to waive the restrictions in certain circumstances. Waivers may be available for Canadian permanent residents, people seeking medical care in the U.S., children and adoptees, and workers or students with strong ties to the U.S. who happened to be outside the country when the order was released.

It’s unclear as yet how the announcement of the permanent ban will affect the Supreme Court hearing about the legality of the temporary ban. The Justice Department has asked the Court to request new briefs from both the government and opponents of the ban.

One ban opponent, the ACLU, is not impressed by the new version of the ban. Pointing out that Chad is a majority-Muslim nation and that few travelers come from Venezuela or North Korea, the ACLU’s executive director said that “the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban.”