Summary of Second Trump Executive Order on Visa Issuance/Screening and Refugees
On March 6, 2017, the President signed a new executive order with the same title as the old Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The new Order takes effect on March 16, 2017 and expressly revokes the January 27, 2017 Order.
The new Order prohibits entry into the U.S. by immigrants and visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries without requiring any individualized determination based on specific intelligence that the individuals are a security risk. The Order exempts certain categories of people, including lawful permanent residents and dual nationals traveling on a passport from a country that is not one of the six designated countries. The American Immigration Lawyers Association does not believe the new Order will withstand judicial scrutiny since the targeted countries are majority Muslim, and the Order fails to provide evidence that nationals of the six countries pose a threat to national security. Courts reviewing the first order also gave serious consideration to the discriminatory statements directed at Muslims made by the President and his surrogates.
In addition, the new Order suspends refugee resettlement to the United States for 120 days and drastically reduces the number of refugees that the US Refugee Assistance Program (USRAP) will resettle in fiscal year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000. Syrian refugees are no longer indefinitely banned under the new order, though they are subject to the 120-day suspension of the refugee program. The new Order no longer gives preference to individuals facing religious persecution who practice minority religions in their country of nationality. Despite the minor changes made in the new Order, it will have devastating consequences for the USRAP. The new Order will not make us safer as a nation, and thousands of refugees who have been screened for resettlement will be trapped in dangerous conditions.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act
The U.S. Department of State applauds the Supreme Court’s decision striking down an unjust and discriminatory law and increasing freedom and equality for LGBT Americans.
As a Senator, I voted against DOMA in 1996 and argued that it was unconstitutional. As Secretary of State, I look forward to the work that now can and must be done to adjust rules and regulations that affect the many married Americans who were hurt by this law. While I am incredibly proud of the job that the State Department has done in ensuring equal benefits for our employees, there’s more to be done. To fully implement the requirements and implications of the Court’s decision, we will work with the Department of Justice and other agencies to review all relevant federal statutes as well as the benefits administered by this agency. We will work to swiftly administer these changes to ensure that every employee and their spouse have access to their due benefits regardless of sexual orientation both at home and abroad.
I am proud of the progress we’re making in this arena, and particularly proud that I work for a President who has helped to lead the way forward. From Stonewall to the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ despite setbacks along the way, the arc of our history on this issue has bent towards inclusion and equality, perhaps never more so than today.
Attorneys Ashwin and Raj Sharma interviewed by Canada’s RedFM on US-Canadian Immigration laws