The White House issued a memorandum on February 1 clarifying the Executive Order (EO) “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. The EO was issued on January 27, 2017 and has generated much confusion, especially for lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who are citizens of one of the designated seven countries (Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) . The recent White House memorandum has clarified some points. As many of my readers are from the Middle East and African regions, I have been trying to keep readers updated on this fluid situation.
Here’s the Latest:
The White House memorandum indicates that the ban of entry into the United States from one of the targeted countries does not apply to green card holders. (Please note I cannot find this memo on the White House website but have learned of it from reliable internet sources). It is also addressed by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) which has a Question and Answer section on its website about this controversial EO.
Relevant CBP question and answer below:
Q: Will nationals of restricted countries with valid green cards (LPRs [lawful permanent residents]) be allowed to return to the United States?
A: Under the recent guidance from the White House, CBP will continue to ensure that LPRs are processed through our borders efficiently. Under that guidance, the Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” does not apply to LPRs’ entry to the United States. Prior to this guidance, and as of February 1, 2017, CBP processed 1,610 waivers for LPRs to re-enter the United States.
Two of the questions and answers (copied below) apparently indicate that the EO does not apply to people born in, or holding citizenship of, one of the 7 targeted countries but who travel to the US and present a second passport.
Q: Does “from one of the seven countries” mean citizen, national or born in?
A: Travelers are being treated according to the travel document they present.
Q: Does this Executive Order apply to dual nationals of the seven countries who want to enter the United States? If they apply for entry based on their citizenship from one of the countries NOT on the list, will they be allowed entry?
A: Travelers are being processed and, when eligible, admitted according to the travel document they present.
What About Traveling?
Based on the information I have gathered it appears that green card holders who are from one of the designated seven countries may enter the United States. The same appears to be the case for individuals who are citizens of one of these countries or who were born there but who are traveling on a different country’s passport.
Since this information is so new, its application may not be consistent at the various ports of entry into the United States. If you fit into one of these categories, and are currently in the United States and don’t need to leave, the best bet is to remain Stateside as matters continue to unfold regarding the EO and there is consistent application of these rules at all border points. If you must travel, you should carry a copy of the CBP Q&A with you to present to a border officer who may be unaware of the issuance of the guidance.
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