Yesterday, January 29, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security released a statement regarding President Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” which barred the entry of both immigrant and non-immigrant foreign nationals from 7 majority Muslim countries and suspended entry of Syrian refugees until proper vetting and security mechanisms could be put in place. The Department commented on the impact of a federal court order issued Saturday night which temporarily suspends enforcement of the executive order, until a federal judge can rule on its legality.
In their statement, the Department of Homeland Security noted that “upon issuance of the court order . . . U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with our partners in the Departments of Justice and State to implement President Trump’s executive order on protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law. We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected.”
The current Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, issued his own statement regarding the entry of lawful permanent residents into the United States. Kelly stated that the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest, therefore if customs agents do not find derogatory information indicating that a legal permanent resident seeking entry poses a serious threat to public safety and welfare of Americans, then the individual will be allowed into the United States. Lawful permanent residents from the 7 Muslim majority countries will generally remain unaffected while the stay remains in place, unless customs agents find that it is not in the national interest for them to enter. Customs agents will continue to have discretionary authority and will make case-by-case determinations regarding who will be allowed entry into the country, based upon an assessment of whether the individual poses a risk to national security.
The Department has stated that they will act in compliance with the federal court order while at the same time enforcing the executive order in a humane way.