On September 24, 2017, the President issued a Presidential Proclamation expanding the list of countries subject to the travel ban outlined in Executive Order 13780 entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” As you may recall, as part of that executive order, in March 2017, the President had asked the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to conduct a worldwide review to assess the dangers that foreign nationals from designated countries of concern pose to the national security of the United States. Under Executive Order 13780, DHS was directed to implement additional security mechanisms and vetting procedures for countries identified as potential threats to national security.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of State, and Attorney General identified 16 additional countries which “remain deficient . . . with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices,” and as a result pose a potential threat to our country’s national security. By proclamation, the entry of foreign nationals from eight of these countries will remain suspended and limited for the time being.
The President has determined that the immigrant and non-immigrant entry of foreign nationals from the following countries would be detrimental to the national interests of the United States, at least until increased security mechanisms can be implemented, and identity and information-sharing capabilities can be improved.
Per Section 2 of the Proclamation
Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Identified Concern
“The following countries continue to have “inadequate” identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors . . . such that entry restrictions and limitations are recommended:”
The entry of foreign nationals from the designated countries listed below will be suspended and limited to a few exceptions and case-by-case waivers beginning October 18, 2017.
*Note: Lawful permanent residents, foreign nationals who were issued a valid U.S. visa prior to September 24, 2017, and dual nationals will not be affected by this proclamation.
- Chad: all immigrants and non-immigrants (including B-1 and B-2)
- Iran: all immigrants and non-immigrants except for F, M, and J visa holders but Iranian nationals seeking these types of visas will be subject to enhanced vetting
- Libya: all immigrants and non-immigrants (including B-1 and B-2)
- North Korea: all immigrants and non-immigrants
- Syria: All immigrants and non-immigrants
- Venezuela: Limited to entry of certain government officials of agencies in Venezuela and their immediate relatives visiting the United States on non-immigrant B-1 or B-2 visas. Nationals of Venezuela “who are visa holders” may be subject to additional measures to ensure that their traveler information is current.
- Yemen: all immigrants and non-immigrants (including B-1 and B-2)
- Somalia: all immigrants. Visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as non-immigrants may be subject to additional scrutiny to determine connections to terrorist organizations or threats to national security and public safety.
- Sudan is notably absent from the list of countries of concern but appears as a country of concern on EO 13780
In addition, the Secretary of Homeland Security has recommended that nationals of Iraq be more heavily scrutinized when seeking entry to the United States to determine any potential terrorist risk they pose to the United States.
The administration will re-assess this list every six months to determine whether identity-management protocols and information-sharing capabilities have improved to justify taking a country off of the list.
Who Will Be Affected:
The suspensions of and limitations on entry will apply only to foreign nationals from the designated countries who:
- (i) are outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation—September 24, 2017;
- (ii) do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation—September 24, 2017; and
- (iii) do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of this proclamation.
(b) Exceptions. The suspension of entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall NOT apply to:
- (i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- (ii) any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation—September 24, 2017;
- (iii) any foreign national who has a document other than a visa — such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document — valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
- (iv) any dual national of a country designated [under the] proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
- (v) any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
- (vi) any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
The restrictions and limitations will become effective at 3:30 p.m. eastern daylight time on September 24, 2017, for foreign nationals who:
- (i) were subject to entry restrictions under section 2 of Executive Order 13780, or would have been subject to the restrictions but for section 3 of that Executive Order, and
- (ii) lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States
(b) The restrictions and limitations established in section 2 of this proclamation are effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on October 18, 2017, for all other persons subject to this proclamation, including nationals of:
- (i) Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States; and
- (ii) Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.
A waiver may be granted only if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:
- denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
- entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
- entry would be in the national interest.
The proclamation makes clear that lawful permanent residents are granted more rights under the order than non-immigrants. Thus, lawful permanent residents from any of the designated countries need not be concerned about the risk this proclamation may pose on their immigrant status.
The Supreme Court which is expected to hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of Executive Order 13780 in October 2017 has asked the government to brief the Supreme Court regarding how the expansion of the travel ban will impact the parties involved in the action. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a preliminary order regarding the proclamation after it has received legal briefs from all parties to the action to determine whether any parts of this proclamation should be halted pending litigation.
This is a developing story. More information will be provided as it becomes available.