While at the Pentagon on January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” Executive Order, essentially ordering that all foreign nationals from countries identified in the E.O. – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – be stopped from entering the United States.

By January 28, foreign nationals from those identified countries with visas, as well as U.S. green card holders, were being detained at U.S. airports. Lawsuits challenging the E.O. were filed and a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued a temporary restraining order on January 28 staying the ban by halting deportations. Other federal district courts followed suit and further hearings are scheduled for February.

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly stated on January 29 that returning U.S. green card holders were not subject to the ban.

The final E.O. differs from the initial draft E.O. leaked on January 26 and neither contained guidelines or provisions for implementing the bans.

Some substantive changes in the January 27 E.O.:

  • Suspends the entry and issuance of all types of visas for at least 90 days (instead of 30 days) for those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  • Eliminates the creation of safe zones in Syria.
  • Expands the grounds for exceptions to the 120-day ban on refugees to include persons actually in transit to the U.S. if denying admission would cause undue hardship.

The E.O. also grants state and local jurisdictions a role in determining the placement or settlement of eligible aliens in their jurisdictions in fulfillment of a campaign promise that a “Trump Administration would not admit any refugees without the support of the local community where they are being placed.

Other countries have responded to the E.O.: Iran has blocked Americans from entry and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invited to Canada those refugees who are or may be turned away from the U.S. Reverberations are far flung, even affecting the world of sports – posing a possible threat to Los Angeles hosting the 2024 Olympics and the U.S. hosting the 2026 Soccer World Cup.

Those who might be affected by the bans should contact their Jackson Lewis attorney before undertaking any international travel.