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Donald Trump Issues Executive Order Suspending Refugee Program and Entry to US from Certain Countries

On January 27, 2017, Donald Trump issued an executive order regarding immigration and national security. The order temporarily halts all entries of noncitizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen into the United States for 90 days. The government will then develop new permanent policies that may prohibit individuals from certain countries from entering the United States; however, as of now, it is unclear exactly what these policies will look like and which countries they will affect.

For now, non-citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen-even those with permanent residency or valid visas-should not travel outside the United States, or they will not be permitted to return for a minimum of 90 days. Because there are some narrow exceptions to this order, individuals from these countries who have an urgent need to travel outside the United States should consult with an immigration attorney prior to their departure.

The executive order also stops the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely, until the President determines that it is in the national interest to allow Syrian refugees to enter the country again. In addition, President Trump has suspended the US refugee program for all countries for 120 days. After the 120 day period, the US will only resume accepting refugees from countries that the government deems sufficiently safe.

Again, these orders have some narrow exceptions. Notably, individuals who fear religious-based persecution in countries where their religion is the minority will receive special preference and may still be able to enter the United States as a refugee even during the suspension period. Individuals who think this exception may apply to them should consult with an immigration attorney.

The President is expected to release more immigration executive actions in the coming days. In the meantime, immigrants worried about increased ICE enforcement can prepare to defend themselves now by creating an immigration file. Learn more here (English) and here (Spanish).

Bean + Lloyd, LLP is an immigration law firm in Oakland, California, emphasizing family-based immigration, removal defense, and naturalization.

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