Immigration Alert Redux: Executive Order Brings Back Travel Ban


On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order limiting the admission of refugees and nationals from certain countries into the United States. This may sound familiar, as President Trump issued a similar Executive Order in January which was later suspended after constitutional challenges in federal court. The most recent Executive Order revokes the Order from January, but again institutes a ban on the admission of certain individuals. The new Order attempts to address some of the constitutional concerns raised in the court proceedings to enjoin enforcement of the January Order.

Effective March 16, 2017, the new Executive Order suspends admission of refugees into the United States for a 120-day period. The Executive Order also bars nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States for a 90-day period.

There are several notable changes between the new Executive Order and the initial version signed in January. These changes include:

  • Iraqi citizens and nationals are no longer included in the travel ban
  • The Executive Order clarifies that it will apply to citizens and nationals of the six designated countries
  • The Executive Order clarifies that it does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States (a/k/a green card holders)
  • Dual nationals of one of the six countries are exempt from the travel ban when they travel using a passport issued by a non-designated country
  • Any individual who had a valid visa on January 27, 2017 or holds a valid visa as of March 16, 2017 – including nationals or citizens Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – will be permitted to travel to the United States
  • Waivers of inadmissibility may be granted on a case-by-case basis to foreign nationals who can demonstrate that their entry into the United States is in the national interest, will not pose a threat to national security, and that a denial would cause undue hardship
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to adjudicate applications for naturalization and applications to adjust to permanent resident status
  • The indefinite ban on admission of Syrian refugees has been reduced to a 120-day period

Although the new Executive Order addresses many of the legal issues of the initial Order, push back is still expected, both in the Courts and in public opinion. The current situation remains very fluid and may change at any time. Waller will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as new information becomes available.

For additional information about the Executive Order and general immigration issues, please contact Vinh Duong at 615.850.8936 or Nora Katz at 615.850.8730.

The opinions expressed in this bulletin are intended for general guidance only. They are not intended as recommendations for specific situations. As always, readers should consult a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance