Know Your Rights – اعرف حقوقك

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This KYR Guide is current as of October 17, 2017, including the federal court’s temporarily block of the September 24th Presidential Proclamation. We are in the process of translating this KYR. Our translations into عربي [Arabic], فارسى [Farsi], and af Soomaali [Somali], are current as of September 27, 2017, reflecting the September 24 Proclamation itself.

**The information below provides an overview for informational purposes only. This overview is NOT meant to provide legal advice. We recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney for advice about your specific circumstances.**

Important Update as of October 17: Most of Muslim Ban 3.0 (Presidential Proclamation dated Sept. 24, 2017) has been temporarily blocked and will not be enforced against individuals from Syria, Iran, Chad, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. The Proclamation will go into effect only against individuals from North Korea and Venezuela starting on October 18, 2017 at 12:01am eastern daylight time.

Background on the Muslim Ban

On January 27, 2017, soon after taking office, the President issued Executive Order 13,769 (“Muslim Ban 1.0”), which indefinitely blocked refugees from Syria from entering the United States, suspended aspects of the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, and prohibited individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days. Federal courts temporarily blocked Muslim Ban 1.0 soon after it went into effect.

On March 6, 2017, the President revoked Muslim Ban 1.0 and replaced it with a revised order, Executive Order 13,780 (“Muslim Ban 2.0”), banning travel from six of the seven original predominantly Muslim countries (the same countries except Iraq) and again suspending aspects of the refugee program. Federal courts also temporarily blocked Muslim Ban 2.0 before it went into effect. On June 26, 2017, however, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect as to people without bona fide relationships with a person or an entity in the United States. The President issued a memorandum that set the expiration date of the travel ban portion of Muslim Ban 2.0 to September 24 and the refugee ban portion to October 24.

On September 24, 2017, the President issued a Proclamation (“Muslim Ban 3.0”) that revises Muslim Ban 2.0 to indefinitely restrict or ban travel of nationals from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen (Sudan is no longer on the list).  In addition, the Proclamation recommends additional scrutiny of Iraqis and of Somalis seeking nonimmigrant entry, as well as enhanced screening and vetting requirements for Iranians traveling on F, M, and J visas and additional measures for Venezuelan visa holders.

Current Status of the Travel Ban Portions of the Muslim Ban

Current status: On October 17, 2017, a federal court temporarily blocked most of Muslim Ban 3.0 (Presidential Proclamation dated Sept. 24, 2017). As a result, the Proclamation will not be enforced against individuals from Syria, Iran, Chad, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. It will only affect individuals from North Korea and Venezuela as of on October 18, 2017 at 12:01am eastern daylight time.


Muslim Ban 3.0 purported to impose the following restrictions:

●      Syria: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants.
●      North Korea: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants.
●      Iran: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants, except for those with valid student (F&M) and exchange visitor (J) visas.
●      Chad: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
●      Libya: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
●      Yemen: No entry for immigrants and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.
●      Somalia: No entry for immigrants.
●      Venezuela: No entry for officials of government agencies involved in screening and vetting procedures and their immediate family members traveling as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas.

 

“Immigrants” are those who are seeking to live in the United States permanently. “Nonimmigrants” are those who are seeking to enter the United States temporarily, such as to study or to visit. These restrictions do not apply to certain categories of travelers, which are described below.

Under Muslim Ban 3.0, these restrictions apply only to those people who are outside of the United States and do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date. Also, if your visa was marked “revoked” or “canceled” as a result of Muslim Ban 1.0, you are entitled to a travel document under the terms and conditions of the visa marked “revoked” or marked “canceled” and you are exempt from the Proclamation. If this applies to you, contact airport@refugeerights.org for legal assistance.

These restrictions do not apply to:

  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e., green card holders);
  • Those admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date;
  • Those with a document other than a visa — such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document — valid on the effective date or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
  • Dual nationals traveling on a passport of a country not subject to the restrictions;
  • Those traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic-type visas, 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
  • Those who have been admitted as a refugee or granted asylum, withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

The restrictions also do not apply to refugee admissions, which are currently still subject to the refugee ban provisions of Muslim Ban 2.0, as noted below.

Case-by-case waivers may be granted to those who demonstrate that denying entry would cause them “undue hardship,” would not “pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States,” and would be in the “national interest.”  The Proclamation states that further guidance will be issued regarding waivers, but that a waiver may be appropriate where:

  • The person has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period to engage in long-term activity, is outside the country on the effective date, seeks to re-enter the country to resume the activity, and the denial of reentry would impair the activity;
  • The person has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the country on the effective date for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  • The person seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations which the denial of entry would impair;
  • The person seeks to visit or reside with a close family member who is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or is lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry would cause the person undue hardship;
  • The person is an infant, a young child or adoptee,needs urgent medical care, or faces other special circumstances justifying their entry;
  • The person has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee) and can document that they provided faithful and valuable service to the government;
  • The person is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  • The person is traveling for certain purposes relating to the U.S. government or an international organization.

Muslim Ban 3.0 purported to make effective immediately the travel restrictions noted above for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen who lack a claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or an entity in the United States. Individuals have a “bona fide relationship with a person or an entity in the United States” if:

(1) They have a close familial relationship, such as parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancés/fiancées, siblings, siblings-in-law, children, children-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, and cousins, in the United States; or

(2) They have a “formal, documented” relationship to a U.S. entity that is “formed in the ordinary course,” such as people who have been admitted to a school, hired by an employer, or invited to speak to an audience in the United States.

For all other affected individuals, Muslim Ban 3.0 stated that the restrictions will be effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on October 18, 2017.

Current Status of the Refugee Ban Portion of the Muslim Ban

Muslim Ban 2.0 suspends travel of refugees and decisions on refugee applications for 120 days and lowers the fiscal year 2017 annual cap on admissions of refugees from 110,000 set by the previous administration to 50,000. Under the June 26 Supreme Court order, however, the ban cannot apply to refugees with “bona fide relationships” with a person or entity in the United States.  This means that the following refugees should be permitted to travel to the United States and should continue to receive determinations on their refugee applications:

  • Refugees with close familial relationships, such as parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancés/fiancées, siblings, siblings-in-law, children, children-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, and cousins, in the United States;
    • All refugees entering through certain programs that already require close familial relationships for eligibility are exempt from the refugee ban. These are: Priority 3 cases, Form I-730 (following-to-join) cases, Iraqi and Syrian Priority 2 cases where access is based on an approved Form I-130 (family-based immigration visa petition), and Lautenberg program cases.
  • Refugees with a “formal, documented” relationship to a U.S. entity that is “formed in the ordinary course” as described above.
    • Whether refugees with assurances of sponsorship by U.S. resettlement agencies have relationships to U.S. entities is a question pending before the Supreme Court, but the government takes the position that they do not.
    • Attorney-client relationships with U.S. entities, such as IRAP, are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Case-by-case waivers from the refugee ban may be granted if the individual’s entry is “in the national interest and does not pose a threat to the security or welfare of the United States,” including when an individual’s entry would enable the United States to meet international agreements or when denial of entry would cause undue hardship.

Fiscal year 2017 ends on September 30, 2017.  On September 27, the Administration proposed to set the new annual cap on admissions of refugees for fiscal year 2018 at 45,000 refugees.

After October 24, Muslim Ban 2.0 provides that the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence will jointly determine whether and how travel and application decisions will resume.

What Do I Do If I Am Worried About Being Detained During Upcoming Travel?

Muslim Ban 1.0 caused chaos at the nation’s airports as thousands of people were detained at the airports.  We do not expect the Proclamation to have the same effect at airports given that it applies only to those people who are outside of the United States and do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date, as explained above.

It is always a good idea, however, to give a trusted family member or a friend your itinerary before traveling to the United States.  After you land and while your airplane is taxiing, quickly contact this person to confirm that you’ve arrived and ask the person to contact a lawyer if you do not clear immigration inspection in 2 hours.

Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) policy requires officers to treat you “courteously and professionally.” You can note the name of any discourteous CBP officers to make a report.

IRAP’s airport hotline is airport@refugeerights.org. Additional resources are listed here, also in عربي [Arabic], فارسى [Farsi], and af Soomaali [Somali].