Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

The U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, recently upheld U.S. President Trump’s indefinite travel ban by a 5-4 majority.

In the decision, the court indicated that the finding was based, in part, on the face value of the order and, when viewed in isolation, its neutrality and justification by national security concerns which fall under the purview of executive responsibility.

The presidential order prohibits U.S. travel from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The order also bans travel by certain Venezuelan officials and their family members.

The limitations apply to those who are outside of the United States and do not have a valid visa.
Certain exemptions apply, such as exemptions for: green card holders; those admitted to the US on or after the order’s effective date; certain document holders (i.e. advance parole, transportation letter etc.); dual nationals; diplomatic visa holders; individuals granted asylum by the US; admitted refugees; and a few other individuals as outlined in the order.

Case-by-case waivers are also available if: denying the applicant entry would cause undue hardship; granting entry would not pose any threat; and granting entry would be in the national interest. However, instances of waivers are rare and the eligibility criteria has not yet been clearly defined in practice. The order indicates that the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security will further clarify appropriate waiver standards and procedures.

The full text of the order can be found on the US Government’s website.

Since the initial release of the order, we have seen an increase in the number of denials at the border. Specifically, many individuals who have connections to the countries listed in the ban have been asked to withdraw their application for admission to the US, even if they are Canadian citizens. However, the reasoning behind the denials varies and has often been related to immigrant intent or other admissibility/security concerns sited by officers.

In light of the recent finding and the high level of discretion held by consular officers and Customs and Border Protection officers, certain travelers may feel cautions. If you have any connection to any of the countries mentioned in the ban, it is important to be aware of possible actions that can be taken at the border and with respect to visa applications. You may wish to be aware of the detailed contents of the ban, prepared with an understanding of exemptions and how they may apply to you, and informed about questions that may be asked of you when traveling or applying for a visa.

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