Posted: 2:09 am ET
On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order suspending the entry of refugees to the United States for FY2017 for 120 days. The E.O also proclaimed the entry of certain aliens as “detrimental to the interests of the United States” and declared the suspension of their entry into the United States for 90 days. The aliens referred to are from countries cited under Section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C.1187(a)(12) according to the executive order. These are the same countries cited under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen.
We’ve seen folks on social media get confused about this. So let’s try this. There are 38 countries designated as Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries; citizens or nationals of these 38 countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States without a visa. However, if either of the following is true, travelers will no longer be eligible to travel to the U.S. without a visa. Instead, individuals in the following categories will have to apply for a visa using the regular appointment process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.
The Trump EO banning entry and issuance of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for 90 days uses these same seven countries. Note that citizens from these seven countries have not been banned from visa applications or entry to the United States previously. Citizens from 38 visa waiver countries who previously traveled to these seven Muslim-majority countries were not allowed to use the waiver and must submit for an interview with a consular officer at an embassy or consulate overseas.
Since it appears that DOD Secretary Mattis and DHS Secretary Kelly were out of the loop on this, would it be totally shocking if no input was asked from the State Department? No? Interagency cooperation is just the White House now? On the day President Trump was preparing to sign this EO, our embassies and consular posts worldwide were still issuing visas; all official, and valid but no longer acceptable at ports of entry as soon as the executive order took effect.
Here’s Rudddddddy with a backgrounder.
Reaction round-up below: