- Provisional Revocation of Visas Stemming from Executive Order Lifted; Further Updates Forthcoming
- March 14, 2017
- Law Firm: Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky Popeo P.C. - Boston Office
As indicated in our alert from Saturday, February 4th, on Friday, February 3rd, the United States Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) temporarily invalidating key portions of President Trump’s January 27 Executive Order, and enjoining enforcement at all United States borders and ports of entry pending further orders. On Saturday, February 4th, the Department of Justice appealed the District Court decision, requesting an emergency stay of the TRO. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the DOJ’s request for a stay of the TRO on the same day that the appeal was filed, February 4th. A full hearing of the appeal could occur this week, so although the TRO is currently in effect, we remain in a fluid situation.
The TRO stopped the enforcement of the following sections of the Executive Order:
- Section 3(c), suspending entry into the United States by persons — including both immigrants and nonimmigrants — from the listed seven countries for 90 days from the date of the order;
- Section 5(a), suspending the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, effectively refusing refugees from any of those seven countries;
- Section 5(b), prioritizing refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution where the individual is in the minority religion in the country of nationality;
- Section 5(c), suspending entry of nationals of Syria in particular as refugees; and
- Section 5(e), to the extent that it purports to prioritize refugee claims of certain religious minorities.
Importantly, the TRO does not invalidate Section 8(a) of the Executive Order, which requires that all individuals undergo an interview before receiving a visa from a US consulate or embassy, but it also acknowledges the statutory existence of the visa interview waiver exception (the so-called “dropbox” program). Therefore, it appears that although a visa interview may still be waived, all visa applicants should be prepared that they may be required to attend an interview.
As this continues to be a fast-moving situation, please stay tuned for further updates regarding the status of the Executive Order and the ongoing litigation surrounding it.