Secretary of Homeland Security Issues Statement Concerning Banned Refugees

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According to the Department of Homeland Security, the news media and professional pundits have recently confused the facts concerning President Trump’s Executive Order banning travel for residents of several countries with direct ties to terrorist funding and advocacy. In order to set the record straight, the Department of Homeland Security has issued the following statement to clarify the boundaries of the order and to provide information to those with permanent visas and other legal status.

On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”  The order bars foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days, and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, among other things.  Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly recently clarified the treatment of Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) under the order.  Secretary Kelly stated “We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law…in applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”  The full statement is available here.

Implementing the order is a multi-agency effort, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which adjudicates nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant petitions, as well as refugee applications.  The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has the statutory mission to assist individuals and employers in resolving problems with USCIS. 

The Ombudsman will host a listening session on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 2pm Eastern Time to hear from stakeholders the issues they are experiencing with USCIS processing pursuant to the executive order.

Please note the Ombudsman’s authority is limited to assisting with problems that relate to USCIS applications, petitions, or services.  The Ombudsman does not provide legal advice.