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New order: Blue Monday?

08 March 2017

On Monday, 6 March, US President Trump signed a new executive order to replace the executive order he issued on 27 January 2017. The January order incited mass protests and much litigation and was eventually rendered ineffective via a restraining order. The new order revokes and replaces the original order.

The new executive order takes effect on 16 March 2017. It imposes a 90-day ban on entry into the US of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, with certain exceptions, limitations and waivers. Iraq, the seventh country included in the January executive order, is excluded from this list and subject to special rules.

The entry ban imposed by this executive order does not apply, among others, to those who:

  • are in the US on the effective day of the order
  • already have US visas
  • are lawful permanent residents of the US
  • are dual citizens who use the passport of another country
  • have been granted asylum or refugee status and been already admitted to the US

US consular officers and other relevant government officials can, in their discretion, authorise waivers for undue hardship or in the national interest.

The new executive order suspends the refugee programme for 120 days, but does not impose an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, as the January order did. It caps the number of refugees to be admitted to the US at 50,000 in fiscal year 2017.

With the new executive order, Trump has sought to address issues that were brought to the fore during the legal challenges to the January order. For example, he omits from the new executive order the allowance to prioritise refugee status for religious minorities of predominantly Muslim countries.

We have yet to see what resistance the new order will be met with, although US civil rights organisations and certain states have already suggested that they will challenge the new executive order in court.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Diana Okoeva or the immigration team member you work with.

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