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US immigration chaos latest: UK dual nationals exempt from presidential order

31 January 2017

Late last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration into the US.

The order:

  • indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from entering the US;
  • suspends refugee admissions into the US for 120 days; and
  • blocks entry to citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days. These countries are Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen.

The president justified the order on grounds of national security. The order sparked widespread protests and condemnation within the US and abroad, as well as legal action in American federal courts.

The order unleashed chaos on the American immigration system over the weekend. Students, visitors and permanent residents (commonly known as green card holders) were stopped at airports in the US and abroad. Some were blocked from entering the US and sent back overseas. Advice given to airport staff around the world was in flux. The Department of Homeland Security eventually clarified that green card holders were in fact allowed to enter the US. However, the BBC has reported that officials say that green card holders who are overseas will be screened and assessed on a case-by-case basis before being allowed back into the US.

These events continue to unfold quickly. As of Tuesday lunchtime, the latest guidance from the US Embassy is that people from the seven countries, including those with dual nationality, will not be allowed to enter the US for 90 days. This includes holders of valid visas. However, dual nationals of both the UK and one of the seven countries are exempt from the executive order.

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