OK, it is not even a full day since Trump has signed his executive order. Trump being Trump, the order is horribly confusing, and imprecise. It is difficult to be certain how it will impact people in the affected countries. I expect the situation will become more clear in the coming days. But here is what I consider to be known and credible right now. As usual my perspective is from a DV lottery perspective.
- The order affects nationals of 7 countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen
- The order bans ENTRY for people from those 7 countries. However, that may also stop DV visa issuance for people from those countries. We will find out over the next few days.
- People are already being barred at the airports. Either they are being barred from starting a flight to the USA or they are being detained at the airport (and presumably returned to country of origin). ***Update Jan 29 – a judge ruled that people at the airport or already in transit when the ban was imposed could be allowed to enter ***
- This is affecting people who have valid visas (including our DV visas) AND people that are already Green Card holders. ***Update Jan 29 – Green Card holders will be allowed to enter.****
- The bar for the 7 countries lasts 90 days, but could be extended.
- Countries that do not co-operate with US intelligence community for background checks could be added to this list later.
- We do not know what impact this will have on DV lottery interviews in the next few weeks. ***Update Jan 29 – KCC have cancelled all scheduled interviews for people from the 7 countries ***
- I can’t be sure what this will mean for VB progress, but my best guess is that the pace will not change. Right now the ban is temporary, so KCC will perceive this as a delay, not an end, to cases from those countries. So, they will assume that cases will be processed and held on AP perhaps while the mess gets sorted out.
- Lawsuits to compensate for wasted costs etc are unlikely to succeed.
- The executive order itself is bound to be challenged. There is existing law that is designed to stop the type of discrimination exactly like Trump has ordered. Law is more powerful than a Presidential orders, so if that process is continued it would not be a surprise to see the order revised or revoked. Only time will tell.
- Embassies are beginning to react to the order. Sudan embassy is cancelling interviews and advising nationals or dual nationals from the 7 countries to not attend their interviews as visa issuance is suspended – while Trump is trying to skirt around the law by addressing “entries”, visa issuance should not be impeded in this way. The applicable law is in the INA section 202(a) which states ‘‘no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of his race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.’’. I have messaged the Sudan embassy to point out that they are acting against the law (and the law supersedes Presidential orders).
What I don’t know:
- What about people from the affected countries that have not yet entered and whose visas will expire within the 90 days? I don’t know.
- Will interviews be cancelled? I don’t know.
I am completely disgusted by Trump and his disgraceful behavior. I am hopeful that our system of checks and balances will work to enforce the laws of the land that stop this type of discrimination.