This entire week has been an series of ups and downs in the immigration world. With the signature of multiple executive orders, President Trump has managed to turn U.S. immigration law, policy, and practice on its head in the very first week he has been in office. The early results of his travel ban are in, and they do not look good.
Quick Recap: President Trump’s Travel Ban
As reported earlier this week, one of the President’s executive orders ban the admission of foreign nationals into the U.S. if they are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, or Yemen. Additionally, U.S. consulates have been instructed to refuse to issue visas to nationals of these countries. Supposedly, this ban will be temporary and last 90 days, but there is no way of knowing whether the President will decide to extend it, or if he will choose to add more countries to the list.
Result #1: More than 100,000 visas have been revoked
According to the Department of Justice, more than 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of the travel ban involving the aforementioned seven countries. This statistic was revealed in a federal courtroom in Virginia, where a judge granted the commonwealth’s motion to join one of the many lawsuits that have been filed that seek to challenge the implementation of the travel ban.
The revocation of these visas means the previous visa holders – a group that comprises students coming to pursue higher education in the U.S., workers coming to perform much-needed labor for U.S. companies, and doctors coming to serve the medical needs of this country – are immediately and without warning no longer allowed to travel. The sheer number itself is staggering, and the resulting losses to the country, not to mention the prolonged separation of families, is both mind-boggling and stomach-turning.
Result #2: More foreign nationals are forced into giving up their green cards and their visas
In addition to those foreign nationals who had their visas revoked through no personal culpability on their part, dozens of other foreign nationals were coerced into giving up their green cards and their visas, according to documents submitted in regard to the aforementioned Virginia lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers forced green card holders to sign I-407 forms that are used to relinquish U.S. permanent residency. The lawsuit states that these permanent residents were forced to sign these forms without their consent.
It is also alleged that the CBP officers purposefully and knowingly lied to the incoming permanent residents and told them that if they did not sign the forms, an immigration judge would officially order them removed from the United States. When this occurrence does happen, the former permanent resident is then barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of five years. It comes as no surprise that the misinformed, frightened, and pressured green card holders signed the forms.
After the forms were signed, the CBP officers put many of the foreign nationals on planes for them to return to their country of origin.
Notwithstanding any personal opinions from us, the plain and simple truth is that President Trump’s executive order on the travel ban created complete and unnecessary chaos for many thousands of people in the U.S. and worldwide, as well as strained business travel and affected academics, doctors, parents separated from children, professionals, etc., and will continue to do so as long as the ban is in effect. District Judge James Robart granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, February 3, after hearing arguments from the States of Washington and Minnesota that the President’s order had unlawfully discriminated against Muslims and caused unreasonable harm. We’re sure to be receiving ongoing updates on President Trump’s executive order on the travel ban and other immigration-related news in the coming days and weeks.
Additional Blog Posts:
The Government’s War on H-1Bs, ImmigRantings, October 11, 2012
Obama Signs Immigration Policy Memo, ImmigRantings, June 15, 2012
Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012