A Summary of President Trump’s Executive Orders of January 27, 2017

On January 27, 2017 President Trump issued the following three executive orders:

Executive Order Number One

Executive Order Number One was a border security and immigration enforcement improvement executive order which authorized the wall along the Mexican border with the U.S., authorised construction and staffing of numerous detention facilities, expanded the expedited removal program, and ended “catch and release”, authorized conducting removal proceedings in Mexico and Canada, restricted the use of parole authority for removable individuals which will obviously impact people with DACA relief and authorized criminal prosecution of unlawful entries, not just re-entries but initial unlawful entry. The Executive Order seeks to enhance the public safety initially by getting rid of the three tiers determining who is a top priority for removal. This order now makes everybody, every undocumented immigrant, a top priority regardless of whether he or she is a criminal or how long they have been here, reinstates the Secure Communities Program and expands the 287(g) program which allowed state and local law enforcement officers to work, essentially, as ICE agents and promulgates a rule that there will be a new regulations to collect fines and penalties for people who are not only unlawfully present, but (apparently) those who they’ve lived with, who are “facilitating” their presence.

Executive Order Number Two

Executive Order Number Two authorizes the hiring of 5000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 new ICE agents, denies federal funding to sanctuary cities and requires federal agencies like IRS and Social Security to share data on unauthorised immigrants with DHS, and rearranges the enforcement priorities to include any person who has no lawful status. Lastly, it removes Privacy Act protections for every one other than U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Executive Order Number Three has garnered the most attention: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorism. That Executive Order did the following: It suspended all refugee resettlement for 120 days, even those who have completed all screening and vetting steps and requires “extreme vetting”; it’s unclear exactly what that means. It also reduces the annual quota of refugees by more than half, to 50 000, and allows DHS to give the states involvement in refugee placement, which of course certain states have claimed to already have, and gets rid of all the exemptions for what are called TRIG, or Terror Related Inadmissibility Grounds.

This new Executive Order places an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees, there’s a 90 day ban, that has been successfully or partially-successfully challenged in the courts on entry into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. On any visa or immigrant visa or green card or advance parole, and the ban will not expire if those countries refuse to accept people back from the U.S.

Apparently, the ban does not apply to naturalized U.S. citizens, or citizens from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, or citizens of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, and Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey and other Muslim majority countries. The Executive Order cancelled the Visa Interview Waiver Program for repeat applicants issued the same type of visa before at the same consular post, and directed the development of standard procedures to screen all immigration benefits to identify fraud or the intent to do harm, and evaluate the likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and someone who has the ability to make contributions to the national interest, these are fairly undefined terms seemingly cribbed from other parts of immigration law.

Executive Order Number Three

Lastly, Executive Order Number Three expedites implementation of a biometric entry/exit system in an effort to keep track of people coming into the U.S., specifically as non-immigrant visitors. Despite the Order suspending entry of the citizens of the 7 Muslim countries for 90 days, green card holders and dual citizens were eventually allowed to enter, so people who have green cards from those countries and dual citizens, that is those with citizenship from one of the 7 countries but from another country as well, are able to come in. Subsequently, the travel ban was temporarily restrained by a District Court judge in Seattle, Washington, a decision later upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s obvious, however, that the administration would like refugee applications and the approval process somehow impacted here.

I guess if we know anything now, it is that if you have a valid passport that is not from one of the 7 countries and you have a valid visa, you should be admitted, regardless of where you were born; so even if you were born in one of those 7 countries but you have a passport from another county, i.e., even if you are not a dual national but you are just a national or citizen of another country you should be able to enter the U.S. Lawful permanent residents, people with Green Cards even if born in one of those 7 countries and even if they have a claim to citizenship regarding one of those countries, are admissible.

It is clear that CBP officers are looking through people’s passports, even people entering on ESTA, that is, the visa waiver program. They are searching their passports for stamps into one of the 7 countries as a pre-emptive measure but it is unclear how that is impacting travellers; apparently, they are still being allowed to enter even if they have visited one of the 7 countries but they may be questioned about their prior travels there.