Answer: What we know right now, which is still in flux, but what we know right now is that there are seven countries which have been ordered that there be a hiatus from people from those countries entering the United States, even with valid status. Those countries are: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Now, when this was first put in place—and that has been put on hold by a court so it is no longer being followed—even people who have valid status who had some student visas, commonly people were coming in on student visas from those countries, people who had green cards were legal permanent residents of the united states for lengthy periods of time, those people were not allowed into the United States for a period of time.
That’s been put on hold and the administration has now issued relief saying that people who have green cards who have valid visas previously issued, those will be honored. People will be allowed back into the United States, even from those countries. So that’s one of the issues. And we don’t know long-term how that will play out.
Also as part of the executive order that was signed, there’s a four-month suspension of the refugee program, so no new refugees can come in during the four months. That has been put on hold so that previously vetted and considered refugees who were granted status in the United States are being allowed in at this time.
That same executive order also required stricter scrutiny if a non-citizen was ever arrested. Even if they weren’t convicted of a crime—even if they weren’t charged with a crime; if they were arrested for a crime, then there was going to be stricter scrutiny and, certainly, there’s going to be stricter scrutiny for criminal convictions and certain offenses so that. Again there’s still some confusion and there’s no clarity as to how that will be affecting people and playing out. I can say that we have already had to deal with a situation for a client of ours who had been arrested but never even charged with a crime but was held for a period of time for questioning on that issue. So this is certainly something that is going to be a serious issue, but we’re not sure long term what the effects are going to be for individual people.
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