3.6.2017: Newest Executive Order: Impact on Maine business?

On 3/6/2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order barring entry and visa issuance for certain nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and suspending admission of all refugees from any country.   The E.O. takes effect on March 16, 2017.

What does the new E.O. about the six countries do?

  • Prohibits the entry of, issuance of visas to, or adjudication of applications filed with USCIS in the United States concerning citizens of the six named countries for 90 days. The 90 day period could later be extended.
  • Exempts from the above, entry by:
    • dual  citizens who are traveling on the passport of their non-targeted country (for example, a dual citizen of the U.K. and Iran who is traveling on the U.K. passport)
    • U.S. permanent residents (“green card” holders)
    • those already admitted as refugees or granted asylum in the U.S., and other discrete categories of people already here
  • May permit entry, on a case-by-case basis, chiefly of:
    • nonimmigrants (for example, H-1Bs, L-1s, student (F-1) or exchange visitor (J-1) visa holders) who had already been living in the U.S. and are returning from a temporary trip abroad to resume their work
    • nonimmigrant professional workers such as those listed above or visitors for business, traveling for “significant business or professional obligations"
    • family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents

What does the new E.O. about refugees do?

  • Suspends all refugee admissions to the U.S. for 120 days (which may later be extended)
    • Allows entry of refugees approved prior to March 16th for transit to the U.S.
    • Some case-by-case exceptions allowed
  • Caps refugee admissions at 50,000 for FY 2017 (down from 110,000)

What affect does the E.O have on Maine businesses?

  • Professional nonimmigrant staff from any of the six countries may not be able to reenter the U.S. following travel abroad. Make sure they seek individual legal advice from a competent immigration attorney before traveling, even to Canada.  Consider not traveling abroad during the 90 day period, or any extensions, until we have more information about how the E.O. is actually applied.
  • Future nonimmigrant employees still abroad from any of the six countries who did not receive their visas before 5:00 p.m. EST on 1/27/2017 will not be issued a visa or entry into the U.S. unless a case-by-case waiver is granted, until the suspension is lifted.
  • Visa interview waivers that have been applied to some nonimmigrants, regardless of country, are discontinued.
  • Staff with refugee family members abroad who have been in the pipeline to come to the U.S., may be under severe emotional strain.  This new delay, and the reduced cap, may result in a refugee who was supposed to arrive in the next few months not being able to come to the U.S. for another year or longer.  Consider providing them with support, at a minimum, through your company EAP plan.

For more information, contact your company's immigration attorney, or Beth Stickney at bstickney@mainebic.org.