Immigration Executive Order and Its Impact
by Patrick Lyle, Esq.
Its now 72 hours since the U.S. government by executive order of Donald J. Trump changed several key immigration policies. As a result of the change some individuals who were outside of the country, and in possession of non-immigrant visas, and individuals holding “Green Cards” were prevented from traveling to the U.S. Due to the hard work of lawyers from the ACLU, and other civil rights groups, some of these policies were not allowed to remain in effect. Travelers who were previously stranded, or detained were allowed to complete their trips or were released from custody. Confusion and rumors circulated, with some folks believing that it was unsafe to travel from anywhere into the U.S. Internet hoaxes surfaced attempting to prey upon uninformed visitors, or residents of the U.S.
A few points of clarification are in order. For those entering the U.S. from the seven countries identified in the Trump ban, or for those holding citizenship from the seven countries identified in the Trump ban, the best thing to do is to consult with an Attorney prior to traveling. Know your rights. For those not living in the seven countries or holding citizenship from the seven countries be advised that heightened scrutiny of your visa, or green card could occur on entry to the US. Bear in mind that the Department of Homeland Security always had the right to examine you, and could detain you for further investigation at the time of entry regardless of whether you were a Citizen, Green Card Holder, Business, Pleasure and Religious or Educational visitor.
So what can you do to make re-entry smoother. First, have all travel documents with you. That means, Passport, Green Card, plane ticket, customs declaration form, and any other travel documents. Remember to turn off your cell phone inside the arrivals hall. Be clear and accurate in your answers to Immigration Officers regarding your travel, length of stay outside the country, purpose of your trip, declaration of items acquired abroad, persons you are coming to visit, and your destination address. Should you be asked to sign any documents other than a customs declaration form, be certain to review the document to ensure that you are not relinquishing residency status or admitting to acts or actions that you disagree with.
Should you encounter any issues during re-entry, such as denial of re-entry, or you are being forced to sign documents other than your customs declaration form, you may ask for a hearing before an immigration judge, or request to speak with an Attorney. Most importantly stay calm. When in doubt consult with an Attorney before traveling to ensure that your departure and arrival will be trouble free.