Effect of Executive Order at US ports of entry as of Jan 30th
Contributor: Van T. Doan
On January 28, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) "Protecting The Nation From Terrorist Attacks By Foreign Nation.” While the EO was purportedly limited to visa holders and citizens and nationals of the seven (7) listed countries (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia) the manner in which the EO has been interpreted and subsequently implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has affected travelers coming to the United States.
If you are planning to travel to the United States, and you are not a U.S. citizen i.e. visa holder, lawful permanent resident status, and you are detained at the port of entry, you should know your rights.
For Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s)/ “Green Card” holders:
- Do NOT voluntarily surrender your “green card.” If agents confiscate your green card, demand that you be given other proof of your lawful status i.e. I-94 or passport stamp “Evidence of Temporary Residence”
- If asked to sign Form I-407 Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident status, do NOT sign it. If the issue of abandonment is raised:
- Provide proof of your ties to the United States such as bank account, property, job, family residing in the U.S. , etc.
- Provide reason for travel i.e. wedding, sick family member, vacation, etc.
Refusal to sign I-407 does NOT subject you to immediate removal. Rather, you should be served with a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge who will decide whether you have abandoned/lost your lawful status.
Visa holders (people who have obtained a visa to enter the U.S. such as H1B, K1, F1, B1/B2, etc.), do not enjoy the same rights as LPR’s. Even with a valid visa, the government reserves the right to refuse to recognize and admit someone with a valid visa at the port of entry. However, planning ahead may be helpful. While there is no right to an attorney for individuals who arrive at a U.S. port of entry and seek admission to the United States, in practice, many CBP officers will agree to speak with lawyers representing such individuals. Thus, it is advisable to speak with an immigration attorney prior to travelling to discuss and assess risk and options. Keep in mind that (1) you may not be able to use your phone to text, send emails, or make calls, and (2) CBP officers will be overwhelmed in the coming days in dealing with these arrivals and that it may be difficult – even for experienced immigration attorneys – to communicate with CBP.
Categories: Immigration Law