On January 27, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order barring entry into the U.S. for the next 90 days by aliens from seven countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen — including persons holding immigrant and non-immigrant visas issued by the U.S. Entry by refugees attempting relocation is suspended for the next 120 days and entry by all Syrian refugees is suspended until further notice. Beginning in late May 2017 the State Department may allow entry into the U.S. of nationals of countries that State, Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence jointly determine pose no danger to the U.S. The Order makes special provisions for entry by members of religious minorities from these countries. This provision is especially controversial since it prioritizes the processing of refugee claims based on the refugee’s religion. U.S. citizens — whether natural-born or naturalized — are unaffected by the Order.
Immediately the ACLU filed an emergency application in federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of two Iraqi individuals detained at JFK Airport based on the new Executive Order. On January 28 U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the ACLU’s emergency request and entered a Stay barring deportation of individuals with refugee applications, holders of valid U.S. visas and other individuals from the seven named countries who are legally authorized to enter the U.S., pending a full hearing. Judge Donnelly concluded that imminent danger faced these individuals if sent back to their countries of origin. Judge Donnelly’s Order affects only travelers who arrived in the U.S. after Trump signed the Order and these individuals may remain in detention while the Stay is in effect.
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