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From the Director’s Desk: A Note on the Recent Executive Order

January 30, 2017

From the Director’s Desk:

The Middle East Center is a Title VI Federally-funded National Resource Center and aims to enhance and strengthen Americans’ understanding of the Middle East. In keeping with that mission, we have prepared some information about the President’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES. The full text of this order can be found here. Useful summaries of this order can also be found here, here, and here. If you are wondering what an executive order is, you can find a helpful explanations here. This summary is not intended to serve as legal advice, but as a brief explanation of the purpose and effect of the Executive Order (EO).

What is the purpose of the Executive Order?

The stated purpose of the EO is to allow Executive branch agencies, including the Departments of State and Homeland Security, in collaboration with the Director of National Intelligence, to review and revise the current Immigration and Nationality Act in order to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.

Who is affected?

The Executive Order affects refugees and visa-holders with passports from seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The EO also affects dual nationals with passports from one of the above seven countries and holds open the possibility of extending its application to additional countries.

This ban applies to the above-persons who are currently outside of the U.S. Visa-holders inside the U.S. are advised not to leave the country.

What does it do?

The EO places a 90-day suspension on entry into the U.S. by visa-holders from the seven countries.

The EO also suspends the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. Syrian refugee resettlements will be halted indefinitely.

Are there any exceptions to persons entering from the above countries?

The EO provides exceptions for Christians and members of minority faiths from the seven countries to enter as refugees.

Also the EO further exempts diplomats, NATO visas, C-2s (United Nations-related visas), and G visas (international organization officials and employees and their immediate family members).

Fluid Situation

The recent court order on January 28th halted the removal of people who had arrived on U.S. soil at the time of the court’s issuance of the injunction. Pending further review, a final decision will be made about the effect of the EO in the months ahead. This order does not permit entry to visa-holders outside of the U.S., although another decision on January 29th cleared the way for entry for visa-holders arriving within the next seven days.

The DHS recently clarified the application of the EO for lawful permanent residents (green-card holders), allowing them to enter the U.S. absent any “significant derogatory information.”

Note to Our Community

For members of our community who are visa-holders (including students or scholars on F-1, J-1, or other temporary visas) from one of the named countries, it is currently recommended that you not travel outside of the United States, including Canada, until further notice. Updates for UW international students can be found here, and for the public, here.

Best wishes,

Arzoo Osanloo

Director, MEC