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Know Your Rights: Immigration & Asylum in the US under the Executive Order

Updated: Mon, 9 Oct 2017

Introduction

On March 6, 2017, the President of the United States issued an Executive Order that, among other actions, temporarily suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and banned people from six majority-Muslim countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—from entering the United States for 90 days (“Executive Order Restricting Travel to the U.S. from Certain Countries and Imposing Refugee Restrictions,” referred to unofficially as the “Muslim ban”). Over the next six months, the Executive Order faced a number of challenges in court, including injunctions that temporarily blocked enforcement of the EO issued by federal district courts in Maryland and Hawai’i. These injunctions were ultimately upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted the petition to hear the case in October 2017, and at the same time partially granted the government’s request for a stay, declaring that the travel ban would go into effect only for individuals without a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.

 

In response to this shifting legal landscape and in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and with the assistance of Journey’s End Refugee Services (JERS), the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and important law firm partners prepared a “Know-Your-Rights Guide” to assist the public, particularly impacted individuals, in understanding the travel and refugee bans of the Executive Order. The “Know-Your-Rights Guide” was written in a question-and-answer format and divided into three sections: (1) the scope of the Executive Order’s travel and refugee bans; (2) the implementation of the Executive Order’s travel and refugee bans; and (3) rights and legal recourse for impacted individuals. This successful partnership was nominated for the TrustLaw Collaboration Award for 2017.

 

Although the Executive Order was to be heard in the Supreme Court on October 10, 2017, the President issued a Presidential Proclamation (“Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats”) on September 24, 2017, which introduced a broader travel ban that indefinitely refuses entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries—Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea—and introduces heightened restrictions and scrutiny for some groups and individuals from Iraq and Venezuela. As a result, the Supreme Court canceled the initially scheduled hearing, and next steps on pending cases have yet to be announced at time of writing.

 

In response to these recent updates, IRAP has put together a short-form Know Your Rights guide that outlines the information that is currently known regarding the most recent Presidential Proclamation. Individuals who believe they may be affected by this newly proposed ban are encouraged to view this new Know Your Rights guide on IRAP’s website.

On March 6, 2017, the President of the United States issued an Executive Order that, among other actions, temporarily suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and banned people from six majority-Muslim countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—from entering the United States for 90 days (“Executive Order Restricting Travel to the U.S. from Certain Countries and Imposing Refugee Restrictions,” referred to unofficially as the “Muslim ban”). Over the next six months, the Executive Order faced a number of challenges in court, including injunctions that temporarily blocked enforcement of the EO issued by federal district courts in Maryland and Hawai’i. These injunctions were ultimately upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted the petition to hear the case in October 2017, and at the same time partially granted the government’s request for a stay, declaring that the travel ban would go into effect only for individuals without a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.

 

In response to this shifting legal landscape and in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and with the assistance of Journey’s End Refugee Services (JERS), the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and important law firm partners prepared a “Know-Your-Rights Guide” to assist the public, particularly impacted individuals, in understanding the travel and refugee bans of the Executive Order. The “Know-Your-Rights Guide” was written in a question-and-answer format and divided into three sections: (1) the scope of the Executive Order’s travel and refugee bans; (2) the implementation of the Executive Order’s travel and refugee bans; and (3) rights and legal recourse for impacted individuals. This successful partnership was nominated for the TrustLaw Collaboration Award for 2017.

 

Although the Executive Order was to be heard in the Supreme Court on October 10, 2017, the President issued a Presidential Proclamation (“Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats”) on September 24, 2017, which introduced a broader travel ban that indefinitely refuses entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries—Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea—and introduces heightened restrictions and scrutiny for some groups and individuals from Iraq and Venezuela. As a result, the Supreme Court canceled the initially scheduled hearing, and next steps on pending cases have yet to be announced at time of writing.

 

In response to these recent updates, IRAP has put together a short-form Know Your Rights guide that outlines the information that is currently known regarding the most recent Presidential Proclamation. Individuals who believe they may be affected by this newly proposed ban are encouraged to view this new Know Your Rights guide on IRAP’s website.

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