President Trump’s Travel Ban Two Years Later

What is commonly referred to as the “travel ban” or “Muslim ban” is the product of three executive orders signed by President Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018. Each executive order met a number of legal challenges in the federal court system, but ultimately, the third version of the order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2018. Recently, January 27, 2019 marked the two-anniversary of the travel ban, and today, the ban remains in full effect. The effect of the travel ban is to indefinitely suspend the issuance of immigrant and non-immigrant visas to foreign nationals of often Muslim-majority countries, specifically Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. The government claims that the reasons for excluding immigrants from these seven countries are poor cooperation with U.S. officials, terrorist activity and the failure to properly document travelers. There are a few, rare exceptions to the travel ban. For instance, students from Iran and Libya are still able to acquire student visas. But otherwise, foreign nationals from the banned countries will only be able to enter the United States if they are granted a waiver. The travel ban provides for a waiver where a visa applicant can […]
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The U.S. Mid-terms and Immigration

Immigration issues have gotten a lot of attention this election season. Exit polls published by CNN showed that 23 percent of voters considered immigration the most important issue facing the country, second only to healthcare. Since his election in 2016, President Trump has prioritized immigration, often taking a hardline approach. In the days preceding the U.S. mid-terms held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Trump once again focused on immigration during several different campaign rallies, addressing things like the caravan of Central Americans making their way to the U.S. border, the border wall, and asylum.  So what exactly do the mid-term results means for Trump’s immigration plans? Several Republicans closely aligned with Trump’s immigration policies were defeated by Democrats. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost a bid to become governor of his state, Rep. Lou Bartletta (R-Pa.) fell short in an attempt to win the seat held by Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) lost a reelection campaign to Democrat and former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger, and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) narrowly won his seat.  With the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, the president’s most controversial immigration measures over the past two years will be investigated, […]
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Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule Changes Could Impact Immigrants’ Admissibility

The Trump administration has proposed a new set of federal regulations that would redefine a “public charge” and have a direct impact on immigration policy. Prospective immigrants can be deemed inadmissible to the United States if they are deemed a public charge. Current regulations define a public charge as an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This can be demonstrated by using public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term cases at the government’s expense.  The new regulations proposed by the Trump administration would change the way the U.S. decides whether or not an immigrant is considered a public charge. Under the proposed regulations, the definition of a public charge would be expanded to mean an immigrant who receives any government aid. Not only would cash programs be scrutinized, but the government would also take into consideration non-cash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Section 8 housing and rental assistance, among others.  If these proposed changes became policy, they would apply to Green Card applicants and many foreign nationals seeking or attempting to extend temporary visas. Proponents of these changes argue that these proposed changes could save […]
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Proposed Federal Regulation to Allow Detention of Undocumented Families

The Trump administration announced a newly proposed federal regulation on September 6, 2018 that would sidestep the Flores settlement. The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement requires the government to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to parents, adult relatives or licensed programs. It also requires that detained minors have a certain quality of life, which includes as much separation from unrelated adults as possible.  The newly proposed federal regulation would nullify the Flores settlement and its provisions. The Secretary of Homeland Security has expressed concern with the effects of the settlement, stating that it is a “pull factor” that promotes illegal immigration.  One of the major changes of this regulation would be the creation of a federal license system to allow for detention centers that would be able to hold families. The administration stated that the impetus for this change was to allow families to be kept in detention centers for the duration of their immigration court case. In addition, the government argues that keeping families in detention centers would help expedite the overall legal process.  A 60-day period for public input and comments will follow the publication of the proposed regulation on September 7, 2018 in the Federal […]
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President Trump to Terminate NAFTA

The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary trade agreement that is set to replace NAFTA. President Trump announced on Monday that he will be terminating the existing trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and enter into a new deal with Mexico. According to Trump, it could end up being “one of the largest trade deals ever made.” The agreement includes new rules set to incentivize manufacturers to source goods and materials in North America. Amongst a number of new regulations, it will require 75 percent of auto content to be made in the United States and Mexico, an increase of about 13 percent from the current NAFTA regulations.  What about Canada? At the moment, the new trade deal is only between the U.S. and Mexico. Canada has been reluctant to join a new trilateral trade pact, but it has shown a continued interest in negotiating with the U.S. With that being said, the pressure is now on Canada to quickly resolve key differences that have ensnared negotiations between the two countries for months. Whether or not Canada joins the agreement has yet to be determined, but even if our neighbors to the north choose to opt […]
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Breaking News: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump, Upholds Travel Ban

Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold President Trump’s September executive order that restricted travel to the U.S. from several countries. This executive order garnered significant controversy, with critics arguing it was motivated by religious hostility, as evidenced by the fact that it applied to citizens of Muslim majority countries. Numerous legal challenges to the executive order ultimately reached the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii. The Supreme Court upheld the restriction as falling within the president’s authority and rejected the idea that the restriction was based on religious hostility.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote the 5-4 opinion. The Court determined that the travel restriction was within the president’s constitutional authority. The opinion held that the order was based on legitimate purposes, such as preventing the entry of people who cannot be properly vetted and encouraging other countries to improve their vetting process. The opinion also stated that the text did not mention religion and the fact that it applied to five countries with Muslim majority populations did not inherently demonstrate religious hostility.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan dissented.  Berardi Immigration Law is committed to providing our clients with the most accurate and up-to-date immigration news. Be sure […]
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Chad Travel Restrictions Removed

On April 10, 2018, the President announced that travel restrictions against the nation of Chad will be removed. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that Chad has raised its security standards to meet the baseline U.S. national security requirements.  According to DHS, Chad has made significant progress toward modernizing its passport documents, regularizing processes for routine sharing of criminal and terrorist threat information, and improving procedures for reporting lost and stolen passports. As a result, its nationals will once again be able to receive visas for travel to the U.S.  Specific travel restrictions were implemented through Presidential Proclamation back in September 2017. It was the first time in U.S. history that minimum requirements for international cooperation were established to support U.S. visa and immigration vetting and adjudication procedures. Since then, nationals from Iran, Chad, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen have faced heavy restrictions, minus a few exceptions, from traveling to the U.S. The following exceptions apply to nationals from the remaining seven countries, and individuals who qualify will not be subject to any travel restrictions listed in the Presidential Proclamation: Any national who was in the U.S. on the applicable effective date described in Section […]
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