Travel Warning to ALL International Religious Workers in the U.S.

Jan 30, 2017

The past 48 hours have demonstrated how quickly the U.S. immigration landscape can change. President Trump’s executive order banning individuals from certain countries entry into the U.S. has been severely criticized not only here but also around the world. As with his other recent executive orders, clarity, guidance, and even legality of the orders are in question. The current travel ban is limited to people from seven countries:

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Somalia

Screened refugees, temporary visa holders, and even lawful permanent residents of the U.S. from these countries have been removed from international flights or detained by Customs and Border Protection officers at international airports across the country. In response, there have been several Federal District Court orders requiring CBP to not remove people from the U.S. (at ports of entry) and also to allow access to legal representation if a person is detained. It is not clear if CBP is fully complying with these orders. The events of this weekend are unprecedented in modern U.S. history. In addition, this may not be the end of the administration issuing executive orders and policies that will negatively affect immigrants. The situation is very much in flux.

Given the uncertainty of this matter, we feel it appropriate to warn ALL international religious workers serving in the U.S. (regardless of nationality) to re-evaluate travel outside the U.S. If you have a trip scheduled or you have traveled to any of the listed countries above in the last 5 years you should talk to your immigration attorney before departing the U.S.

If you are a religious worker from one of the countries listed above (regardless of your immigration status – temporary visa or lawful permanent resident) you should not travel outside the U.S. and you should speak with your immigration attorney before you consider leaving the U.S. If you depart the U.S., you may not be permitted to return. This travel ban is scheduled for 90 days but may continue longer. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional clarification once we learn anything. Please call your RIS attorney if you have any questions about travel during this time.

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