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Mace & Crown | April 25, 2018

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Strome Hosts Visa Information Session

T.J. Thompson
Staff Writer


Based upon the recent presidential executive order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” the Office of Visa and Immigration Service Advising hosted a video-conference with two Richmond-based immigration lawyers on Feb. 7. This executive order has been litigated through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel upheld the lower courts’ rulings.


The current status as of Saturday is the restraining order issued against the ban from the lower courts is still in effect. This means the ban is unenforceable unless it is litigated further or redrafted.


Attendees filled up the viewing gallery in the Strome Entrepreneurial Center while lawyers David Gluckman and Jonathan Moore from McCandish Holton Morris Law Firm in Richmond joined the audience through a video conference feed. Other universities from across Virginia were also able to view and listen to the session.


The main issue discussed in the session was about how students and faculty would be affected by the order. The debate centered on the banning of citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. 52 students and one faculty member were affected by the ban, according to an article from the Virginian-Pilot.


The discussion began with the definition and scope of an executive order. Gluckman and Moore stated that an executive order gives direction on how to execute laws which have already been passed by Congress. They also stated that these orders are not able to force anyone to commit an unlawful act and must be carried out within the boundaries of the law.


A better understanding of an executive order was the perfect starting point. The air felt lighter in the room once attendees realized that this is all part of the checks and balances of the different branches of the federal government. Once this definition was established, Gluckman and Moore discussed more detailed aspects of the recent immigration order.


One detail discussed was about the people who are affected by this order. Anyone already in the U.S. is not affected by this ban. It only affects those applying for visas currently or during the executive order’s time period.


Travelers from the seven listed countries are also free to travel about the U.S. if they are already in the country. If the ban were to be reinstated, they would not be able to exit the U.S. and would have to re-apply for a visa.


While awaiting the next steps from the federal government , all visas that were suspended initially have been reinstated. This could change at any moment depending upon the ruling of the courts or how the executive branch responds to litigation. Any visa processing that was suspended when this order was issued has also resumed. The best way to resume this process is to contact their home embassies.


International travelers were reminded that the U.S. extends no right for foreign nationals to enter the country and should keep that in mind if detained. Visitors to the U.S. are always required to present proof of admissibility.


When traveling, Gluckman and Moore reminded everyone to secure all information since customs can legally seize belongings and view any items contained within suitcases and bags. There is also no guaranteed right to counsel when being questioned by customs and immigration officers. It is best to seek legal counsel following these interactions if there are any questions.


The courts have stated that the federal government did not show a likelihood of the success of its appeal. Furthermore, they determined the federal government was unable to prove the current situation of the restraining order against the executive order would cause more harm while the proceedings play out.


“To rule on the Government’s motion, we must consider several factors, including whether the Government has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal, the degree of hardship caused by a stay or its denial and the public interest in granting or denying a stay,” the 9th U.S. Circuit Court stated.


As of Saturday, the ban has been sent back to the U.S. District Court, which ruled in favor of the state of Washington and placed a restraining order against the travel ban. Washington proved this executive order would cause harm if it were enforced.


President Trump is now faced with at least three potential paths in pursuing this travel ban. He could allow the case to go to trial in the lower court, appeal to the Supreme Court or rewrite the executive order.


These options for the Executive Branch are all on timelines while Trump is awaiting the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.


If Trump were to allow this to play out in the lower court, he could bide his time. Waiting for this to happen could also carry the executive order through its lifespan without being enforced, as it was initially issued for a 90-day period.


This article is not intended to replace proper legal advice. Travel to the U.S. is currently not impacted by this ban, yet that can change at any moment. For further information, contact the Office of Visa and Immigration Service Advising at 757-683-4756 or through email at