Executive Order Regarding Refugees: “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”

This is the third Executive Order regarding immigration and the United States this week. I summarized the first and second orders previously.

Sections 1 and 2 of the order lay out the purpose of the order, “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.”

The Order does the following:

  1. Asks DHS, State Dept., and DNI to identify what the US needs from foreign countries to properly determine if a person seeking a visa from that country is or is not a security threat to the United States
  2. Creates a new vetting process to better ensure a visa candidate is not a threat to national security, such vetting is to be presented to the President within 30 days
  3. Suspends ALL IMMIGRATION and VISAS from Iraq and Syria or “any other country or area of concern” for 90 days. (According to US News and World Report the State Department has included Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to the list)
  4. Establishes a 60 day vetting period placing the burden on certain FOREIGN COUNTRIES to provide documentation regarding the potential applicant. If the Country of origin does not provide the documents required, the potential candidate cannot be processed into the United States. The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security can add countries to the list of suspect countries listed above
  5. Creates reporting periods for executive agencies to report to the President regarding the implantation of the order
  6. Creates “uniform screening standards for all immigration programs” with the intent to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis, with the intent to harm, or who risk harm to the United States. The new screening programs will include: in-person interviews; databases of documents proffered by applicants; new application forms that include questions to identify fraud and malicious intent; ensure the applicant is the who the applicant purports to be; create a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positive contributing member of society; a mechanism to determine if the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.
  7. Suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days when additional procedures will be added, and only then will USRAP resume “admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.”
  8. “Prioritizes refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

One important note here. There were draft orders circulated earlier in the week which had stronger and more intense limits on refugees. The final order, for instance, didn’t cap the number of refugees at a certain number.

There has been some speculation online that current Visa holder from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen could have their current Visa’s revoked since the language applies to all immigrants and non-immigrants. The language of the order states:

“I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) [Which means (for now) Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia], would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and non-immigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order.”

I would guess that this is not true for anyone who has had a Visa and traveled on that Visa previously. That is guess though. The speculation is valid.

That is what the order does. This order is less clear than the previous 2 and may have effects not listed above since the language is broad, vague, and allows DHS, State, and DNI to determine the particulars.

NOTE: Things move quickly. Here is update #1, #2, and #3