President Trump reissued his Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into The United States.” This act shall take effect on March 16, 2017. This Executive order will ban nationals from six designated countries -- Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. Natives from these countries are banned for at least 90 days. Unlike the previous Executive Travel Order, natives from Iraq are exempt. Additionally, the order will put a halt on The United States Refugee Program (USRAP) for 120 days.
The Order is reintroducing in-person interviews for visa processing. This means that all individuals whose visas expired will need to apply for a visa and have an interview at a U.S. consulate instead of mailing their application or petitions.
However, those who already have been issued a valid visa are not affected by this order. The order precludes consulates from issuing a visa to natives of those six countries listed above. Many countries do not provide birth right citizenship. Therefore, if a person was born in Sweden but his parents are Iranian, he or she may be subject to the ban.
The ban does not affect dual citizens as long as they are traveling on a passport that is not subject to the ban. In other words, if a citizen is a national of Iran and Sweden he must travel on his Swedish passport to the United States. The ban no longer sets forth vetting procedures based off religion.
American citizens may be subject to questioning, but as an American citizen, you must be admitted into the country. When entering the United States, once you go through primary inspection -- the main booth that everyone goes through -- you should answer routine questions truthfully and make all required declarations.
However, if you are selected for secondary questioning, it may be to your advantage to refuse to answer further questions. You are not obligated to answer questions regarding your religious and political beliefs. If you are an American citizen and find yourself detained for secondary questioning, it may be to your advantage to say the following:
The fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizures. Therefore, government must show probable cause before they can conduct a search where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, a search at a port where foreigners can enter and leave the United States may be considered as “reasonable”. Furthermore, the Government has a compelling interest in protecting its borders. Thus, government authorities may search your electronic devices at the Border or a Port of Entry. The agencies may keep your belongings for a brief reasonable amount of time for inspection. However, you are not obligated to provide your passwords to your electronic devices, your social media password or social media usage. Only a judge can force you to reveal information to the government, and this limited to the by your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination.
It may be in your best interest that when traveling to the United States to avoid taking your normal phone. Travelers may find it easier to take a temporary phone for their travel. Just get a GSM compatible phone and transfer your sim card to your phone that you are traveling with.
Beyond seizing your electronic device at a Port of Entry, the government may take your device away from the current location to do a further examination elsewhere. The government has a great deal of discretion in carrying out searches. Non-citizens who refuse to cooperate may be denied admission into the country. When there is a reasonable belief that your belongings are going to be search, do not take any steps in destroying data or obstructing the investigation. It is important to write the agents identifying information and if need be file a complaint or consult a lawyer to redeem your belongings.
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: