Panic and fear ripped across our country this weekend in response to President Trump’s Executive Order (EO). The purpose of this blog is to present a balanced view and response to a list of Frequently asked questions (FAQ) our U.S. immigration attorneys have received. We hope this helps our fellow U.S. Citizens and Foreign Nationals to gain some perspective on our President’s current EO stance.
Is U.S. Customs Border and Patrol Officers violating the law and in contempt of a Federal Judge’s Order?
No. A Federal Judge does not have jurisdiction over U.S. borders where non-U.S. citizens have not yet been admitted into the United States. A U.S. CBP officer and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are charged with jurisdiction of what has been called ‘no man’s Land’ where non U.S. citizens apply to be admitted into the U.S and await a decision from DHS CBP.
Do non-citizens have a right to an attorney if detained by CBP upon arrival at a border/airport?
No. Unlike criminal cases, one cannot demand their “one phone call”. CBP has discretion whether or not to allow a phone call. However, detention can be avoided or minimized should a foreign national request a return flight instead of waiting in detention for a decision to be admitted into the United States. Even as immigration attorneys, we cannot legally demand that CBP let us see our clients while detained in the airport.
Can someone who lands but is not yet admitted to U.S. get deported despite Federal Judge Order?
Yes. It is important that any immigration attorney hired by you or your loved ones understand that you cannot be deported if you have not even been admitted to the U.S. Rather, a non-citizen who is not admitted is subject to exclusion via removal. Understanding the difference is key to proper handling the difficult legal challenges.
Will Permanent Residents of the United States continue to risk detention?
Possibly. Despite the blanket exemption for U.S. Permanent Residents issued from the White House; if you or your family have a pattern of living outside the U.S. and returning for a few months of the year to avoid ‘abandonment’ of status, this pattern should be immediately stopped. A re-entry permit is required if a Permanent Resident spends excessive time living outside of the United States and they do not want to be deemed to have abandoned their status.
Although the truth and impact of the current EO stings; we seek to equip non-citizens with the essential facts needed to best navigate the complexity of our President’s EO and not be led astray. There is indeed a steep learning curve for CBP DHS and the White House as they seek to implement the ban. We stand by and appreciate in advance the clarity that will be provided to accurately provide legal advice to our clients and friends.
Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Vassell & LeeRC Law Group
Representing Businesses, Families & Individuals for over 20 years in U.S. Immigration Matters