Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017: U.S. Supreme Court Reinstates Portions of 2nd Executive Order

On March 6, 2017 President Trump signed into effect a revised version of his initial ‘travel ban,’ known as Executive Order 2 (EO-2). It temporarily banned travel to the United States by foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.  EO-2 did not apply to U.S. lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals who had already been granted asylum or had already been admitted to the U.S.

Yesterday, on June 26, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to partially uphold and reinstate portions EO-2. This reinstatement specifically targets persons from the six countries who cannot show a “credible bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Such persons will not be allowed an entry unless they are granted a “waiver of entry.”

Legal analysis of the court’s decision indicates that EO-2 will not apply to international students and scholars. Below is a summary of the court’s decision.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.  If you are currently outside the U.S. and have concerns or you plan to travel in the coming months, please get in touch with us.  We can help you sort through options and we can also connect you with free legal assistance for issues related to the executive order.

What counts as a “bona fide relationship” with the United States?
Below are some examples of foreign nationals from the six countries who can claim a “bona fide relationship” with the U.S. and enter the country:
  • Individuals who have a close familial relationship in the United States, such as an individual who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member.
    • The relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purposes of evading EO-2.
  • Individuals who have a “formal, documented” relationship with an American entity that was “formed in the ordinary course.” Examples of such a relationship include:
    • Students who have been admitted to an American university.
    • Workers who have accepted an offer of employment from an American company.
    • Lecturers who have been invited to address an American audience.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case during the October 2017 term. 

Supporting Materials and Resources:

As we get more information, we will keep you updated. Be sure to regularly check the blog. OISS will continue working with our campus partners, legal counsel, and professional associations to assess information related to any immigration policy changes that could potentially take place.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Administration Issues Congressional Notice of Intention to Renegotiate NAFTA

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Trump Administration issued official notice to Congress of its intention to begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on behalf of the United States with the other member countries of Canada and Mexico. Based on the broad language in the notice to Congress, it is unclear at this time whether the provisions of NAFTA relating to immigration will be affected.

Under current U.S. and Canadian immigration laws, NAFTA provides for employer sponsorship of nationals of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, who fall under a set list of over 60 professional occupations (i.e. engineers, computer systems analysts, physicians, university professors), as well as options for treaty traders and investors between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Tulane has less than 10 employees in TN status.

If applicable, OISS will provide updates on developments in NAFTA renegotiations as they impact the immigration options available to employers, as well as treaty traders and investors, in the member countries of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Please contact OISS if you have any questions or concerns related to the TN visa.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20 Buy American and Hire American Executive Order

On April 18th, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO): Buy American and Hire American, targeting the H-1B visa program. The EO is meant to curtail perceived program abuses that involve the alleged use of lower-skilled and lower wage workers to replay U.S. workers in the job market. Below are some important points to keep in mind about what the EO contains:

  •  The order states broad policy directives to various government agencies. It does not set  forth specific ideas or proposed actions to further the policy.
  •  It calls on the Secretary of State, Labor, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to “propose new rules and issue new guidance to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate.”
  • The agencies are directed to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries. This means there might be a change in administration of the annual H-1B quota to favor petitions that offer the highest salaries or are filed for those with advanced degrees.

We would like to highlight again that the order does not contain any specific changes yet, but as we get more information, we will keep you updated. Be sure to regularly check the blog. OISS will continue working with our campus partners, legal counsel, and professional associations to assess information related to any immigration policy changes that could potentially take place.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20 Immigration Executive Order Updates

For up-to-date information on the status of President Trump's executive orders issued on January 27 and March 6, please check the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA) website: http://www.nafsa.org/Content.aspx?id=57746

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 8 Message from Satyajit Dattagupta, VP of Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions

Dear Students,

I write to you because I am deeply saddened and angered by the attacks on three Indians in incidents in Washington, Missouri, and South Carolina. There are no words which can describe the fear and sorrow the families and communities of these victims are going through. My thoughts are always with them.

I also know that some of you have had personal experiences in New Orleans that have made you feel unwelcome. However, I believe these are isolated incidents that do not define what the United States stands for, and do not reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the millions of people who live here.

As a student when I came to this country 18 years ago, I quickly learned that there are people of good intent - and those of ill that represent every race. By living in a nation built upon hundreds of years of immigration from every part of the world, I came to see that I was just one of so very many who had come here in search of a better life.

I still believe in the American dream. I believe in an America that allows people to succeed regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, or their appearance.

However, one cannot ignore the current climate in the U.S. or that the victims in all three of these incidents targeted were Indian, and I wanted to give you some specific advice as well.

Firstly, I counsel everyone to be patient during this time. I believe that this is a phase of isolated incidents that will pass. I don’t believe anyone should jeopardize their future with any decisions in the heat of the moment.

Secondly, I would suggest caution and awareness. Do not argue or engage with people when remarks are made about your presence here. You will not change their minds. And never let their hate convince you that you are somehow less because of where you come from.

And lastly, I suggest that you think ahead to the future, to visualize your life as a successful student and professional rather than being derailed by the acts of a few ignorant people.

Immigrants have always sought new opportunities and taken brave steps across the world. In America, they have made great opportunities, built strong communities, raised families, and lived prosperous lives. And in this process, they have become another part of the success of the American dream.

We are a resilient people. Nothing will ever change that.

I also want you to know that I am available to talk with you if you need, and can reach me at satyajit@tulane.edu.

Thank you.

Satyajit Dattagupta
Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admission
Tulane University

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7 OISS Update on March 6 Executive Order on Immigration

On March 6, 2017, the White House announced a new executive order impacting nationals and citizens of six countries: IRAN, LIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, AND YEMEN, effective as of 12:01 AM EDT on March 16, 2017.

The Executive Order (EO) excludes Iraq from the original list of countries, although travelers from Iraq may experience longer delays in visa issuance.

This EO affects only those from the 6 countries who are currently outside the U.S. and do not have a valid U.S. visa. For foreign nationals from one of the six restricted countries who are currently in the United States, traveling internationally is highly inadvisable under current circumstances. Please consult with an OISS advisor if you have any questions.

Foreign nationals who are not from one of these countries planning to travel outside of the U.S. should make sure they have the necessary travel documents and a valid visa. Always check with OISS whenever in doubt. Please refer to our recent travel email for more information about preparing to leave the U.S.

This new EO DOES NOT APPLY to:
•  Lawful permanent residents of the United States (“green card” holders);
•  Any foreign national who has a document OTHER than a visa, valid on March 16, 2017 (or issued thereafter), that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission (e.g., an Advance Parole document);
•  Any dual national of a designated country when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
•  Any foreign national traveling on designated diplomatic visas; OR
•  Any foreign national who has been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture. Waivers of the travel ban may be available on a case-by-case basis.

The Legal Education Department at Pennsylvania State University has created a helpful summary of the new Executive Order, you can read it here.

Know your Rights at the Airport (Credit: American Civil Liberties Union):
We are aware that some of you might be worried about what your experience might be at the port of entry when interacting with a customs officer.  We would like to remind you to be honest and courteous to the officer at the port of entry, and to have your documents ready when you’re asked for them.  If you have any doubts, below are some specific guidelines about what customs officers have the authority to do:

Q. If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers, can law enforcement officers stop and search me?
A. Generally, customs officers may stop, detain, and search any person or item at the border. This is true even if there is nothing suspicious about you or your luggage. The government believes this authority to search without individualized suspicion extends to searches of electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones, but that is a contested legal issue. Officers, however, may not select you for a personal search or secondary inspection based on your religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs.

Q. Can law enforcement officers ask questions about my immigration status?
A. Customs officers have the authority to ask your immigration status when you are entering or returning to the United States or leaving the country. They have the power to determine whether non-U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have the right to enter the country. If you are a U.S. citizen and you have presented a valid passport, you do not have to answer officers’ questions, although refusing to answer routine questions about the nature and purpose of your travel could result in delay and/or further inspection. If you are a lawful permanent resident, we recommend you answer officers’ questions. If you are a non-citizen visa holder, you may be denied entry into the United States if you refuse to answer officers’ questions. Officers, however, may not select you for questioning based on your religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs. If you are told you cannot enter the country and you fear you might be persecuted or tortured if you are sent back to the country from which you traveled, you may tell the customs officer about your fear and ask for asylum.

Q. Do I have to provide my laptop passwords or unlock my mobile phone for law enforcement officers? Can law enforcement officers search my electronic devices or make copies of the files?
A. Officers have sometimes asked travelers to provide their laptop passwords or unlock their mobile phones. Whether you have a right to decline to provide this information is a contested legal issue. The extent to which officers have the authority to search or copy files in your electronic devices without any reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of wrongdoing is also a contested issue. U.S. citizens cannot be denied entry to the United States for refusing to provide passwords or unlock devices, but refusal to do so might lead to delay, lengthy questioning, and/or officers seizing your device for further inspection. For lawful permanent residents and non-citizen visa holders, refusing to cooperate might also lead to officers denying your entry into the country. If an officer searches and/or confiscates your laptop or cell phone, write down his or her name and get a receipt for your property. 

Q. What if I wear a religious head covering and I am selected by airport security officials for additional screening?
A. You have the right to wear your religious head covering. You should assert your right to wear your religious head covering if asked to remove it before going through airport security screening. If an alarm goes off, however, airport security officers may request additional screening. They may then conduct a pat-down of your religious head covering or ask you to remove it. You have the right to request that the pat-down or removal be conducted by a person of your gender and that it occurs in a private area. If you do not want the TSA officer to touch your religious head covering, you must refuse and say that you would prefer to pat down your own religious head covering. You will then be taken aside and a TSA officer will supervise you as you pat down your religious head covering. After the pat-down, the TSA officer may rub your hands with a small cotton cloth and place it in a machine to test for chemical residue. If you pass this chemical residue test, you should be allowed to proceed to your flight. If the TSA officer insists on the removal of your religious head covering, you have a right to ask that it be done in a private area. Officers may not conduct additional screening based solely on your race, national origin, religion, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs.

For a complete run-down of what your rights are at airports and other ports of entry in the U.S. you can visit the ACLU website.

OISS will continue to monitor the situation and any updates (as well as this e-mail) will be posted on our blog.  If you have any questions or concerns in the coming days, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.  If you aren’t sure what to do, we would recommend that you seek the counsel of an immigration lawyer, there is currently free legal assistance available for issues related to the executive order.  E-mail us back to let us know if you need recommendations.

Office of International Students and Scholars
Tulane University
6901 Willow Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 865-5208

Monday, March 6, 2017

March 6 Trump Issue New Executive Order on Immigration

Today's Washington Post Article about the new executive order on immigration.

Please note that the information regarding the president's executive orders is being regularly updated. OISS is working with our campus partners and professional associations to assess this information as it continues to develop. We recommend consulting an experienced immigration attorney prior to international travel or taking any actions related to your immigration status.