Trump's Executive Order Impacts Seafarers

Department of Homeland Security officer.

By MarEx 2017-03-09 17:40:13

U.S. President Donald Trump signed  a new Executive Order 13780 entitled "Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States" on March 6. This order rescinds E.O. 13769 and introduces new restrictions on travel to the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

E.O. 13780 has a more limited impact on immediate entry to the U.S. than did the revoked E.O. 13769, says legal firm Freehill, Hogan and Mahar's in a client alert. Crew from the six designated countries will not be able to enter the U.S. unless they hold valid visas prior to March 16, and they will not be able to obtain visas until 90 days after March 16. If a crewmember holds a valid visa he or she will be free to enter the U.S.

If a vessel arrives at a U.S. port with crew from any of the six designated countries who do not have valid visas, those crewmembers will not be permitted to leave the vessel, and it can be anticipated that the U.S. authorities may well order that armed guards be placed at the vessel’s gangway to prevent any such crew from departing the vessel, states the client alert. In addition, if any crewmember’s visa expires after March 16, the crewmember must apply for a new visa.

The E.O. allows for the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals, says the Department of Homeland Security in a fact sheet. “The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet it has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm. In order to ensure that the U.S. Government can conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the national security risks posed from our immigration system, the Executive Order imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the United States of nationals of certain designated countries—countries that were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks with respect to visa-free travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.”

The fact sheet states that Congress provided the President of the United States, in section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), with the authority to suspend the entry of any class of aliens the President deems detrimental to the national interest. This authority has been exercised repeatedly for decades, and has been a component of immigration law since the enactment of the original INA in 1952.

Immigration from Iraq is not targeted in this latest E.O. as a result of negotiations that have taken place between the Government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State in the last month. Iraq has agreed to increase cooperation with the U.S. Government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States.

The new E.O. directs the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a worldwide review to identify what additional information is required from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa “…in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat.” The Secretary of Homeland Security is to report to the President within 20 days of the effective date of the E.O., providing a list of the countries that do not provide adequate information.

The Department of Homeland Security fact sheet is available here.