HOMELAND SECURITY SEEKS TO CLARIFY RULE ON TRAVEL FOR GREEN CARD HOLDERS

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By Miriam Raftery

January 31, 2017 (San Diego) — On Sunday, following a weekend of chaos at airports around the world due to President Trump’s executive order banning travelers from 11 nations that led to detention of even legal U.S. permanent residents, the Department of Homeland Security and its Secretary issued statements that seek to clarify the policy.

Secretary John Kelly states that “entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest” adding that “absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.” 

The language still leaves unclear whether lawful residents may continue to be detained each time they reenter the U.S. 

The HS statement indicates that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will take steps to comply with a federal court order temporarily barring deportation of permanent residents pending a hearing, though there have been complaints even after the order that Customs officials at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. has refused to grant access to attorneys for people detained there.

Homeland Security’s Statement also made clear that it intends to enforce all provisions of the order not affected by court orders, which includes turning back refugees from the targeted nations.

Below are the statements in full:

STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JOHN KELLY ON THE ENTRY OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS INTO THE UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON – In applying the provisions of the president's executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.

Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.

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DHS STATEMENT ON COMPLIANCE WITH COURT ORDERS AND THE PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS

WASHINGTON - Upon issuance of the court orders yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with our partners in the Departments of Justice and State to implement President Trump’s executive order on protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.

We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law.  We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected.

As Secretary Kelly previously stated, in applying the provisions of the president's executive order, the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.

We are and will remain in compliance with judicial orders. We are and will continue to enforce President Trump’s executive order humanely and with professionalism. DHS will continue to protect the homeland.

For the latest DHS news, see https://www.dhs.gov/news.