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DHS: Executive order will not block reentry of permanent residents

While the area of immigration law is always in flux, major changes have historically been enacted piecemeal or with advance warning, such that potentially affected parties are provided with the necessary warning and, more significantly, the ability to make the necessary arrangements. This all changed Friday, however, following the signing of a highly controversial executive order by President Donald Trump that essentially enacted a 90-day travel ban from seven nations, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Sudan.

In the ensuing chaos and protests caused by this executive order, a host of important questions emerged for which people have been demanding answers. For example, many were left wondering as to the fate of permanent residents from one of these affected nations who were unfortunate enough to be outside the U.S. when this travel ban took effect.

Indeed, reports surfaced over the weekend that many of these permanent residents were being detained at U.S. airports or prevented from boarding U.S.-bound planes at foreign airports owning to this uncertainty.

Clarity finally arrived last night when recently appointed Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a statement indicating that he deemed the "entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest." In other words, permanent residents, meaning those who hold green cards authorizing them to both live and work in the U.S., would not be blocked by the executive order.

While this was welcome news to permanent residents hailing from one of the seven nations seeking to come back to their adopted homeland, Kelly's statement also indicated that they would need to request a waiver authorizing reentry.

Specifically, the policy dictates that a person's permanent resident status will be viewed as a dispositive factor in deciding to grant the reentry waiver unless officials are in possession of "significant derogatory information" about the individual indicating "a serious threat to public safety and welfare."

White House officials have indicated that roughly 170 waiver applications have heretofore been filed under this new criteria and that all of them have been granted.

Stay tuned for important immigration law updates ...

If you or a loved one has questions or concerns relating to any immigration matter -- from green cards to deportation -- consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.

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