U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent four cables to consular officers between Mar. 10 and 17 with preliminary instructions for stricter vetting of U.S. visa applicants. The cables emphasize that “all visa decisions are national security decisions” and that additional screening may “may cause interview appointment backlogs to rise.” Continue reading “Client Alert: State Dep’t Begins Stricter Vetting of Visa Applicants”
Dark Shadows of Chinese Exclusion Act in Muslim Ban (Asia Times, Mar. 15): The Chinese Exclusion Act has a dubious distinction: it was the first federal law in the United States to prevent members of a specific ethnic group from entering the country. The law banned the immigration of Chinese laborers and prevented Chinese from becoming naturalized citizens. The law came into being in 1882 and was repealed in 1943, a time when China was an ally in World War II. These details have a chilling echo in President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
Justice Department Reviews H-1B Spouse Work Case as Tech Worker Visas Scrutinized (NBC News, Mar. 10): The Justice Department is weighing its next moves in a federal lawsuit that challenges a 2015 rule extending work authorization to the H-4 spouses of certain H-1B temporary workers. The case, now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. / H-4 spouses are concerned that the Trump administration is looking for ways to stop granting work authorization under this important 2015 rule. For more on this rule, see Employment Authorization for H-4 Spouses: USCIS Publishes Updated Form and FAQs. Continue reading “Quick Takes on U.S. & China Visa Law News”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a quick pocket guide with a breakdown of your digital rights at the U.S. border. Continue reading “Pocket Guide to Protecting Your Data at the U.S. Border”
President Trump has signed a revised Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It goes into effect March 16.
The ban fails to address the original version’s flaws and its thinly veiled scapegoating of Muslims and refugees.
Among other things, the revised EO:
- Suspends the refugee program for 120 days though refugees already vetted and in transit could continue their journey to safety.
- Suspends immigrant and nonimmigrant entry for people from six predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for a minimum of 90 days while the government undertakes a review.
- Requires in-person interviews for more nonimmigrant visa applicants.
These policies will do little to improve national security and will instead continue to undermine America’s position in the world as a beacon of liberty and a place of refuge. Across the nation, these policies will slow our economy, drive away scientists and researchers, and create fear in communities.
This ban is unjust despite being rewritten in an attempt to sidestep the wave of litigation that confronted the first ill-thought and xenophobic ban. Some of the changes from the prior version of the EO include:
- Iraq is not covered by the new entry ban.
- Permanent residents are not covered by the new entry ban.
- Persons seeking to enter the U.S. with advance parole are not covered by the new entry ban.
- Dual nationals of the 6 restricted countries are not covered by the entry ban when traveling on a passport issued by a non-restricted country.
- Removal of the prioritization of refugee claims from members of “persecuted religious minority groups,” which some interpreted as prioritizing Christian refugee claims.
See also the DHS Fact Sheet and Q&A on the revised Executive Order.
Make your lunch productive by joining 12-15 motivated young professionals from within the AmCham China community to discuss U.S. and China visa issues. Mar. 8, 12pm, Deloitte Beijing Office. Read more.
An immigrant visa applicant sporting a tattoo may be questioned about it. The presence of tattoos (or evidence of their removal) is noted during the required medical exam. This may lead a consular officer to suspect the applicant has gang affiliations or has abused drugs. Continue reading “Got Tattoos? U.S. Visa Officers Want to Know”
|Here I am with my immigration form
It’s big enough to keep me warm….
There he was with his immigration face
Giving me a paper chase….
Let me in, immigration man
|–Graham Nash, lyrics from “Immigration Man,” a song about his experience with a U.S. Customs official. (YouTube)
Continue reading “Quotes and Quips”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has published a Feb. 21, 2017, notice of its intent to collect Chinese travelers’ social media account information. There is a 60-day window for public comment. Tell CBP this is a bad idea. Continue reading “Tell CBP: Don’t Spy on Chinese Travelers’ Social Media”
Enforcement and interpretation of President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” are evolving rapidly, so check back here for updates.
2017-02-16: The Trump administration plans to unveil a revised EO on immigration next week and rescind the president’s initial travel ban, which has been entrenched in legal battles throughout the country, as reported in The Hill. President Trump said during a news conference on Thursday that he would unveil a more tailored travel ban “next week sometime.” The U.S. Department of Justice similarly informed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the Washington v. Trump litigation: “Rather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns.”
2017-02-09: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied the government’s motion for stay of the district court’s temporary restraining order (TRO). Translation: The TRO suspending implementation of the EO remains in place. The government may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading “Trump’s Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”: Latest News and Summary”
China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced today that border inspection offices will begin collecting fingerprints from foreign nationals: Continue reading “China Will Collect Foreigners’ Fingerprints at the Border”