Trump’s Executive Orders: How to Protect Yourself


In his first week in office, President Trump wasted no time in issuing 3 Executive Orders regarding immigration. It is apparent that this is just the beginning of how he intends to upend our nation’s immigration system.

If you are an immigrant, we will give you some advice on what you need to do to protect yourself and your family at the end of this article.

President Trump’s Executive Orders

Here are the links to each of the Executive Orders:

  1. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (1-25-17)
  2. Enhancing Security in the Interior of the United States (1-25-17)
  3. Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (1-27-17)

If only the Executive Orders could accomplish these goals, the American people would all benefit. However, they are written in such a fashion that they will make us less secure.

The 1st Order concerns building a wall along the 2,000 mile border between the US and Mexico, an ill-conceived endeavor which would cost the American taxpayers (No, the government of Mexico has made it very clear that they do not intend to pay for the wall.) tens of billions of dollars and accomplish very little.

The 2nd Order would prioritize the deportation of criminals, a smart move, but something that the Obama Administration has already done for many years.

However, the Order would also compel state and local agencies to turn over information to the DHS which they are unwilling to do. Imagine if your local police department were forced to share the immigration status of every person that was given a traffic ticket. The bond of trust between local enforcement and these people will be broken. Would immigrants report serious crimes to their local police departments if this bond was broken?

The 2nd Order would also stop Federal funding to “sanctuary cities”, an issue whose legality will ultimately be decided in the Federal Courts.

Most of the press has concentrated on the 3rd Order which would halt refugees from coming to the US for 120 days, from Syria indefinitely and halting the entry of persons into the US from 7 majority Muslim countries for 90 days or more.

Suspending the resettlement of refugees punishes the victims, not the perpetrators. ISIS and Al Queda must be laughing at the stupidity of this policy.

GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a statement condemning the Executive Order for doing “more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

The Order, on its face, would even permit CBP officers at airports to turn away lawful permanent residents (aka green card holders) no matter how long they have lived in the US with their families. Then, two days after the Order was signed, a high official in the Trump Administration announced that it would not apply to green card holders.

It does without saying that we all want to protect our country from terrorists. Yet, excluding all visitors, students and professionals merely because they were born in a particular country or are members of a particular religion will not protect us and is antithetical both to our values and our interests.

The order excludes citizens/nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.

Would such an Order have stopped the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon massacre or the San Bernardino shootings? Of course not, since none of the perpetrators were from any of these 7 countries. Duh!

What do these Executive Orders accomplish except to grab headlines and apparently convince some of our fellow citizens that the President is serious about controlling immigration and stopping terrorism?

And this is only the beginning. Now, the USCIS has announced that it will put a hold on all applications and petitions benefitting citizens/nationals of the 7 countries, be they in the US or abroad. That means that a green card holder who was welcomed to our country after fleeing the revolution in Iran (be he/she Moslem, Christian, Bahai or Jewish) cannot be sworn-in as a US citizen. Sad.

A draft copy of a 4th unsigned Executive Order entitled “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Program” was linked This Order would impact the H-1B and H-4 EAD programs, provide for site visits to L-1 employers and expand the E-Verify Program.

Advice for Workers, Students and Visitors

  1. If you are from one of the 7 countries listed above, do not leave the country unless you do not intend to return to the US.
  2. If you are from a predominately Moslem country, remember that it may be dangerous for you to travel abroad since your country could be added to the List of 7 at any time.
  3. If you are have a pending application/petition for immigration benefits and you are from one of the 7 countries, your application will be placed on hold. See your immigration attorney if you wish to file a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court to try to force the government to take action on your pending application/petition.
  4. If you are from a predominately Moslem country which is not on the List of 7, you may want to file your application for immigration benefits now before your country is added to the List of 7.
  5. If you are a green card holder, no matter what country you were born in, you may be wish to apply for naturalization as soon as possible in order to assure that you will be able to travel abroad freely in the future.
  6. If you are present in the US on temporary visa and wish to extend or change your status, do so as soon as possible as immigration laws may be changed in the future to make it more difficult for you to do so.
  7. If you are undocumented, see an immigration attorney to see if there are any possibilities for you to apply for lawful status.
  8. If you are undocumented, and are arrested by an Immigration Officer, refuse to sign any documents or give a statement. Instead, request a hearing before an Immigration Judge. You may be eligible for relief from deportation and for an Employment Authorization Document.
  9. If you plan to sponsor a relative for a green card, do so immediately as the family-based categories may be severely restricted in the future.
  10. If you are on a temporary working visa and wish to apply for a green card, ask your employer to sponsor you now.

This post originally appeared on Law Offices of Carl Shusterman. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Shusterman's Immigration Update is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.