Immigration Policy Frequently Asked Questions
(as of March 9, 2018)
What are the Most Recent Developments?
USCIS Resumes Accepting Requests for Deferred Action Grant Renewals Under DACA
On January 9, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction requiring USCIS to begin accepting DACA renewal applications again. Similarly, on February 13, 2018, the U.S. District for the Eastern District of New York granted the same preliminary injunction. However, on March 5, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland struck down a challenge against the rescission of DACA, finding that President Donald Trump had the right to end DACA. This ruling does not disturb the injunctions previously granted in other circuits. While the injunctions were issued in California and New York, the injunctions apply nationwide.
As a result, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA. Until further notice, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017.
Trump Administration Announces Updated Travel Restrictions
On September 24, 2017, the Trump Administration has announced a third version of its restrictions on travel to the U.S. by certain foreign nationals from the following nine (9) countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen (effective on October 18, 2017). These countries differ from those listed in the previous travel restrictions and the impact of the new restrictions vary for each country. Below is a brief analysis of the implications for each country.
Chad – Entry of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
Iran – Entry of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry by nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
Libya – Entry of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
North Korea – Entry of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
Somalia – Entry of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
Syria – Entry of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
Venezuela – Entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas is suspended.
Yemen – Entry of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
(Countries that were subject to the previous travel bans but have now been removed: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan)
Exceptions – These new travel restrictions do not apply to the following individuals:
- Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. (Green Card holders)
- Any foreign national who had a valid visa on the effective date
- Any national who was in the U.S. on the effective date, regardless of immigration status
- Anyone admitted or paroled into the U.S. after the effective date
- Anyone with a valid entry document other than visa, such as an advance parole document
- Dual nationals presenting a passport from another, non-listed, country
- Any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa
- Any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture
The previous exception for “bona fide relationships,” such as close family members present in the U.S., has been eliminated. Any foreign national from the nine most recent targeted countries may apply for a waiver to the travel restrictions. Consular Officers will review waiver applications on a case by case basis.
Trump Administration Announces End of DACA Immigration Protection Program
On September 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the plan, the Trump Administration will stop considering new applications for legal status dated after today, September 5, but will allow current DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, with the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal. Congress will have six months to consider how they will address the program.
State Department Announcement on the Implementation of Executive Order 13780 (June 29, 2017)
On June 29, 2017, the U.S. State Department issued an announcement clarifying how the travel restrictions contained in Executive Order 13780 will be applied to certain categories of non-immigrants, immigrants, and U.S. residents. Read the full alert published by the U.S. Department of State.
U.S. Supreme Court Grants Certiorari and Will Review Visa/Travel Ban on Related Executive Order
On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and will review the consolidated visa/travel ban on the related Executive Order cases previously heard by various appellate courts. Pending the Supreme Court's October 2017 review, it stayed in part the preliminary injunctions blocking implementation of the Executive Order. The Executive Order may now be applied to individuals who "lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." Put simply, this means the Executive Order still does not apply to individuals with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including intending refugees who have a qualifying relationship in the United States. This decision specifies that the following parties clearly have a qualifying relationship and, as such, shall remain protected by the existing preliminary injunctions:
- those with a close family relationship with an individual in the United States (i.e, spouse, in-laws, etc.);
- students admitted to a US college or university;
- those who have accepted offers of employment in the United States; and
- those invited to give a lecture in the United States.
Revised Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States - Effective March 16, 2017
On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a revised Executive Order ("EO"), Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, that suspends admission to the United States for certain foreign nationals from the following six designated countries for 90 days: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (collectively, the "Designated Countries"). The EO will go into effect on March 16, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. (the "Effective Date") and rescinds the prior order once effective. The 90-day period of suspension may be extended, and the order allows the President to add additional countries to the list of Designated Countries upon recommendation by the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of Homeland Security.
UPDATE - On March 15, 2017, just one day before the revised executive order was to take effect, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the revised order from taking effect. At this time, individuals from the affected countries may still travel freely into the U.S.
Iraq is no longer included in the list of designated countries as it had been in the original executive order; however, the revised EO requires Iraq nationals to undergo additional scrutiny before being issued a visa or being granted entry into the United States.
The revised EO applies only to foreign nationals of the Designated Countries who
- are outside of the United States on the Effective Date of the order;
- do not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017; and
- do not have a valid visa on the Effective Date of the order.
The revised EO does not apply to
- lawful permanent residents of the U.S.;
- foreign nationals admitted into the U.S. on or after the effective date of the order;
- foreign nationals who have documents other than a visa allowing travel to the U.S.;
- dual nationals traveling on a passport issued by any non-Designated Country;
- individuals traveling on diplomatic visas; and
- foreign nationals who have already been granted asylum in the U.S.
Additionally, individuals from Designated Countries may be allowed entry on a case-by-case basis, if they qualify for a waiver under Section 3(c) of the revised EO. To qualify for a waiver, these individuals need to fall into one of the following circumstances:
- The foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry during the suspension period would impair that activity;
- The foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity;
- The foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations;
- The foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship;
- The foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor.
Because this waiver is determined on an ad hoc basis, it is not possible to guarantee that an individual seeking to re-enter the U.S. will be granted a waiver to do so. The EO does not provide explicit guidance on what factors are used to determine whether or not to grant a waiver. Moreover, the EO provides for the Executive Branch's agencies to promulgate more stringent rules for immigration into the U.S. This might result in rules that may make it more difficult to qualify for this waiver. Please contact the University's Office of Insurance and Risk Management if you plan to travel outside the country. (Office of Insurance and Risk, Alice Anderson, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of Homeland Security Guidance Memos - February 20, 2017
2017 Enforcement Guidance
The Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") Memorandum re: "Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest," February 20, 2017, (the "2017 Enforcement Guidance") repeals all conflicting DHS immigration guidance except the June 15, 2012, memorandum "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children" ("DACA" or the "2012 Guidance"), and the November 20, 2014, memorandum "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents" (the "DACA Expansion" or "2014 Guidance").
The 2012 Guidance established the DACA program, and the 2014 Memorandum expanded the
deferred action under DACA. The 2017 Enforcement Guidance states that the 2014 Guidance
that expanded DACA will be addressed by DHS at a later date, but otherwise leaves
in place both DACA and the 2014 DACA Expansion.
The 2017 Enforcement Guidance directs the DHS to hire additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") officers and prioritize removal of undocumented immigrants, regardless of the basis of removability, who:
- have been convicted of any criminal offense;
- have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
- have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
- have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency;
- have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
- are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
- in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
Additionally, prosecutorial discretion is given to DHS personnel to initiate enforcement activities against any removable immigrants encountered during the performance of their duties. To facilitate these directives, the DHS is establishing the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement ("VOICE") Office, which will act as a liaison between ICE and victims of crimes committed by removable immigrants. To fund VOICE, DHS is directing ICE to reallocate any and all resources currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens to the new VOICE office. DHS will also create a method to collect and aggregate data regarding immigrants apprehended by ICE.
2017 Border Security Guidance
The second DHS memorandum released on February 20, 2017, entitled "Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies" (the "2017 Border Security Guidance") describes the intent of DHS to change detention protocols for immigrants detained at a U.S. border, to hire more border patrol agents, to identify and quantify sources of federal aid to the Mexican government, and to construct the border wall with Mexico. It appears to be the intent of DHS to implement new regulations for detaining individuals illegally crossing into the U.S. at the border and staffing more judges near U.S. borders to expedite adjudication of any immigration claims. Additionally, DHS wishes to expand the 287(g) program allowing local law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The 2017 Border Security Guidance also directs various departments in DHS to promulgate new regulations to deal with "unaccompanied alien children" crossing the border, to ensure protection for these children and "prevent abuses" of immigration law.
Initial Executive Orders on Immigration (Rescinded) - No Longer Effective as of March 16, 2017
On February 9, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled to uphold the temporary restraining order granted by a lower district court barring any enforcement of the Trump Administration's executive order banning certain nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. In the Ninth Circuit opinion, the appellate judges specifically noted that the involved states had standing because of the effect the ban had on state universities' faculty and students.
"[T]he interests the states' universities here are aligned with their students...The students' educational success is 'inextricably bound up' in the universities' capacity to teach them. And the universities' reputations depend on the success of their professors' research. Thus, as the operators of state universities, the states may assert not only their own rights to the extent affected by the executive order but may also assert the rights of their students and faculty members."
Under the terms of the temporary restraining order, the federal government has suspended all enforcement actions related to the ban, and individuals from the affected countries are now able to travel into the U.S. The Trump Administration has indicated the intent to appeal the Ninth Circuit's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
What is the Order and What Does it Do?
On January 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning from the U.S. all citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. It also suspends the entry of new refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely bans refugees from Syria. After 60 days, the government will decide which countries do not provide the U.S. with enough information to make visa decisions, and put restrictions on those countries as well.
What are the Restrictions by Visa Status?
The order restricts immigration by citizens of the seven Muslim countries, regardless of whether they hold a valid visa,1 refugee status,2 or Legal Permanent Residency3:
- Refugees may not enter the country for 120 days, and Syrian refugees are indefinitely barred from entry.
- Valid visa holders are banned entirely from entering the country for 90 days.
- Green card holders (i.e. those with legal permanent residency) should be allowed to enter the U.S. on a case-by-case basis, unless there is information to support that they are a threat. Actual enforcement of the order for green card holders is unclear until standards for "evidence of threat" is established. Green card holders have to meet with a consular officer before leaving the U.S.
- The impact on dual citizens remains unclear. They may be subject to further questioning if they travel.
- Naturalized U.S. citizens from the seven countries do not seem to be affected, but Customs and Border Patrol agents maintain discretionary authority to question U.S. citizens coming from those seven countries.
About 120 people who were detained this weekend at airports have since been released. Several passengers were prevented from boarding flights to the U.S. abroad, and several were sent back to other countries when they arrived in the U.S.
1 Non-citizens with a valid visa for work, study, or general travel may typically enter the U.S. for a specified period of time, depending on the visa. These individuals do not hold the same rights of citizens, and they are often not allowed to freely seek employment opportunities.
2 Refugees are typically allowed to remain in the U.S. once they have been formally identified as refugees. Those seeking asylum at the border are entitled to a meeting with an asylum officer. Refugees do not have citizenship rights, but they are usually eligible for certain benefits, and they are typically able to freely apply for an employment visa.
3 Legal permanent residents have permission to remain in the U.S. indefinitely, as long as they abide by certain requirements. They have far fewer travel restrictions than other immigrants, and they may typically travel freely between countries for long periods of time. They are given many benefits that citizens share, including full access to the workforce.
What Should I Do?
According to ISOS and Ford Murray Law, it is wise to advise all visa holders and refugees
from the seven countries in the ban to remain in the U.S. All green card holders are
also advised to remain in the country, and to be diligent in providing travel documents
and complete itineraries if they decide to travel. Please contact the University’s
Office of Insurance and Risk Management if you or your students plan to travel outside
the country. (Office of Insurance and Risk, Alice Anderson, Director, email@example.com)
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an American immigration policy that provides a two-year period of deferred action and eligibility for a work permit to certain undocumented children. This policy does not provide a pathway to citizenship. To be eligible, entering undocumented individuals must:
- Have entered under 16 years old, before June 2007;
- Be currently in high school, college, or honorably discharged from the military;
- Be under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012; and
- Have no felony, serious misdemeanor, or three misdemeanor convictions, or pose a security threat to the U.S.
The Obama Administration announced DACA on June 15, 2012, and many Republicans are calling for it to end. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, in conjunction with Outten & Golden, LLP filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo for allegedly denying student loans to applicants based on their status under DACA. The lawsuit has sparked renewed discussion on whether DACA should be revoked under the Trump administration.
How Does the February 20 Guidance from DHS affect DACA students?
Overall, it appears that individuals that are registered under DACA should continue to enjoy the protection afforded to them for the time being. Nevertheless, DACA students should avoid any direct or indirect involvement with criminal activity or any appearance of being a threat to public safety. Based on the language in the two recent DHS memoranda, it appears that the administration is prioritizing removal of undocumented immigrants involved in criminal activity and may address DACA students at a later date.
Is Pepperdine Obligated to Share Undocumented Students' Personal Information with Immigration Officials?
No. Consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and university policy, a student's personal information will not be disclosed to any third-party without the student's prior consent or, unless the university is required to do so pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or warrant.
However, FERPA does allow the university to make certain "Directory Information" public without a student's consent. Currently, directory information consists of: student's name, CWID number, address, telephone number, major field of study, enrollment status, classification, photograph, theses titles/topics, electronic mail address, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended by the student. Students may request that the university not disclose their "Directory Information" to all third parties without the student's written consent. Students may contact OneStop or access the Registrar's page on the university's website to obtain the form for submitting this request.
What is the Future for DACA Students Under the Trump Administration?
It remains unclear what the future for undocumented students, including DACA students, will be under the Trump Administration. The president and his administration's officials have indicated an intent to significantly modify or repeal DACA. As such, DACA students are advised not to travel abroad until further guidance is received from the new administration. Furthermore, DACA students are strongly encouraged to consult legal counsel before taking steps to study or work abroad.
What are the Next Steps for DACA Students?
I am a current DACA recipient and it is expiring soon. What should I do?
Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request a renewal by filing the appropriate forms and fees. If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request. If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept 5, 2016, or your most recent DACA grant was previously terminated, you cannot request DACA as a renewal. You may file a new initial DACA request.
I am interested in applying for DACA. Can I still apply?
Individuals who have not submitted an application by September 5, 2017, for an initial request under DACA may no longer apply. USCIS will no longer accept or process first-time applications received after September 5, 2017.
Students for whom DACA is no longer available are encouraged to seek legal counsel and explore their options by contacting Professor Jeff Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Tanya Cooper at email@example.com at the Pepperdine Law Immigration Clinic. Services and all communication are privileged, confidential, and available at no cost to students from all five schools.*
I applied for DACA by September 5, 2017. What should I expect?
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no longer accepting initial requests for DACA but will adjudicate initial requests for DACA accepted by September 5, 2017.
For more information about the adjudication process, read the 2017 DACA Announcement.
Can I travel or study abroad?
As of February 14, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS will no longer grant DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through Advance Parole. If a DACA recipient leaves the United States without Advance Parole, he or she will possibly be denied re-entry and his or her DACA approval will be cancelled.
For more information visit the USCIS Advance Parole site.
I have further questions or concerns about my DACA status that I would like to discuss confidentially. Who can I contact?
Students, faculty, or staff who have additional questions or are concerned about their DACA status are encouraged to explore their options with any of the following confidential resources. Information shared with any of the resources below is privileged and will not be disclosed to any third party.
The Pepperdine Law Immigration Clinic supports Pepperdine students affected by DACA, changes in immigration law, and executive orders on international travel with legal advice and counsel from Pepperdine law professors and students. Services and all communication are privileged, confidential, and available at no cost to students from all five schools.* Students with questions or in need of legal services should email Professor Jeff Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Tanya Cooper at email@example.com.
The Counseling Center provides free, confidential emotional/psychological support to all Pepperdine students, regardless of national origin or immigration status. Students may contact the Counseling Center at 310.506.4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment at the Malibu campus location, or the Counseling Center will provide a referral to those needing services in other locations. Questions may be directed to Nivla Fitzpatrick, director of the Counseling Center, at email@example.com.
The Office of the Chaplain stands ready to provide pastoral support to the Pepperdine community. Please contact chaplain Sara Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org or associate chaplain Eric Wilson at email@example.com. Chaplains can also be reached at 310.506.4275.
The Intercultural Affairs Office and the associate dean for diversity and inclusion are available for dialogue on these critical topics. Please contact intercultural affairs staff at 310.506.6860 or associate dean David Humphrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.506.4918.
*Please note that brief counsel and advice is provided at no cost to students. If student incur application fees, the clinic cannot cover these for affected students, but the clinic can help them access financial aid and resources to offset their personal costs.
School of Law:
Steve Schultz, Dean of Students, Assistant Professor,
School of Public Policy:
Carson Bruno, Assoc. Dean for Admission and Program Relations
Graduate School of Education and Psychology:
Michelle Blas, Director of Student Success