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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Immigration lawyers educate students on Muslim travel ban

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Dec. 2012. Trumps new Exectuive order bars people who have F1, J1, H1 and any other visas from the seven banned countries from traveling to the United States. GULBENK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY SA 3.0
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 2012. President Trump’s new executive order bars those who have F1, J1, H1 and any other visas from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. GULBENK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY-SA 3.0

Immigration attorneys Alex Rojas and Eric Lorenzo spoke at the Wang Center on Wednesday afternoon, advising students from the seven countries affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban with F1, J1, H1 or any other visas not to travel.

The State Department has stated visas from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will be revoked. Immigrant or nonimmigrant visa holders from those countries cannot travel outside the United States or their visas will be invalidated, according to Rojas, of Barst Mukamal & Kleiner. The only exception is for diplomatic visa holders.

This order restricts the entry of people from the seven countries for 90 days. This order also suspends the entry of refugees for 120 days and the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. Rojas expects that even though the ban is to end on April 27, an extension is more than likely to happen. All visa applications, immigrant and nonimmigrant, are also suspended until the ban is lifted.

“The order only suspends the entry of nonimmigrant visa holders,” Rojas said. “It does not require any of the nonimmigrant visa holders from the affected countries to depart the United States. If you stay put, you will be safe.”

This is a developing order, Rojas said, and is subject to change. However, to Zahra Ebrahimi, an Iranian graduate student studying economics, this ban and its latest revocation of visas has made her lose interest in working or even staying in the United States after she graduates. She is on an F1 visa.

“All I can think is to put myself together, finish this semester and leave this country,” Ebrahimi said. “I don’t want to stay here anymore.”

Rojas advises that if anyone has questions regarding the developing executive order and its effects on travel, they should consult an immigration lawyer or visit Visa and Immigration Services at Stony Brook.

“You have your international student advisor here that would be able to coordinate with you in terms of a lot of questions concerning maintenance of status,” Rojas said.

Jennifer Martin, the legislative aide to Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, attended the informational session to learn more about the executive order and provide insight to those reaching out to Cartright’s office with concerns.

“Also, we can direct them to the appropriate entities such as the attorneys that were here today that could assist them with problems that they’re encountering as a result of the executive order,” Martin said.

Legal residents of the United States are allowed entry into the country, according to Rojas, but those with permanent residence will be subject to secondary screenings and may be at the mercy of particular airlines. Rojas warns that while those affected can sue an airline, they have no rights or guarantees of admission.

“Please be aware that there are airlines out there that may follow the initial executive order and whether or not you will be allowed to board that plane would depend upon the specific airline you’re traveling upon,” Rojas said. “However, under no circumstances should you give up your green card if asked by the airport.”

Individuals under Temporary Protected Status will probably be subjected to additional screening, but those who have TPS and are traveling from any of the seven countries should be aware that the president can rescind TPS at any time, Rojas said.

“Readmission to the United States is not guaranteed,” Rojas said.

The executive order does not apply to dual citizens of the United States and one of the seven countries because they are U.S. citizens. However, they must depart and enter the United States using a U.S. passport.

“If you are a U.S. citizen traveling to one of those seven affected countries, you should expect additional screenings and scrutiny upon your admittance to the United States,” Rojas said.

Federal courts in Brooklyn, Boston and Washington state are currently challenging the constitutionality of this particular executive order.

Some of the students who attended the informational session were from countries other than the seven affected but were scared that they could be next. Sophomore business major Don Lee is from South Korea. Even though South Korea is not a Muslim-majority state, he fears the spread of the ban.

“I’m on an F1 student visa, and I am worried because the ban is going to be spread a lot more,” Lee said. “It’s not just the seven. There’s going to be more countries.”


Rojas said he finds it hard to know the potential of a president who is willing to disrupt hundreds of travel plans with little notice.

“It’s going to be a wait and see type of situation,” Rojas said.

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