AILA Summary of Trump Memorandum Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening
Summary of “Presidential Memorandum on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits”
On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The new order takes effect on March 16, 2017, and expressly revokes the January 27, 2017 order of the same name.1 Also on March 6, 2017, the President issued a memorandum to the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of Homeland Security. The full title of that memorandum is Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits, Ensuring Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States, and Increasing Transparency among Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and for the American People.
The March 6, 2017, presidential memorandum calls for the immediate implementation of “enhanced vetting procedures” despite the fact that a robust system for vetting visa applicants and applicants for admission is already in place. It also directs executive branch agencies to “rigorously enforce” all existing grounds of inadmissibility and monitor compliance with related laws after a person has been admitted, without making exceptions for minor, technical violations.
The time and resources that will be required to investigate everyone who applies for an immigration benefit at the level contemplated by the memorandum will completely consume the agencies and slow visa and benefits processing to a crawl. Dedicating scarce federal resources toward identifying and removing individuals who may have simply and inadvertently overstayed a visa means there will be fewer resources aimed at identifying the true threats to public safety. Likewise, because the memorandum targets everyone who has engaged in some minor infraction, the government will have less time and fewer resources to pursue those people who are intentionally trying to defraud our immigration system.
AILA issued a summary of the 3/6/17 presidential memorandum calling for heightened screening of applications for immigration benefits, rigorous enforcement of all inadmissibility grounds, and monitoring compliance of related laws after admission.