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Five things medical offices need to know about the Trump travel ban

We’ll leave it to others to argue whether it’s legal, moral, or wise. What we can tell you is that President Trump issued an Executive Order Jan. 27, 2017, establishing a travel ban that can affect healthcare providers.

Litigation has resulted in a temporary reprieve from the ban issued on Feb. 3. However, it’s a good idea to understand what is at stake and how the ban—if it is ultimately reinstated—can affect your operations. Here are five things you need to know about the travel ban.

1. What is it?

The so called “travel ban” would temporarily bar individuals from designated countries (restricted countries) from entering the US. The EO actually imposes three different entry bans:

Duration Entrant Status Entrant Nationality
120 days Refugees All nationalities
Indefinite Refugees Syria
90 days Citizens, both immigrant and non-immigrant Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen

2. Does it affect our medical practice?

The ban affects you directly if you have employees (or want to recruit employees) or business associates who are citizens of the restricted countries.

3. What is its practical effect?

The term “travel ban” is a bit misleading. Technically, the EO doesn’t prevent anybody from leaving the U.S.; it simply bars them from getting back into the country later. Practical impact on your practice:

  • It will deter individuals from restricted countries who are currently in the US, including your own employees and business associates, from leaving the country, e.g., traveling to an international conference or meeting;
  • It will bar employees and business associates from restricted countries who are currently abroad from entering the US to do business with you.

The EO does not deport anybody; but there are concerns that subsequent orders may.

4. Does it cover green card holders?

One question that has caused confusion is whether the ban still applies if the employee from the restricted country is a legal permanent resident with a green card.

The short answer: Although having a green card will be a big help, it does not guarantee entry.

Explanation: On Jan. 29, the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release stating that in applying the EO, it will “deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.” But the next sentence opens a loophole. “Absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent residence status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations” (emphasis added).

Translation: Although green card holders will get the benefit of the doubt, DHS can still bar entry if it has evidence that the individual poses a serious threat.

5. Does it cover dual citizens?

If the citizen of the restricted country is also a legal US citizen, the EO does not apply.  However, dual citizens who hold passports of both a restricted and non-restricted country outside the US are covered even if the latter country is a US ally like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or Germany.

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