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January 28th, 2017 by Adrian Resendez, Esq. If you would like to discuss your options or how these changes affect you, please contact The Resendez Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 368-8984 or Adrian@rlftx.com.



On January 27th, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that states, “to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.” To enforce this purpose, the executive order does the following:


1. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern (Sec. 3):

This section describes in part (a) an immediate review process conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that shall determine information needed from any country to “adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),” in order to see if the individual recipient of a visa is a threat.

Part (b) requires DHS to then deliver a report within 30 days or on February 26th, 2017 on its findings.

Part (c) is one of the most talked about and details the suspension of entry into the United States for all immigrants and non-immigrants from those countries outlined in section 217(a)(12) of the INA excluding diplomats.

Parts (d)-(f) describe the process for adding additional countries to the suspension. Part (g) states that visa may be issued to individuals from suspended countries on a “case-by-case basis.”

Part (h) requires updates at several periods i.e. 60 days or 120 days.


2. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs (Sec. 4):

This section in part (a) describes a new system that is to be created to screen all immigrants desiring to enter the United States. This offers changes to the current system “to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.”

Part (b) outlines three reporting deadlines for updates on these screening standards.


3. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017 (Sec. 5):

This section begins in part (a) by suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During this time, the Secretary of State shall determine what additional procedures should be added to the screening process of the program. Refugees already in the USRAP process may be admitted after the above completed process.

Part (b) states that after the program resumes, preference will be given to those of minority religious groups in their country.

Part (c) specifically states Syrian refugee’s entry is “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” and their entry is suspended until the President has determined the program has made sufficient changes to allow their entry.

Part (d) limits the total number of refugees in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000 individuals until such time as the President deems appropriate for a change to this order.

Part (e) provides a “case-by-case” exception to the previous parts determined jointly by the Secretaries of State and the DHS.

Part (f) requires two reports “regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution,” at 100 and 200 days from the issuance of the order.

Part (g) mentions a role for state and local jurisdictions to play in the determinations of placement of settlement of refugees.


4. Rescission of Exercise of Authority Relating to the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility (Sec. 6):

This section asks the Secretaries of State and DHS to “consider rescinding the exercises of authority in section 212 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182, relating to the terrorism grounds of inadmissibility, as well as any related implementing memoranda.”


5. Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System (Sec. 7):

This section in part (a) commands that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion of a biometric entry-exit (think of I-94 documents with added measures) tracking system for all travelers to the United States.

Part (b) requires multiple reports and yearly updates until the system is completed.


6. Visa Interview Security (Sec. 8):

This section in part (a) requires that the Secretary of State immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program which would require those renewing a visa to attend an in-person interview.

Part (b) describes personnel additions needed to service this requirement.


7. Visa Validity Reciprocity (Sec. 9):

This section in part (a) requires the Secretary of State to review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements with other countries to ensure equal treatment. If the other country does not treat U.S. nationals in the same manner, changes will be made to match the other country’s practices.


8. Transparency and Data Collection (Sec. 10):

All of the previous sections updates will be available in reports every 180 days for the public. They are detailed as follows: i. Those charged, convicted, or removed for terrorism or “any other national security reasons.” ii. Information on those that have been radicalized after entry into the U.S. iii. Information on gender-based violence against women in the U.S. by foreign nationals iv. Any other information related to public safety and security which includes immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses (which are not defined).

Sub-part (b) allows for a reporting of long-term costs for these reports.


9. General Provisions (Sec. 11): Mostly boilerplate information with the full text below:

(a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


This post was intended as a more in-depth explanation of the contents of the executive order passed on January 27th, 2017. If you would like to discuss your options or how these changes affect you, please contact The Resendez Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 368-8984 or Adrian@rlftx.com.


The Current State of Immigration Law 11/14/2016

With a new president elect in waiting, many are concerned or worried about changes to Immigration law. Immigration law is based on statutes which are originally introduced as bills and made into law by Congress. However, there are some current methods of deferred action that were brought into effect by Executive Action. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for example was passed by President Obama. This whole process may change with the upcoming president. I say may because as of last night he stated he would focus on those without a status with criminal records. Congress ultimately has the power to change immigration law as a whole but the President does have some say and power. As with any other time, if you have options to naturalize, apply for permanent residency, or move to a deferred action status, set up a consultation now and learn the legal options available to you!


Law and Practicalities 09/21/2016

Sometimes protecting yourself from a legal standpoint can be expensive, daunting, and time consuming. When dealing with clients, lawyers tend to bully or force their clients into situations using scare tactics or feeding on their fears.

In the legal profession we can wear many hats such as advocate, defender, or litigator but the most important in my opinion is a counselor.

A counselor gives the client all their options and makes a recommendation on what is best and let’s the client decide from there.

For example: X wants to start a business. X should probably file and register an entity with the Secretary of State (in Texas) or whoever handles incorporations in their state or jurisdiction. However, if X wants to just sell a few items or products and be done, it might not be practical to spend the time and money (usually $300.00) to register an entity. The liability and risk is likely very low.

Every client has different needs and sets of facts. My passion is to help them achieve their goal the fastest, cheapest, and easiest method possible. At times these three things can be at odds or get in the way of others such as the fastest route tending to be the most expensive. However, as a lawyer and counselor, my job is to give all the options and recommend the best method and let the client decide.