How the Travel Ban May (or May Not) Affect Med Students
- Feb 22, 2017
On January 27th, the United States implemented an executive order that places a 90 day travel ban on citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It also suspends the admission of any refugees for 120 days, and suspends indefinitely the entry of all Syrian refugees. This resulted in the cancellation of visas for persons who are nationals of these seven countries and disruption in travel for many, including permanent residents of the United States, who are citizens of these countries.
The executive order has had a disproportionate effect on medicine in the U.S., and many medical students have reached out to us with concerns about how it will personally affect them. The situation is currently volatile: numerous aspects of the order have been blocked in court, and for now admission to the country will remain on the same basis as prior to the order. A new executive order addressing the travel ban is pending.
With this in mind, the most important thing is to remain calm and stay informed with the most up-to-date facts as things progress.
We reached out to immigration attorney Vera Weisz and, with her help, compiled a few resources on what to do and who to reach out to if you think you may be affected by the travel ban:
- If you find you have to deal with Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other law enforcement officers at home, on the street, or anywhere else, remember that you have rights. For a fact sheet and suggestions on what you should do to assert your rights, please visit here.
- Every person who is not a citizen is advised to seek counsel and develop a game plan for maintaining their ability to remain in the U.S. and study or work. It’s important to seek out advice from a professional, for your specific situation, because every case is different. Don’t assume that you have the best solution just because a relative or friend took a particular course of action.
- If you plan on travelling outside of the country, be aware of the status of any proclaimed bans on travel prior to leaving.
Additionally, there are many organizations and attorneys who can give you an accurate assessment of your circumstances, as well as any other necessary information. To find legal help, reach out to any of the following:
- The international student office at the university where you are enrolled
- The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s online directory
- The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild’s find-a-lawyer tool
- The American Civil Liberties Union
- https://www.adminrelief.org, where you can search for legal services by zip code
- http://www.immigrationlawhelp.org, where you can find nonprofits providing low-cost help
- The Executive Office for Immigration Review’s list of pro bono legal service providers
For those interested, we have also compiled the following articles addressing how the executive order could affect medicine in the United States:
- “Trump’s Travel Ban, Aimed at Terrorists, Has Blocked Doctors” by Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times
- “Another casualty of Trump’s Muslim ban: U.S. medical training and rural healthcare” by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times
- “Trump Immigration Ban Can Worsen U.S. Doctor Shortage, Hurt Hospitals” by Seema Yasmin, Scientific American
As of February 21st, the administration has yet to roll out a revised executive order, though we expect one to be announced in the coming days. There is much speculation on how this revised order will affect green card holders and those who have dual citizenship in particular.
We will continue to do our best to make sense of changes as they come and to provide you with the most useful information possible. If you have any questions, please let us know, and if we cannot answer them, we will do our best to direct you to the appropriate resource.
Vera A. Weisz is one of the leading immigration attorneys in Los Angeles and is widely regarded as a national expert on aspects of immigration law. Vera began practicing law in Florida with the Florida Rural Legal Services, then moved to the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, where she developed her advocacy skills through individual representation, class action litigation and community activism. In Los Angeles, she has built her reputation as an honest, dedicated and passionate champion of immigrants’ rights through her work with the National Center for Immigrants’ Rights and in her own law practice. You can reach the Weisz Immigration Law Group at (213) 347-0025.