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Old Jan 26, 17, 5:42 pm   #16
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Not yet... I'm afraid that we'd pay a lot to hear that he/she doesn't know anything more than we do until the executive order is signed. Indeed, with all the turnover at State recently and general state of chaos in the federal government, I'm fearful that Embassy Abu Dhabi may not even have its game plan ready yet for March interview appointments.



Fair enough, but many of us in the Persian-American community are trying to figure out "why us" when there are so many other countries in the region that seem to be much more hospitable to violent extremism. Understood that Iran is on the state sponsorship list (though interactions with CBP have left me with the impression that radicalized individuals are way higher on their list of priorities than state sponsors right now...) and doesn't have Podesta Group on retainer or a Trump hotel under construction, but nonetheless Iranian students and families seem like a bizarre place to start in the context of the current security environment...
The government is sort of like a chicken with its head cut off at the moment. Even during more ordinary times of the year, it takes a while for orders to end up as implemented policy. But that leaves two options: to try to front-run implementation or to just save the time/money and wait until more things become more clear. I would definitely not be counting on non-government lawyers to know how this is going to turn out, and so I wouldn't spend the money.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 3:12 am   #17
  
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So what? In 2015 we issued more than 11,400,000 visas (we haven't published the 2016 numbers yet, but it is not less). If even a very small minority, say one quarter of one percent, are issued improperly (and because issuance requires discretion and judgment by consular officials then there most certainly are improperly issued visas) than that "very small minority" is still a very large number, indeed.

That most visa holders are not denied entry does not mean that many visa holders are not denied entry.

What number constitutes "many"? Doesn't matter - just one each was needed for the 2002 shooting at LAX and the 2015 San Bernadino shooting and two for the Boston Marathon bombing. Of course, I readily acknowledge that most terrorist incidents in the US are committed by US citizens, generally US-born citizens. But many of the most "spectacular" or successful attacks in the US have been perpetrated by persons from overseas.
So what's your suggestion? A zero tolerance policy? The only way to implement that is to restrict all travel from all countries to the United States. As GUWonder said, "The "fix" may be disproportionate to the "problem" and cause more problems than it resolves."

Imagine letting a non-Persian like Anders Breivik into the country (before his mass slaughter). I suppose the solution is to restrict all blue-eyed Scandinavian types.

There is no extreme vetting that will catch all potential criminals. It just isn't humanely possible to do so. Maybe a wall built completely around the U.S. might help along with restricting ALL air travel to and from the U.S.

Here's the face of a murdering terrorist:

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Old Jan 27, 17, 9:33 am   #18
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I hope it goes well for your family member, lonelycrowd. I agree that it is very concerning.
Thanks for the words of support. Pretty much the entire Persian student community here in Cambridge appears to be distraught at the moment. I'd like to think that the fact that they didn't announce on Wednesday or Thursday as feared in the first wave of reporting means that revisions are under way.

As I type, CNN sent a push announcement to my phone moments ago that an executive order is coming this afternoon around 4:30pm ET on refugees and "extreme vetting" without mention of a 30 day pause.

I guess this will be another completely lost day of work...
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Old Jan 27, 17, 10:09 am   #19
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Thanks for the words of support. Pretty much the entire Persian student community here in Cambridge appears to be distraught at the moment. I'd like to think that the fact that they didn't announce on Wednesday or Thursday as feared in the first wave of reporting means that revisions are under way.

As I type, CNN sent a push announcement to my phone moments ago that an executive order is coming this afternoon around 4:30pm ET on refugees and "extreme vetting" without mention of a 30 day pause.

I guess this will be another completely lost day of work...
Unless the Iranian students were classified as refugees or seeking refugee status in the US, I'm pretty sure any executive order on refugees will hit such Iranians in a different way than for those Iranians coming in on say J or F visas and not seeking refugee status from beyond the borders of the US.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 11:54 am   #20
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Not much news on the 4:30 announcement is leaking out on the major news websites, so we're still holding our breath. I know that announcements at COB Friday tended to contain unpopular news under prior administrations, but, with Trump, who knows if that rule holds...

I've heard through my in-laws that a Persian-American immigration lawyer (LA-based, but Farsi speaking) has run an infomercial on one of the unofficial satellite channels broadcasting into Iran, going through the leaked executive order draft line-by-line. This attorney (?) claims that the Iranian government is already cooperating with the US on the name queries and other matters of "extreme vetting" that the draft order prescribes, so theoretically Iran should pass the 60-day review if it is conducted purely on security grounds. However, the six other countries on the list, being far behind Tehran on federal IT infrastructure and record-keeping, would likely face much higher hurdles in sixty days. Granted, this isn't coming from the most authoritative source and the draft may differ substantially from whatever is actually signed.

Now, to wait and see...
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Old Jan 27, 17, 12:00 pm   #21
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Now, to wait and see...
Please continue to update as you have news.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 12:10 pm   #22
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Not much news on the 4:30 announcement is leaking out on the major news websites, so we're still holding our breath. I know that announcements at COB Friday tended to contain unpopular news under prior administrations, but, with Trump, who knows if that rule holds...

I've heard through my in-laws that a Persian-American immigration lawyer (LA-based, but Farsi speaking) has run an infomercial on one of the unofficial satellite channels broadcasting into Iran, going through the leaked executive order draft line-by-line. This attorney (?) claims that the Iranian government is already cooperating with the US on the name queries and other matters of "extreme vetting" that the draft order prescribes, so theoretically Iran should pass the 60-day review if it is conducted purely on security grounds. However, the six other countries on the list, being far behind Tehran on federal IT infrastructure and record-keeping, would likely face much higher hurdles in sixty days. Granted, this isn't coming from the most authoritative source and the draft may differ substantially from whatever is actually signed.

Now, to wait and see...
Iran is the only one of the listed countries that has a fully functioning national apparatus to provide all that may be asked. Whether or not it's deemed sufficient or all of it is provided, Iranians and those with such personal connections are probably better off at least in this limited regard than it may be for those with affiliations via the other listed countries. I hope it works out as you wish.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 1:20 pm   #23
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Unhappy

No news still, but I've heard that there will be a hastily-organized protest concerning the visa and refugee orders at 5:30pm today in Harvard Square (near the T entrance/Out of Town News kiosk) if anyone is in the area and interested...

Not a good sign that the local activist community is planning the protest before we even know what's in the order.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 1:31 pm   #24
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Not a good sign that the local activist community is planning the protest before we even know what's in the order.
I'm a touch more sanguine. I know how concerned our Iranian students are. There's such helplessness at thinking you might not be able to visit home during your PhD program. A peaceful protest at least gives an outlet for that worry.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 1:51 pm   #25
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Unless the Iranian students were classified as refugees or seeking refugee status in the US, I'm pretty sure any executive order on refugees will hit such Iranians in a different way than for those Iranians coming in on say J or F visas and not seeking refugee status from beyond the borders of the US.
Without going too OMNI/PR, I would have zero faith in any claims of having an idea what Trump is going to do before he does it. Even from you, who knows more than the average poster. And this isn't a shot at you. Instead, it is at someone who could charitably be described as "mercurial"; any worse description falls into PR .
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Old Jan 27, 17, 2:20 pm   #26
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Not a good sign that the local activist community is planning the protest before we even know what's in the order.
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Without going too OMNI/PR, I would have zero faith in any claims of having an idea what Trump is going to do before he does it.
True, we don't have any idea - that was unnecessarily pessimistic on my part. It's just been hard to stay positive today, even while skipping work and roaming the streets of Cambridge seeking the best in fried comfort food this town offers...

Looks like it may be a little after 4:30 in what is becoming Trumpian style, but per CNN something is coming soon.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 2:51 pm   #27
  
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So what's your suggestion? A zero tolerance policy? The only way to implement that is to restrict all travel from all countries to the United States. As GUWonder said, "The "fix" may be disproportionate to the "problem" and cause more problems than it resolves."

Imagine letting a non-Persian like Anders Breivik into the country (before his mass slaughter). I suppose the solution is to restrict all blue-eyed Scandinavian types.

There is no extreme vetting that will catch all potential criminals. It just isn't humanely possible to do so. Maybe a wall built completely around the U.S. might help along with restricting ALL air travel to and from the U.S.

Here's the face of a murdering terrorist:
My personal view is that the system/process as it currently exists is perfectly fine (well, maybe not "perfectly"). I completely agree that there is no way to prevent all people with bad intentions of doing bad things. I also agree that policy pronouncements and actions like this are bound to have unfortunate and disparate impact.

But such pronouncements sell well to the constituencies that elected this administration on the basis of promises for those pronouncements. All will work out as the system comes back into stasis....

If it doesn't - there are protests, legislation and elections upcoming.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 3:07 pm   #28
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Whatever the order is, it's signed at this point. Bizarrely, Donald gave the vaguest possible description of what he was signing - he didn't describe it as fulfilling his campaign promise of a "Muslim ban" despite the emphasis on keeping campaign promises this week. CNN reported immediately that it's basically the same as the leaked draft with at least a 30 day ban for Iran and some sort of ideological test, though Guardian is noting that nobody actually has a copy of what he signed yet. Crazy...

Edit: he did actually announce "we all know what that means" in the same breath as the order's title. I guess that could be a veiled signal to the base, depending on how you want to hear it.

Second edit, 6:54pm: The National Iranian Americans' Council, which is what we have for a Persian lobby in this country, just posted a couple minutes ago that even they don't have any idea what was actually signed at the Pentagon ceremony. Is it normal to wait so long to hear what's actually in an executive order?

Last edited by lonelycrowd; Jan 27, 17 at 4:55 pm
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Old Jan 27, 17, 6:32 pm   #29
  
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Trump just made it harder for tourists to visit the US

In an executive order signed today (Jan. 27), US president Donald Trump instructed the State Department to immediately suspend the USís Visa Interview Waiver Program. Itís an interesting action by a president who has made trade a central tenet of his policy platform, since it could, in the short term, inconvenience many frequent visitors to the US (and even dissuade them from visiting) by forcing them to have a face-to-face interview with a US consular officer every time their visa expires rather than simply dropping off their passport at a consulate.

https://qz.com/895149/trump-is-suspe...aiver-program/
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Old Jan 27, 17, 7:05 pm   #30
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Well, looks like the order is finally out there, and it's worse than it looked. 90 days minimum for Iranians and other "terror-prone" nationalities, with the possibility of indefinite extension. Appears to cover both entries and visas, but still a lot of ambiguity in the order. It's not at all clear to me whether re-entry would be banned for LPR's as well as non-immigrant visa holders, nor whether this is effectively immediately for Iranians and others already in transit or planning to depart for the US imminently. Nor is it clear whether already scheduled interviews will proceed in Ankara and Abu Dhabi with visa issuance delayed, or whether those interviews will be pushed out beyond 90 days (assuming Iran is not permanently blacklisted in 90 days' time).

It would be great if anyone could post any data points or insights they have. One of my wife's friends is urgently trying to decide whether to embark on an IKA-DOH-ORD itinerary departing in 10 hours with a tourist visa... we are trying to advise them as to whether they should make a run for it and see if the QR contractors and CBP permit some sort of grace period, or just eat the change fee and hope they can reschedule for some future date.

Addendum 9:10pm: whoever picked up the phone at CBP O'Hare said that they have not yet received any directions with respect to this EO. Iranians landing at this moment are still being admitted, but they have no idea how long that will last.

Last edited by lonelycrowd; Jan 27, 17 at 7:10 pm
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