With respect to the Presidential Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States and the people affected by it and further to the special case of people travelling to Massachusetts, is there anyone (or organisation) to contact prior to travel that may be helpful in transiting US immigration controls? Publications or guidance from a nationally recognised and accredited legal resource would be welcomed here.

Secondarily, are there any specific documents a traveller should carry with them with a view towards presenting them if need be? Links to specific documents that should be printed out and carried in hand luggage? Seeking qualified and informed answers.

NOTE: Answers to the so-called 'canonical' question contain excepts from news stories only. These can be obtained by a simple Google search and provide no clearly defined information of use to an individual traveller. Or in other words, they do not give specific advice to the traveller about how to best prepare for an adverse encounter event with US authorities. The 'canonical' question (a collection of news items that simply rehashes a Google search) does not address that problem.


Apart from the above, Solicitor Christi Jackson just gave an interview on BBC World which provides some information for travellers that might be helpful. Citations welcomed. Her colleague, Karnig Dukmajian, also spoke on BBC World earlier today.

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    Your (or, well, an Iranian citizen's) first problem is going to be with getting on-board an airplane.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 11:25
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    Is there something specific to Massachusetts?
    – DTRT
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 14:15
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    @pnuts: Yes and no. Possibly yes from a practical point of view, but not legally: The Massachusetts order is directed to the President (in his official capacity) and directs him and all of his agents, employees, etc. anywhere to do such-and-such -- it is not geographically limited. In order for a federal court to hear a case, the case needs to be connected with its geographical district in an appropriate way, but the court's decisions in the case have power everywhere the authority of US courts in general is respected. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:05
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    @phoog: Yes, that paragraph is specific to Logan -- but that is not the meat of the order, which is paragraph (b). And yes, a federal court decision from the District of Massachusetts is completely valid in Los Angeles. All the federal district courts have identical jurisdiction; there are practical (procedural) rules about which of them should hear a given case, but once one of them does hear a case, it can validly decide that entire case, no matter how far-reaching its implications -- one doesn't need to repeat the same litigation in all 94 districts. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:00
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    @phoog: I'm not sure what the exact procedure is (good thing I'm not actually practicing law) -- but if civil servants, made aware of a valid and applicable court order, refuse to comply with it, and their entire chain of command refuse to rein them in, then arguably we're close to looking at a constitutional crisis rather than just the ordinary course of a court case anyway ... Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


Update 4 Feb 2017

The BBC (considered a reliable news source) is running an item stating that the travel ban may be halted. See Trump travel ban: Seattle judge issues nationwide block.

Also, an Immigration Lawyer Has Launched a Website to Help People From Banned Countries Reach the U.S.

“Track the Ban,” which launched Friday and is scheduled to publish its first list of “green routes” before midnight, aims to be a resource for anyone navigating this mess. “We’re trying to be very practical,” said Brunet, who is working with a team of about 30 volunteers to process the questionnaires people are submitting. “We’re not trying to change the law—we’re just trying to make things work until this is figured out.”

Update 31 Jan 2017

The UK Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) is running an advisory in conjunction with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on their site. The page is being updated on an as needed basis and this answer refers to the latest update 30 Jan 2017 at 13:00.

The advisory is at Latest Update from the American Immigration Lawyers Association on Travel to the United States Ban and contains this text...

Anyone covered by the order who is travelling to Massachusetts is urged to contact the Massachusetts ACLU. They need details of travellers in order to apply to have the temporary restraining order made permanent.

The Massachusetts ACLU obtained a temporary restraining order from the US Federal Court in Boston (Mass) and they have committed themselves to making the order permanent. They are also providing first level support to travellers who are affected including not only preliminary advice but also qualified observers posted at the various ports of entry. Their contact details can be found here.

Those who are travelling to states other than Massachusetts may be able to get help from the Find Your Local ACLU page. All of the affiliate members are offering help of some sort to travellers and would-be travellers.

Additionally, those travellers with a UK solicitor should note that they can contact their solicitor to get a referral to the AILA counterpart. Wesley Gryk Solicitors has been coordinating solicitor referrals.

The advisory also states that travellers to the US (regardless of destination) may wish to print out and carry the relevant publications. Some of these are...

There is also text explaining that US visa applicants should NOT attend their scheduled interviews. This text is allegedly running on US Embassy sites.


On February 3, 2017 a United States District Judge nationwide have issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) which does not allow enforcing most of the executive order in question. This is reported... everywhere. I found The Guardian reporting quite good for two reasons.

  1. It reports the courtroom proceedings which shows it's very likely the government has a very hard fight ahead if they want to appeal this ruling

  2. Let me quote:

Customs officials have reportedly told US airlines that they can board passengers who had been barred from entering the country after a federal judge in Seattle ordered a temporary halt on Donald Trump’s travel ban for refugees and people from seven predominantly-Muslim nations.

This is extremely practical and good news.

Should one want to actually do research what the judge ordered, the entire TRO is here and I found it a surprisingly easy to read document. It references points of the original executive order. But for our purposes, right now, it seems the flights are on.

However, many people had their visa "provisionally cancelled", here's Time on this:

he State Department says fewer than 60,000 foreigners from seven majority-Muslim countries had their visas provisionally canceled after President Donald Trump's executive order blocked them from traveling to the U.S.

on the other hand, it is reported they are being reinstated:

Customs and Border Protection told major US airlines Friday night that it is reinstating visas following a federal judge’s decision to temporarily halt President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

so expect delays, chaos and fighting with the airline if you are affected and want to board an airplane to get back into the United States.

Also, the situation is extremely rapidly changing and there is absolutely no way to tell whether in the 8-10-12 hours it takes from takeoff to landing the government manages to reverse this.

One website offering practical advice is https://www.tracktheban.com/ and they promise to keep track of the events -- but they do not report any of the above yet so this promise is dubious a little.

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    As per the report I just found and linked, yes. q13fox.com/2017/02/03/… says CBP is “back to business as usual” prior to the situation that was in place before last week’s executive order. But let me repeat and emphasize: this is a temporary restraining order which an appellate court might overturn and the last seven days was an absolute storm of rapid legal decisions the kind of which is rarely seen so it's hard to predict what and when is next.
    – user4188
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 10:15

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