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Entry of green card holders into America in national interest: US Dept Homeland Security

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:45 IST

The US Department of Homeland Security has said the entry of green card holders into America is in national interest, amid reports of these legal permanent residents being detained at US airports and confusion over the controversial immigration crackdown by Trump administration.

"In applying the provisions of the president's executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest," Homeland Security Secretary Gen (rtd) John Kelly yesterday said in a statement yesterday.

"Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations," he said.

A green card is a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security allowing a person born outside the US to reside and work in the country and serves as proof that its holder is a permanent resident.

The Department of Homeland Security said the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has immediately began taking steps to comply with the court orders.

And at the same time it continues to work with departments of Justice and State to implement President Donald Trump's executive order imposing a travel ban on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia for 90 days.

The 90-day period will allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Importantly, however, lawful permanent residents of the United States travelling on a valid I-551 will be allowed to board US-bound aircraft and will be assessed for exceptions at arrival ports of entry, as appropriate. "The entry of these individuals, subject to national security checks, is in the national interest," it said.

In the first 30 days, DHS will perform a global country-by-country review of the information each country provides when their citizens apply for a US visa or immigration benefit. Countries will then have 60 days to comply with any requests from the US government to update or improve the quality of the information they provide, it said.

DHS and the Department of State have the authority, on a case-by-case basis, to issue visas or allow the entry of nationals of these countries into the United States when it serves the national interest.

As per the order, the Refugee Admissions Program will be temporarily suspended for the next 120 days while DHS and inter-agency partners review screening procedures to ensure refugees admitted in the future do not pose a security risk to citizens of the United States.

The executive order does not prohibit entry of, or visa issuance to, travellers with diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas.


First published: 30 January 2017, 11:07 IST