Kseniya Premo Counsels Colgate on Immigration

On Monday, March 6, visiting legal expert Kseniya Premo from Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC explained Trump’s new executive order on immigration. Professor of Economics Chad Sparber also discussed key issues during the talk.

The new order will go into effect March 16, 2017.  It continues to block travel from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for individuals without a valid visa for 90 days, but excluded Iraq from the list. The Iraqi government’s cooperation with the United States in the fight against ISIS was one of the reasons why it was excluded from the new order.  

“They were more careful about to whom this travel ban applies and to whom it does not,” Premo said. 

There was a paragraph for each country on the list, explaining the reasoning behind its selection. These reasons included supporting terrorism and not having control over their own territories, among others. 

There is still a 120-day suspension of the refugee program, but this order does not explicitly suspend Syrian refugees indefinitely like before, rather it includes them in the regular 120-day suspension. The religious minority asylum claim was also removed from the new order. 

“I don’t think they do a very good job. Their statements are very sweeping,” Premo said. 

The new order cites examples to provide evidence for the necessity of the order. 

It also affects U.S. consulates and embassies abroad, making it more difficult to renew a visa by removing the mail-in program. This forces applicants to physically go to the consulate for visa renewal. 

“We don’t have enough consular officers that will be able to accommodate this.” Premo said.  

Premo argued that this will be a huge strain on resources and wait times for visas will increase significantly. 

“I think it’s going to be challenged. It definitely looks stronger, though” Premo said. 

Overall, the new order avoided issues that would give grounds for repeal. 

Premo also discussed how the new ban affects colleges and what steps Colgate could take to protect its students and faculty. Premo addressed the fact that the executive order will place limits on Colgate’s ability to hire foreign professors and recruit foreign students if they are from the countries on the list. 

Professor of Economics Chad Sparber then explored the economic implications of the executive order. 

“The banned countries represent 0.5% of the nonimmigrant visas issued in 2015. The direct implications of other things that are happening are bigger,” Sparber said. 

Sparber shared his thoughts on the Trump administration’s decision to suspend expedited H-1B visa processing, which was a decision separate from the executive order. 

Sparber expressed, from an economic standpoint, that the delay of the expedited processing of H-1B visas is of huge concern. H-1B visas are what most international classmates and professors have, which provides them with non-immigrant status. 

“This is a real source of stress for them,” Sparber said. 

International students seeking employment in the United States after graduation could be affected by this suspension. 

Senior Caroline Nichols, former intern in the Department of Emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, warned of the future implications this revised executive order may produce.

“While an improvement from the last executive order, especially in regards to Syrian refugees and Iraq, this ban still sets a bad precedent for future actions. Immigrants boost the economy and bring with them entrepreneurial spirits as a result of selection effects, while refugees move out of necessity rather than desire. As a country based off of moral values, and one that is experiencing huge internal unrest, we must remain open, not closed off,” Nichols said. 

“Furthermore, policies blanketed under national security and safety must be considered with a grain of salt since we as a nation tend to accept policies and statements more readily when we are feeling fear and uncertainty. When ‘national security’ and ‘safety’ are involved, we tend to become blinded, and it is essential that we not let fear alone guide our actions, especially when those actions have such a significant impact on other people,” Nichols said. 

Sophomore Hannah Chenok expressed doubt regarding Trump’s ability to achieve his intended goal with this executive order.

“The Trump administration clearly took pains to alter the new executive order so that the courts would find less of a reason to ban it than they did previously. However, I don’t think Trump’s methods will achieve his goal of keeping America safe from foreign threats,” Chenok said. “The vetting process in place now from the previous administration is already very difficult to complete successfully, and any order that prevents displaced peoples from coming into the U.S. has the potential consequence of backlash from outside fundamentalist groups from these countries who may use such a ban to further their narrative that they are ‘at-odds’ with the West.”

Chenok then spoke to what she thinks this policy will do to national sentiment.

“In my opinion this will create an environment of fear and distrust of foreigners that is disproportionate to the amount of crimes they commit. I also think that the omission of Iraq from the list of banned countries is a positive for the Iraqi people searching for a better life, but shows how highly politicized this entire order is,” Chenok said.