Since President Trump came into power over a month ago, there’s been a whirlwind of activity on the immigration front. It all started with his Executive Order, which banned seven Muslim countries from having any entry into the United States, for a period of 90 days. This was trumpeted (no-pun intended) as a security measure in order to be able to allow USCIS and US CBP adequate time to put into place stronger security measures to protect the United States from terrorists. Now that the Executive Order has been stayed by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, it would appear that the temporary ban on those Muslim countries will be abandoned.
There has also been substantial media coverage with respect to President Trump wanting to either withdraw from NAFTA or make major renovations to the trade agreement. After a recent meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump in Washington DC, the President expressed his desire to only make some “minor tweaks” to the agreement with respect to Canada, leaving it essentially in place as it’s been for the last 23 years, only to make it “stronger”. It would appear that President Trump is not going to want to withdraw from NAFTA with Canada and keep it in place. As a result, I don’t predict any major changes to the immigration structure as it currently exists with respect to Canadians wanting to either work or travel into the United States. This is across the board for every visa category.
While all of this controversy about the temporary ban and NAFTA has been playing itself out in the media, there have been more important institutional changes put into place with US CBP and USCIS. Despite being more subtle and not as newsworthy, these are going to have a larger effect on Canadians trying to enter the United States. Primarily, there has been a leaked Executive Order calling for more scrutiny when adjudicating L visas, E visas, TN visas and above all, business visitors or visitors for pleasure (B1/B2). It is this heightens scrutiny that’s going to make things more difficult for people applying for not only work visas, but entry has visitors for pleasure or business travellers. I predict that this will be the biggest change that will affect Canadians when entering the United States. It is now more important than ever to ensure that you have your ducks-in-a-row when attempting entry into the United States.
My prediction is this – there will be no major changes to the immigration structure for Canadians wanting to work and travel into the United States. However, there will be heightened scrutiny with respect to any kind of travel into the United States and it is now more important than ever to make sure that you have all of your US immigration issues covered before attempting entry. Speaking with an experienced US immigration lawyer is now more important than ever, before attempting entry to the United States.