The executive orders are causing wide spread panic and are seeing confused application of the order at the airports. We are also hearing that processing of immigration cases are being suspended within the US too. While there is no official letter on the issue, the actions are speaking very loudly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Unless you are a US citizen, think carefully before you travel. Definitely, if you are from one of those targeted Muslim countries, even if you have a green card, you should not travel at all.
- If you are a citizen who travels to these countries, be aware you are going to receive scrutiny.
- If you are eligible for citizenship and you have a clean record, please consider applying now.
- The administration has spared, for now, recipients of deferred action. If your DACA status is set to expire within soon, see an immigration lawyer immediately.
- If you are an undocumented, stay vigilant.
- If you are a visa holder- be careful, do not do anything that could be considered a crime and definitely do not speed, J-walk or anything that you may not consider that serious.
- If you are a green card holder, absolutely, do not surrender your green card and/or sign a Form I-407. The form says you give up your green card. Ask for a lawyer.
- If you are from a country not on the list but is a Muslim majority country, I would suggest no travel for you also.
If traveling is unavoidable, here are some handy tips from another lawyer colleague:
Encrypt all devices, delete everything before traveling, never give up a device unless forced to, never give up a password without a warrant.
1) Encrypt everything.
2) Backup remotely to an encrypted system — make sure it is one you can trust.
3) Flash the device to factory settings before you board the plane / leave to the border. Add limited applications to fulfill your needs.
4) Set your device to factory reset on 3 or less wrong password entries. — I set mine to 1 when flying.
5) Set a dumb password that you do not use anywhere else, same on all devices.
6) If you are a U.S. Citizen: refuse to give over the device if you are willing to go to court or be detained. If you are in another status: hand over the device.
7) In any case, never give over the password, always inform them, “I will log-in to my device and set it to a password of your choosing upon receipt of a warrant ordering me to do that. Otherwise I will not share my password.”
8) NEVER enter a password into a device while in an airport, unless you put it under your clothes/jacket first and can do it without looking at it — biometric login is fine. There are cases that have found the government can use a password they observe you entering or even surreptitiously record you entering without a warrant.