Cornell Immigration Professor has Concerns About High Court Order to Reinstate Parts of Travel Ban

Jun 28, 2017

A Co-Director of Cornell Law School’s Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic feels there’s not much more the federal government can do to further screen or vet refugees and immigrants.  Professor and Acting Immigration Lawyer Steve Yale-Loehr says he understands the need to evaluate the screening process as a matter of National Security.  But he says the rules are already stringent for refugees to gain entry into the U.S.

Immigration Lawyer and Cornell Immigration Law Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.
Credit Cornell Law website.

“It’s very hard to win refugee status in the U.S. and we try to help them navigate this very complicated this system.  I think that we should be more welcoming of refugees and, I personally, think it’s a mistake to ban refugees from entering just because they come from a certain country.”

Yale-Loehr says the U.S. is required by the UN to offer refugees a place to go, and their reasons for coming here are often dire or urgent.

“I know the plight of asylum seekers and refugee applicants firsthand.  The people that we deal with are truly refugees in the sense that they are fleeing persecution and no one would want to send back to their home country.”

The reinstating of the Travel Ban also leaves international students in limbo.

“Each international student will have to make their own decision as to whether they want to leave the United States.  If they do, they should take documentation to prove their affiliation with Cornell or whatever university they’re attending.  They should apply for visa interviews as early as possible because they’re likely to be delays.” 

Yale-Loehr explains how he reads the Supreme Court’s order on who will be admitted to the U.S.

“The order by the Supreme Court says that as long as people have a bona fide relationship with someone with the United States, they should be allowed to enter.  People who have family members in the U.S. should be allowed to enter, so should students who have been admitted to universities.  So should employees who have had an employer petition for them to get a work visa.  For refugees, if they have a resettlement agency that says they want to sponsor them, I would hope that would constitute the kind of close relationship that the Supreme Court outlined to allow them to enter.  But, a lot will depend on the discretion and subjective feelings of consular officers overseas and immigration inspectors at the border that a lot of confusion could result.”