Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees

What Does The Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees Mean For the Meetings Industry?

The administration’s executive order on immigration and refugees has led to concern and confusion across the meetings industry. Our industry is centered on bringing people together, fostering relationships, driving positive outcomes, and supporting communities where meetings and events are held. We are continuing to monitor the issue and have reached out to our members to understand how the executive order is affecting them.

At the same time, Meetings Mean Business joins industry partners in reaffirming that it’s critical to strike the right balance between enhanced security and travel facilitation. Together, we urge the administration to conduct its review of the visa issuance protocols quickly, and trust that it will yield an even more secure travel security system that protects international travelers and welcomes them into our country whether traveling for a meeting or leisure.  

What the Executive Order Does

The executive order includes several provisions that temporarily suspend or limit travel from various countries around the world. Among the most significant provisions for the meetings and travel community, the executive order:

  • Suspends entry to the U.S. for 90 days for nationals of seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) traveling on immigrant and non-immigrant visas;
  • Calls for review of visa issuance procedures and information sharing on visa applicants from foreign governments. Countries not sharing information on visa applicants with the U.S. can be barred from receiving visas in the future;
  • Suspends the admission of most refugees for 120 days;
  • Bars refugees from Syria for an indefinite period;
  • Reduces the total number of refugees permitted to enter the U.S. in FY 2017 to no more than 50,000; and
  • Requests expedited completion of biometric entry-exit tracking at ports of entry.

The purpose of the executive order is to give the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, the opportunity to review the current visa review process and determine:

  1. What additional information is needed during the visa process to verify if an individual poses a national security threat and
  2. Which countries are failing to provide that necessary information

On February 1, the White House issues updated guidance on President Trump’s executive order on immigration, clarifying that legal permanent residents or green card holders, do not require a waiver to enter the United States.

How It Impacts the Meetings Industry

Meetings Mean Business (MMB) has convened coalition leadership to better understand how the executive order is impacting the industry and to ensure a united response. We are closely monitoring the evolving policy environment and analyzing the implications for our industry. As part of these efforts, we sent out a survey to MMB members, meeting planners and other industry professionals to assess the immediate and long-term impacts.

Please reach out to us by emailing info@meetingsmeanbusiness.com with any questions and concerns so we can best support the industry during this time. We will continue to update this webpage with additional information, talking points, and FAQS.

Recent Developments

On February 4, a federal judge issued a halt to the executive order on immigration and refugees. Subsequently the Department of Homeland Security announced that it suspended all actions to implement the immigration order and resumed standard inspection of travelers. The State Department also announced it had reversed its cancellation of visas under the order. The Justice Department requested to immediately reinstate Trump's immigration directive, which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied.

On February 9, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco unanimously ruled to uphold a lower-court ruling that suspended the travel ban. Travelers from the seven affected countries can continue entering the United States while the court’s block on the executive order is in place. The decision is currently being reviewed by the Justice Department and has the potential to reach the Supreme Court.

On February 16, President Trump announced that the White House will rescind his controversial executive order on immigration and then issue a new order next week. In the meantime, Justice Department lawyers have petitioned the federal appeals court to suspend its reconsideration. The impact on the current legal battle may depend on the court's view of how substantially the revision differs from the current version. Also this week, a federal judge in Virginia ruled against implementation of the original executive order.

MMB Survey

As part of MMB’s industry-wide response to the executive order , we developed a short survey to assess impact to the meetings industry. It will impact our advocacy efforts to understand the near and long term impacts, as well as any specific challenges our industry faces. The survey results are available here.

Industry Responses

American Hotel & Lodging Association 

International Congress and Convention Association 


U.S. Travel Association Press Release

U.S. Travel Association Blog Post

Meetings and Conventions: Meetings Industry Reacts 

PCMA: What Meeting Professionals Think About President Trump’s Executive Immigration Order

Additional Resources

Customs and Border Protection Info & FAQs