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

Meetings Mean Business joins the American travel community in supporting efforts to bolster national security. We recognize the substantially more cautious and deliberate introduction of the revised executive order on travel and immigration, however, several of the industry’s initial concerns remain unaddressed.

A Meetings Mean Business survey, conducted after the initial executive order, found that the majority of meetings industry professionals were concerned about reputational harm to the U.S. Our industry is centered on bringing people together, fostering relationships, driving positive outcomes, and supporting communities where meetings and events are held.

We reiterate our belief that striking the right balance between enhanced security and travel facilitation is of the utmost importance. We also continue to urge that the security reviews prescribed by the executive orders be concluded as quickly as possible.

What the Executive Order Does

The revised 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 six countries (Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) seeking new immigrant and non-immigrant visas – Iraq has been removed from the list after the country has agreed to increased cooperation and vetting procedures with Homeland Security
  • Bans all refugees for 120 days; however, Syrian refugees now fall under this category whereas they were banned indefinitely in the initial executive order
  • Will go into effect ten days after issuance on March 16, instead of immediately
  • Addresses existing visa and card holders by noting that the ban does not apply to those who have already been granted asylum
  • Removes preferential treatment for religious minorities

Recent Updates (September 26, 2017)

  • President Trump released new restrictions for travelers from eight countries including: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The White House released a statement calling the new restrictions "a critical step toward establishing an immigration system that protects Americans' safety and security in an era of dangerous terrorism and transnational crime."

  • The new restrictions act as a replacement to President Trump's earlier executive order to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries. The new list has added non-Muslim-majority countries including North Korea and Venezuela.

  • For the majority of people in these nations, travel will be suspended. For others, a rigorous, enhanced screening and vetting process will be required. Whether travelers are foreign nationals or students will make a difference.

  • The new restrictions have slightly different qualifications than the previous executive order. None of the currently valid green cards, visas or travel documents for people in the stated countries will be revoked. The travel restrictions are now more "condition based," allowing consular officers more discretion to waive the restrictions depending on the situation.

  • These restrictions were immediately met with criticism from activist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union.

MMB Survey

As part of MMB’s industry-wide response to the initial executive order, we developed a short survey to assess impact to the meetings industry. The survey was sent to MMB members, meeting planners and other industry professionals and conducted between February 1st and 10th. 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 Resources

Smart Meetings: What’s so Different about Trump’s New Travel Ban?

Travel Leaders React to SCOTUS Review of Executive Orders on Immigration