5 Ways To Convert An E-2 Visa Into A Green Card.

This article addresses the question of how to convert a U.S. E-2 work visa into U.S. permanent residence, often referred to as a green card. For some investors, the challenge of being taxed on worldwide income by becoming a permanent resident of the United States will prevent them from doing this. However, there are many investors who, through sound tax planning, will have organized their affairs in such a way that this will not be a problem. In a previous article I discussed how an investor could obtain a U.S. E-2 visa indirectly, using the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program as an interim step, for those investors whose countries do not have an investment treaty with the United States. (These would include investors from countries like China, Russia, Brazil, Dubai, Lebanon and many of the Arab states.) Some of these investors may very well want to apply under the EB-5 program after securing such an E-2 visa, assuming this can be achieved without losing their current citizenship. For such individuals, or indeed for anyone currently holding a U.S. E-2 visa, this article may be helpful. So here are five ways of converting an E-2 visa into a green card.

1.   Invest more money and get an EB-5 green card

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Invest $ 1 million and get U.S. permanent residence through a direct EB-5 program application. Pic: Wikimedia commons.

Originally, an applicant coming into the United States to start a business on an E-2 work visa has to invest a certain amount of money.  Although there’s no minimum amount, generally I like to suggest investing $200,000 USD and creating five positions for employees over the course of five years to get the applicant the E-2.

If a person has even more money however, they could apply for an EB-5 investment green card while they continue to operate their business in the U.S. under their E-2 visa. The requirements for an EB-5 green card are far more costly, though. Currently $1 million dollars has to be invested and 10 new jobs have to be directly created by the applicant’s company to qualify. It’s important, however, that the money used for this investment be traceable. If invested from abroad, the source and path of funds needs to be documented and be clean. The extra funds cannot have been generated inside the USA by the E-2 business unless they are paid out to the investor and the investor pays U.S. taxes on the amounts taken before reinvesting them so as to qualify for the $ 1 million direct investment EB-5 green card.

2.   Invest in a regional center project and get an EB-5

Rather than directly investing $1 million into one’s own company, one could invest $500,000 into an EB-5 regional center project and be a passive investor there, while continuing to operate one’s own E-2 visa business as well. The required 10 new jobs can be created indirectly this way by the regional center project. This is a slightly cheaper way to get a EB-5 green card. However, it does tie up the investor’s money in the regional center project for 5 years until it can be rebated to the investor. The same conditions on the trace-ability of the money apply as they did for the direct investment.

3.   Have an employer sponsor you

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Employment-based sponsorship can lead to a green card. Pic: Flickr

One could find an employer that could sponsor you, or perhaps your spouse, for a green card. In some instances, if one is hired for the right position, and has good enough qualifications to show exception ability, one could even get an exemption (a National Interest Waiver) from a PERM labor certification. This would significantly speed up and simplify the conversion to a green card. Otherwise, the employer has to undertake a recruitment campaign to show there are no native U.S. workers capable of filling the position, documenting all the steps taken at local recruitment. This would entail advertising the position as open in a major newspaper, posting it on line with employment web sites, engaging a head hunter to search out applicants, etc. The process is difficult and almost an art, but it can be done. It goes without saying that the employer can’t be the company one founded with their E-2 visa.

4.   Be sponsored by a family member

If one has a close relative in the U.S. that is a citizen or green card holder, that relative can sponsor the investor for a green card while the E-2 investor continues to work and manage their business.

If no family member has a green card at the time, there are a number of ways one could go about acquiring one. For example, a spouse or a child of the E-2 investor might go to school to get themselves an advanced degree, and then get themselves a sponsorship by a US employer and get either a PERM labor certification, or a National Interest Waiver. Alternatively, a child might marry a U.S. citizen to be sponsored for a green card. Once they have a green card, they could then sponsor the E-2 visa holder.

5.   Create a new business outside the U.S.

One could create a sufficiently large company outside the U.S., and then work for it as a manager for one year and then return to the U.S. as a permanent inter-corporate transferee.

If the E-2 visa holder can’t do this themselves, they could consider having their spouse run the foreign company, then come in on the green card. This would make it possible for that spouse to include the E-2 holder under their permanent application.

Things to remember when trying to convert an E-2 into a green card

The Green Card comes with a number of requirements that an E-2 visa does not. Chief among them is the requirement to spend a significant amount of time in the U.S.  If your permanent resident related business involves you being out of the country for a significant amount of time, this can be a risk. U.S. immigration, when they grant a person a Green Card, wants the applicant to mostly stay in the U.S. and build roots here. If not, a person risks losing the Green Card.

Another thing to remember is that while a person can apply for a green card while in the U.S. and stay until it is actually approved, at the point when the green card is granted, they usually have to leave the country and re-enter on the green card.

There are a number of different considerations that should be reviewed with a lawyer. However, if one wants to eventually become a U.S. permanent resident, rather than live here on a temporary visa, these are some ways to do it.

Supreme Court Hands Border Agents Potentially Confusing Task In Partially Lifting Freeze On Travel Ban

The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would hear the appeal of the government regarding Executive Order 13780, the second of the alleged ‘Muslim travel ban’ executive orders.  In the interim, it significantly cut down the injunctions that lower courts had imposed on the executive order.  Three of the conservative court judges (Alito, Gorsuch, Thomas) wanted the ban upheld in its entirety until the case could be heard in October, saying the compromise decision reached yesterday by the court was unworkable, because it will overly burden the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, their position was not adopted by the full court.

The court, including all of the justices considered moderate and liberal, did not want this travel ban circumvented by people with no connection to the U.S.  They specifically made the point that coming into the U.S. if you’re not a citizen or green card holder is not a right.  The ability to enter the U.S. only becomes a consideration if denying it would in some way harm a U.S. interest, either of a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or organization.  Otherwise, “the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to pro­vide for the Nation’s security.”

Thus the court decision written by the majority of the Justices struck down most of the injunction blocking the travel ban, leaving it in place to prevent immigration officials from stopping those people with some connection to the U.S. from entering the country. The court order did this not only for people wishing to travel to the U.S., but also for refugees.  While section 3(c) of the second executive order contained some exceptions to the ban on regular travel for people with connections to the U.S., the order contained no such provisions for refugees that might have a connection to the U.S.  However, with this injunction, the majority extended that same requirement for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to make case by case decisions for refugees making it possible for them to enter the United States if they have a connection to the country, such as a close family member, as they will for people otherwise wanting to travel to the U.S. from the “Muslim ban” targeted countries.

More specifically, border officials will have to determine whether an applicant has a bona-fide connection to the U.S, such as, for example, a family member, and allow entry to those with such connections “on peril of contempt.”  Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas would have preferred that the entirety of the Executive Order be allowed to operate until the Supreme Court hearing because of the various exceptions that the decision imposes on border officials. They feared an outpouring of litigation resulting from this process of determining if exceptions to the order exist at the port of entry.

This is not a complete victory for Donald Trump. However, this is a win for him, because the second executive order will accomplish most of what it was designed to do. It is important to note that the majority of the court also laid out what they would consider to be an inappropriate connection to the U.S., that in reality would only be an attempt to circumvent the ban.  “For example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion.”

One thing that is important to note about the decision is how the timing will now proceed. The travel ban itself will last for 90 days.  As this is still June, that means that by the time 90 days has passed, it will be September.  Thus the travel ban will expire before the Supreme court even hears the case.  Moreover, the refugee ban, which lasts 120 days, will expire in October.  By the time this case is heard in full before the Supreme Court, therefore, the entire Executive Order may be a moot point.

Nonetheless, this decision is an indication of how the Supreme Court will consider the matter in October if the case is heard then. It appears the Court is more sympathetic to Trump’s order than were the lower courts. Meanwhile, most immigration attorneys expect that the court’s decision will create a lot more confusion and delays at ports of entry as immigration officials decide who qualifies and who does not under the new court-ordered arrangements.

Why You Should Consider An E-2 Visa Rather Than An EB-5 Green Card

In this article I propose to provide a visual summary of the difference between the E-2 work visa and the EB5 green card to explain why the E-2 visa may be a better choice for you as an investor immigrant. (For those unfamiliar with these immigration options, see my previous article here and requirements here  for the E-2 visa. See my previous article here and the requirements here for the EB-5 program.)

E-2 work visa Advantages EB-5 green card Disadvantages
1. Quick processing times – a  few months 1. Slow processing time – two years or as many as seven or eight for backlog applicants eg. Chinese.
2. Investment – perhaps $200,000 U.S. or even less, depending on business involved. 2. Investment – $500,000 U.S. for regional center projects, $ 1 million for direct investment option.
3. Control of Funds in investor’s business – less stringent  “due diligence” required. 3. No control of funds invested in third-party project if regional center – heavy “due diligence” required, risk of loss required.
4. Travel flexibility – less concern about maintaining domicile and physical presence. 4. Need to maintain “domicile” and rigid enforcement of residence rules
5. Immediate permission to work in the USA, spouse can work anywhere, children can go to school and college at internal resident tuition rates. 5. Waiting abroad for approval from Immigration – two plus years and as much as seven or eight if in the backlog.
6. Low legal Cost – Roughly $10,000 – $20,000 U.S. 6. High cost approximately – $50,000 – $ 70,000 or more in fees
7. Possible tax advantages – as an nonimmigrant resident if principal resident stays in USA not more than 122 days per year no tax on worldwide income (seek advice). 7. Possible clouded judgment of promoters and advisors due to considerable financial rewards for finding EB-5 investors. Taxation on worldwide income of investor.
8. Less paperwork- more flexible treatment of investor on compliance with rules 8. More paperwork – severe enforcement of rules
E-2 Disadvantages EB-5 Advantages
1. Must work – passive investment not enough. Therefore must speak at least some English. 1. Permanent resident status
2. The immigrant investor’s U.S. presence is tied to the business success – must work. 2. No work requirement
3. Must renew the visa every 5 years or so. 3. Renewal of permanent residence cards every ten years.
4. No clear route to green card/ U.S. citizenship 4. Long term certainty. Path to citizenship.

What if you are a citizen of a country that does not have an investment treaty with the United States to make you eligible to apply for a E-2 work visa? What if you live in countries like China, Nigeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, UAE, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan? What can you do? You can consider applying for Citizenship by Investment in Grenada, a country in the Caribbean that could help you because it has an investment treaty with the U.S. You could qualify for an E-2 visa indirectly through that country.

Visual summary of benefit of Grenada Citizenship by Investment Option for Investors from non-treaty countries:

Let’s consider China as a typical example.

Fact one:

Chinese citizen -> Three years + more wait, for EB-5 -> USA permanent residence.

Fact two:

Chinese citizen -> EB-5 Status = Tax on worldwide income

Fact three:

Chinese citizen -> CANNOT get an E-2 visa -> USA (No treaty).

Work Around Through Grenada:

Step one:

Chinese citizen -> $200,000 USD + 12 weeks -> Grenada citizen.

Step two:

Grenada (Chinese) citizen –> $ 200,000 USD + 2 months => US E-2 visa holder for 5 years. 

Summary:

Chinese citizen –> Grenada citizen -> USA in E-2 status- all in less than six months. 

Benefits:

  1. Live and work anywhere in the United States.;
  2. Children go to school at in-state local tuition rates.
  3. Flexibility re: time required for principal applicant in the USA unlike EB-5 permanent resident six month maximum away time requirement.

Key extra benefit
If principal E-2 visa holder not physically in USA > 122 days/ year = no U.S. tax on worldwide income. (Seek independent tax advice about this).

As for legal fees, costs and disbursements, about $ 75,000 USD in total.

Key detriment

China does not allow dual citizenship. 

However, consider this posted internet comment below, regarding an analogous country:

Lyth Basem, Lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years … I have a lot of Saudi friends who are secretly dual-citizens, when they want to travel on their second passport, they catch a plane to a different gulf country, and then they use their other passport to get to wherever they want to go from there. If they’re ever caught by the authorities, then the government forces them to pick between both citizenships. (Posted here.  Please note, this is NOT my advice, it is included here simply as an observation of what is happening related to this area.)

Conclusion: With Congressional changes coming to the EB-5 program that likely will increase the investment amount required and make it more difficult for an investor to apply, the E-2 visa may make a lot of sense. Careful consideration of the tax and citizenship questions need to be involved, however. Hopefully these visual summaries will help you in that regard.

An Expensive Escape Hatch For U.S. Illegal Immigrants Fearing Deportation

President Trump’s proposed budget aims to dramatically increase immigration enforcement and border security funding by adding $300 million to the current $20 billion spent each year. The proposed budget would also provide funds to increase immigration detention by 66 percent and hire an extra 500 Border Patrol officers and 1,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Clearly the U.S. is headed towards more deportations. In fact, Politico reports that the Trump administration has even deported dozens of previously protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) recipients, leaving the fate of the more than 760,000 people who have permission to stay in the United States uncertain.

“The administration is going after a lot of different people. People with DACA, people who had DACA, people with no criminal convictions, people who have been here for a very long time,” said Kate Voigt, the Associate Director of Government Relations of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

While the vast majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States may be concerned about these developments, nonetheless they are not planning to leave any time soon. Most of them have jobs that provide them and their families with a livelihood – something they will not give up unless they are forced to do so. According to the statistics, most illegal immigrants are in the United States for over ten years now, most are married with children and the vast majority of them are trying to keep a low profile. Despite these day-to-day realities, however, for most illegal immigrants, removal to their homeland is a growing danger.

For some immigrants, however, there is a legal and viable, albeit expensive, alternative. In fact, according to the statistics, there are tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who could afford it. That alternative is to invest in a second passport as a kind of ‘backdoor escape hatch’ if ICE should ever appear on their doorstep.

While U.S. citizens may wonder why “going home,” is such a bad thing, for illegal immigrants that all depends on where “home” is and what has happened there. It may be conceivable for a middle-class illegal in the U.S. to go back to Mexico and establish a decent quality of life there, but the same cannot be said for returning to a place like Syria, where war has turned the country upside down. Going home to places such as Egypt, Ukraine and Libya is now a risky proposition for many, to say nothing of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2000. Closer to home, Brazil’s economy has crashed, thanks to widespread corruption and political scandals that won’t be cleaned up anytime soon and therefore may have become another “home” to be avoided.

So what do you do when your home country is out and staying in the U.S. is no longer viable?

You are cornered.  You need a visa to go anywhere except your home country, but as an illegal immigrant, you cannot get a visa to go anywhere else. So when ICE comes after you and your family, you have no choice. Or do you?

For those who can afford it, there are a few places in the Caribbean that may offer you a safe harbor. One such place is St. Lucia, another is Dominica – countries that have unique Citizenship by Investment programs.

Let’s take St. Lucia as an example.

Rodney Bay in Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia in the West Indies. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

St. Lucia is a small country in the Caribbean that offers would-be immigrants the chance to gain citizenship by investing in St. Lucia’s National Economic Fund which secures for the immigrant and his family the right to come and live in that country. As an added benefit, such an investor citizen gains the ability to live in any of the other 19 CARICOM community of nations and travel to over 100 countries worldwide, including the E.U. While the investment amount required varies depending on the size of the investor’s family and the Caribbean country chosen, for the sake of simplicity, an investment of say, $150,000 U.S. (all costs included) for an individual, or say $225,000 U.S. in the case of a family, will secure them the right to leave the U.S. and come to live in the Caribbean. Importantly, the actual payment comes as the last step in the process, only after the investor has been approved by the target country. In short, with such passports, the investor and his family can fly to the Caribbean to settle, if deported.

There is, of course, a list of requirements the investor must meet. The key ones are no criminal record and reasonably good health of all family members. In this regard, the mere fact that a person is an illegal immigrant in the United States does not thereby disqualify them from  Caribbean citizenship.

Some of the other requirements are tricky and therefore investors would be wise to turn to knowledgeable advisors to deal with them. For example, one requirement is that the investor must file the application through an approved agent who will facilitate the fast processing of applications with approvals coming in most cases within three months of submission. A wiser approach, however, may be to work with a U.S. immigration attorney to handle Caribbean agents, since then the attorney-client privilege will protect the disclosure of your affairs in the United States and help you better deal with the agent and other delicate matters mentioned below.

The investor must provide a police report from his country of birth and from each country he has lived in for at least one year. In the case of illegal immigrants in the U.S., consulting a U.S. immigration attorney about how to obtain an F.B.I. police report without triggering ICE removal proceedings would be a must.

Another tricky issue is the matter of dual citizenship. Some countries do not accept dual citizenship. That means to gain citizenship in the Caribbean, the investor may have to relinquish his existing citizenship.  China is an example of such a country. Consultation with knowledgeable immigration advisors on such matters would be important.

Perhaps the most important thing  about these programs is that the passport can be obtained without leaving the United States. For illegal U.S. immigrants that’s important because leaving the U.S. may very well result in a 10 year bar to reentry. Again, U.S. immigration legal advice is critical here.

Despite all these potential complications, being able to obtain a Caribbean passport makes it a viable back door escape hatch that provides a degree of comfort for the investor and his family if they are forced to leave the United States. For that reason, obtaining that second passport may very well be a great investment for those who can afford it.

Supreme Court Dilemma: How To Deal With Trump’s Tweets And His Immigration Travel Ban

US President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

One of the key issues regarding the legality of the second executive order that President Trump issued on immigration (the so-called ‘watered-down’ version) is whether or not his words and tweets have any bearing at all on the legitimacy of the executive order.  To some, this issue is self-evident. But it might be worthwhile to break down how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit thought about this matter when it blocked the executive order last month (taking a different approach than Monday’s ruling against the order by the Ninth Circuit), and how the Supreme Court might potentially think about it.

Every piece of legislation, up to and including the Constitution, has some sort of reason behind why it was created and how it ought to be interpreted and upheld. Sometimes, that motivation is written into the legislation or order.  The most famous example would be the preamble of the Constitution.  “We the People…”

Executive Order 13780 (the second travel executive order) has such explanations written into it. Most notably, in the parts where it bars the entry to nationals from six different Muslim majority countries, it explains in detail what makes those countries dangerous, and it removes the explicitly religion based parts of the first executive order.

On the face of it, from a normal reading of the executive order, it doesn’t discriminate at all.  And because on the face of it there’s nothing wrong with the order, it shouldn’t be questioned at all by the courts. This is the argument the Trump administration’s lawyers have been making at every stage of the process.

There are schools of thought in judicial philosophy that would say that this should be the end of the argument, and that courts ought to be, as Montesquieu would say, “the mouth of the law.”  This was the extreme position of judges after the French Revolution.  While since then legal philosophy has backed off a little from such an extreme position, and given judges a little bit more room in interpreting the law, it is a belief that still holds sway over many civil code countries such as Germany.  However, even so, laws can still be found unconstitutional.

American jurisprudence cares much more about the motivations behind laws and executive actions.  The Jim Crow segregation laws on their face guaranteed ‘Separate but Equal,’ when the reality behind those laws was much worse and much less just.  Eventually, the US Supreme Court started striking down those laws that had this extreme discrepancy between the text of the law and the reality it supported.

This brings us back to Trump’s executive order, and the reality animating it.

How To Move To Canada As A Skilled Worker

Moving to another country permanently is usually a difficult decision to make.  It seems simple, but the moment you start looking at your options, it tends to become very complicated.  In the past year or so moving to Canada has become a more popular topic than ever before.  So for those people who may be interested, I would like to explain one program under which people can move to Canada – the Federal Skilled Worker Express Entry program.

What the Federal Skilled Worker Express Entry program does is allow people that are considered sufficiently skilled and experienced in certain occupations to come and settle in Canada.  It relies primarily on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) developed by Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

The CRS is a point system that gives immigration candidates a certain amount of points for their age, education, language ability and work experience.  The scale ranges from 0-1200 points, but in reality most people that apply are somewhere between 300 and 450.

Every application to the Express Entry system gets put into a pool.  In 2016, 33,782 people from that pool were invited to immigrate to Canada.  The way they were chosen is by being ranked against one another. The candidates with the most points were given an invitation.

In the most recent draw by Immigration and Citizenship Canada, the cut-off point above which people got an invitation was 413 points (If you are curious what this means in actual criteria, there is a handy tool here to let you plug in information and come up with a number). Most people in the pool did not meet this number.

So, how does one improve their score and qualify to come to Canada?

One way is improving in one of the official languages (English and French).  Better test scores on language tests like IELTS (International English Language Testing System) lead directly to a higher score.  But the gains you can make in just your language score usually do not put people over the top.

Another is to have a good job offer in Canada.  This gives you an extra 50 points (and in some cases, if it’s an extremely good job, 200 points).  But if you’re qualifying for that good of a job already, you probably don’t need help getting over the 413 point hump anyways.

Another way is to go through a Provincial Nomination Program (PNP), in addition to the Express Entry system.  If you qualify for one, you get a whopping 600 points, immediately putting you over the top.  So, what are these PNPs?

Each of Canada’s provinces gets to set its own criteria on what it’s looking for in a potential immigrant.  This makes sense, as the needs of each province are different when it comes to skilled worker immigration.

The biggest differences between the programs are usually centered on three different questions – do you live in the province in question already, do you have family or somebody you know there and do you have a job offer from the province?  Sometimes, the provinces are looking for specific occupations and will specify them.

Some programs are open year-round.  But they are usually the ones that require you to have a job offer already, have enough money to live comfortably for a while, or have friends or family already in the province.

Other programs aren’t open all the time.  What often happens is that a province will open a provincial nomination program, for example when it is only looking for 600 people (or some number like that).  The moment those 600 spots are filled, first come first serve, the program closes.  This often results in a scramble of people sending off applications the moment they hear that a program has opened.  The result is much like what happens when tickets go on sale for sporting or entertainment events.  At least they don’t have immigration spot scalpers (and the provinces and federal government work hard to keep it that way).

The Express Entry program was introduced in 2015 and replaced some of the previous skilled worker programs.  It is a program that also being continuously tweaked.  For example, on June 6, 2017, the CRS criteria are being tweaked to give more points to people that have siblings in Canada.
The provincial nomination programs also get tweaked all the time, most notably when they change the occupations they are looking for.  Still, if all of these obstacles can be overcome, with a provincial nomination a person jumps to the head of the queue to get an invitation to immigrate to Canada in the Express Entry skilled worker program.  They get a Permanent Resident card and a clear path to citizenship within 5 years.  What more could one want?

Trump’s Immigration Promises Stymied By Courts

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled 10-3 against parts of President Trump’s second immigration executive order. It upheld the injunction against section 2(c) of Executive Order 13780, which had effectively barred nationals from 6 countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States.

According to the Fourth Circuit judges, while on the face of it the order is worded in neutral language, in reality it is a pretext to enact the Muslim ban that Trump promised repeatedly during the campaign. Because of this, the ban ran afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, that the U.S. government should not promote a state religion or discriminate on religious grounds. This is the second time that an executive order on immigration by Trump has been suspended in court. Trump’s first executive order on immigration, Executive Order 13769, which was signed on January 27, had a temporary restraining order issued against it by Federal Court Judge James L. Roberts in Seattle. This restraining order was upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Before that executive order could reach the Supreme Court, Trump issued this second executive order, which explicitly replaced the first one. President Trump, in a speech in Nashville, called it a “watered down version of the first order” .

The Fourth Circuit had this to say about the second executive order:

The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120 (1866), remains “a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.” And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation. Therefore, for the reasons that follow, we affirm in substantial part the district court’s issuance of a nationwide preliminary injunction as to Section 2(c) of the challenged Executive Order.

This is about as unambiguous of a statement as it gets about how and why a court is ruling as it does. It makes clear that the court considers the executive order to be racist in nature and that the court will not tolerate the U.S. Constitution being abrogated for racist reasons. This has not always been the case. Sometimes, the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with presidential orders that are later seen to be motivated by fear and racism. Korematsu v. United States, a case about the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War in particular, comes to mind. But this time, the courts don’t seem to be following that path.

Coming into office, President Trump had a clear agenda on immigration.

He was going to have a Muslim ban. The two executive orders created for that purpose have been blocked so far and it will take a Supreme court ruling to reverse the blocks. He was going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. Mexico needs to come up with that money soon since the latest budget passed by congress contained no provisions for a border wall. Trump’s Executive Order 13768 was supposed to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, but it was also blocked by a judge. It seems most of these presidential initiatives appear headed to the Supreme Court of the United States for resolution.

Most of President Trump’s immigration program seems likely to be proceeding to the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.

One of the prevailing fears before Trump was inaugurated was that as president, nobody would be able to stop him. But the safeguards that the founding fathers put into place in the American Constitution to prevent the complete concentration of power in the hands of one person are holding up just fine. The judiciary and Congress have their duly defined roles, and have been checking the President’s power, at least when it comes to immigration.

The Unites States exists and thrives because of the checks and balances that make up its government. Every once in a while we get a pleasant reminder of it, such as in these recent appeal decisions.