Change to Foreign Visitor Processing

Anytime this POTUS signs an order to change a previous president’s executive order, my curiosity is piqued, because so much of the public rhetoric of this administration makes clear the intention is to undo as much as possible what President Obama did.

Even though this executive order is very brief, it becomes quite significant for anyone applying for a visa to simply visit the United States. This has nothing to do with immigration, only foreign visitors.

All the order does is change one subsection of Section 2 of the original executive order and authorizes the executive branch officers to make changes to policies and procedures as a result.

Following is the full text of the sub-section of the January, 2012 executive order being deleted:

(ii) ensure that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application, recognizing that resource and security considerations and the need to ensure provision of consular services to U.S. citizens may dictate specific exceptions;

I am speculating now, but it appears to me to recognize the fact that the State Department is so understaffed that is would not be possible to deliver on the original directive. If that is the case, what concerns me most is the high probability that the dismantling of the government (long a goal of presidential advisor, Steve Bannon) is continuing apace.

Official Title:

Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13597

Executive Order signed June 21, 2017.

Routine Memoranda

Yesterday four action items were posted on the White House website. Three were fairly routine, although important, memoranda. A fourth is an executive order that I will review separately.

Two are extensions of the national emergency declarations made by previous presidents with regard to North Korea and the Western Balkans.

The third is delegation for presidential authority on one section of the bill cited.

Official Titles:

All signed June 21, 2017

Cuba and Father’s Day

Yesterday two actions were posted – one routine (Father’s Day Proclamation) and the other not so routine. On the other hand, maybe we will need to start considering the actions taken to undo accomplishments of the Obama era as routine, because we are seeing so many of them.

The controversial action of yesterday was the rollback of some of the provisions in the Obama agreement with Cuba to move toward more normalized relations between the two countries.

In several of the media reports, Marco Rubio (2nd generation Cuban American) is mentioned as a key player behind this action. Even though the memorandum cites two memoranda of President Obama, I find it somewhat interesting this action is just a memorandum rather than an executive order, that might have more legal effect. Perhaps it is because this memorandum is largely about making changes to regulations that require a long process of public reaction time before going into effect.

No matter, the intended goals of this action are not truly in the best interest of the United States or the Cuban people as it claims. Many will be negatively affected by the return of more stringent restrictions on travel, for example.

Official Titles:

Memorandum and Proclamation signed June 16, 2017

Hiatus is Over

The last two-week period has been the longest stretch between actions for this president. Today for the first time since June 1, several actions have been posted on the White House website. Three are dated yesterday (June 13) and two are dated today.

The first three are routine memoranda extending decisions made by previous presidents.

Those dated today include the standard proclamation of Flag Day and Flag Week.

Dated June 13, 2017:

Dated June 14, 2017:


Jerusalem Embassy Delayed (Again)

Given promises made publicly and prominently earlier by POTUS 45 to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, I was curious to know what he would actually do when faced with the expiration of the previous order. Today we have the answer – he followed the lead of his predecessors and signed the waiver as has been done every six months since the law was passed in October 1995 citing “national security”.

Temporary sanity prevails, at least on this one issue.

For a little more detail on this subject, see my December 1, 2016 post.

Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State

Memorandum dated June 1, 2017

Iranian Oil

The title of the memorandum gives no clue as to what it is about, but following is the relevant section of the only major paragraph.

…there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions. ¬†As my Administration conducts a review of its Iran policy, and consistent with United States commitments specified in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, however, the United States is not pursuing efforts to reduce Iran’s sales of crude oil at this time.

Other issues have dominated the news cycle, so I have not seen anything about this, but it appears to be a continuation of current policy. This report is required as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

Official Title: Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, and the Secretary of Energy

Memorandum signed May 17, 2017

Extension of Iraq Emergency

Dating back to May 2003 when a state of emergency was declared with regard to Iraq, this memorandum simply continues it for another year as the two previous presidents did.

Official Title:

Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Stabilization of Iraq

Memorandum signed May 16, 2017