Does Trump's Immigration Executive Order Impact My Foundation?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 9:20 am
Natalie Ross
Lara Kalwinski
Basic Rights and Rules for Foundations working with Non-US Citizens

Disclaimer: The information in this message and any attachments is being provided for informational purposes only and not as part of an attorney-client relationship. The information is not a substitute for expert legal, tax,or other professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances and may not be relied upon to avoid any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.

Last Updated: February 24, 2017

On February 3, 2017, a temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued in response to legal challenges to President Trump’s immigration and travel-related Executive Order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  The TRO halts the 90-day travel prohibition against citizens and nationals of seven designated countries.  The TRO has survived an initial, emergency challenge filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ); however, ongoing challenges to both the EO and TRO remain.  Developments are moving quickly in the case currently pending with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  (Update from Steptoe International Compliance Blog)

On January 30, 2017, the states of Washington and Minnesota filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Order. Judge Robart issued a TRO on the entire Order, concluding that the states demonstrated they would “face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order.” The TRO will remain in effect until a decision is made in the case. Because of the TRO, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and consulates/embassies abroad will not enforce the Order while the TRO is in effect.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals” which directs U.S. government agencies to review current screening procedures, while protecting national security.

What this Means for Individuals Affected by the Order

Updated February 6, 2017: The latest TRO has blocked the enforcement of the Order, meaning that immigrants and non-immigrants affected by the Order can likely enter the United States and apply for U.S. visas. The Department of State reports that provisional revocation of valid visas from those countries is lifted and those visas are now valid for travel. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has already alerted airlines it will reinstate previously cancelled visas. There is no guarantee how long the TRO will be in effect. 

The Council has engaged the philanthropic community in Canada to identify partners who are willing to help host any individuals connected to U.S. foundations who are directly impacted by the ban and cannot re-enter the United States. Please reach out to Natalie Ross ( to learn more.

Have Exempt Organizations (Foundations and Nonprofits) Rules Changed?

Exempt organizations were not specifically addressed in the Order. If your foundation works with non-U.S. citizens (board, staff, grantees), you likely should seek legal counsel. To learn more about the United States visa process, please visit Department of State Visa Informationor U.S. Foundation Employment and Payment of Foreign National and Students(last updated in 2011). Also, review the Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions List of Specially Designated Nationals.

Are any Exempt Organizations Responding to this Order?
Impacts on International Grantmaking

The new administration has not changed international grantmaking as of this publication, even for grants supporting organizations and countries impacted by the Executive Order. As a refresher, if an organization makes grants abroad, check the Council’s global grantmaking resources:

Stay Informed

Learn about the Treasury Department’s concerns on terrorist financing. Get familiar with the Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions List of Specifically Designated Nationals List. If your international grants have been delayed for additional due diligence, the Treasury Department shares information with the goal to protect and support the charitable sector.

Understand not just the U.S. law, but also the law in the countries where you work. For more information, visit the section of our website with Country Notes: and global philanthropy information

For commentary on these issues, you may be interested in Aid Barriers and the Rise of Philanthropic Protectionism, Civil Society Platform to Ensure Civil Society is Effectively Engaged in Combatting Terrorism Financing.

What Government Resources Are Helpful to Understanding the EO on Immigration?
What is the Council Reading while Researching this Issue (abridged list)?
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on all
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
International Giving
Strengthening Communities
Legal Compliance Guidance