A US-based pianist raises a critical question

A US-based pianist raises a critical question


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2017

We have withheld the pianist’s identity, for obvious reasons. Here’s his conundrum:

To any immigration lawyers out there: I have a quick question. I’ve lived in the USA almost 18 years now. I am a permanent resident (Green Card holder), about to become a citizen (with double citizenship EU-USA). I travel in and out of the country a lot, in order to perform. I have two trips to Europe in March. How does the situation look? Will I be able to return to the USA after those trips? I’m a bit concerned. Thanks for your help. I want to know if I have to start planning to reset my life and start again elsewhere.

Uncertain times.


  • pooroperaman says:

    Is the EU one of the countries identified by Obama* as sponsoring terrorism? If not, why would you have a problem?

    *Not a typo. Look at the history of this.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      The so-called “Obama” list of countries will be expanded beyond the 7 announced last Friday, IMHO. There are whispers that France and Germany could be added for additional “extreme vetting” because of terrorist infiltration and there is much pressure in the US to add Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey (excluded from the initial executive order because Trump has business interests in those countries, according to his critics).

      I am not a lawyer but I think this person’s chances of returning to the US are good but he should be prepared for delays and additional “extreme vetting.” The current detentions are actually enforced by the airlines to avoid paying fines in the US if they allow refugees or people from those 7 countries to fly to the US.

      I am counting on the Republican Party to stand up and resist this onslaught of unilateral executive maneuvers. As Hillary said: “This is not who we are.”

  • DAVID says:

    You might want to consult with an immigration lawyer as to whether or not you are allowed to leave the country while waiting for your citizenship. I don’t think you’d have a problem with an EU passport but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with someone knowledgeable. You could also contact USCIS directly and explain your situation, I am sure they would know the answer to your question. Also, once you get your citizenship you will have to give back your green card and apply for a passport, and I wouldn’t advise leaving the country during that time because you should never try to enter, nor leave, the United States with a foreign passport — you should always use your US passport when leaving and entering, otherwise it could be construed as an intent to relinquish your US citizenship. So if you have to travel between your citizenship ceremony and getting your passport (which may take a few weeks), that might be a problem (you might be able to use your naturalization certificate, but I’m not sure). Again, if you can talk to a lawyer, double-check with them.

  • MWnyc says:

    The White House and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security clarified on Monday afternoon that the ban does not apply to green card holders.

    Let’s hope they stick to it.

    • Marg says:

      They may have said that a couple of days ago but we have at least one Green Card holder (she has had it 30 years) stuck in Australia after visiting friends because her nationality is Iranian. She cannot get on a flight out of Australia to the US because airlines have been advised she will be refused entry. Frankly, I dont think anyone knows what the rules are and how to enforce them, so there appears to be a lot of confusion in how its playing out. Im glad I gave up my green card and came home, frankly. This can only be the start of such madness.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    The situation is too fluid now for any such questions to be answered. No one knows the answers, because the “policy” changes by the hour. Lawyers don’t know, the State Department doesn’t know, customs and immigration officials don’t know, White House officials don’t even know. You might get 7 different answers if you called 7 different people. Tomorrow’s answer might be different from the answer you’ll get in June.

    This is what happens when you elect someone mentally and psychologically incompetent to serve in the office.