Connecticut, US

Apr 22 2020

Presidential Proclamation Suspends Some Immigrant Entry for 60 Days

United States

At a glance

  • President Trump has signed a proclamation suspending the entry of certain immigrants for 60 days, with exceptions for current U.S lawful permanent residents, holders of valid immigrant visas and similar U.S. travel documents, the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, and EB-5 immigrants, among others. The order takes effect at 11:59pm EDT on April 23, 2020.
  • The order does not affect the filing or processing of applications for adjustment of status in the United States.
  • H-1B, L-1 and other nonimmigrant worker programs are not immediately affected, but the proclamation directs DHS and DOL to make a study of the impact of temporary foreign workers on U.S. workers. The results of the study could prompt future restrictions on these nonimmigrant programs.

The issue

President Trump today signed a presidential proclamation to temporarily suspend the entry of certain employment-based, family-based and other immigrants for 60 days, with a number of exceptions. The President characterized the measure as a means to protect U.S. workers and conserve medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suspension takes effect at 11:59pm EDT on April 23, 2020 and will be in place for 60 days, with the possibility of extensions beyond that timeframe. The order states that those who violate the proclamation will be prioritized for removal from the United States.

Who is subject to the suspension

The proclamation suspends the entry of immigrants to the United States for 60 days if they are outside the United States as of 11:59pm EDT on April 23; do not have a valid immigrant visa as of the effective date of the proclamation; and do not have an official travel document other than an immigrant visa that is valid as of the effective date of the proclamation or is issued thereafter and permits the individual to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission (e.g., a transportation letter, boarding foil or advance parole document).

The suspension does not affect the filing or processing of applications for adjustment of status to permanent residence in the United States.

Who is exempt from the suspension

The following groups are exempt from the proclamation: 

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Foreign nationals seeking to enter on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse or other healthcare professional, as well as their spouse and unmarried children under 21;
  • Applicants for EB-5 immigrant visas;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • Children under 21 of U.S. citizens and prospective adoptees in the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and the spouses and children of such individuals;
  • Foreign nationals seeking to enter as Special Immigrants in the SI or SQ classification, and the spouse and children of such individuals; and
  • Foreign nationals whose entry is in the U.S. national interest.

     

Impact on nonimmigrant programs

The proclamation does not have an immediate impact on the H-1B, L-1 and other nonimmigrant worker programs. However, within 30 days of the effective date of the proclamation, DHS and DOL are ordered to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend measures to "stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring and employment of United States workers." The results of that report could lead to future restrictions on nonimmigrant employment categories.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

The presidential proclamation affects a limited group of prospective immigrants – those who are outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation and have not been issued an immigrant visa or similar U.S. travel document by a U.S. consulate. It does not affect those already holding a valid immigrant visa or similar travel document, or applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, among other exceptions. As a reminder, routine immigrant visa issuance at U.S. consulates has been suspended since mid-March as part of the State Department’s COVID-19 containment measures. In addition, COVID-related entry bans remain in effect for travel from numerous countries.

Though the proclamation does not immediately limit nonimmigrant visa programs, future restrictions cannot be ruled out.

Fragomen is closely monitoring the status of the executive order and will issue further updates as new information becomes available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.