President Trump has issued an executive order that temporarily suspends entry of immigrants into the United States for 60 days. The order takes effect Thursday, April 23, 2020. There are several important limitations and exceptions to this proclamation, however.
The temporary suspension or “pause” of immigration into the United States applies to foreign nationals who are:
- outside the U.S. as of April 23, 2020 (i.e. the effective date of the proclamation);
- do not have an immigrant (permanent) visa that is valid as of April 23, 2020; and
- do not have an official travel document other than a visa (i.e., a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation, or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
Of note, this section of the order practically means that foreign nationals filing for adjustment of status in the United States are not affected, nor are those foreign nationals who have valid immigrant visas or valid travel documents issued as of April 23, 2020.
The other critical exceptions to the executive order are as follows:
- Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- A foreign national seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects as the COVID-19 outbreak; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of such person may accompany or follow to join.
- EB-5 immigrant investors;
- A foreign national who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen;
- A foreign national who is under 21 years old and is the child of a U.S. citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee;
- A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces and any spouse and children of such member;
- Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification);
- A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and
- Foreign nationals seeking asylee or refugee status.
The list of exceptions to this executive order are fairly broad. Also, the executive order does NOT apply to non-immigrant visa holders (such as H, L, or E visas, for example). As stated in the order, the administration may review non-immigrant visas within the next 30 days.
Legal challenges to this order should be anticipated.
Click here for a link to the official proclamation.