President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday night barring certain individuals from entering the U.S. as Immigrants for at least 60 days because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 23, 2020.
Trump originally announced on Twitter earlier this week he was planning “to temporarily suspend” all immigration into the country. The actual proclamation, however, impacts only a very narrow set of foreign nationals, specifically those entering the U.S. for the first time as U.S. permanent residents.
The proclamation does not impact nonimmigrant visa holders such as H-1Bs, L-1s, TNs, E-2s and other temporary visa categories. Additionally, the proclamation does not apply to current U.S. permanent residents (green card holders), nor individuals that are in the U.S. applying for adjustment of status to become U.S. permanent residents.
The proclamation also includes exemptions and exceptions for:
- Any lawful permanent resident of the United States
- Spouses and children (under 21) of U.S. citizens
- Healthcare workers, such as physicians, nurses or medical researchers
- Individuals applying for a visa through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
- Any foreign national whose entry “would further important United States law enforcement objectives” or “would be in the national interest”
- Individuals with an already approved green card
Trump claimed at a press conference Tuesday he was issuing the proclamation to “help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens.”
The need for an extension or modification of the proclamation will be re-evaluated based on economic conditions after the original 60-day time frame expires, Trump said.
Those who are outside the U.S. are already facing challenges entering the U.S. due to the previously issued travel ban prohibiting certain individuals from entering the U.S. from certain countries experiencing high levels of COVID-19. Further, Trump previously closed the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico in mid-March for “non-essential” travel because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Department of State has also suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide.
It is important to note that these previously issued travel bans and border/consular closures are still currently in effect. Therefore, with the restrictions and closures already in place, the impact of the new proclamation may not substantially alter the status quo in the short term.
There have been more than 2,510,177 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, including at least 800,900 in the U.S., as of Thursday, April 23, according to the World Health Organization, which officially declared the outbreak a pandemic in mid-March.
Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continues to monitor the situation closely and will alert clients as the situation evolves. Our attorneys are actively identifying specifically impacted cases and advising our clients accordingly.