On Apr 23 2020 by Jordan J. Gonzalez

Client Alert: President Trump Signs Executive Order Limiting Most Inbound Immigration; Order Does Not Limit Temporary Visas or Immigration Processing Inside the U.S.

Late April 20, 2020, President Trump took to Twitter declaring that he would be “temporarily suspend[ing] immigration into the United States” via executive order. Last night, the President signed the promised Executive Order, which largely limits immigration into the U.S. (i.e. entering with an immigrant visa, not a nonimmigrant visa) for foreign nationals who meet the following criteria:

  1. Are outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020;
  2. Do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on April 23, 2020; and
  3. Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document).

The following classes of individuals are exempt from the executive order and may still enter the United States:

  1. Lawful Permanent Residents (current green card holders);
  2. Foreign Nationals entering 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 combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such foreign national who are accompanying or following to join;
  3. EB-5 investors;
  4. Spouses of U.S. Citizens;
  5. Foreign nationals who are under 21 years old and are children of the U.S. citizens;
  6. Foreign nationals whose presence in the U.S. is in the national interest;
  7. Foreign nationals whose entry furthers U.S. law enforcement objectives; and
  8. Asylum seekers and certain Special Immigrant entrants such as Iraqi and Afghani nationals who have assisted the U.S. military.

The new travel ban will be implemented in two main ways. Firstly, the U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad will no longer issue Immigrant Visas to those who do not qualify for one of the above-mentioned exceptions. Green card processes inside the U.S. are unaffected. U.S. Port of Entry officials will no longer grant entry into the U.S. to those who do not meet the above-mentioned exceptions. According to the Executive Order, foreign nationals who circumvent these restrictions will be found removable for willful misrepresentation and fraud.

Please note that the Executive Order does not affect:

  1. The processing of petitions for foreign nationals in the United States or abroad, such as  Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and/or Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker;
  2. The processing of green cards in the United States for any foreign national in the U.S.  who is eligible to apply for adjustment of status through Form I-485; and
  3. Foreign nationals who are outside the U.S. and seeking to enter on a nonimmigrant visa, classes of which include H, L, B, E, F, J, TN, O, P, or R visas

Please note that while the Executive Order does not currently affect nonimmigrants, the President has  directed the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department Homeland Security to review all nonimmigrant programs to assess whether any of the programs can be modified so as to “stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States.” Both Secretaries will report back to the President on or about May 22, 2020.    

The order does not change other COVID-19-related immigration restrictions and slowdowns on the books, which currently include:

  • Closure of U.S. Embassies and Consulates Abroad
  • The Travel Bans for individuals who have been in Mainland China, Iran, most European countries, and the UK
  • Closures of the Northern and Southern U.S. Borders
  • USCIS office closures to the public (currently extended through May 3, 2020)
  • Continuance of non-detained Immigration Court hearings (in effect through May 15, 2020)

Should you feel you need more detailed counseling on navigating on these changes affect your business operations, or if you are an individual seeking guidance on your pending or future immigration case, please know that a Klasko attorney remains available to answer any questions that you have.

 

The material contained in this article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation.  The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

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