On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” This Executive Order effectively suspends issuance of new green cards for entry to the United States from abroad for a period of 60 days. To read the Proclamation, see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/.
In issuing the Executive Order, President Trump noted that national unemployment claims have reached historic levels due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and that Lawful Permanent Residents, once admitted, are granted “open-market” employment authorization, which allows them to seek any job in any sector of the economy, leaving already disadvantaged and unemployed Americans no protection from competition for scarce jobs. He stated, without intervention, the United States faces a lengthy economic recovery with continued high unemployment.
The limitation on entry does not apply to individuals who were Lawful Permanent Residents as of the date of the proclamation (in other words, individuals who already hold green cards), to physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals, to individuals essential to combating, recovering from, or alleviating the effects of the pandemic, or to any spouses or dependent children of such individuals. It also does not apply to aliens seeking visas under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, to spouses or dependent children of United States citizens, to individuals whose entry would further law enforcement objectives, to members of the United States Armed Forces or their family members, or to any other individual whose entry is deemed to be in the national interest.
The current Executive Order does not apply to any nonimmigrant work visas, such as H-1Bs; however, it does require review of nonimmigrant programs within 30 days, suggesting that employment-based nonimmigrant visas may see limitations in the future.
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Author: Kristin A. Crone
This article has been prepared for general information purposes and (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. Always seek professional counsel prior to taking action.
Kristin A. Crone