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Key Business Impacts From President Trump's Executive Action on Immigration

    Client Alerts
  • April 23, 2020

President Donald Trump’s executive action on immigration is not as broad and far-reaching as his tweet from Monday night indicated, but it does have some key factors that will impact both business and family based immigration into the U.S.

Late yesterday afternoon, President Trump followed through on his tweet and issued a presidential proclamation further limiting immigration in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” puts a temporary hold on the entry of certain immigrants to the United States. The suspension takes effect just before midnight tonight and is due to expire 60 days later on June 22, 2020, unless continued by further action.

Of particular note, the proclamation does not suspend processing with respect to those prospective immigrants who are already physically in the United States, nor does it apply to nonimmigrants at the present time – although that may change as we explain below. The proclamation does suspend and limit entry to the United States for foreign nationals who as of 11:59 p.m. on April 23, 2020 (i) are outside of the U.S., (ii) do not have an immigrant visa, and (iii) 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) valid on the effective date or issued thereafter that permits them to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

There are several categories of immigrants whose entry is exempted from the proclamation. They include:

  • Permanent residents.
  • Certain health care professionals, researchers, or foreign nationals performing work essential to combating, recovering from, or alleviating the effects of COVID-19.
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program applicants.
  • U.S. citizens’ spouses, children under 21, and prospective adoptees.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependent family members.
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest.

Those immigrants are not prevented from entering the U.S. based on the proclamation.

The proclamation also previewed that further restrictions may be forthcoming with respect to temporary workers by mandating that within 30 days the secretaries of labor and homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state, review nonimmigrant programs, which include visas for temporary executives, senior managers, specialists, or other essential workers. The secretaries are directed to recommend other measures to the president to stimulate the economy and prioritize U.S. workers. Employers and nonimmigrant workers should plan ahead for all filing deadlines and travel plans in anticipation of additional changes.

In the end, the proclamation as currently issued will impact a fewer number of immigrants than initially anticipated. However, it causes another delay in what is already a long immigration process for many and is a further sign that legal immigration into the U.S. will continue to face significant hurdles.

For more information, please contact us or your regular Parker Poe contact. You can find the firm's additional COVID-19 alerts here