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President Trump Extends and Expands the Suspension of Immigration to the United States Through the End of 2020

23 Jun

On June 22, President Trump issued a proclamation further extending and expanding, the suspension on entry of certain immigrants to the United States through December 31, 2020. 

The announcement comes two months after the President’s April 22 proclamation which suspended for a period of 60 days, with some exceptions, the entry into the United States of those seeking first time admission as new lawful permanent residents.  Within that proclamation, the President had called for the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to evaluate and after 50 days report to him any recommendations on whether to extend the suspension beyond the 60 days and to expand the scope of the suspension to include nonimmigrants as well.  Their recommendations were due to the President on June 11. 

Today, citing the continuing economic impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy and U.S. workers, President Trump issued a new proclamation that both extends and expands the existing suspension on entry of new immigrants and includes an additional suspension on entry of nonimmigrants in H-1B, H-2B, L, and J nonimmigrant status who are outside the United States and do not have a valid visa or other travel document as of the effective date of the proclamation.  The order does not apply to individuals already in the United States. 

Who Is Restricted from Entry? 

The restriction on entry applies to new immigrants described in the prior proclamation and also to new nonimmigrant workers seeking H-1B, H-2B, L, nonimmigrant status.  Further, the restriction also applies to those seeking admission in J nonimmigrant status for work as an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or pursuant to the summer work travel program.  The restriction applies only to those who do not have a valid visa or an official travel document other than a visa on June 24, 2020, the effective date of the proclamation. At this time, it is not clear whether the proclamation was intended to also restrict Canadians who are visa exempt. Additional limited exceptions apply. 

How Long Are They Restricted from Entry? 

The proclamation restricts entry through the end of 2020. 

What Are the Exceptions? 

The proclamation only applies to those outside the United States who do not already have a valid visa.  Further, the order provides for the following exemptions: 

  1. Lawful permanent residents of the United States. 
  2. Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research; to perform other work essential to combatting COVID-19; and any spouse and unmarried child under age 21 accompanying them. 
  3. Applicants under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. 
  4. Spouses of U.S. citizens. 
  5. Children who are under age 21 and are children of a U.S. citizen or are prospective adoptees. 
  6. Those immigrants whose entry would further U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security. 
  7. Immigrant members of the U.S. armed forces, and their spouses and children. 
  8. Foreign nationals seeking entry persuant to a Special Immigrant Visa, and their spouse to children. 
  9. Those seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain. 
  10. Those whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security. 

The proclamation also calls on the Secretaries of the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to consider promulgating new rules or taking other action “to ensure that the presence in the United States of aliens who have been admitted or otherwise provided a benefit, or who are seeking admission or a benefit, pursuant to EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa does not disadvantage United States workers in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act” (INA).  Further, the proclamation requires the Secretary of Labor to undertake H-1B compliance investigations. 

What Precautions Should Be Taken? 

In these uncertain times, Foster recommends avoiding any unnecessary international travel if already in the United States.  If international travel is needed, travelers should contact their Foster immigration attorney before making plans to depart the United States and should check again for any restrictions that may be in place immediately prior to departure.  Nonimmigrants who routinely renew visas at a U.S. consulate abroad should consider applying for extension with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as needed. For those nonimmigrants who are outside the United States, Foster recommends returning to the United States as soon as possible. For those who may have a pending asylum claim or are in the process of seeking asylum, it is also recommended that you contact your Foster immigration counsel.  

Foster will continue to track changes in immigration law and procedure, as well as the ongoing impacts of the President’s proclamation, and will make additional updates available via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com