Many of our clients have had questions regarding the executive order signed by President Trump on April 22nd. This Proclamation suspends the issuance of certain immigrant visa categories for a period of 60 days.
Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act gives the President broad executive power to restrict the entry of certain categories of aliens who he deems to be detrimental to the interests of the United States. In this case, Trump is utilizing his executive powers to, as he rationalizes, put American workers first. In the wake of the economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus, many have been unemployed, and Trump intends for American workers to be first in line for jobs as the market opens back up.
In practice however, the executive order has little impact. Due to the Coronavirus, many of the consulates abroad have already been closed for several weeks. Globally, non-essential travel has been restricted, and many countries are not granting entry to tourists or workers, especially from Europe, China, Canada and Mexico. Admission of refugees has been temporarily suspended in the United States, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services until at least June 4.
After 60 days, the unemployment rate and other facets of the U.S. economy may demonstrate the need for this suspension to be extended by President Trump.
For as long as the Proclamation is in effect, the parents, siblings, and adult children of U.S. citizens, as well as the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents, will not be able to obtain the immigrant visas that allow them to enter the United States as permanent residents and join their relatives.
The President’s Proclamation does not affect those who are already lawful permanent residents, or individuals who are currently in the United States, and who seek to file their Application to Adjust Status (Register Permanent Residence) with USCIS. Immigrant visa applicants outside the United States who are exempt from the Proclamation include:
- spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens;
- members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and minor children; and
- foreigners who are seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa such as doctors, nurses, or other health professionals (to conduct medical research or other research to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, or to perform essential work that helps combat , recover or alleviate the effects of the coronavirus outbreak), and spouses and minor children accompanying said foreigners.
Undoubtedly, the president’s recent proclamation is less about the U.S. economy, and more about politics, as it does little to protect the U.S. from the ripple effects of the Coronavirus.