The President of the United States, Donald Trump, on April 22, 2020, signed a Proclamation to temporarily suspend the entry of certain immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some salient features of this proclamation are:
- The Proclamation became effective at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23rd, 2020 and expires in 60 days, unless the President extends it.
- The Proclamation does not have any effect on any immigrant applications of spouse and minor children of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, certain health care workers including physicians, nurses and other health professionals, certain Special Immigrant Visas like EB-5, and those holding valid immigrant visas, on the effective date of the Proclamation.
- Although the consular posts have temporarily suspended operations, they continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services to those listed in item # 2 above.
- No validly issued visas will be revoked under this Proclamation.
- The Proclamation does not change the status of immigrants already in the U.S. and will not apply to any immigrant visa applicant filing any petitions or applications from within the United States.
- The Proclamation is applicable only to those who are physically present outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation and those who do not already have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation.
- Those who have already been issued a travel document such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document, that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, can note that such documents continue to be valid even after the Proclamation.
- The Proclamation also indicates that within 30 days of its effective date, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to the President, other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.
The full text of the Presidential Proclamation is available on the White House website.
It is unfortunate that the Proclamation was issued during the time of the COVID-19 presumably to respond to the health care crisis but in fact, its focus seems to be to rally the President’s base and his supporters and further his personal and political anti-immigrant agenda. We have to wait and watch on what could happen within 30 days on the non-immigrant front. With so many immigrants and non-immigrants working in health care and in many other professional fields, supporting the U.S. during COVID-19, we hope and trust that the country values their services at this critical time and continues to use their services to help restart the U.S. economy.