Trump extends and expands proclamation ‘suspending’ immigration

ON June 22, 2020, President Trump issued another Executive Order (EO) or Proclamation, extending his April 22, 2020 proclamation to December 31, 2020, and expanding its scope to also include H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 non-immigrants and their derivative spouses and children from entering the U.S., as they may compete for jobs with unemployed Americans caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some highlights are:

1. The ban on entering the U.S. until December 31, 2020 applies to:

a. Immigrant visa applicants (both employment- and family-based cases) as well as H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 non-immigrants and their derivative spouses and children who are outside the U.S. on the effective date. Therefore, it would not affect people in the U.S. applying for adjustment of status, change, or extension of status.

b. The person does not yet have an immigrant (or non-immigrant) visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation, meaning an immigrant or non-immigrant visa has not yet been issued in their passport.

c. They do not have any other kind of official travel or entry document, such as advance parole, boarding letter, etc. that allows them to enter the U.S. in lieu of having an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

2. This proclamation does not apply to:

a. Existing green card holders, who may be outside the U.S. on a trip or vacation

b. Any alien seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional, who will help in combating COVID-19, or recovering from COVID-19, including their immediate family

c. Aliens coming to perform temporary labor or services that are essential to the U.S. food supply chain. This could mean people who will pick or harvest fruits and vegetables.

d. Spouses and children of U.S. citizens and members of the Armed Forces and their families, and aliens whose entry would be in the “national interest.”

The proclamation will expire December 31, 2020, and could be “continued as necessary,” meaning this ban could go on until Trump believes the U.S. unemployment situation is under control.

Many of us hoped Trump’s original April 20, 2020 proclamation would expire in 60 days. But now, he’s extending it through the end of the year and including non-immigrant workers and their families.

Tens of thousands of people applied for their H-1B visas on April 1, 2020, hoping to have their visas issued by October 1, 2020. That will not happen, at least until next year, assuming Pres. Trump doesn’t further extend this ban. In addition, people who have waited years for the priority date on their employment or family-based petitions to become current, are now left in limbo if they are outside the U.S., because they cannot be issued immigrant visas under this proclamation.

If you or a family member may be affected by these changes in immigration or your case is subject to this proclamation, you may want to consult with an attorney to evaluate your situation and the effects of Trump’s proclamations on your case.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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