President Trump today issued a Proclamation that temporarily suspends green cards to intending immigrants. This is not a surprise as he advised on Monday via a tweet that this was forthcoming. Contrary to his assertions in Monday’s tweet, however, this Proclamation does not curtail all immigration into the United States, and is tailored to individuals who meet the criteria below. Below is a summary of what the Proclamation is, and who it does and does not affect.
The Proclamation itself will take effect at 11:59p.m. on April 23, 2020 (Effective Date). It affects intending immigrants who are:
- Currently outside of the US;
- Do not have a valid immigrant visa on the Effective Date; and
- Does not have an official travel document.
- To summarize, then, this Proclamation really affects immigrants who are outside of the US seeking consular processing for an immigrant visa (green card). Individuals who are affected will understandably be devastated by this Proclamation, but it is limited in scope. Amongst those who this Proclamation does not affect are:
- lawful permanent residents;
- physicians, nurses or other healthcare workers battling COVID-19 along with their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21;
- EB-5 investors;
- Spouses of U.S. Citizens;
- Children of U.S. Citizens under the age of 21 or a prospective adoptee;
- People who are vital to law enforcement;
- Member of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses and children;
- Iraqis and Afghanis who have worked for the US government, and Iraqi and Afghani interpreters and translators; and
- Anyone who would benefit the national interest of the United States.
The Proclamation also does not prevent any individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
It is also important to note that the Proclamation also directs the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy within thirty (30) days of the Effective Date. So while this Proclamation is limited in nature for now, more restrictions may be on the horizon. Please follow Paturi Law to learn all the latest developments and how our firm can assist you in navigating this volatile area of immigration law.