April 23, 2020
President Trump signed the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak yesterday. The proclamation will become effective today, April 23, 2020, and be valid for 60 days.
The order will suspend the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who:
- Is outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020;
- Does not have a valid immigrant visa on April 23, 2020; and
- Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the U.S. to seek entry or admission.
The following categories are exempted from the proclamation:
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
- Individuals, and their spouses or children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak;
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program;
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children;
- Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification); and,
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest.
It is important to note that nonimmigrant visa holders are not included in the proclamation. The Department of State (DOS) intends to continue to process visa applications for farm workers and medical professionals assisting with COVID-19. However, the proclamation requires that within 30 days of the effective date, the Secretaries of Labor and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and evaluate other appropriate measures to stimulate the U.S. economy. Furthermore, asylum seekers are not included in the ban.
The proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary.
What is the current state of immigration?
As of March 20, 2020, routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates have been suspended. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, including in-person interviews and biometrics (fingerprint) processing. USCIS will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public and will provide emergency services for limited in-person situations. The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico have been closed for non-essential travel until at least May 20, 2020. With some exceptions, the entry of individuals who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, during the 14-day period before their attempted entry into the U.S. has also been suspended. Despite these limitations, USCIS continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
There has not been a complete halt on all immigration into the United States. As mentioned, the suspension will only apply to select individuals seeking permanent residency and will not affect those entering the country on a temporary basis. It is yet to be determined whether there will be an extension of the 60-day suspension and additional orders issued.
If you have any questions about this alert, please contact the Labor, Employment and Benefits members of our COVID-19 Response Team indentified below:
Diana Morales McFarland
Contact information for the complete McGrath North’s COVID-19 Response Team can be found here.
For information regarding additional business-related concerns centered around COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide here.