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On the evening of April 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation temporarily suspending issuance of immigrant visas for permanent residence in the U.S. for 60 Days.

What We Know Now

The Proclamation, described by the White House as a “temporary pause,” only suspends issuance of new immigrant visas for entry into the U.S. as permanent residents.  Temporary, nonimmigrant visa applicants (i.e., H-1B, L, E, etc.), and current permanent residents (Green Card holders) are not affected.  Foreign nationals already in the U.S. are also not mentioned in the proclamation.

There are also further exceptions, including:

  • Spouses and children (under age 21) of U.S citizens;
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investors;
  • Medical workers and workers who are “essential to combat the (COVID-19) outbreak” (as determined by the U.S. government);
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces; and
  • Other individuals at the discretion of the U.S. government.

The suspension will expire in 60 days but “may be continued as necessary.”

The proclamation also notes the possibility of future “additional measures,” including a review of nonimmigrant/temporary visa programs to “stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.”  In fact, while announcing the proclamation at Wednesday evening’s coronavirus briefing, President Trump emphasized that he wants to protect American workers and will consider other actions. We are most concerned with this particular announcement since it opens the door to further restrictions which may have a direct impact on our clients.

As we noted yesterday, this measure, in its current form, is largely symbolic and does not greatly affect immigration in the long term.  In addition, since all embassies are closed for immigrant visa processing, the effect of this order is extremely limited . Further, any drastic measures are likely to be delayed by court challenges.

SW Law Group will continue to monitor this closely and watch for any “additional measures,” and immediately post updates.

Proclamation:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/

White House Fact sheet on Proclamation:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-honoring-commitment-protect-american-workers-temporarily-pausing-immigration/