April Immigration Proclamation
Immigration Restrictions for the Next 60 Days
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation that significantly restricts immigration to the United States for at least the next 60 days. As its name implies, the "Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak" suspends "entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants." The suspension applies to prospective immigrants who:
- (i) are outside the United States as of 11:59 p.m. on April 23, 2020;
- (ii) do not have an immigrant visa that is valid as of April 23, 2020; and do not have a travel document other than a visa that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
Broad Exceptions for Essential Professionals, Spouses, Children, and Investors
This can undoubtedly adversely affect many individuals seeking entry into the United States if implemented. However, there are some broad exceptions. Exceptions include, but are not limited to: lawful permanent residents of the United States; physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals essential to combating the spread of COVID-19 and seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa; spouses of U.S. citizens, children (under 21) of U.S. citizens; individuals seeking entry pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The proclamation provides that "[t]he consular officer shall determine, in his or her discretion, whether an immigrant has established his or her eligibility for an exception."
Non-Immigrants May Still Enter, but Consult an Attorney Before Traveling
While the proclamation suspends immigrant visa holders from entering the United States, non-immigrants may still enter the United States after proclamation takes effect. However, the proclamation provides that a review of nonimmigrant programs shall be reviewed within 30 days, and measures "appropriate to stimulate the United States economy" may be implemented. Therefore, it is advised that individuals currently in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa consult an experienced immigration attorney prior to traveling abroad at this time.
Current Applicants for Adjustment of Status or Other Benefits Won't Be Affected
Furthermore, since the proclamation only applies to prospective immigrants that are outside the United States, it will not affect individuals that are currently applying for adjustment of status, or other immigration benefits, in the United States. However, the pandemic has already resulted in delays for many applicants both in the United States and abroad due to the closure of USCIS field offices, Embassies, and Consulates. USCIS field offices will remain closed through at least May 3, 2020. The ongoing closure of embassies and consulates due to COVID-19 and new proclamation suspending entry of immigrants will, unfortunately, result in processing delays for many people. While the proclamation states that the suspension "shall expire 60 days from its effective date," it may also "be continued as necessary."
Have Questions About the Policy? Call The Modi Law Firm at (832) 514-4030
The Modi Law Firm, PLLC remains committed to assisting its clients during these precarious times and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the effects of this new policy. Individuals seeking legal advice about the proclamation are welcome to contact our office to schedule either a phone or video consultation. Lastly, this is general information only, and no attorney-client relationship nor liability is implied or expressed by this article. This order may be challenged and courts can change or deny this order’s implementation. Due to the complexity of the order, immigration laws generally and the potentially changing landscape of these recent rules if you think this order could affect you then we highly recommend you consult with our Houston immigration attorneys.
Speak with an immigration lawyer in Houston at The Modi Law Firm, PLLC online or call (832) 514-4030.