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Immigration Update

In a follow-up to the Immigration Update of April 21st, regarding president Trump’s expected executive action regarding a “pause” in green card issuance, this is a summary of the actual proclamation, accessible here, issued late on the afternoon of April 22, 2020. This Summary contains excerpts of a summary authored and distributed to members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council.

The proclamation becomes effective on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET), and suspends the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding Foil for a lost or stolen green card, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

The following categories are exempted from the proclamation:

  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR)
  • 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 work essential to combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees)
  • 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 [sic] U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
  • 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)
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).

While nonimmigrant visa holders (typically temporary, employment related visas) are not included in the suspension order, the proclamation requires that within 30 days of its effective date, the Secretaries of Labor and Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), in consultation with the Secretary of State, review nonimmigrant programs and recommend to the President other appropriate measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.

The proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. Within 50 days from the effective date, the Secretary of DHS shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, recommend whether the President should continue or modify the proclamation.

The proclamation includes a “severability clause” that provides that if any provision of the proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of the proclamation shall not be affected. The proclamation is likely to be challenged in the courts.

Stock and Leader continues to monitor immigration law developments and assist clients in this challenging time.

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