Executive actions, also called presidential actions, are actions that are taken by the President of the United States, usually through the following vehicles: Executive Orders; Presidential Proclamations; and Presidential Memoranda.

More background on executive actions.

This page keeps track of certain executive actions related to immigration, under the current administration.

View Presidential Documents published in the Federal Register.

Executive Actions In Effect

June 22, 2020 Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak

On June 22, 2020, the President issued Proclamation 10052 titled Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak. Effective June 24, 2020, the proclamation suspends "entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas" until December 31, 2020, subject to section 3 of the proclamation:

  • "an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;"
  • "a J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;"
  • "an L visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien"

Section 3(a) states, however, that the suspension will only be applied to individuals who:

"(i)  is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii)  does not have a nonimmigrant visa, of any of the classifications specified in section 2 of this proclamation and pursuant to which the alien is seeking entry, that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii)  does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission."

The June 29, 2020 amendment clarified that the exception at Section 3(a)(ii) of Proclamation 10052 applies only to individuals with a valid H, J, or L visa who seek admission to the United States in one of those categories. For example, an individual outside the United States wishing to enter the United States in H-1B status who had valid B-2 visa but not a valid H-1B visa would be subject to the proclamation and would not be eligible for an H-1B visa. The proclamation also extends until the end of the year the April 22, 2020 proclamation suspending entry of certain immigrants.

See:

May 29, 2020 Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China

On May 29, 2020, the President issued Proclamation 10043 titled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China (PRC). The proclamation is effective at 12:00 p.m. eastern daylight time on June 1, 2020, and will remain in effect until terminated by the President. It suspends the entry to the United States of F and J graduate students (undergraduate students are exempt) and researchers from the PRC if they are now or in the past connected through funding, employment, study, or research at "an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC's "military-civil fusion strategy," subject to important exceptions.

May 19, 2020 Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery

On May 19, 2020, the president issued Executive Order 13924 titled Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery that directs all federal agencies to "combat the economic consequences of COVID-19 with the same vigor and resourcefulness with which the fight against COVID-19 itself has been waged," by:

  • "rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery, consistent with applicable law and with protection of the public health and safety, with national and homeland security, and with budgetary priorities and operational feasibility
  • giving "businesses, especially small businesses, the confidence they need to re-open by providing guidance on what the law requires; by recognizing the efforts of businesses to comply with often-complex regulations in complicated and swiftly changing circumstances; and by committing to fairness in administrative enforcement and adjudication."

Read: Executive Order 13924 titled Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 31353 (May 22, 2020).

Coronavirus Proclamation of April 22, 2020 Limits Entry of Certain Immigrants

Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020, published at 85 FR 23441, titled Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. This proclamation suspends entry of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status or nonimmigrants such as students, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc. Section 6 of the proclamation, however, calls upon DOL, DOS, and DHS to within 30 days of April 22 "review nonimmigrant programs and... recommend... other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers."

The initial effective period was 60 days starting 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020. This was extended to December 31, 2020 by the proclamation of June 22, 2020.

Read NAFSA's summary.

Presidential Memorandum on Discontinuance of Visa Issuance Under INA 243(d)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump issued Presidential Memorandum of April 10, 2020, Memorandum on Visa Sanctions, to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to notify the Secretary of State "if any government of a foreign country denies or unreasonably delays the acceptance of aliens who are citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents of that country after being asked to accept those aliens, and if such denial or delay is impeding operations of the Department of Homeland Security necessary to respond to the ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2." The memorandum then directs that after receiving such notification, the Secretary of State must "as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 7 days after receipt, adopt and initiate a plan to impose the visa sanctions provided for in section 243(d) of the INA."

No countries have yet been added to the INA 243(d) sanction list pursuant to this Presidential Memorandum, which is based on different legal authority than the recent COVID-19 Presidential Proclamation entry bans currently in effect.

For background on INA 243(d) and a list of countries previously designated, see NAFSA's Discontinuance of Visa Issuance Under INA 243(d) page.

Travel-Related Proclamations Affecting Entry from Certain Countries

The President has issued four COVID-19-related proclamations to limit travel to the United States. These proclamations remain in effect until terminated by the President. The proclamations state that the "Secretary of Health and Human Services shall recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate" the proclamations.

  1. China Travel Proclamation. January 31, 2020 - Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020, published at 85 FR 6709, titled Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
  2. Iran Travel Proclamation. February 29, 2020 - Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020, published at 85 FR 12855, titled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020.
  3. European Schengen Area Proclamation. March 11, 2020 - Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020, titled Proclamation - Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020." Although in his address President Trump reportedly said the ban would last 30 days, the proclamation language itself states that it "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President."
    • Note: the European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  4. Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation. March 14, 2020 - Proclamation 9996 of March 14, 2020, titled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus. "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited ... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020.  This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020."
  5. Brazil. May 24-25, 2020. Proclamation 10041 of May 24, 2020. Also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 31933 (May 28, 2020). Suspends entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The May 24, 2020 proclamation contained a May 28, 2020 effective date, but a May 25, 2020 amendment to the proclamation, also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 32291 (May 28, 2020) as Proclamation 10042, revised the effective date to May 26, 2020. Section 5 of the May 24, 2020 proclamation has been amended to provide: "This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020."

See NAFSA's COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. Visas and Entry page for further details.

Travel Ban 4.0

Proclamation 9983 of January 31, 2020

Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

Also known as "Travel Ban 4.0." Placed visa and entry restrictions on travelers from six additional countries: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. The new ban (Travel Ban 4.0) became effective at 12:01 eastern standard time on February 21, 2020. Travel Ban 4.0 contains restrictions on immigrants but not on nonimmigrants, so Travel Ban 4.0 will not impact acquisition of nonimmigrant visas like F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-1B worker, etc., or of admission to the United States in those categories. Meanwhile, Travel Ban 3.0 continues in effect on certain citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.

Signed January 31, 2020. Effective February 21, 2020. Currently in effect on: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Proclamation 9983 of January 31, 2020 (whitehouse.gov)

85 FR 6699 (February 5, 2020)

NAFSA Advisory

Executive Order 13891 on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents

On October 9, 2019, the president issued Executive Order 13891, titled Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, "to ensure that Americans are subject to only those binding rules imposed through duly enacted statutes or through regulations lawfully promulgated under them. Published in the Federal Register at 84 FR 55235 (October 15, 2019).

The order states that "it is the policy of the executive branch, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to require that agencies treat guidance documents as non-binding both in law and in practice, except as incorporated into a contract, take public input into account when appropriate in formulating guidance documents, and make guidance documents readily available to the public. Agencies may impose legally binding requirements on the public only through regulations and on parties on a case-by-case basis through adjudications, and only after appropriate process, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract."

Read NAFSA's summary.

Travel Ban 3.0

Presidential Proclamation 9645 of September 24, 2017

Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

Referred to as "Travel Ban 3.0." The Travel Ban 3.0 restrictions are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each affected country. There are a number of important exemptions and exceptions to the ban.

DHS and DOS identified the affected countries as ones "that do not provide adequate information" on their citizens who apply for U.S. visas, admission to the United States, or other U.S. immigration benefits. The conditions imposed by the Proclamation will last until the country begins providing such information "or until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the country has an adequate plan to do so, or has adequately shared information through other means."

Signed September 24, 2017. Effective for some on September 24, 2017, and for others on October 18, 2017.

Currently in effect on seven countries:

  1. Iran
  2. Libya
  3. North Korea
  4. Syria
  5. Venezuela
  6. Yemen
  7. Somalia

An eighth country, Chad, was removed from this list effective April 13, 2018 (see Presidential Proclamation of April 10, 2018).

Proclamation 9645 of September 24, 2017

82 FR 45161 (September 27, 2017)

NAFSA Advisory

Executive Order litigation

Executive Order 13802

This executive order deleted section 2(b)(ii) of President Obama's Executive Order 13597 of January 19, 2012, which had directed DOS and DHS to "ensure that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application." The effect of this change on overall visa processing times remains to be seen.

Signed and effective on June 21, 2017

Executive Order 13802

82 FR 28747 (June 26, 2017)

NAFSA Resource Page

Buy American and Hire American (BAHA)

Executive Order 13788

Buy American and Hire American (BAHA)

Seeking to "create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States, and to protect their economic interests," this executive order:

  • Commits the executive branch to "rigorously enforce and administer the laws governing entry into the United States of workers from abroad"
  • Calls on the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Labor, and Justice to "as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse"
  • Calls on the same agencies to "as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries"

Signed and effective on April 18, 2018

Executive Order 13788 of April 18, 2017
82 FR 18837 (April 21, 2017)

NAFSA Resource Page on the Executive Order

Presidential Memorandum on Heightened Screening and Vetting

Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security: Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits, Ensuring Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States, and Increasing Transparency among Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and for the American People.

Sections 2 and 3 direct DHS and DOS to:

  • "rigorously enforce all existing grounds of inadmissibility and to ensure subsequent compliance with related laws after admission"
  • "implement protocols and procedures as soon as practicable that in their judgment will enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and all other immigration benefits, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people. These additional protocols and procedures should focus on:

    (a) preventing the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who may aid, support, or commit violent, criminal, or terrorist acts; and

    (b) ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits."

Signed and effective on March 6, 2017

81 FR 16279 (April 3, 2017)

NAFSA Resource Page on the Presidential Memorandum

NAFSA Resource Page on March 17, 2017 Cable that implements the Presidential Memorandum

Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Executive Order 13768:

Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

  • Hire additional enforcement and removal officers
  • Revise enforcement priorities and reinstitute Secure Communities program
  • Rescind all existing guidance and directives that conflict with the executive order's directive to enforce all immigration laws, to the extent of the conflict. According to the DHS implementation memos, this rescission does not apply to the DACA and DAPA programs, which "will be addressed in future guidance." The implementation FAQs also state that current guidance limiting enforcement at sensitive locations remains in effect for now.
  • Encourage federal-state agreements
  • Sanctuary cities ineligible for Federal grants
  • Exclude non-citizens/non-LPRs from Privacy Act protections
  • Effectively implement INA 243(d), which allows DHS and DOS to discontinue granting visas to nationals of "recalcitrant countries" that deny or delay accepting their citizens who have been ordered deported from the United States.

Signed January 25, 2017

Executive Order 13768

DHS 2/20/17 Implementation Memo

DHS 2/21/17 Fact Sheet

DHS 2/21/17 Q&A

Executive Order 1376

Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

  • Plan, fund, and begin building of southern border wall
  • Expand detention facilities
  • Expand expedited removal program
  • Detention for illegal entry
  • Additional Border Patrol agents
  • Encourage federal-state agreements
  • Tighten parole, asylum, and removal programs

Signed January 25, 2017

Executive Order 13767

DHS

DHS 2/20/17 Implementation Memo

DHS 2/21/17 Fact Sheet

DHS 2/21/17 Q&A

American Immigration Council

Fact Sheet - Summary of EO 13767

Fact Sheet - Primer on Expedited Removal

Practice Advisory - Expedited Removal: What has Changed Since EO 13767