On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation that suspends entry for 60 days of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, or nonimmigrants (such as students, exchange visitors, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.).

Proclamation of April 22, 2020: Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Initial effective period: 60 days starting 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020.

Read the Proclamation on whitehouse.gov

Summary

General Suspension and Limitation on Entry as a New Immigrant

The Proclamation declares that "entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation." Section 2 then sets forth a significant number of exceptions.

The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, or nonimmigrants (such as students, exchange visitors, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.).

Exceptions under Section 2

First, the Proclamation suspends entry as an immigrant only for individuals who:

  1. were outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation (11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020);
  2. do not have an approved immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date; and
  3. do not have an official travel document (such as a passport or advance parole document, etc.) by the time they seek entry or admission.

Second, the suspension and limitation on entry does not apply to:

  1. any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  2. any alien seeking to enter the United States 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, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
  3. any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
  4. any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
  5. any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  6. any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
  7. any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  8. any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
  9. any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Other Aspects of the Proclamation to Consider

Section 3 clarifies that the proclamation will be enforced by consular officers at the time a covered individual applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, and by immigration inspectors at U.S. ports of entry.

Section 4 sets the initial effective period of the proclamation as 60 days. "This proclamation shall expire 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether I should continue or modify this proclamation."

Section 5 sets the effective date: "This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020."

Section 6 specifies the following additional measures: "Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers."

It is unclear, what, if any, significant measures stemming out of the review mentioned in Section 6 could be implemented outside the normal regulatory process. NAFSA will monitor that, and any litigation that might arise out of the proclamation.