UPDATE April 22, 2020 President Trump this evening signed an executive order banning the issuance of green cards to foreign nationals who are outside of the country. The order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020. The order excludes persons in the U.S. who are adjusting their status. If you have filed or are filing an adjustment of status, then you are exempt from the ban. The order also does not restrict the filing of NIW, OPR or EB1 petitions. Although the ban targets individuals who are out of the country, the ban excluded those who are seeking to enter through the National Interest or those who are medical professionals or are seeking to perform medical research. Trump indicated that he may modify the order in the future so we will monitor the situation closely and update again if there are any changes. BOTTOM LINE: THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON ANY OF OUR CLIENTS.
Here is a list of the exceptions to the ban:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) 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;
(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
(v) 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;
(vi) 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;
(vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
(viii) 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
(ix) 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.
UPDATE: April 21, 2020 President Trump walked back the extent of the ban suggested by his prior tweet. President Trump stated in his briefing that the immigration ban would only be for 60 days and would only target green card applications. From what we can tell, the green card applications that he is referring to would be limited to people residing outside of the U.S. We will update again once we learn more.
Late on April 20, 2020, President Trump tweeted, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
As of this morning, Whitehouse officials were working on a draft of an executive order, with the expectation that it would be ready for Trump’s signature by the end of the week. Right now, it is just speculation as to what the order will state and what restrictions will be put in place. However, the order is expected to be temporary.
While the executive order is likely to issue a temporary ban on the issuance of new visas, it most likely will not prohibit the submission of new applications within the United States or the processing of NIW, OPR or EB1A petitions. We are continuing to work hard to prepare and file our client’s cases with the USCIS. We are hopeful that the Adjustment of Status cases already on file prior to the executive order will continue to be processed.
We will update this blog as more news becomes available.