23 Jun President Signs Proclamation to Temporarily Suspend Permanent and Temporary Immigration to the United States for Remainder of 2020
Washington, D.C., June 22, 2020: Citing the COVID-19 pandemic and need to protect American jobs, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation on Monday which suspends certain permanent immigration and temporary immigration to the United States for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year.
The full text of the Proclamation can be found here : www.whitehouse.gov.
The proclamation becomes effective on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 12:01 AM (EST) and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020 and may be continued or modified as necessary.
This Proclamation immediately extends until December 31, 2020 the Presidential Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020 which suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the United States. This proclamation contained several exemptions, including EB-5 investors, certain healthcare workers, and family members of U.S. citizens. A summary of this proclamation can be found on our website.
The new proclamation suspends the issuance of temporary visas for those seeking to enter the U.S. pursuant to an:
- H-1B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
- H-2B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
- J visa, to the extent the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them; and
- L visa, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them.
The Proclamation will only apply to an individual identified above if they are:
- Outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;
- Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation; and
- Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.
The proclamation does not apply to individuals who are already working in the U.S. in valid H-1B or L-1 status. Likewise, the proclamation does not apply to individuals pursuing an extension of their H-1B or L-1 status in the U.S. or those seeking a change of status in the U.S. from another temporary visa status (such as F-1) to H-1B or L-1 status.
The proclamation contains several exemptions, including:
- lawful permanent residents;
- spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
- any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
- any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
In terms of defining the “national interest exemption” the Proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to determine standards for those to whom such an exemption would be available, including any individuals who:
- are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
- are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
- are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
- are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
- are children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this proclamation or Proclamation 10014.
The Proclamation confirms that U.S. Consular Officers have complete discretion to determine whether an individual qualifies for one of the exemptions listed above.
Within 30 days of this Proclamation’s effective date, and every 60 days after, while it and Proclamation 10014 are in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and State will make a determination as to any need to modify either proclamation.
The Proclamation also discusses additional measures which are to be considered and implemented by U.S. agencies:
- Issue regulations or take additional actions to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers.
- Undertake investigations of Labor Condition Application (LCA) violations pursuant to INA 212(n)(G)(i).
- Consider issuing regulations or other actions concerning the allocation of visas and ensuring that the presence of H-1B workers in the United States does not negatively affect U.S. workers. Media outlets have reported that this could include prioritizing the highest paid H-1B workers in the numerical cap.
- Ensure that an individual will not be able to apply for a visa or admission to the United States until they have completed biometrics, including photographs, signatures, and fingerprints; and
- Take steps, consistent with law, to prevent certain individuals who have final orders of removal; who are inadmissible or deportable from the U.S.; have been arrested for, charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, from being able to work in the United States.
As was the case with original proclamation issued in April of 2020, the current proclamation is seen by many as an effort by the President to focus attention away from COVID-19-related difficulties and frame immigration restrictions as an economic necessity to protect American jobs before the upcoming election in November.
We will continue to report on updates to this proclamation and any details on future policies as information is announced.
Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., will continue to report on developments regarding the immigration law and policy through our news section of donosolaw.com.