On Wednesday April 22, 2020, President Trump signed his latest executive order: Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S, Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.
In the order, the President explained that social distancing, while it is a mitigating strategy to the containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, has taken a toll on the United States Economy. 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. With an environment of high domestic unemployment and a depressed labor market, the President fears that foreign workers will impact the United States labor market. The President is especially mindful of immigrants taking jobs away from African Americans, other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled because this group of American workers are likely to bear the burden of excess labor supply disproportionately.
The President also argues that now is not the time to admit new immigrants to the United States as there is no way of protecting Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new green card holders. President Trump also argues that the health care system should prioritize Americans and existing immigrants and should not have to take on new immigrants.
The Executive Order bans entry into the United States of persons that the President finds to be “detrimental” to the interest of the United States for the next 60 days. The temporary suspension shall apply to immigrants who are currently outside of the United State and do not have a green card that is valid.
The Suspension does NOT apply to the following immigrants:
Current green card holders;
Immigrants applying for adjustment of status in the United States;
An alien seeking to enter the US as a green holder as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional or anyone entering the United States to combat the spread of COVID-19 will not be impacted by this order;
EB5, immigrant investors;
Immigrant spouses of United States citizens;
Children under the age of 21 of United States citizens;
Any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objections;
Any member of the United States Armed Forces and spouses and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
An alien seeking to the enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa,
Asylum seekers; and
Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest.
The order will automatically expire 60 days from April 23, 2020. However, it may be modified or continued as necessary. The President calls on the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Labor to make recommendations as to whether the suspension should continue or be modified.
This Executive Order does not apply to nonimmigrant programs. The President calls on the Secretary of Labor, Homeland Security, and Labor to make recommendations as to what measures the President should take to safeguard American workers from non-immigrants (immigrants coming to the United States with a temporary visa status). This means that immigrants coming to the United States using a tourist visa or work visa are not affected by the current version of the President’s Executive Order. However, on March 20, 2020 the State Department announced that in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, they would temporarily suspend routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates. Travel restrictions have also been put in place by the United States and other countries currently limiting international travel due to the virus.
The group of people who will not be able to come to the United States from abroad with a green card includes parents, siblings, and adult children of United States Citizens, relatives of green card holders, and those who are entering with their green cards due to an employment-based petition. Some have estimated that about 33% of people eligible to enter the United States with a green card will be temporarily barred from doing so.