IABA Statement & Resources on New Immigration Proclamation Restrictions

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On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a new presidential proclamation (“Proclamation”) temporarily suspending the entry of particular categories of immigrants into the United States (“U.S.”). The Proclamation will be effective for 60 days starting at 11:59 pm on April 23, 2020 and can be extended. The purported basis for the new Proclamation is the economic interests of the U.S. However, the new Proclamation primarily impacts family reunification and certain “would-be” lawful permanent residents (“green card holders”), and is part of a larger anti-immigration platform and problematic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is Impacted by the New Proclamation

Subject to some exemptions discussed below, the Proclamation generally prohibits immigrant visas from being issued to non-citizens who:
  1. Are outside of the U.S. on 11:59 pm on April 23, 2020;
  2. Do not have a valid immigrant visa on 11:59 pm on April 23, 2020; and
  3. Do not have an official document (other than a visa) that is valid on 11:59 pm on April 23, 2020 OR issued on any date after April 23, 2020 that permits travel or seeking entry or admission to the U.S.
Further, in addition to certain “would-be” green card holders, the Proclamation also impacts parents, adult children (over 21), and siblings of U.S. citizens who are prevented from unification with their family members in the U.S. Several exemptions do apply, meaning that the Proclamation does not apply to or impact, certain individuals, such as:
  1. Current green card holders;
  2. Spouses and children of U.S. citizens;
  3. Certain medical professionals entering the U.S. on immigrant visa to combat the spread of COVID-19;
  4. EB-5 investors;
  5. Members of the U.S. armed forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. armed forces;
  6. Individuals whose entry would further an important law enforcement objective;
  7. Individuals deemed to be “in the national interest” of the U.S.; and
  8. Asylum seekers and refugees.
For a full list of exemptions, please see the resources listed below. Consular officers will make a determination if an individual or family fits into one of the enumerated exemptions. Notably, the White House used Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) as the legal basis of this new Proclamation. The same section was used to issue the three Travel Bans, Asylum Ban, and Refugee Ban and was a key component in the Trump v. Hawaii decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2018.
As a community that has been deeply impacted by the Travel Ban, we are concerned about the impact of the new Proclamation on family reunification. This policy comes on the heels of several “temporary” executive orders and laws that have slashed legal immigration and have been extended well beyond the anticipated expiration date. The Proclamation represents the latest example of the Trump Administration cutting Congress out of any process for comprehensive immigration policies, and instead using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to unilaterally rewrite our immigration laws.

Advisories & Resources

  • Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak: What You Need to Know, Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, available here.
  • Immigration Ban Community Advisory, Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus and Council on American-Islamic Relations California, available here.
  • Summary of the April 22, 2020 Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak, American Immigration Lawyers Association and American Immigration Council, available here.