Since April 23rd, a large group of foreigners have been unable to enter the United States because of a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump. Days before the proclamation, Trump posted Twitter updates hinting at his intentions to completely “close off all borders” for the purpose of giving unemployed Americans a chance to regain jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the scope of the proclamation ended up being narrower.
Although some news media outlets reported on the proclamation as being a matter of “no green cards being issued for 60 days,” the reality is that many foreigners who sought to apply for immigration benefits have been effectively barred from entering the U.S. The suspension of entry applies to foreigners who weren’t in the U.S. on April 22nd and don’t have valid immigrant visas or permits to enter the country.
It should be noted that foreigners who already have green cards aren’t affected by this suspension. The same applies to individuals who have been granted immigrant or non-immigrant visas. Exceptions to the proclamation include:
- EB-5 visa applicants
- Individuals who seek special immigrant status based on their service to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq
- Healthcare professionals who apply for immigrant status for the purpose of mitigating the coronavirus pandemic—this exception extends to their spouses and children
- Foreigners seeking asylum
- Individuals who are married to American citizens
In addition to the suspensions above, Trump had already suspended issuance of visas at U.S. embassies and consulates. Legal analysts and White House insiders have explained Trump initially wanted a more prohibitive proclamation, which explains why a few paragraphs direct the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to review work visa programs such as H-1B. It’s very possible these will be reduced or restricted in the future if the U.S. unemployment rate remains at high levels. For foreigners in Southern California, navigating the immigration process is becoming increasingly difficult, which is why it’s crucial to select the best San Diego immigration lawyer.
Non-immigrant visa categories for tourism and business purposes haven’t been affected by the proclamation. However, they were previously impacted by a State Department order to suspend operations abroad. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has denounced the proclamation as being irrational in the sense that it impacts American families who wish to sponsor foreign relatives. At a time when the U.S. is suffering the highest coronavirus infection and mortality rates, this proclamation could prevent foreigners from caring for sick relatives in the U.S.
One of the many problems legal analysts see with this proclamation is that similar anti-immigration efforts implemented in the past ended up being misinterpreted or wrongly enforced by staff members at Homeland Security, Immigration and Naturalization Services, and the State Department. As a result, many immigrants were denied entry despite being admissible. Should you experience difficulties entering the U.S. or retaining your legal status because of this proclamation, you should contact an immigration law firm to discuss the situation and examine your options.
If you have questions about the current status of immigration policy and how you may be affected, contact trusted immigration attorneys in San Diego who have vast experience with every aspect of immigration law. KS Visa Law is the firm to turn to when you need the most up-to-date information about immigration law. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.