On April 22 of 2020, President Trump signed an executive order that stops the issuance of green cards for 60 days, due to COVID-19. The president provided the rationale that American citizens should not have to compete with foreign workers in a time when so many have lost their jobs. He also included the fact that he may possibly extend this order depending on the circumstances after the original 60 days are complete.
The order applies only to immigrants currently attempting to permanently relocate in the United States, not to immigrants that are already living in the U.S. In addition, EB-5 investors, medical professionals, U.S. military families, Special Immigrant Visa recipients from Iraq and Afghanistan, and immigrants whose entry into the U.S. would advance U.S. enforcement efforts or national interest are exempt from the ban. Asylum seekers and those with refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection provided by the Convention Against Torture are exempt as well. Business groups opposed the executive order, resulting in the issuance of visas for temporary laborers in health care, agriculture, and technology industries, for example. Students, tourists, and religious workers also qualify for exemption.
Immediate family members of U.S. citizens are another group that qualify for exemptions. However, families of lawful residents in the United States are not exempt, and are thus barred from entering. Adult children, parents, or siblings of citizens are another group not included in the exemptions.
Besides the executive order, the President’s administration has begun to put resettlement requests from refugees on hold, denied asylum requests at the borders, and shut down consular processing for visa applications. They have also halted the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which awarded green cards. Advocates are currently arguing and fighting against the order claiming it is an overreach of presidential power.
If you have any questions regarding the President’s executive order, please reach out to us via phone or email. Even though our office is still closed, we are here to help you.
Ink, Social. “President Trump Issues Executive Order Temporarily Halting the Issuance of Green Cards.” The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), 23 Apr. 2020, cmsny.org/president-trump-covid-executive-order/.