On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” The proclamation extends an April order to limit the entry of many immigrants, with exceptions, and amends it to include certain nonimmigrant workers.
Below are highlights of the new proclamation:
Who Is Included?
The June proclamation continues Proclamation 10014, issued in April 2020, and amends it to suspend and limit the entry of certain nonimmigrants outside of the United States with:
- H-1B or H-2B visas, and those accompanying or following to join them;
- J visas for those participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs, and those accompanying or following to join them;
- L visas, and those accompanying or following to join them.
The proclamation states that the suspension and limitation on entry applies only to those who are (1) outside of the United States on the effective date of the proclamation, (2) do not have a nonimmigrant visa valid on the effective date, and (3) do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) valid on the effective date or issued on any date thereafter that permits the person to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
The proclamation also calls for “additional measures.” For example, among other things, the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is directed to “consider promulgating regulations or take other appropriate action to ensure that the presence in the United States of aliens who have been admitted or otherwise provided a benefit, or who are seeking admission or a benefit pursuant to an EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa, do not disadvantage United States workers.” The Secretary of Labor is also directed to undertake investigations, as appropriate.
Who Is Exempt?
There are several exemptions. For example, the proclamation does not apply to lawful permanent residents, spouses or children of U.S. citizens, those seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain, and those whose entry is determined to be in the national interest, among others.
The proclamation calls for establishment of standards to define categories of those excluded from the suspension, such as those critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; those involved with the provision of medical care to individuals with COVID-19 who are currently hospitalized; those involved with the provision of medical research in U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or those necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
The proclamation also notes that it does not limit the ability of a person to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
For How Long?
The proclamation expires on December 31, 2020, and “may be continued as necessary.” It calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, to periodically “recommend any modifications as may be necessary.”
Since travel and work are already severely curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the proclamation may not have a major effect in the short term. It is unclear what additional measures may be forthcoming or whether these restrictions will be extended.
- Presidential Proclamation (June 22, 2020), https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/
- Presidential Proclamation (April 22, 2020), https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/
- Reuters, “Trump to Suspend H-1B Work Visas and Others Through End of Year,” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-workers/trump-to-suspend-h-1b-work-visas-and-others-through-end-of-year-idUSKBN23T2ZW?il=0
Contact your WR attorney for advice in specific situations.