On April 20, 2020, President Trump tweeted that he would be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States. On April 22, 2020, he signed the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the US Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak (Proclamation), which temporarily suspends the entry of immigrants to the United States. A detailed analysis of the Proclamation appears below.
The Proclamation states that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand. It further explains that lawful permanent residents, once admitted, are immediately eligible to compete with American workers for almost any job, in any sector of the economy.
The Proclamation also states that the vast majority of immigrant visa categories do not require employers to account for displacement of United States workers. While some employment-based visas contain a labor certification requirement, because the issuance of the alien’s immigrant visa occurs long after the labor certification process is completed, the labor certification process cannot adequately capture the status of the labor market today.
The Proclamation states that the entry of aliens as immigrants (i.e., permanent residents) is suspended. However, this suspension only applies to aliens who:
In other words, the following individuals should not be affected by the Proclamation:
The Proclamation also states that it will not apply to the following individuals:
In other words, the Proclamation does not affect: (a) existing lawful permanent residents, (b) immigrants who will enter the United States as healthcare professionals, medical researchers, or other essential workers who will alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, (c) immigrant investors, and (d) immediate relatives of United States citizens.
Effective date and duration The Proclamation took effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 23, 2020, and will remain in effect for 60 days (until June 22, 2020) unless extended. The Proclamation states that, no later than 50 days from its effective date (June 12, 2020), the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, shall recommend whether President Trump should continue or modify the Proclamation.
Although the Proclamation does not affect nonimmigrants (i.e., workers, students, etc.), it states that, within 30 days of its effective date, the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will review nonimmigrant programs and recommend other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy, and ensure the prioritization, hiring and employment of United States workers. In other words, it is likely that a second Presidential Proclamation suspending or limiting the entry of nonimmigrants will be signed within the next 30 days.
For more information, please contact Henry J. Chang of Dentons’ Immigration group.