Washington, D.C., April 20, 2020: President Trump by Twitter announced his intention to adopt an executive order that temporarily suspends all immigration to the United States. Observers expect the executive order to be signed on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
If signed, and if as described, the executive order would mark the most sweeping restrictions on immigration in the U.S. during the pandemic, which has already led to orders blocking asylum-seekers and restricting travel from foreigners who have recently spent time in countries suffering from a coronavirus outbreak.
At the same time, however, the federal government has recently sought to ease the visa process for foreign agricultural workers and foreign doctors to assist the U.S. during the pandemic.
Trump’s Twitter announcement comes hours after his administration extended orders for 30 days that have closed off the U.S. borders to nonessential travel and blocked all migrants who enter the U.S. without legal documentation, including asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children.
In a notice also posted Monday, Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he will extend to May 20 his initial order calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to turn away all migrants who arrive at or cross a U.S. border without proper legal documentation.
The President ostensibly is using this measure to bolster hiring of U.S. workers during the significant slow-down in the U.S. economy caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Roughly 22 million U.S. workers have filed for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. No further details of this initiative are available at present.
Starting March 20 , 2020, the U.S. temporarily closed all U.S. Consulate abroad for all visa processing. This prevents any person from scheduling a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate abroad except for certain farm workers and emergency situations. Thus, at the time of the new executive order, U.S. Consulates were already suspending most visa processing.
The new executive order may broaden that impact to include USCIS processing within the U.S. of any visas – though no details are available because the only pronouncement from the White House has been the President’s Tweet.
In 2019, the State Department issued approximately 460,000 immigrant visas last year (i.e., green cards), and USCIS processed nearly 580,000 green card approvals for foreigners who applied for permanent residency within the U.S.
We will provide further updates when they become available.
This update was provided by our recommended immigration attorneys; I.A. Donoso and Associates.
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