Trump Administration Further Limits Immigration During Coronavirus Pandemic

There are now new and increased limitations on green card-based immigration due to a recently signed executive order by President Donald Trump. The order – which was signed on April 22nd, 2020 and went into effect the next day – makes it more difficult for immigrants from any country to enter the United States while sponsored by a family member or employer. According to the Trump Administration, the restrictions are designed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic.

Who is Affected by the New Immigration Ban?

The executive order applies to anyone who was not in the United States when it went into effect and who also does not have a valid immigration visa or another immigration documentation which would permit them to enter the country under special circumstances. At first glance, the executive order appears quite restrictive, blocking almost anyone from coming to the United States for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a prime global concern. However, there are numerous gaps in the executive order which allow immigrants under various categories to still enter the country.

The executive order does NOT place any limitations on:

  • Lawful permanent residents with valid green cards;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens, regardless of length of marriage;
  • Children of U.S. citizens, unless those children are older than 21;
  • Adopted children of U.S. citizens;
  • Investors using an EB-5 visa to invest in a new or growing business; and
  • Anyone approved per the Department of Homeland Security’s discretion.

Interestingly, the new restrictions allow workers in any profession related to the containment and elimination of the coronavirus to enter the country as freely as they would under normal circumstances. For example, doctors, nurses, and medical researchers can still use an employer’s sponsorship to enter and remain in the country, assuming that they will fight the spread of COVID-19 or care for patients with the virus. The spouses and minor children of such medical professionals can also accompany them to the United States.

Will the Restrictions End Soon?

The executive order only allows the new immigration restrictions to be in effect for 60 days. However, there is no promise of that being a definitive end date.

Language within the executive order allows for it to be reviewed at the 60-day mark. At that point, the Trump Administration can either decide to lift the restrictions or renew them for an indefinite period of time, be it another 60 days, shorter than that, or much longer. It is probable that the restrictions will be used for as long as the coronavirus continues to be a global threat. That being said, critics of the Trump Administration worry that the executive order will last beyond the lifting of any quarantine guidelines as a means to limit immigrant rights, which has been a foundational premise of the presidency.

If you would like to know more about the immigration restrictions put into place by the newly signed executive order, you can click here to read a full article from CNN Politics. Do you live in Illinois and need help understanding your rights as an immigrant, especially now that further restrictions have been implemented? Call (312) 561-3735 and connect with Takhsh Law, PC in Evanston. We are using remote technologies during the coronavirus pandemic to accept new immigration cases and continue assisting existing clients.

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