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BREAKING: Trump To Suspend Work Visas Through 2020

After days of rumors and anxiety, Trump dropped another immigration-related Executive Order today suspending the entry of nonimmigrants to the United States. An extension and expansion of his previous Executive Order from back in April barring certain categories of greencard holders, this EO suspends the entry of most H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visa holders into the United States through the end of the calendar year, December 31, 2020. The proclamation does not affect those already inside the United States.

 

As before, Trump’s proclamation also includes several key exceptions, including current greencard holders, spouses of U.S. citizens, children (under 21) of U.S. citizens, and other enumerated and discretionary classifications. And once again, the fact that embassies and consulates are shut down across the world and neither conducting visa interviews nor issuing visas, the practical effect of the proclamation remains somewhat limited. However, the language of the EO contains several provisions concerning the promulgation of rules affecting both immigrant and nonimmigrant categories alike. We will have to see what this evil administration comes up with next. More thoughts to follow.

 

Text of the Executive Order:

 

Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak

 Issued on: June 22, 2020

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has significantly disrupted Americans’ livelihoods.  Since March 2020, United States businesses and their workers have faced extensive disruptions while undertaking certain public health measures necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  The overall unemployment rate in the United States nearly quadrupled between February and May of 2020 — producing some of the most extreme unemployment ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  While the May rate of 13.3 percent reflects a marked decline from April, millions of Americans remain out of work.In Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020 (Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak), I determined that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand.  Consequently, I suspended, for a period of 60 days, the entry of aliens as immigrants, subject to certain exceptions.  As I noted, lawful permanent residents, once admitted pursuant to immigrant visas, are granted “open-market” employment authorization documents, allowing them immediate eligibility to compete for almost any job, in any sector of the economy.  Given that 60 days is an insufficient time period for the United States labor market, still stalled with partial social distancing measures, to rebalance, and given the lack of sufficient alternative means to protect unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new lawful permanent residents, the considerations present in Proclamation 10014 remain.

In addition, pursuant to Proclamation 10014, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security reviewed nonimmigrant programs and found that the present admission of workers within several nonimmigrant visa categories also poses a risk of displacing and disadvantaging United States workers during the current recovery.

American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work.  Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers.  Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy.  But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.

For example, between February and April of 2020, more than 17 million United States jobs were lost in industries in which employers are seeking to fill worker positions tied to H-2B nonimmigrant visas.  During this same period, more than 20 million United States workers lost their jobs in key industries where employers are currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill positions.  Also, the May unemployment rate for young Americans, who compete with certain J nonimmigrant visa applicants, has been particularly high — 29.9 percent for 16 19 year olds, and 23.2 percent for the 20-24 year old group.  The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

As I described in Proclamation 10014, excess labor supply is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment — those who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction.  In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and Americans with disabilities.

In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor.  Historically, when recovering from economic shocks that cause significant contractions in productivity, recoveries in employment lag behind improvements in economic activity.  This predictive outcome demonstrates that, assuming the conclusion of the economic contraction, the Unites States economy will likely require several months to return to pre-contraction economic output, and additional months to restore stable labor demand.  In light of the above, I have determined that the entry, through December 31, 2020, of certain aliens as immigrants and nonimmigrants would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a)) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of Proclamation 10014, except as provided in section 2 of Proclamation 10014, and persons described in section 2 of this proclamation, except as provided for in section 3 of this proclamation, would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions.  I therefore hereby proclaim the following:

Section 1.  Continuation of Proclamation 10014.  (a)  Section 4 of Proclamation 10014 is amended to read as follows:

Sec4.  Termination.  This proclamation shall expire on December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary.  Within 30 days of June 24, 2020, and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend any modifications as may be necessary.”

(b)  This section shall be effective immediately.

Sec2.  Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  The entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas is hereby suspended and limited, subject to section 3 of this proclamation:

(a)  an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;

(b)  a J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien; and

(c)  an L visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.

Sec3.  Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  (a)  The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall apply only to any alien who:

(i)    is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii)   does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii)  does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

(b)  The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:

(i)    any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

(ii)   any alien who is the spouse or child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), of a United States citizen;

(iii)  any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and

(iv)   any alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Sec4.  Implementation and Enforcement.  (a)  The consular officer shall determine, in his or her discretion, whether a nonimmigrant has established his or her eligibility for an exception in section 3(b) of this proclamation.  The Secretary of State shall implement this proclamation as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Labor, may establish in the Secretary of State’s discretion.  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretion.

(i)   The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish standards to define categories of aliens covered by section 3(b)(iv) of this proclamation, including those that:  are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall exercise the authority under section 3(b)(iv) of this proclamation and section 2(b)(iv) of Proclamation 10014 to exempt alien children who would as a result of the suspension in section 2 of this proclamation or the suspension in section 1 of Proclamation 10014 age out of eligibility for a visa.

(ii)  Aliens covered by section 3(b)(iv) of this proclamation, under the standards established in section 4(a)(i) of this proclamation, shall be identified by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, in his or her sole discretion.

(b)  An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.

(c)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws of the United States.

Sec5.  Additional Measures.  (a)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall, as necessary, provide guidance to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security for implementing measures that could reduce the risk that aliens seeking admission or entry to the United States may introduce, transmit, or spread SARS-CoV-2 within the United States.

(b)  The Secretary of Labor shall, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, 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 does not disadvantage United States workers in violation of section 212(a)(5)(A) or (n)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(A) or (n)(1)).  The Secretary of Labor shall also undertake, as appropriate, investigations pursuant to section 212(n)(2)(G)(i) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(G)(i)).

(c)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall:

(i)    take appropriate action, consistent with applicable law, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide that an alien should not be eligible to apply for a visa or for admission or entry into the United States or other benefit until such alien has been registered with biographical and biometric information, including but not limited to photographs, signatures, and fingerprints;

(ii)   take appropriate and necessary steps, consistent with applicable law, to prevent certain aliens who have final orders of removal; who are inadmissible or deportable from the United States; or who have been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense in the United States, from obtaining eligibility to work in the United States; and

(iii)  as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, consider promulgating regulations or take other appropriate action regarding the efficient allocation of visas pursuant to section 214(g)(3) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(3)) and ensuring that the presence in the United States of H-1B nonimmigrants does not disadvantage United States workers.

Sec6.  Termination.  This proclamation shall expire on December 31, 2020, and may be continued as necessary.  Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend any modifications as may be necessary.

Sec7.  Effective Date.  Except as provided in section 1 of this proclamation, this proclamation is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020.

Sec8.  Severability.  It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the interests of the United States.  Accordingly:

(a)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and

(b)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.

Sec9.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP
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