On April 22nd, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled, “Proclamation suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak”. This Executive Proclamation has a significant impact on those individuals who are intending to immigrate to the United States in the near future. Section 1 states, “The entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” Section 2 of the Proclamation states, “(a)The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall apply only to aliens who: (i) are outside the United states on the effective date of this proclamation; (ii) do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and (iii) 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) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.”
There are, however, exceptions and subsection (b) of section 2 of the proclamation states, “The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to (i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States; (ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees; any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien; (iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program; (iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen; (v) any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications; (vi) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; (vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces; (viii) any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or (ix) 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.” *
Section 4 states the Proclamation shall expire “60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether I should continue or modify this proclamation.” Section 5 states, “This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020.”
The biggest class of individuals affected are those outside the of United States on April 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. waiting for their immigrant visa and those who are outside the United States on April 23, 2020 at 11:59 p. m. and do not have an immigrant that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation. This clearly has serious consequences for many Jamaicans and people of the Caribbean who were in line to get their immigrant visa. However, please note that this decree is effective for 60 days. While it can be extended by the President, it may not be.
These are interesting and fast-changing times. These are very uncertain times. Many of you will have questions. Do not make important immigration decisions before consulting a qualified immigration attorney. I may be contacted as follows: via telephone at (305) 648-3909 or via email at [email protected] for a confidential consultation.
* In this article I have quoted extensively, word for word, from the April 22, Presidential Proclamation.
About the Author
Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney admitted to practice law in the state of Florida. He was raised in St. Mary Jamaica, near Highgate. He completed his high school education at the Priory School in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Miami School of Law and graduated with his law degree in 1985. He has been practicing law and immigration law for over twenty-five years. He is well-seasoned in all aspects of immigration law, including family petitions, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, business visas, investor visas, waivers from removal and unlawful presence, naturalization applications, and removal defense. He may be contacted at 305 648 3909 or via e-mail, at [email protected] He welcomes the chance to be of service regarding your US immigration cases and matters.