The president’s Proclamation on April 22 has created confusion and concern among our immigrant and refugee community. Managing Attorney Chiara St. Pierre has prepared a quick analysis to help IINE staff and clients determine the immediate impact – if any – this action will have on them.
1) Effective Date: The proclamation is effective April 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST. Valid for 60 days (through June 22, 2020) and can be extended. If it is extended, it must be announced no later than 50 days from the effective date (June 12, 2020).
2) Who Does it Apply To: The proclamation suspends entry of foreign nationals outside the United States seeking to enter the United States as immigrants. If a foreign national has a valid immigrant visa or travel document as of April 23, 2020 they are ok and will be able to enter. This proclamation does not impact people with refugee or asylee status.
3) Exempted Categories: There are several categories of immigrants exempted from this suspension. The category most pertinent to IINE’s daily work is the SIV category for Iraqis and Afghans. Additional exemptions include but are not limited to:
- Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)
- Healthcare Workers
- EB-5s (Investor Visa holders)
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Children (under 21) of U.S. citizens or potential adoptees
- Special Interest Visa holders (SI or SQ classifications only)
- Members of U.S. Armed Forces
- National Interest
4) Additional Concerns: A few items in this proclamation are concerning:
- Discretion: Consular Officers will have discretion to determine if a foreign national falls into an exempted category. Consular Officers already have broad discretion and it seems odd to include this unless the administration wants to make certain it has the ultimate power to make the final decision regarding exempted status- even if already recognized by USCIS or the U.S. Military.
- Review of Nonimmigrant visas: While nonimmigrants are not included in this proclamation, there is a clause that makes clear Trump plans to take action, and within the next 30 days requires DHS and DOL and the State Department to review programs and make recommendations.
- Severability Clause: If a court invalidates a portion of this proclamation, the rest of the proclamation remains valid.
Immigrants currently living in New England are urged to contact IINE with questions regarding this proclamation, or any other immigration-related questions.