News & Insights

Trump Suspends Green Cards Due to COVID-19

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, temporarily suspending the issuance of green cards, claiming that this is a necessary step towards protecting the jobs of U.S. workers.

Effective at 11.59 pm on April 23, 2020, this proclamation suspends entry into the U.S. of the following immigrants:

  • Those outside the U.S. as of the effective date of this proclamation;
  • Those without a valid visa as of the effective date of this proclamation;
  • Those without valid official travel documents as of the effective date of this proclamation or issued thereafter.

However, certain immigrants are specifically excluded from the proclamation, which includes the following:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents;
  • EB-5 Investors;
  • Spouses and children of U.S. Citizens; and
  • Individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa, such as a physician, nurse, another healthcare professional, or those seeking to perform medical research or other research intended to help combat COVID-19.

The proclamation does not affect the ability of those who are already in the U.S. to file PERMs/I-140s and I-485s. It also does not affect those currently in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas such as an H-1B, H-4, L-1, etc.

Given the very limited travel options right now and the travel restrictions that are already in place, the order should not have a significant impact.  However, this step shows a willingness of the President to further limit legal immigration in accordance with his campaign promise. Furthermore, although the Order is only valid for 60 days, it leaves open the possibility of an extension.

Although the Order is not as far-reaching as the President indicated in his original tweet the proclamation requires the review of nonimmigrant programs within 30 days to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to stimulate the U.S. economy and prioritize jobs for U.S workers.

As a result, this may be the first step in a series of actions taken by the President to further limit immigration and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the President to appreciate the benefits of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

The Attorneys at PLG will continue to monitor this issue and will provide further updates if necessary.  If you have any questions regarding the above please contact our Senior Immigration Attorney, Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.

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