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Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 2020 Regarding Suspension of Entry of Immigrants


By: Vaughn G. T. Cook and Newton J. Chu

On April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation entitled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” (“Proclamation”). The Proclamation is effective beginning Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM Eastern and suspends the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

Expiration: The Proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date (i.e., on June 22, 2020) and may be continued as necessary. Within 50 days from the effective date, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, recommend whether the President should continue or modify the Proclamation

EXEMPTIONS: The Proclamation exempts the following nine (9) categories of people from its application:

  • Lawful permanent residents (aka “green card” holders)
  • Individuals, and their spouses or children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other 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 Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees)
  • Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
  • Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney General, or their respective designees)
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  • Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).

The determination of whether an individual falls within one of the exempted categories listed above is within the discretion of the U.S. consular officer considering the request for exemption.

It is important to note that nonimmigrant visa holders are NOT included in the Proclamation. This includes visitors on B-1 or B-2 visas and temporary work visa categories such as H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, TN, E-1, E-2, E-3, O, P and R. It also does NOT affect students on F or M visas or exchange visitors on J visas. However, the Proclamation does leave the door open to review of these nonimmigrant visa programs by requiring that, within 30 days of the effective date, the U.S. Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and recommend to the President other appropriate measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.

Asylum seekers are not included in the ban. The Proclamation states that it does not limit the ability of individuals to apply for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture. Additionally, individuals who circumvent the application of this Proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation or illegal entry will be prioritized for removal.

If you have any questions regarding the Proclamation or immigration law in general, please call (808) 961-0406 to set up a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys Vaughn G. T. Cook or Newton J. Chu.

Link to Proclamation:

About the immigration law practice at Torkildson, Katz Hetherington, Harris & Knorek

Business has become global. In order to remain competitive, more Hawaii employers hire international workers on a temporary or permanent basis. However, obtaining proper work visas and complying with all applicable immigration laws can be complicated in a post-9/11 world where foreign nationals are subject to greater scrutiny.

That's why it is imperative that U.S. employers work with experienced lawyers who thoroughly understand the complex requirements of U.S. immigration laws. In Hawaii, companies trust Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek, Attorneys at Law, to address these critical issues. Our immigration lawyers have more than 35 years of experience handling complex labor and employment visa cases for companies doing business in Hawaii. Immigration attorneys Newton J. Chu and Vaughn G.T. Cook are nationally renowned for their work in this field.

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