President Trump signed an Executive Order banning the entry of prospective green card holders into the US for the next 60 days. In the spirit of protecting American jobs, all immigration for new family-based and employment-based green card holders will be temporarily suspended.
President Trump had indicated this via a tweet on April 21, 2020. He formalized this by signing an Executive Order putting this into effect starting midnight tonight, April 23, 2020 for the next 60 days. While applicable to incoming immigrants, especially new green card holders, the Executive order mentions evaluating this order at the end of the 60 days and extending it to another month depending upon the economic conditions of the country.
Over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. By preventing the entry of new permanent residents into the US, the US government intends “to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”
Executive Order Impacts Green Card Holders
The immigration ban is going to affect Family-based green card holders the most since they are the biggest category of green card recipients. 2019 saw 462,422 family based green cards issued. The others who will be impacted by this include –
- New Green Card holders who are currently outside of the US and and coming in on an immigrant visa.
- Immediate relatives of US citizens applying for family based green cards
- Green Card holders who are outside of the country and do not possess all required travel documents like Form I-131, Re-entry Permit
- Those green card holders who require an advance parole to enter the US.
- Green Card holders who have been outside the US for over a year and need Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes.
- Those applying for PERM or LCA’s from outside the US
- Applicants adjusting their status through consular processing
- Applications for Diversity Lottery
Executive Order Does Not Impact H-1B Visa Holders…and Other Non-Immigrants
The 60-day executive order banning immigration into the US does not include non-immigrants on temporary work visas. The immigration ban exempts the following –
- Legal Permanent Residents residing in the US
- B2 visitor visa holders and future applicants
- Spouse and children of US citizens
- EB-5 visa holders and prospective applicants
- Anyone adjusting their status
- H-1B extensions
- I-140 applications
- L1-A and L1-B visa holders and applicants
- F1 student visas
- OPT students
Section 6 of the Executive Order does mention that the Department of Labor should evaluate the all non-immigrant visas in the next 30 days to ensure that they are not impacting the employment of US workers.
With the 2021 H-1B lottery cap scheduled for June 30, 2020, it will be worth noting that USCIS may potentially postpone the lottery for a later date if DOL decides to prioritize domestic employment. USCIS recently announced that with the USCIS offices closed across the country, the data entry of submitted H-1B petitions has been delayed until May 1, 2020. The selected petitions have until June 30, 2020 to submit a detailed H1-B petition for their prospective beneficiary for the final round of lottery selection.