Published June 23, 2020
By: Richard Hanus, Esq.
1. The Administration says it is looking to protect or create American jobs with the latest immigration ban and eventually seek to establish a merit based immigration system. But a close look at the Administration’s actions for the past 3+ years will reveal a methodical strategy to thwart practically every process available for individuals and companies to utilize established immigration laws. With the latest Immigration Ban/Executive Orders and other measures implemented since this Administration took office, the U.S. has sent an unmistakable signal to the world’s most talented students, future business and scientific leaders and foreign corporations looking to do business in the U.S. – we don’t want you. The U.S. has always been a country made up of immigrants and a go to location for the world’s best and brightest to maximize their potential and contributions to society. They say its latest actions are about the pandemic and resulting economic fallout, but overall this Administration – as evidenced by a consistent set of policies and approaches – sees legal immigration as a negative for our nation. Executive Orders like yesterday’s send a clear message to the world that companies and prospective talented contributors seeking to land in the U.S. should go elsewhere.
2. On June 22, 2020, President Trump ceremoniously unveiled his Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Individuals Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak. This comes 60 days after the highly sensational roll out of the original immigration ban, Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During Economic Recovery Following the Covid-19 Outbreak. With this latest proclamation, the President announced an extension of most of the same provisions already covered by the first order, but through the end of the year. The ban mainly relates to foreign nationals, and dependent family members, outside the U.S. seeking to enter the U.S. to work as professionals, academics, researchers, highly specialized workers, and manager/executives of multinational corporations on H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visas. Also included in the ban are foreign nationals seeking to work in the U.S. on J-1 visas – a visa commonly used by those seeking to participate in a medical residency, cultural exchange, summer resort/camp work or au pair program. Finally, individuals outside the U.S. awaiting to join U.S. family members based on a family based petition will also be banned, although spouses and young children of U.S. citizens are exempt.
3. Foreign nationals who will be working in certain aspects of the healthcare and food industries are exempt from the extended ban, as are other individuals making contributions deemed to be in the “national interest”.
4. Based on the language of the newly announced ban – the following categories of immigrants are NOT impacted: A) pending family and employment permanent resident applicants now in the U.S. and awaiting processing, B) current lawful permanent residents – and with no restrictions for applying for U.S. citizenship, C) current temporary visa holders, including visitors, students and H-1B and other workers. For these non-citizens, the status quo remains including for future and currently pending applicants for adjustment of status (permanent green card) all of whom should expect no changes in their outlook for processing. HOWEVER, foreign nationals seeking to depart the U.S. and who will require new U.S. visas in their passports to reenter are cautioned against traveling internationally at this time.
5. The new EO directs the Secretary of Labor to consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security to consider implementing additional restrictions for companies seeking to facilitate H-1B work visas and green cards for their professional or highly specialized workers, including requiring companies to be penalized and pay prospective foreign workers a wage far exceeding the prevailing wage U.S. workers in similar positions currently earn.
6. With many seeing this latest EO Immigration Ban as an executive branch overreach into areas already covered by existing immigration legislation on the books, we can expect many lawsuits to block further implementation. Further, as this immigration ban expires at the end of the year, expect this Administration – if still in office – to seek an even greater expansion of this ban’s reach and no matter the state of our economy.
PUBLISHED June 23, 2020– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2020, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois