At 10:06 pm on April 20, 2020, President Trump announced on Twitter his intention to sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.” According to Trump, the order would slow the spread of coronavirus, and protect American workers from foreign competition. While the White House has not released any additional details, several news outlets report that the order could bar the provision of new green cards and work visas for an unspecified time. Any such order will inevitably face significant legal challenges.
Until more information becomes available, we urge all foreign nationals currently in the U.S. to remain in the country.
The Trump administration previously restricted travel to the U.S. through a series of so-called Travel Bans, which targeted nationals from several Muslim majority countries. While the Travel Bans faced significant legal challenges, the version that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court included significant carve outs. For example, it did not apply to those currently in the U.S., those holding valid visas to enter the U.S., or those with a bona fide ‘reliance interest’ in entering the U.S., such as ongoing studies or employment, or a close relative living in the U.S. The administration may consider similar carve outs for this order to increase the chances that this order passes judicial muster. Current COVID-19-related travel limits have allowed for entry by medical personnel and other essential workers.
We will continue to update as more information becomes available.