On April 22nd, the President signed an executive order effectively preventing people from becoming permanent residents for two months. The ban is intended to limit both the spread of the coronavirus and competition for jobs.
Critics say this will accomplish neither—the U.S. recently surpassed all other areas of the world in number of COVID-19 cases and number of COVID-19 deaths, and employment-based immigration is critical for U.S. employers who can’t find qualified American-born workers.
Who Is Affected by the Ban?
If, at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23rd, you were outside of the U.S. and did not have travel authorization, you will not be able to obtain a green card and enter the U.S. during the 60-day immigration ban. The ban restricts both family-based and employment-based immigration, but it does not affect nonimmigrant cases (i.e. those applying for or holding temporary visas).
Per the executive order, a green card holder cannot sponsor a family member, and an employer cannot sponsor a foreign worker unless the prospective permanent resident is:
- Advancing national interests or law enforcement objectives
- Performing work that is essential to combating COVID-19 (e.g. medical research, healthcare, etc.)
- The spouse or child of someone performing COVID-19-essential work
These are not the only exceptions. You may be unaffected by the ban if you are:
- An asylum seeker or refugee
- A member of the U.S. Armed Forces (or their spouse/child)
- An immigrant investor applicant pursuant to the EB-5 visa
- A Special Immigrant visa applicant (or their spouse/child)
- The spouse, child (under 21), or prospective adoptee (via an IR-4 or IH-4 visa) of a U.S. citizen
After 30 days, the administration intends to reevaluate the situation and determine whether to include nonimmigrants in the ban. After 60 days, they may decide to extend it, but no information is currently available about what this decision will be or what could influence it.
In the meantime, our team at the Law Office of Kelli Y. Allen, PLLC strongly urges you to get in touch with us if you have been affected by this executive order. The federal government has severely restricted immigration in recent years and, most dramatically, in the past few weeks. We have years of experience navigating the legal system amidst rapidly changing circumstances, and we want to help you accomplish your immigration goals as soon as possible.
We know your immigration matter is critical for your future wellbeing, and we will treat it with the urgency it requires.
While we are conducting all consultations remotely due to COVID-19, we want you to know we are here for you both during and after the pandemic. Call (704) 870-0340 or get in touch with us online today.