On April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation titled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the US Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” This proclamation followed the president’s tweets about plans to suspend US immigration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While these developments raised many questions and concerns, the scope of the proclamation is limited. Under the current state of affairs with COVID-19 related closures of consulates and embassies, the proclamation will have no immediate impact. Its overall, long-term, impact will depend largely upon whether it is extended beyond its current 60-day duration.
Steptoe’s Client Alert discusses the scope of the proclamation, which only applies to the immigrant visa process at US consulates abroad, and the continuation of immigration filings made with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Labor (DOL).
As noted, the proclamation’s restrictions are tied to employment and the economy. The administration will need to balance its needs for vital immigrant talent – from doctors to farm workers – with high levels of unemployment. Thus, while the proclamation has no immediate impact, it foreshadows the future of immigration policy and restriction efforts under this administration.