Trump announces 60-day pause on immigration affecting certain Green cards | No Impact on H1B work visas yet


Trump announces 60-day ‘pause’ on immigration, will only apply to those seeking certain green cards, will be evaluated afterward

Update April 21, 6.00 PM ET

Trump announces 60-day ‘pause’ on immigration, will only apply to those seeking certain green cards and then be re-evaluated.This means family-based I-130 applications are affected.

Spouses and children of US citizens and green card holders will not be affected by this ban.

People who are waiting to get their Green card outside the US will not be issued the card for 60 days once President signs the order.

The President Trump said his administration will be examining additional immigration-related measures “to protect American workers.”

“As we move forward we will become more and more protective of them,” Trump said at the daily coronavirus news briefing. “This pause on new immigration will also help to conserve vital medical resources for American citizens.”

We will update this page as we get to hear about the executive order. Stay tuned.

Impact on people currently on H1B, L1, Other work visas?

Trump did not announce anything specifically for an H1B visa but Reuters reports that another order may be coming soon which will target work-based visas.

It may have provisions to hold off work visas for 30-90 days with these exceptions:

  • He adds that exceptions are being considered for Jobs in Food Production (farm workers) using the H2B visa and supply chain.
  • Healthcare professions – Anybody working in a medical profession or a health care company might be safe.

H1B workers might be asked to provide updated LCA certifications proving that they are not displacing American workers! This is a BIG task and will certainly affect current extensions, transfers, and other applications. It is difficult to determine how that can be done.

Regular LCA’s will be just additional paperwork without much merit. Notices cannot be posted or have little effect if worksites are closed. Electronic notices may be the only recourse.

Update April 21, 3.00 PM ET

CNN Reports Travel ban for 90-120 days

Earlier, CNN reports that the executive order is not ready yet but the officials working on the draft say that it intends to halt green cards and work visas for about 120 days.

This may affect work visas like H1B, L, EADs like H4 and L2 among others to get a new extension or transfer approvals. Some attorneys have the opinion that the ban may be implemented for certain industries and may exclude healthcare services.

Trump’s government is also planning to put a temporary ban on entry in the US from more countries. At this time, nobody is allowed to come to the US from Europe and China.

People with a valid visa but are currently stuck in their home country like China or India may not be able to travel back to the US in the near future if this entry ban is implemented.

The sentiments are high and most decisions in an election year are going to be made keeping in mind the voter sentiment which incidentally is inclined towards banning immigration. See this Washington Post survey:

Update April 21, 12.00 PM ET

Can Trump Sign such Executive Order – Regulation ?

As per regulation 8 U.S.C 1182, the President of United states has the authority to suspend entry or impose restrictions by proclamation, if President finds that entry of foreign nationals would be detrimental to US interests. President can suspend entry of all foreign nationals or certain visa types as needed, that includes both immigrants and non-immigrants. See below the official regulation text screenshot highlighted for your. All this tells us is that Trump has the power to suspend entry for non-immigrant work visa holders like H1B Visa, L1, or any other visa types, if the president believes it can hurt US interests. The trick is the second part, “Detrimental to US Interests “, which means “something that may cause harm to US interests”. Now, the big question is how President will justify that second part to put in proclamation… You can check completed details of Regulation 8 U.SC. 1182.

On April 20 evening, Trump had tweeted about signing an executive order to ban all immigration to the USA in the wake of job losses due to Corona virus.

Will the Executive Order be Signed for US Immigration Suspension ?

This is something that no one knows at this point. Politico has published news that that DHS is working on the draft of the Executive Order. They say in that article the reason for this move could be the rise in unemployment situation…again, all of these speculations and insider info. No one can validate anything.

New York Times published an article that tells as per their sources that president plans to sign something that suspends new green cards, work visas ( assuming H1B visa), etc..See below screenshot. Again, this is New York Times connections and journalists getting the info, so we do not know the reality. Check the NYTimes Article on US immigration Suspension.

Until we see a real Executive Order officially signed by President Trump, we cannot say. This may happen knowing the kind of stance on immigration that current Trump Administration has. We need to wait and see.

Update April 20, 10.00 PM ET

Update April 18

Jeff Sessions, Former Attorney General, and current Republican U.S. Senate candidate floated the idea of work visa moratorium on April 18.

“We have about 1.4 million people that come to this country every year to take jobs. We just announced today 5 million more people on the unemployment roll … 22 million now [since mid-March]. There is no doubt it is in the interest of the United States of America to make sure that we get every one of those unemployed American jobs first,” Sessions said.

He had told FoxNews that “American families and workers must come first. It is morally wrong and economically disastrous to import more foreign workers when millions of Americans are out of work through no fault of their own”.

This could possibly mean the suspension of H1B visa extensions or transfers at this time.

It is also possible that this ban affects the new H1B 2020 lottery season. The COVID-19 induced economic recession is affecting the entire world and not only the USA. Recession usually means the budget constraints and new project closures and workforce downsizing.

US tech workers group had also requested Trump to skip the H1B 2021 season entirely to protect American tech jobs.

It would be catastrophic to suspend a work visa for medical workers if it is indeed done at this crucial time. Doctors are already living under the fear of losing their life and contacting attorneys to get Green card for their family if they die treating COVID-19 patients.