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Who is and Who is Not Covered by President Trump’s Ban on Immigration?

| Apr 29, 2020 | Common Immigration Questions and Problems

Now that President Trump’s Executive Order is out, we now know the breadth and extent of its mandate. Fortunately, it does not appear as draconian as the President touted when he initially tweeted the pronouncement. The order does not ban or suspend all immigration. And as mentioned in our previous blog, the consulates are currently closed anyway due to COVID-19, so there is little practical effect to the proclamation at this time. It is when consulates start resuming operations that we will see whether the order has its intended effect.

This is not to say that the order is innocuous. It is by no means rhetoric if it is implemented. There are five major categories that immediately spring to mind that the order restricts from applying for permanent residence. Interestingly, four of the five are categories commonly associated with “chain migration”-the type of immigration that the Administration has targeted for restriction. The groups adversely impacted include:

· Parents of US Citizens

· Siblings of US Citizens

· Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents

· Minor Children of Lawful Permanent Residents

· Diversity Lottery Winners

Parents are normally considered “Immediate Relatives” and not subject to the numerical quotas. Siblings of US Citizens and spouses and children of green card holders comprise three out of the four family preference categories. So, under this ban, individuals in these categories are prohibited from receiving immigrant visas. Even if the Administration lets the order expire on its own after 60 days, all of these individuals will still have to pass muster under the dreaded Public Charge Rules, which came out right before the corona virus started dominating the news and shutting everything down. (Incidentally, the Supreme Court recently refused an emergency request to order the government to relax the public charge rules during COVID-19.)

On a positive note, these groups are considered exempt from the order’s reach:

· Lawful Permanent Residents (trying to re-enter the country)

· Individuals in health professions, medical research, or work essential to combating covid-19

· EB-5 Investors

· Spouses of US Citizens

· Children of US Citizens

· Those whose entry would further law enforcement

· Any member of the US Armed Forces and any spouse and child of a member of the Armed Forces

Of course, litigation is already underway to block the order, so we will have to wait and see how this affects USCIS and DOS operations (particularly the National Visa Center). In the meantime, it may be prudent for families to consider speaking with an immigration attorney and filing their applications soon before the government refuses to accept or process any more applications.