On April 22, 2020, the President issued a Proclamation restricting immigration into the United States. The Proclamation is scheduled to take effect at 11:59 pm on April 23. While many people feared that it would be broad in scope, the Proclamation contains many exceptions.
However, there is a lot of uncertainty, especially regarding whether the Proclamation will be modified or renewed. Furthermore, the State Department suspended routine visa services for non-citizens last month. This means that many foreigners not legally blocked from coming to the United States by the Presidential Proclamation may still be unable to obtain a visa.
Significantly, the Presidential Proclamation prohibits only the “entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants.” The meaning of this language is subject to multiple interpretations. For example, while the President has said that he intends for the Proclamation to permit temporary farm workers to enter, it is less clear if K1 fiancé(e) visas will be issued. These K1 visas are technically classified as “non-immigrant visas,” however, those who receive them obviously have plans to ultimately immigrate into the United States.
The many exceptions that are explicitly listed in the Proclamation are less open to interpretation. The Proclamation made it clear that it is not applicable to those who have a new or pending immigration cases with USCIS. For example, a marriage-based green card cases will not be affected by this Proclamation.
In addition, the spouse of a U.S. Citizen who is outside the United States can continue their new or pending spousal immigrant visa cases. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are not affected by the Presidential Proclamation. Similarly, children of U.S. citizens who are under the age of 21 are exempt from the Proclamation. Children adopted by U.S. citizens under IR-4 or IH-4 visas are also exempt, though these visas are only available to children under the age of 18.
Furthermore, those who are outside of the United States now but already have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation are not affected by the Proclamation. For example, those aliens who have approved family-based or employment-based immigrant visas can enter the United States.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.
Written by Francis Law Center Staff Daniel Lurker