On April 22, President Trump signed Presidential Proclamation 10014, “Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” It based its authority on sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The proclamation was set to expire 60 days from its effective date, drawing anticipation that the president would sign another proclamation extending and expanding upon proclamation 10014 to include nonimmigrant workers.
President Trump issued the new proclamation on June 22, which extends proclamation 10014 until December 31, 2020, and suspends certain nonimmigrant visas. It is based on the logic that U.S. jobs were lost in industries in which employers seek positions tied to nonimmigrant visas. Within 30 days of it taking effect, and every 60 days after, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, State, and Labor will recommend modifications as necessary.
Specifically, the new proclamation bars entry to the U.S. for H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas. Notably, it stipulates that the J visa is affected “to the extent that the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.”
It also further enforces the restrictions already attached to the existing proclamation. As such, it also restricts the entry of immigrants outside the United States, who do not have a valid immigrant visa and do not have a valid official travel document.
Exceptions include temporary laborers essential to the U.S. food supply chain and anyone whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Departments of State and Homeland Security. Those seeking asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will also not be limited under the new proclamation. Lawful permanent residents and anyone who is a child or spouse of a U.S. citizen will not be affected under the new proclamation, either.
Additional subsequent regulations on H-1B, OPT, and H-4 could follow the new proclamation and arrive as early as July. Possible regulations include:
- Issuing the “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program” regulation by adding a possible $20,000 or higher fee as well as focusing on employer-employee relations, specialty occupation definition, and wage levels;
- Rescinding the STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) regulation, and adding requirements to the 12-month OPT program, the temporary employment related to an F-1 student’s major area of study;
- Rescinding the “H-4 Employment Authorization Rule,” which extends eligibility of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants; and
- Possibly rescinding employment authorization for those seeking asylum, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and refugees.
If you will be affected by this proclamation, please contact an immigration attorney to figure out what to do next. This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.