Yesterday, President Trump temporarily suspended the issuing of new green cards by executive order. His justification for the suspension was to protect American jobs during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“In order to protect our great American workers,” he said in a press briefing, “I have just signed an executive order suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens.”
The suspension will initially last for 60 days, at which point it may be extended. Trump also said he might change the order before the 60 days are up. The order applies only to green card applicants who are outside of the United States as of the order’s signing; people who are already in the country and seeking permanent residency are excluded from the suspension.
That distinction is critical—if the order affected the lives of current US residents seeking green card status, then the executive order would incur a great deal of litigation.
The order makes exceptions for certain kinds of professionals, like:
- Medical personnel
- Spouses and children of US citizens
- Members of the Armed Forces
- Prospective adoptees of US citizens
- Prospective “investor visa” holders
- Seasonal farm workers
The green card seekers who will be hit hardest by this order will be people who seek green cards through their profession or their employers. That may be why the order also includes provisions for the Department of Labor to review nonimmigrant visa programs to consult on stimulating the US economy.
Critics of the order see this as the next move in the Trump administration’s ongoing agenda to limit all immigration into the United States, legal or otherwise. For instance, the order may not do much toward its stated purpose (to protect American jobs), given that more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 crisis—far more than would be ‘protected’ by this order.
Additionally, President Trump indicated that his administration might issue a second order to further limit immigration. He did not elaborate what that might look like. You can see more information about the executive order here.
If you have questions about your green card case and how COVID-19 might affect it, speak with our New Jersey immigration law firm. We're happy to answer your questions as quickly and clearly as possible. Call (800) 909-8129 today. Se Habla Español.