In this video, immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, explains how the new Executive Order signed by US President Donald Trump on 4/22/20 impacts immigrants in the US.
The transcript below is not word for word. We have edited it for ease or reading.
President Trump said in a tweet that he’s suspending immigration to the United States to protect jobs and because of the pandemic. He specifically said “in light of the attack from the invisible enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our great American citizens. I will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend overseas immigration to the United States.”
On Wednesday 4/22/20 he signed his executive order barring some immigration for 60 days.
The Order does not end immigration, but it will affect thousands of people overseas trying to come to the U.S. legally.
Let me make one thing clear. This is simply political showmanship. This order does not make any fundamental changes.
Trump said this is to protect American jobs, but that is not a protected ground (this is a legal term – examples of protected grounds are religious or sexual discriminaton) and likely his order will be challenged just like his travel, aka Muslim ban, was. The travel ban took three versions until he was able to get it right.
That is why this order is so much more limited than what his tweet was.
It’s unclear how shutting down immigration will help stop the spread of the virus. It’s already here. It’s too late for that.
What steps had Trump taken before this to restrict those that could enter the U.S.?
In January, he stopped foreign nationals who traveled anywhere near China. Citizens could because they have that right. Same with lawful residents.
He banned travel by foreign nations from Europe to the US. On March 20th, he used emergency public health law from the CDC to effectively close the southern border to border crossers and asylum seekers, saying they pose an unknown corona virus risk to the nation.
[00:02:37] This border closing has now been extended to May 20th.
Since April 9th, Customs and Border Patrol have sent back more than 6,000 migrants under this order.
H-2B workers these include visas for seasonal workers at resorts and landscaping companies as an example. There are sixty-five thousand a year distributed.
In March, DHS was to add an extra 35,000 – that’s been clawed back.
So what is this executive order?
He says he will pause the issuance of Green Card for 60 days.
Who does this affect?
It affects people who apply for a Green Card through employment, family or other means.
With some exceptions.
People who’ve done this legally, who’ve done this properly. Now we’re being told you have to wait.
How many people does this affect?
There’s approximately 26,000 green cards issued every month.
So for two months, that’s fifty two thousand people, are going to be affected.
Parents might not see kids. Siblings may not see each other. Employers may not get their employees back.
That’s who’s affected.
The people who’ve done things correctly.
Now, who’s exempt?
The order does not apply to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.
If I’m a U.S. citizen, it doesn’t apply. I want to apply for my wife, or I’m applying for my children that are under 21. That fine.
Or my wife’s children from a prior relationship. They can still come in.
Medical professionals are exempt. Medical profession is defined as a physician, a nurse or other health care professional, along with their spouses and unmarried children under 21.
It doesn’t affect members of the US armed forces or their spouses and children.
It doesn’t affect anyone entering for law enforcement for national security reasons.
It also doesn’t affect investor visas called DBE 5, which requires a minimum investment of nine hundred thousand dollars and must create 10 jobs.
It also doesn’t affect special immigrant visa holders for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who worked with the U.S. government.
The order does not prevent people from getting a nonimmigrant visa, as I said before. Nonimmigrant visas include the H-2B, the H2A, this would include agricultural workers, specialty occupation workers or tourist visas.
People coming in the U.S. temporarily for a finite period of time. Such as a student visa.
The order doesn’t void any visa already issued.
If you already got your Green Card, you went through the interview and then the next day you were supposed to board a plane to come to United States, but you couldn’t because the corona virus, your visa is still valid.
The order doesn’t stop foreigners lawfully in the US from applying for green cards. If you are in process and you’re in the United States they’re not delayed or affected at all by this order.
I had a consult with a Filipino couple whose child is over 21 and a U.S. citizen – they entered legally so their daughter can file for them.
The order doesn’t stop Green Card holders from getting citizenship.
It only stops those outside the United States who want to get their green card and come into the United States. And it does that for 60 days.
The order went into effect April 23rd. And it terminates in 60 days.
It may be recommended that Trump extend it.
We don’t know what the courts are going to do. I’m pretty sure this order will be challenged.
Let’s put this in context. Why am I saying that this order doesn’t really change much?
Well, I just talked about the 10 different groups of people it doesn’t affect.
It doesn’t change much because Trump’s already shut down immigration since March.
Trump has stopped nearly every form of immigration, whether it’s legal or illegal.
Most visa processing has been halted. Almost no one today can apply for a visa to visit or to move to the United States. Embassies and consulates are closed for any and everything but emergency services for U.S. citizens or green card holders. You can’t go and apply for a tourist visa today. They’re not accepting visa interviews in the United States.
Fingerprinting, citizenship ceremonies, asylum hearings and most immigration courts in the US are closed.
They are postponed until some point in the future. Right now, it’s going to be sometime in May, the courts until May 15th. USCIS at present, May 4th, May 5th. But again, all of this is subject to change.
The refugee program has been paused. Migrants caught at the border are immediately expelled.
So legal immigration to the US today is none. Illegal is none unless they’re not caught. They just sneak it so that Trump can’t really affect that other than a wall, of course.
Those that are trying to enter legally and have a means to do so are the only ones that are being delayed, punished, and again delayed for 60 days.
What’s the point of that? I don’t know. He said that it’s to protect American jobs. We’ll see if the courts agree.
Most studies show that immigrants actually help job creation and they’re a net gain in the economy, not a net loss.
A lot of the jobs that they’re coming in for, like high tech, like doctors, nurses, certain engineers, are professionals that we don’t have for that job.
Is this really changing anything? No, it doesn’t.
Why is he doing this? Because he needs to be relevant. It’s an election time and he’s preparing for that. He believes his base really loves his hard-line anti-immigrant position.
But does it actually change anything?
No, it doesn’t.