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Volume X, Number 194

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President Trump Signs Proclamation Suspending Entry Of Certain Immigrants Into The United States

On April 22, President Trump issued an official proclamation – which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 23, 2020 – restricting certain categories of immigrants from entering the United States as the country works to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This proclamation will expire 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. 

The use of the term “immigrants” here is highly significant. Under U.S. immigration law, this term refers to individuals entering the United States on “immigrant visas” as permanent residents or “green card holders.” Individuals entering on temporary visas or commonly used work visas such as the H-1B, L-1, and TN are not covered by this proclamation. 

The proclamation will primarily affect the Diversity Visa Lottery, family-based immigration and certain employment-based immigration categories. The new rule ostensibly aims to protect American jobs at a time of high-domestic unemployment and economic uncertainty.

It suspends the entry of individuals seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:

  • Are outside the United States on the effective date of the order

  • Do not have an immigrant visa for entry as a permanent resident or “green card holder” that is valid on the effective date

  • Do not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil or an advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission

The suspension and limitation on entry to the United States will not apply to:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Medical professionals, agricultural workers and others who enter on temporary nonimmigrant visas
  • Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • Immigrants who already are living and working in the U.S. and are seeking to become legal permanent residents
  • Any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces
  • Any individual whose entry to the U.S. is deemed to be in the national interest
  • Spouses and underage children of U.S. citizens. Spouses and children of legal permanent residents are not exempt from the proclamation.

Common immigration categories that are affected include the spouses of children of legal permanent residents who are abroad, siblings and parents of U.S. citizens who are currently abroad. Litigation over this proclamation is expected and is likely to focus on the categories of individuals covered (such as the parents of U.S. citizens) and the stated grounds for the proclamation itself.

Of significant concern is also the proclamation’s instruction to Cabinet agencies to examine how the admission of foreign workers may impact the U.S. workforce over the course of the next 30 days, as this could foreshadow further restrictions on legal immigration.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 115


About this Author

Tejas Shah Immigration Lawyer Barnes & Thornburg Chicago

Tejas Shah has the ability to take the complex and confusing nature of immigration law and simplify it for his clients. His goal is to not only help them comply with the multifaceted requirements of U.S. immigration law, but also to ensure that as clients source global talent, they thrive in environments that can be hostile to migration.

As employers increasingly seek to hire and retain talented foreign national employees to maximize competitiveness, Tejas is empathetic to their needs and offers practical immigration law advice. He is committed to guiding employers of all sizes –...

Mercedes Badia-Tavas Immigration Attorney

Mercedes Badia-Tavas provides legal and business guidance to clients on a broad range of immigration law cases, with focus on Fortune 500 and small companies alike. Mercedes supports her firm’s offices and clients across various states on immigration employment transfers and up-to-date compliance.

As an immigrant herself, Mercedes finds particular fulfillment in helping companies and individuals immigrate to the United States and participate in the American dream through startups and business transactions that also can benefit the U.S. economy.

Mercedes attributes much of her practice today to her dedication to resourcefulness from years of experience, meticulous preparation and organization skills. This entails a thorough understanding of her client’s industry, operations, culture, practices and financial goals in order to lay out realistic expectations and alternative strategies, as needed. Mercedes believes in being organized in her approach and documentation as a way of helping her clients manage costs. She and her team are committed to employing systems-driven tracking, timely updates and follow-ups with clients, and being pragmatic when unexpected issues arise.

Mercedes advises on a range of employment-based immigration needs, including temporary (nonimmigrant) and permanent (immigrant) visas for executives, managers, investors, professionals, aliens of extraordinary ability, and essential, specialized and skilled workers. She works hand-in-hand with clients on their corporate global mobility policies and compliance documentation regarding sponsoring foreign nationals for employment-based visa classifications. She is regularly involved in I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) and H-1B Labor Condition Application compliance.

Mercedes also provides in-house and on-site training on immigration planning for personnel transfers, immigration-related due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, consular applications, and naturalization and citizenship initiatives. She guides clients through internal immigration program administration and monitoring, and trains human resource personnel and other managers on the evolving areas of immigration law and practical integration of immigration policies, procedures and compliance statutes to everyday business operations.

Born in Cuba and bilingual in Spanish and English, Mercedes has sincere compassion for and sensitivity to her clients, keenly aware of the legal land mines and tedious pathways they would navigate through the U.S. immigration system. Whether Mercedes is advising on an immigration matter for an individual relocating from abroad, transferring within the U.S. from another employer, entering the U.S. workforce from student status, looking to build a U.S. business or someone part of a cultural exchange program, she provides her experience with the same strong zeal and commitment toward the best outcome.

Notably, Mercedes has been featured on NPR and Spanish-language broadcasts on immigration topics, many of which included audience call-ins. Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mercedes had built her own legal practice over nine years as the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, representing similar categories of clients she now services, with a little more individual and family-type immigration cases involved. She has traveled and lived throughout Latin America.

Michael Durham Immigration Attorney Barnes & Thornburg

Michael Durham has been practicing immigration law exclusively for the past 17 years. Michael’s focused experience allows him to guide his clients through the complex and constantly changing labyrinth of immigration laws and regulations.

Michael’s knowledge and understanding of immigration laws and critical insight into the immigration process qualifies him to represent businesses, employers and individuals alike with a wide range of immigration-related needs and services.

He assists employers, including hospitals, colleges and universities, technology companies, religious...


Sarah Hawk’s strategic mind and extensive understanding of current and emerging immigration legislation and trends have earned her national and international recognition. Sarah provides crucial immigration counsel to domestic and multinational companies in various industries such as healthcare, financial services, hospitality, higher education, and technology, among others.

Sarah brings nearly 20 years of experience helping companies develop and implement immigration policies to secure visas and permanent residence status for executives, managers and critical employees. She also...

Mayra L. Bruno Staff Attorney Chicago Immigration and Global Mobility Services  Labor and Employment
Staff Attorney

Mayra works directly with corporate clients, human resources contacts and foreign nationals on virtually all aspects of immigration matters.

She drafts and edits forms and letters of support for immigrant and nonimmigrant visa matters, including EB-1A, EB-2, EB-3, E-3, EAD/AP, H-1B, I-140, L-1A, O-1, adjustment of status, extensions, Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification applications, and Requests for Evidence (RFEs). She also reviews and processes incoming documents and manages active cases of foreign nationals employed in the United States.