I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which has released the following information about the recent Presidential Proclamation related to suspension of certain immigration classes to the United States. It has been modified in parts to reflect concerns intercountry adoptees may have.
What We Know
On April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who:
- Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Does not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
- Does not have a valid official travel document as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.
The proclamation went into effect at 11:59 pm (ET) on April 23, 2020, for at least 60 days. It can be extended and modified. The following categories are exempt from the proclamation:
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Children, under the age of 21, of U.S. citizens, including prospective adoptees entering the U.S. on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa. According to the Department of State (DOS), adoptees entering on an IR-3 or IH-3 visa are also considered exempt;
- Individuals, and their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other work essential to combatting COVID-19, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State;
- Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program;
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by DHS and DOS;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children;
- Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa;
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by DHS and DOS;
The Proclamation DOES NOT Prohibit Nonimmigrant Visa Holders and Asylum Seekers from Coming to the U.S. It Also Does Not Affect Intercountry Adoptees Who Are Already U.S. Citizens But Lack Proof of Citizenship (e.g., a Passport or Certificate of Citizenship).
Additional Issues During the Pandemic
- Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended as of March 20, 2020. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. DOS intends to continue to process visa applications for farm workers and medical professionals assisting with COVID-19.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, but continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
- The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are closed for non-essential travel until at least May 20, 2020.
- With some exceptions, the entry of individuals who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, during the 14-day period before their attempted entry into the United States has also been suspended.
- The Proclamation requires a review of temporary visa programs within 30 days and recommendations to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.
What I Am Doing
I have already outlined some issues here, and I continue to closely monitor immigration issues related to intercountry adoptees and clients. I am also analyzing a recent U.S. Supreme Court case related to cancellation of removal, which affects the deportation of immigrants, including intercountry adoptees, who have certain criminal convictions.
What AILA Is Doing
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has urged the Trump Administration to implement rational, policy-based measures during the national crisis. AILA previously sued USCIS seeking the immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and the maintenance of status for nonimmigrants in the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic.