Less than 24 hours after his initial announcement that he would be signing an Executive Order to halt all immigration to the United States, and following considerable pressure from the business community throughout the day, President Trump announced on Tuesday afternoon that his forthcoming Executive Order would not, in fact, suspend all legal immigration to the United States. Instead, the Order, which is still being drafted and/or reviewed by government attorneys, will suspend the issuance of certain green cards for 60 days.
While the draft text has yet to be released, sources familiar with the Order anticipate it will carve-out exemptions for immediate family members and workers in essential fields (e.g., medical workers), who will still be able to obtain green cards during the 60-day suspension. But without the Order itself, the exact nature of these exemptions, as well as whether the suspension will apply to both immigrant visa applications abroad (which are currently on hiatus with consular closures)and internal adjustments of status, remain uncertain.
Though the Supreme Court upheld the third Travel Ban based Executive’s wide-ranging authority to exclude foreign nationals from entering the United States, any prohibition on internal green card filings via an adjustment of status will almost certainly be met with litigation challenging the legal basis and irreparable harm caused by such delays. And so long as temporary workers are permitted to come to the United States (subject to existing travel restrictions), it is unclear how this latest action would actually address the purported policy objectives of protecting U.S. workers and making the country a safer place.
Again, we will continue to stand by our clients as we discern the ultimate impact of the Executive Order that finally comes down. We remain ready and available to assist with any inquires you may have as to the Executive Order’s impact on your situation, and encourage you to reach out to our Firm.