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Late last night, U.S. President Donald Trump sent a tweet indicating he will be issuing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S. due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). No additional official information about the details of the referenced Executive Order have been made available but Worldwide ERC® understands that drafts are circulating within official channels of the government, and that more details are expected to be released soon.
The exact language of the tweet is as follows:
“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 immigration into the United States!”
The terms of the suspension, including the scale, duration, and exemptions are unknown. It is also unclear under what legal authority the President will exercise this order. However, based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the authority of the President to implement travel restrictions on immigrants from specific countries, many experts believe he likely has the ability to issue a broad immigration suspension at least for a temporary period of time.
While the order almost certainly will impact foreign nationals who do not currently hold a valid non-immigrant or immigrant visa, what is less certain is whether it may extend to extensions or amendments of current work authorization. Moreover, there have been some reports that this will not apply to “essential” workers in industries such as healthcare or agriculture but whether other foreign nationals vital to restarting the economy will be impacted is unknown. It is also unknown how this might impact the processing of H-1B lottery applications or students seeking to enter U.S. universities in the fall.
Worldwide ERC® is following this issue very closely and we have been in contact with other organizations focused on business immigration. We will bring you the latest information during tomorrow’s Town Hall on U.S. Immigration. If you have specific questions or would like to get involved in our advocacy efforts, please contact Karen Cygal.
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