Presidential Executive Order Suspending Entry of Nonimmigrant Workers and their Dependents

On June 22, 2020, the President signed an Executive Order Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak extending his previous immigration ban (Proclamation 10014) effective immediately, and suspending entry of nonimmigrant workers and placing further immigration ban on the entry of certain nonimmigrant workers, effective at 12:01 AM EDT, June 24, 2020:

Outline of the major points to be taken from the Executive Order:

Scope of Limitations:

  • Limitations will each expire on December 31 2020, but may be extended as necessary.
  • Foreign Nationals subject to the previous and current executive orders must meet three criteria:
  1. Outside of the US on the Effective Date (June 24, 2020);
  2. Lack a valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visa on the Effective Date. The executive order does not apply to foreign nationals who are currently in the United States in H-1B, L-1, J-1, and H-2B status (and any stateside dependents); and
  3. Lack non-visa travel documents (such as a transportation letter, appropriate boarding foils, or an advance parole document) valid on the Effective Date or issued thereafter permitting travel and entry into the United States.

Nonimmigrant Visas Affected:

  • The Executive Order suspends entry into the US by aliens seeking entry pursuant to the following nonimmigrant visas: H-1B, H-2B, select J visas (specifically interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and summer work travelers), and L visas, and
  • Accordingly, entry by their dependents (H-4, J-2, and L-2 visas).

Exemptions to the Limitations:

  • Lawful permanent residents;
  • Aliens who are the spouses or children of citizens;
  • Aliens seeking entry to provide critical services essential to the food chain; and
  • Aliens who are important and critical to National Security or National Healthcare

 

New Public Charge Laws

US Citizenship & Immigration Service introduces new public charge laws for immigrants and green card applicants

Immigration public charge law is a test to determine if an immigrant applying for permanent residence, a green card, or visa to enter the United States will depend on public benefits in the future. If the USCIS thinks that the immigrant is likely to become a public charge, the USCIS will deny the immigrant’s green card or visa.

WHO DOES PUBLIC CHARGE AFFECT?

Public charge affects immigrants who are applying for permanent residence through a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or who are applying for a visa to enter the United States. Other immigration cases, like asylum, U visas, naturalization, and cancellation of removal in court are not affected!

WHO IS NOT AFFECTED BY PUBLIC CHARGE?

Public charge law does not affect many immigrants.  These immigrants are:

Refugees and asylees

U Visa immigrants

T Visa immigrants

VAWA immigrants

SIJS and DACA immigrants

TPS applicants

The majority of permanent residents

U.S. citizens

If an immigrant is not currently applying for any immigration status, the immigrant is not affected by the public charge law. The public charge test only matters when an immigrant seeks a green card through a U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member. If you are seeking green card, consult with an immigration attorney.

SHOULD UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WORRY ABOUT PUBLIC CHARGE?

If an immigrant is not seeking green card, then public charge law does not apply. For many, the need for health care, food support, and housing will far outweigh a public charge concern. Consult with an experienced attorney if you are applying for a green card. 

I WANT TO APPLY TO BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN. WILL IT HURT MY CASE IF I USE BENEFITS?

No! There is no public charge test for naturalization, the process to become a U.S. citizen. Permanent residents who travel outside the United States for more than 180 days on any single trip could have to pass a public charge test when they return to the United States.

WHAT IF MY CHILDREN OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS RECEIVE PUBLIC BENEFITS?

The new rules that took effect on February 24, 2020. They apply to immigrants who received public benefits and now applying for green card or visa. Benefits used by your family members, like U.S. citizen children do not count in the public charge test.

WHAT DO THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES SAY?

There are two new public charge rules: one from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a similar one from the Department of State (DOS). The new rules set a stricter test for people applying for a green card at an immigration office in the United States.  These same rules also apply at a U.S. consulate abroad. In applying the rules, an immigration officer will consider different factors, including family income, the applicant’s age and health, how likely the applicant is to be employed, and receipt of certain public benefits (however, most green card applicants do not qualify to receive the benefits included in the new rule). Talk to a trusted immigration attorney if you are getting ready to file an application for a green card.

WHEN DID THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES TAKE EFFECT?

The new DHS rule took effect for applications filed in the United States on February 24, 2020. This rule does not apply to applications to get a green card in the United States that were filed before February 24. The new rule does not consider any public benefits used before February 24, 2020.

The new DOS rule, for immigrants applying at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad or for a visa to enter the country, took effect on February 24, 2020. Immigrants with the interviews scheduled after February 24, 2020 will have to complete a new public charge questionnaire.  The DOS will evaluate them under the new DOS rule.

DOES PUBLIC CHARGE AFFECT MY ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN PUBLIC BENEFITS?

Public charge does NOT impact whether you are eligible for health and other public benefits programs. If you qualify for certain public benefits, you are still eligible.

ARE ALL PUBLIC BENEFITS PART OF THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES?

Many public benefits and programs are not part of the public charge test in the new rules. For example, use of WIC, Medicaid for pregnant women (including up to 60 days after a pregnancy), emergency Medicaid, and Medicaid use by children under 21 [note: in California, some use of Medi-Cal for children and young adults up to age 26 is not part of the new rule], Head Start, free and reduced cost school lunches, and many other benefits are not part of the public charge test and will not impact your immigration case. Many states and counties have health care and other non-cash public programs that are not part of the new rules either.

WHAT PUBLIC BENEFITS ARE PART OF THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES?

The public charge test ONLY considers use of federally-funded Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California, with exceptions for emergency, pregnancy, use by children and young adults, as mentioned above, and Medi-Cal programs funded by the state); federally-funded Food Stamps (called SNAP, or CalFresh in California); federal public housing, Section 8 housing assistance and project-based rental assistance; federal, state, and local cash assistance; long-term institutionalized care paid for by the federal government; and no other programs.  If you think you are using a benefit that could be a problem, consult an experienced immigration attorney.

I FILED MY GREEN CARD APPLICATION BEFORE FEBRUARY 24, 2020. DO THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES APPLY TO ME?

It depends where you filed it. The new DHS rule, which applies to cases decided by USCIS, does not apply to cases filed with USCIS before February 24, 2020. Remember that different public charge rules apply if your green card interview is at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. People whose cases are processed at a U.S. consulate or embassy with interviews on or after February 24, 2020 will have to complete the new public charge questionnaire form, DS-5540.  These immigrants are subject to the new public charge rule.

IF I USE ONE OR MORE OF THE PUBLIC BENEFITS IN THE NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULES ON OR AFTER FEBRUARY 24, 2020, WILL MY GREEN CARD OR VISA APPLICATION BE DENIED?

First, if you are applying for a green card and think you receive a benefit that might be a problem, talk to an experienced immigration attorney.  Officers must evaluate many factors when they decide whether you are likely to depend on public benefits in the future, including your family’s income and other resources, your age and health condition, and your education and likelihood of being employed. Receipt of one or more of the benefits included in the new rules is just one part of the public charge test.

Immigrant Visa Cancellation Procedures at the National Visa Center

 

Immigrant visa attorneys are concerned by the Executive Order signed by the President yesterday.  Pursuant to the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, the Department of State has temporarily stopped scheduling appointments and halted processing of immigrant visa applications for individuals who are nationals or dual nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

National Visa Center announces procedures for temporary immigrant visa cancellations pursuant to the Executive Order

The National Visa Center has cancelled all scheduled immigrant visa interviews for these applicants scheduled in February 2017. This includes all visa categories, whether they are family immigrant visas or work immigrant visas.  Applicants for fiancé visas (“K” visas) are included. Until the ramifications of the Executive Order are settled and the procedures for its enforceability are established, National Visa Center will not process immigrant visa applications regardless of the inconvenience this causes. Once it is appropriate, the National Visa Center or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will notify you of a new interview date and time.

The National Visa Center advised that if you received an interview appointment in February and have not yet attended the required medical exam, please cancel your medical examination appointment. Medical exam results are only valid for six (6) months and we cannot predict when your visa interview will be rescheduled. When the National Visa Center or U.S. Embassy is able to reschedule your interview, they will contact you.

The National Visa Center will continue to work on in-process cases for these applicants up to the point of the interview. You should continue to pay fees, complete your Form DS-260 immigrant visa application, and submit your financial and civil supporting documents to NVC. NVC will review your case file and can qualify your case for an appointment. However, you will not receive a visa interview until further notice.

 

Immigration Advice regarding Trump’s Executive Order

TRAVEL ADVISORY

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

Ban on Entry to the United States for immigrants and foreigners from Countries of Concern 

The Executive Order “temporarily suspends” immigrants from seven (7) designated countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – from entering the United States for a minimum of ninety (90) days.

Entry and Admission of Permanent Residents, Dual Nationals, Refugees, and Nonimmigrant Visa Holders  

Sources report that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apply the Executive Order to the entry and admission of permanent residents (green card holders) born in the seven (7) countries.  CBP also applies the Executive Order  to nationals with dual citizenship.  These are persons who are or were nationals or citizens of one of the seven (7) listed countries and a citizen of a non-listed country.  The CBP applies it also to refugees and non-immigrant visa holders.

Returning Green card holders  — be aware not to abandon your residency!!!!

Because of the overreaching nature of the Executive Order, we strongly discourage any travel overseas for nationals or former nationals of these countries.  CBP Agents might ask returning green card holders to execute at the border Form I-407 (Abandonment of LPR Status).  We strongly urge you not to surrender your green cards or sign this form regardless of the pressure.  If CBP agents ask you to sign Form I-407, refuse to do so.  You can only sign this document voluntarily.  There are no potential negative ramifications for refusing to sign Form I-407.  If you refuse to sign Form I-407, CBP agents cannot detain you.  If you refuse to sign Form I-407, CBP agents must issue you a Notice to Appear (NTA).  Only the immigration judge can determine whether you have lost your LPR status.

Recent statements and announcements from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. State Department indicate that both agencies will continue to implement the order, albeit with some possible modifications.

Immigration Advice

  • We advise that anyone presently in the U.S. and holding the nationality or a passport from any of the seven (7) countries is strongly urged to refrain from leaving the United States until further notice.
  • If you are presently outside the U.S. and this order could pertain to you, consult with us or your attorney before trying to return to the United States.
  • Due to the possibility of detainment of permanent residents, dual nationals, refugees, and non-immigrant visa holders, we advise that those who might fit into these classes of travelers refrain from international travel.
  • Finally, because the President may extend the list of the countries,  we recommend that immigrants refrain from non-urgent international travel.

Immigrants with pending adjustment of status and change of status applications 

The Executive Order will be broadly construed by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services and Department of Homeland Security.  Please prepare to experience further delays in processing of asylum applications, work related and family based applications, which are currently pending with the USCIS and DHS.

We stand with those individuals, families, organizations, and businesses adversely affected by this order.  We are here to be of support in these challenging times.