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Executive Order Restricts Family- & Employment-Based Immigration

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our society. While it is primarily a public health concern, it has significantly altered our social lives, financial security, and legal systems, and no one can be sure of when life will return to normal.

For those currently hoping to build a future for themselves in the United States or to bring their family members to the homes they’ve created here, the pandemic makes this matter more urgent than ever before. But one of the major ways the federal government has responded to the crisis is by severely restricting immigration. On April 22nd, the President signed a particularly sweeping executive order that halts immigration for 60 days.

If your goal is to live and work permanently in the U.S., you will need as much information as possible about how the immigration system is changing policies and handling cases during the pandemic. Even the shortest delays and smallest obstacles can prevent you from reuniting with your family, securing employment, and otherwise building the future you need and deserve.

Our team at Gardiner Immigration P.A. has put together the following FAQ so you can quickly get all the information you need about this order. If you still have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us immediately.

When does the ban take effect?

The ban took effect at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23, 2020. After 60 days, the President may or may not extend the order.

What type of immigration does the order restrict?

The executive order places a 60-day ban on both family-based and employment-based immigration. Essentially, it suspends the issuance of green cards, with certain exceptions.

Does it matter whether I’m applying from inside or outside the U.S.?

Yes. If you were outside of the U.S. without travel authorization when the ban took effect, you are prohibited from acquiring a green card during the ban. If you were already in the U.S., or you had travel authorization such as advance parole, you are most likely not subject to the ban.

What about nonimmigrant visas?

The order only affects permanent residency (green card) cases. If you are applying for a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa, or you have already acquired one, the 60-day ban will not affect your case.

Does the ban include asylum-based green cards?

No. The ban does not explicitly affect asylum cases.

I’m applying for a green card to work in the U.S. as a doctor. Am I affected by the ban?

Theoretically, no. The order lists several groups of people who are exempt from the ban, including physicians and other professionals who are deemed essential in combating COVID-19. You may also be exempt if the Secretaries of DHS and State believe your immigration to the U.S. advances national interests.

What about family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents?

If you are the spouse, child under 21, or prospective adoptee (via the IR-4 or IH-4 visa) of a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen can still sponsor you for a green card. Lawful permanent residents, however, cannot sponsor family members for green cards during the 60-day ban.

Are there any other exemptions?

Fortunately, several. You are exempt from the ban if you are an EB-5 (immigrant investor) visa applicant, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a Special Immigrant visa applicant. Spouses and children of service members and Special Immigrant visa applicants are also exempt.

What is the reasoning behind the order?

The administration has said the 60-day ban will slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect American-born workers from international competition. According to researchers, however, America leads the world in number of COVID-19 cases and number of related deaths. Furthermore, immigration strengthens the economy and helps U.S. employers find workers for hard-to-fill positions.

Bring Additional Questions & Concerns to Gardiner Immigration P.A.

The pandemic is overwhelming in many ways, but no one understands this better than those hoping to immigrate to the United States. If your case has experienced delays or obstacles due to recent legislation and emergency orders, our team at Gardiner Immigration P.A. is ready to assist. While our office is physically closed, our firm is remaining fully operational to continue supporting our clients and community.

Put 20+ years of experience in your corner. Call (813) 750-0779 or contact us online to schedule your free, remote consultation today.