Newest Presidential Proclamation Limiting Immigration to the United States

UPDATE: We have now received confirmation from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) headquarters, consistent with our earlier interpretation of the President Proclamation, that visa-exempt Canadians are NOT subject to the Proclamation. More in our updated post.

As anticipated, President Trump has now officially released a new proclamation, which goes into effect on June 24, 2020, and further limits immigration to the US through the end of 2020.  The first proclamation is still in force in tandem with the newly released proclamation.

Please note that the following individuals are still able to enter the US within the discretion of US Customs and Border Protection:

  • US Citizens;
  • US Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card holders”);
  • Any alien who is the spouse of a US citizen or Green Card holder;
  • Individuals already holding nonimmigrant visa stamps; and
  • Canadian citizens who obtain L-1 or TN approvals through USCIS or to be granted at the port-of-entry.

While the above is still true, President Trump’s newest proclamation has restricted entry into the US for certain temporary workers on nonimmigrant visas in response to a struggling US economy—one that has seen a 13.3% unemployment rate for the month of May. As mentioned above, this new immigration bar is set to take effect tomorrow and this time will expire at the end of the year on December 31, 2020. Within 30 days of the proclamation taking effect, and every 60 days thereafter, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, will reevaluate and make any modifications as may be necessary.

The proclamation speaks specifically to nonimmigrant visas (H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1), and applies to aliens (Non-US Citizen or Green Card holder) who:

  • Are outside the United States as of June 24, 2020;
  • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of June 24, 2020; and
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

It is important to note that the proclamation expressly excludes green card holders, spouses or minor children of US citizens, or aliens applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Furthermore, we do not expect this proclamation will impact Canadian citizens applying for any L-1 or TN nonimmigrant status at the port of entry.

As this is an election year, we expect additional such proclamations in the coming months and will provide updates for them as they become available to provide guidance on best practice. As always, our team stands ready if you are unsure about the implications this proclamation may have on your immigration needs.