Most can agree that the COVID-19 pandemic requires swift action and even drastic legislation. If we slow the spread of the virus, we can prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with cases. Through social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and prioritization of public health, we can save lives while we wait for a vaccine.
But some of the emergency legislation has left people wondering about the Trump administration’s motives. Research and data show that restricting immigration will not help. For one thing, travel bans are ineffective at curbing the spread of a pandemic. Even more significantly, a vast portion of immigrants is on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. They are our doctors, nurses, and researchers. They are also our hospital cleaning staff, farmers, and food manufacturers.
Despite this research, Trump’s latest executive order further restricts immigration. To help you determine how this could affect your case, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the order.
What does the executive order do?
The order implements an immigration ban that halts the issuance of most green cards.
When does it take effect, and how long will it last?
The ban takes effect at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23, 2020 and lasts for 60 days. The President has said that, at the end of this period, he will assess the situation and determine whether to extend the ban.
I was already in the U.S. when the ban took effect. Will my green card application be denied?
No. The ban only prevents those who are outside the U.S. at 11:59 PM EDT on April 23, 2020 from receiving green cards. However, if you were outside of the U.S. but you had travel authorization (e.g. advance parole), you may still be eligible for a green card.
What if I currently have a pending case with USCIS?
The ban does not explicitly affect pending cases.
I’m applying for a nonimmigrant visa. Will the ban affect my case?
No. The ban does not currently affect nonimmigrant visa holders and applicants, but the administration has said it will revisit this topic at the 30-day mark.
Will the ban prevent me from obtaining asylum?
No, although many other COVID-19-related restrictions have largely halted the asylum program.
Are there any other people who are exempt from the ban?
Fortunately, yes. You may be exempt from the ban if you are:
- A member of the U.S. Armed Forces (or their spouse/child)
- A doctor, nurse, medical researcher, or any other professional deemed essential in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 (or their spouse/child)
- An individual whose immigration to the U.S. advances national interests
- An applicant for the immigrant investor visa (EB-5)
- An Afghan/Iraqi translator or U.S. government employee who is eligible for a Special Immigrant visa (or their spouse/child)
- Spouse, child under 21, or prospective adoptee of a U.S. citizen
What if my green card application is denied because of the ban?
You may be able to appeal the decision, but you will need assistance from experienced legal professionals.
Let Us Answer All Your Questions
If you are still unsure about how the executive order could affect your case, our team at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. urges you to get in touch with us. While we are conducting all services remotely due to COVID-19, we are fully prepared to stand by your side as you navigate this uncertainty. If the pandemic has negatively impacted your immigration case, we have the skill, knowledge, and resources needed to help you accomplish your goals in as little time as possible.