On Dec. 31, 2020, President Trump extended his “immigration ban” through March 31, 2021, just hours before it was set to expire.
By way of background, and as I detailed in previous articles, in April 2020, Trump issued a proclamation (which he renewed and expanded in June 2020), banning the issuance of immigrant visas for people outside the US who were under petition by family members or employers. The ban also applied to temporary non-immigrant working visas, such as H-1B.
His justification for the ban were the effects of COVID-19 on the US labor market and the health of American communities as a matter of “ongoing national concern,” which have not been eliminated. His concern was the high unemployment rate in the US, and it’s not fair to let people immigrate who will take away jobs from US workers.
Is there anything that can be done in the meantime? Here are some possibilities and the chances of success:
Biden could rescind or cancel this proclamation? But we have seen from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) the difficulty of a president trying to undo executive actions or proclamations of previous presidents. Obama instituted DACA by executive action, and Trump tried to rescind it by executive action, but there was lengthy litigation, going all the way up to the Supreme Court, which held Trump did not properly rescind DACA.
Legal action? By the time the case gets through the courts, it will probably be past April 2021, so it seems litigation would be a waste of time. Also, courts have held a president may, by proclamation, “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” whenever he finds that the entry of such aliens or class of aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Trump believes letting in immigrants who will take away jobs would be “detrimental.” So, it could be Trump’s proclamation would be found to be lawful.
Department of State (DOS), National Visa Center (NVC) and the US embassies would still likely take months before they reopen and can start scheduling interviews, even if there were no proclamations. While DOS says it will start reopening posts on a case-by-case basis, there are still COVID concerns, travel restrictions, etc. Also, people would need to update medicals, and likely the US will require COVID testing and vaccination. We still don’t know when vaccines will be distributed worldwide.
The bottom line is that it is extremely disappointing Trump extended the immigration ban when he will already be out of office. But most likely, by the time anyone tries to challenge the proclamation, it will be April 2021 already.
But keep reading my articles, subscribe to my YouTube channel (US Immigration TV), check my Law Office’s Facebook page (GurfinkelLaw) and continue watching Citizen Pinoy to be kept updated, as many new procedures and policies will take place. And Biden promises change and reversal of Trump’s harsh policies.
* * *
Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES; SAN FRANCISCO; NEW YORK: Toll free: 1-866-GURFINKEL (1-866-487-3465); PHILIPPINES: +632 88940258 or +632 88940239