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BREAKING UPDATE: Executive Order Will Apply Only to Green Cards and Last 60 Days

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In this post, we bring you a late-breaking update regarding the President’s recent tweet announcing the temporary suspension of immigration into the United States by executive order.

While the President has not yet signed the executive order suspending immigration, in a press briefing held today, reporters had the opportunity to ask President Trump who will be most affected by his suspension.

The President indicated that the executive order will temporarily pause the adjudication of green card petitions for a period of 60 days which can be extended at the President’s discretion. Although the President initially framed the executive order in terms of being issued to “protect American workers,” it does not appear that temporary foreign workers seeking employment visas will be impacted by the suspension. Although temporary foreign workers applying for permanent residence will likely be impacted. Several media outlets have confirmed that the executive order will not pause adjudication of work visa petitions.

The executive order is expected to make exemptions for workers in critical industries including farm workers, landscapers, crab pickers, health care workers, and other types of temporary foreign workers, because these workers are considered “essential employees” that are in great demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, an exemption is expected to be made for adjustment of status applicants who are immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (spouses, unmarried children under age 21, parents of US citizens aged 21 or older).

We are currently on standby waiting for the executive order to be released. The President has stated that the executive order will be signed tonight or tomorrow, at which time the full details will be made public.

To reiterate, this new order is not a blanket suspension on immigration, instead it is a very narrow order that will impact only foreign nationals applying for green cards for a temporary 60-day period. Remember that exemptions will be made for immediate relatives of US citizens, as stated above.


What might this pause look like?


Following the issuance of the order, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will likely issue an announcement stating that the agency will be temporary freezing the adjudication of adjustment of status petitions for certain individuals for a 60-day period. This will likely include petitions in the pipeline.


Recommendations


The executive order will be released very soon. Please be patient while we obtain the full details. If you are in the process of applying for adjustment of status, we recommend that you file your petition as soon as possible. It may be the case that USCIS will temporarily stop accepting these petitions until the freeze is lifted. Please note that USCIS field offices remain closed to the public until at least May 3rd. This means that no interviews will take place.

For more COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.