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Analysis of Trump’s Recent Temporary Restrictions on H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L visas

On June 22, 2020, President Trump extended and expanded Presidential Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020.

The original proclamation prohibited the issuance of “immigrant” visas (required for those seeking permanent residency from outside the United States), subject to exceptions defined in the proclamation. The restrictions were to be imposed for 60 days, after which time they could be extended.

On June 22, President Trump extended the restrictions until December 31, 2020, and expanded the restrictions to certain “nonimmigrant” visas (i.e., visas for individuals seeking temporary entry into the United States for a specific purpose).

The extension was effective at the time of the proclamation and the expansion took effect at 12:01 AM this morning.

The nonimmigrant visas subject to the June 22 expansion include:

(a) an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual;

(b) a J visa, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual; and

(c) an L visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual.

The proclamation only to applies to an individual who:

(i) is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii) does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii) does 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 this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

Please note that this proclamation leaves many individuals’ cases unaffected.

  • The proclamation is limited to the visa types specified.
  • The proclamation does not affect any nonimmigrant visas that had already been issued prior to June 24, 2020, at 12:01 AM.
  • The proclamation does not affect issuance of J-1 visas for several programs, including to scholars (research and short-term), physicians, and professors.
  • The proclamation does not impact applications for changes or extensions of status within the United States.

The stated aim of the original proclamation and its expansion is the protection of the U.S. economy. While we all wish to see the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 mitigated, we could not disagree more with the president’s method. Immigrants make vital contributions in economic areas such as healthcare, research, technology, and food production, to say nothing of the critical support they provide to their U.S.-based family and friends.

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