By KoKo Huang

On April 20, 2020, President Trump stated that he would temporarily suspend immigration into the United States. Trump made the following statement on Twitter: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” An executive order has not been signed at this time.

Based on a draft version of the executive order and a White House press conference today, the administration seeks to ban most individuals from receiving employment-sponsored green cards for at least 60 days. Guest worker programs for temporary work, such as H-1B, L-1, or TN, which provide visas to farm workers, high-tech workers, and others, do not appear to be targets of the executive order. It is not clear whether spouses and children of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and temporary workers will be affected. Until we review the final executive order, it is not clear which categories of immigrants will be exempted or whether non-citizens who are already living and working in the United States will be affected.

While the administration has not provided information related to its legal authority to impose such a suspension, the Immigration and Nationality Act gives the president the authority to block non-citizens from coming into the United States if he determines that allowing them to enter would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The Supreme Court recently affirmed the president’s broad authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act in the 2018 travel ban case Trump v. Hawaii.

We are continuing to monitor this situation and will closely analyze the impact of the executive order when it is released.