April 23, 2020 IN: Immigration, National, Press Room
White House Immigration Ban Targets Families of US Citizens and LPRs
Offers no real solution for COVID-19
Washington, DC – Yesterday evening, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) banning the entry of certain immigrants for 60 days, with the option to renew at the president’s discretion. The EO goes into effect tonight at 11:59 PM EDT and would prevent entry from individuals who are outside the United States; do not have a valid immigrant visa; and do not have an official travel document other than a visa. Immigrants exempt from the ban include, but are not limited to, the spouses and minor children of US citizens; lawful permanent residents seeking re-entry into the United States; physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals; wealthy immigrants entering through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program; and members of the armed services.
The EO essentially prevents the vast majority of individuals immigrating through the family immigration or diversity visa system from entering the United States. It bars entry for:
Children over 21, married children, parents, and siblings, U.S. citizens;
Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents;
Individuals immigrating through the diversity visa system; and
Individuals entering the United States through all employment-based visas, except for EB-5.
Currently, 1.4 million Asian individuals are waiting to reunite with their families, including over 210,000 immigrants from Vietnam,1 9,000 from Cambodia, and 2,000 from Laos.2 Some of these individuals have been in the visa backlogs for over a decade.
“This Administration has shown us again that it continues to prioritize attacking immigrant families rather than ending a global pandemic. Instead of increasing access for testing and health care for the public and providing support for families and individuals, this Administration spends valuable time and resources creating political diversions targeted at immigrants,” said Quyen Dinh, SEARAC executive director. “Preventing millions of immigrants from reuniting with their families or entering the United States’ workforce to provide necessary services does not make our country safer. SEARAC remains committed to helping our communities through this turbulent time and will fight for policies that protect all Americans.”
Those interested in learning more about the EO can join the Strengthening Family Unity & Building a Humane Immigration System Amidst COVID-19 webinar on Friday, April 24, at 1 pm EDT (10 am PDT) to learn more about the policy implications of the executive order and information about how we can fight back. The webinar is hosted by SEARAC partners at the Value Our Families Coalition. RSVP here. Login information will be provided upon RSVP.
1. Annual Report of Immigrant Visa Applicants in the Family-sponsored and Employment-based preferences Registered at the National Visa Center as of November 1, 2019.
2. Asian Americans Advancing Justice, AAJC.