On December 11, a federal district court ordered that the State Department stop enforcing Section 1 of Presidential Proclamation 10014, which prohibits the issuance of immigrant visas to selected immigrants. President Trump indicated that the Proclamation was intended to protect the U.S. labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it appears more likely that the Proclamation was issued as part of the Administration’s legal strategy to severely limit all forms of immigration to the United States. The ruling only affects the named plaintiffs of the case, who are encouraged to contact the National Visa Center for scheduling an immigrant visa interview. Had their interviews already been conducted, the plaintiffs should directly contact the U.S. embassy or consulate conducting the interview.
The Proclamation was an initially issued on April 22, 2020, has been extended once already, and is set to expire on December 31, 2020; however, it seems likely the Trump Administration will attempt continue the Proclamation indefinitely. The Proclamation negatively affects certain groups outside of the United States seeking to immigrate through consular processing. While most immediate relatives are exempt from the Proclamation, parents petitioned by their U.S. citizen children over the age of 21 are not. Most family-based preference petitions, including spouses and children petitioned by lawful permanent residents, are subject to the Proclamation, with the exception of members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children. Physicians, nurses, healthcare professions, treaty traders and investors, and the EB-5 visa category are also exempt; however, most employment-based visas, including temporary skilled and unskilled workers, exchange visitors, and intracompany transferee managers and executives, were not.
While promising to benefit the national economy, the Proclamation has likely had the opposite effect. The prohibition of highly skilled workers, seasonal workers, researchers, scholars, company executives, and their family members has a crippling effect on U.S. businesses. Their contributions allow companies to innovate, grow, and succeed, especially during challenging times. Likewise, immigrants themselves count for 10 percent of all created jobs in the United States; therefore the limitation of visas also has a direct detrimental impact on U.S. workers seeking employment.