The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has significantly disrupted the livelihoods of Americans. In Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), I declared that the COVID–19 outbreak in the United States constituted a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020. Since then, the American people have united behind a policy of mitigation strategies, including social distancing, to flatten the curve of infections and reduce the spread of SARS–CoV–2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This needed behavioral shift has taken a toll on the United States economy, with national unemployment claims reaching historic levels. In the days between the national emergency declaration and April 11, 2020, more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.
In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must be mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor. We must also conserve critical State Department resources so that consular officers may continue to provide services to United States citizens abroad. Even with their ranks diminished by staffing disruptions caused by the pandemic, consular officers continue to provide assistance to United States citizens, including through the ongoing evacuation of many Americans stranded overseas.
I have determined that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand. Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction. In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled. These are the workers who, at the margin between employment and unemployment, are likely to bear the burden of excess labor supply disproportionately.
Furthermore, lawful permanent residents, once admitted, are granted “open-market” employment authorization documents, allowing them immediate eligibility to compete for almost any job, in any sector of the economy. There is no way to protect already disadvantaged and unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new lawful permanent residents by directing those new residents to particular economic sectors with a demonstrated need not met by the existing labor supply. Existing immigrant visa processing protections are inadequate for recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. The vast majority of immigrant visa categories do not require employers to account for displacement of United States workers. While some employment-based visas contain a labor certification requirement, because visa issuance happens substantially after the certification is completed, the labor certification process cannot adequately capture the status of the labor market today. Moreover, introducing additional permanent residents when our healthcare resources are limited puts strain on the finite limits of our healthcare system at a time when we need to prioritize Americans and the existing immigrant population. In light of the above, I have determined that the entry, during the next 60 days, of certain aliens as immigrants would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions. I therefore hereby proclaim the following:
Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.
Sec. 2. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry. (a) The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall apply only to aliens who:
(i) are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;
(ii) do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
(iii) do 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.
(b) The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
(v) any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
(viii) any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
(ix) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
Sec. 3. Implementation and Enforcement. (a) The consular officer shall determine, in his or her discretion, whether an immigrant has established his or her eligibility for an exception in section 2(b) of this proclamation. The Secretary of State shall implement this proclamation as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish in the Secretary of State’s discretion. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretion.
(b) An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.
(c) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws of the United States.