By Ur Mendoza Jaddou, Former USCIS Chief Counsel and Peter F. Asaad

Yesterday, President Trump issued a new  Presidential Proclamation  that suspends the issuance of new visas by U.S. consulates and entry to the U.S. under the following visa categories, including accompanying family members, beginning June 24, 2020 through December 31, 2020:

  • H-1B (“high-skilled” temporary work);
  • H-2B (temporary, seasonal work);
  • J (only for intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, summer work travel); and,
  • L (intra-company transferees).
There are some exceptions:
  • Those with existing non-immigrant visas valid on June 24, 2020;
  • Those with official travel documents valid on June 24, 2020 or issued thereafter (e.g. transportation letter, boarding foil, advance parole document);
  • Lawful permanent residents;
  • Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens;
  • Those whose temporary labor or services are essential to the U.S. “food supply chain;” and,
  • Anyone whose entry is in the “national interest,” as defined by the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security to include those that are:
    • “[C]ritical to...defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security;”
    • “[I]nvolved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;”
    • “[I]nvolved with provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;” and,
    • “[N]ecessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”

In addition, yesterday’s Proclamation extends through December 31, 2020 the April 22, 2020 Proclamation that generally suspended the issuance of green cards for adult children of U.S. citizens, spouses and children of green card holders, high-skilled immigrants and diversity visa recipients who are outside the U.S.

The Proclamation may be modified 30 days after June 24, 2020 and every 60 days thereafter by the recommendation of the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and of Labor. Furthermore, the Proclamation may be extended beyond December 31, 2020.

Finally, the Proclamation orders various federal agencies to develop regulations and/or policies on various matters:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide guidance to the Departments of State and Homeland Security to implement measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19;
  • Department of Labor, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, to investigate and ensure that the PERM process for high-skilled workers and the wage requirements under the H-1B visa “do[] not disadvantage United States workers”
  • Require the Department of Homeland Security to consider regulation or other action to ensure that the allocation of H-1B visas “does not disadvantage United States workers;”
  • Require the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Department of State, to ensure immigrants are “registered with biographical and biometric information” for visa eligibility and admission to the United States; and,
  • Require the Department of Homeland Security to take action to prohibit work permits for those with final orders of removal, who are inadmissible or deportable, or who have been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense in the U.S.

Potomac Law's Immigration Practice 

Potomac Law's immigration team is dedicated to providing corporations with immigration services catered to their unique needs. Our strength is providing the highest level of service with the greatest efficiency and quality. Recognizing that the immigration process is daunting for both the company and the prospective employee, we give each case the care and attention to detail it requires. It is this attention to detail and proactive case management that has helped our team achieve a nearly 100% success rate in employment visas matters. We know that the job of the immigration attorney does not end when the approval notice is received. Our team is committed to following-up on the changing immigration needs of their clients by providing clients with updates on immigration policy, webinars, and notices on the status of their visas. We believe that an immigration attorney should be available to provide assistance throughout the immigration process. Our emphasis on continuing legal education for staff at all levels ensures that the attorneys and paralegals handling client cases remain up-to-date on the latest developments in immigration law. It is through our continuing education of the immigration law that we are able to educate clients about the immigration process and provide options available to them. 
Brief Summary of Potomac Law's Immigration Offerings:  
  • Comprehensive advice, preparation, submission, and case monitoring for all visa/green card petitions. 
  • Strong commitment to partnering with HR/Legal on a strategy and operational level to ensure that our clients are aware of, planning for and executing processes in anticipation of the next set of changes in immigration law and procedure. 
  • One stop shopping with PLG for your overall immigration compliance 
  • Every matter is fully strategized and supervised by an experienced immigration attorney who is supported by a team of seasoned paralegals and administrative staff 
  • 24/7 access to our immigration database management system for foreign national employees, Legal, and HR professionals. 
  • Strong focus on 100% corporate compliance - i.e., not just "getting the visa approved", but also attention to the surrounding legal compliance issues, such as notice requirements, document retention, maintenance of public access records, audit planning and defense, and discrimination avoidance and emphasis on employee satisfaction because we recognize that immigration is an important recruiting and retention aspect for international employees. 
  • Case docketing expertise and software for upcoming immigration status/work authorization expirations to ensure that immigration deadlines are tracked, identified and acted upon well in advance of the expiration date. 
  • Delivering an excellent experience to sponsored foreign national employees with a deep recognition that immigration sponsorship is an important component of employee recruitment and retention 
  • I-9 and E-Verify compliance advice in connection with specific matters to aid in full compliance with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. 
  • Consultations with government agencies, USCIS Ombudsman, congressional support, and AILA Liaisons for delayed or problematic cases 
  • Timely client alerts and updates regarding changes in immigration laws and procedures 
  • Free trainings and CLE events throughout the year on immigration and a broad array of other legal topics 

To learn more about the issues raised by this client bulletin, please contact Peter F. Asaad at pasaad@potomaclaw.com.

This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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