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Client Alert: New Immigration Rules

The Presidential Order

On Monday night shortly after 10:00 p.m., President Trump wrote in a Twitter feed that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending all immigration to the U.S. in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s Twitter announcement came hours after his administration extended orders for 30 days that have already closed the U.S. borders to nonessential travel. The president did not offer any further details on the upcoming executive order, including what categories of immigration would be affected and what the order might mean for foreign persons legally in the United States.

Update on Customs and Border Patrol

Yesterday, US Customs and Border Patrol (US CBP) issued a nation-wide policy to grant the status of “satisfactory departure” to those persons who could not safely depart the USA for their homes at the end of their visas because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior Governmental Action in Response to COVID-19

Over the past ninety days, US consulates around the world have suspended routine services due to the coronavirus pandemic.  President Trump also halted travel from China in late January and later from Europe where the pandemic had taken hold. US citizens and the parents and/or spouses of US citizens may return to the United States despite this travel ban (if they can find international travel arrangements). Other persons who have a compelling humanitarian reason to travel to the USA may be permitted to travel, too.

Essential Workers and Others

During this same  time, the federal government has sought to ease the visa process for foreign agricultural workers and foreign doctors to assist the U.S. during the pandemic. The US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) continues to accept and process visa petitions and requests to extend or to change US visa status for employers, families, and foreign persons legally in the USA. There has been a recognizable increase in employment-based “green cards” granted without personal interviews in the past two weeks.

Margaret Holland Sparages concentrates her legal practice in Immigration Law and procedure, specifically including securing employment visas and green cards on behalf of individuals and employers.   If you have questions as to your visa status or ability to extend status, or travel internationally, Margaret is available for a “virtual” meeting, or call.  Margaret can be reached at:, or (857) 930-4065.