By KoKo Huang, Gregory McCall and Asasia Pierce

The Trump administration has implemented numerous immigration proposals via executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, President Trump has signed the following immigration-related executive orders, all which are currently in effect:

  • On January 31, 2020, a proclamation barring individuals from China from entering the United States.
  • On February 29, 2020, a proclamation suspending entry of individuals from Iran into the United States.
  • On March 11, 2020, a proclamation suspending entry of individuals from the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) into the United States.
  • On March 14, 2020, a proclamation suspending entry of individuals from the UK and Ireland into the United States.
  • On April 22, 2020, another presidential proclamation limiting immigration for individuals outside of the United States seeking U.S. permanent residency. Please see our summary of this proclamation.
  • On May 24, 2020, a proclamation barring individuals from Brazil from entering the United States.
  • On May 29, 2020, a proclamation restricting the entry of certain Chinese national students and researchers into the United States pursuant to their visas to study or conduct research in the United States. Please see our summary of this proclamation.
  • On June 22, 2020, a proclamation temporarily barring certain non-immigrants who were outside of the United States and without valid nonimmigrant visas as of June 24 from entering the United States. Please see our summary of the proclamation.

We are closely monitoring other recently implemented and proposed executive orders, regulations and legislation, including the following:

  • A regulatory change that imposes a 90-day limit on the period in which Chinese journalists may remain in the United States. This change is a measure taken after China expelled American journalists.
  • The July 6, 2020 Student Exchange Visitor Program announcement that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain in the United States.
  • President Trump’s June 22, 2020 proclamation ordering the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor to draft regulations reforming the H-1B visa program in an effort to prevent U.S. workers from being disadvantaged.
  • Proposed efforts to reform the optional practical training (OPT) program that allows F-1 international students to work in the United States for a limited time after graduation.

Business Implications:

  • While President Trump has justified his restrictions on immigration to protect jobs for Americans, these restrictions on immigration could have long-term effects on employers who rely on recruiting talented international employees. This is especially true for tech companies that hire many employees using the H-1B visa.
  • Restrictions on students, particularly those from China, will also be a big disadvantage to U.S. universities and employers. First, international students often pay full tuition, allowing universities to provide scholarships and other financial aid to American students. Second, the United States could lose its appeal to international students and workers, which will result in loss of valuable talent, especially in STEM fields.

Update: The Trump administration retracted the July 6, 2020 Student Exchange Visitor Program announcement that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain in the United States. Please see our summary here.