There is a great deal of confusion regarding immigration and the law in these uncertain times. If you are dealing with any immigration matter in 2020, you are going to need legal help that you can trust. That legal help can be provided by the right Las Vegas immigration attorney.

As the U.S. responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid and sweeping changes are being made to the U.S. immigration system. You may have heard or read, for example, that President Trump has issued an executive order barring, at least temporarily, all immigration into the United States.

If you’ll keep reading, you will learn the details of this important executive order, and you will also learn how it may affect you, someone you intend to hire, or someone you love.

What Does the President’s Executive Order Provide?

On April 21, President Trump issued an executive order that temporarily stops the United States from issuing green cards to most persons currently outside of the country, but the executive order also lists a number of exceptions, including the spouses and young children of U.S. citizens.

The executive order will remain in effect for at least sixty days. It impacts the parents, the siblings, and the adult children of U.S. citizens who are seeking to immigrate to the United States.

The executive order suspends the annual Diversity Visa lottery that makes over 50,000 visas available every year. This means lawful permanent residents in the U.S. (green card holders) will not be allowed to re-unite with their spouses who are outside of the country while the order is in effect.

Who is Exempted From the Temporary Immigration Ban?

However, the executive order does not apply to those immigrants who are currently in the United States, nor does it apply to immigrants who are seeking temporary visas, such as students and agricultural guest workers.

Other immigrants who are exempted from the sixty-day ban on immigration include healthcare professionals, their families, and investors holding EB-5 visas who have made substantial investments that are creating jobs in the United States.

Also exempted are members of the armed forces, their children, and immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan who acquire visas by assisting U.S. military operations.

Will the Ban be Expanded After Sixty Days?

The executive order may soon be expanded and cabinet officials will meet in late May to review the restrictions. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” President Trump said in April.

He added that he may extend the executive order after sixty days “based on economic conditions at the time.”

How Does Immigration Affect the U.S. Economy?

The president’s critics, however, can point to decades of research showing that immigrants positively impact the U.S. economy. Employers already undergo a certification procedure to ensure that U.S. workers are not available in sufficient numbers for jobs that go to immigrants.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, speaking for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told the New York Times that “economically speaking, the thinking behind this order plays into the patently flawed idea that American prosperity is a zero-sum game.”

Theresa Cardinal Brown, speaking for the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, told the Times that the order “means families will be separated” and that U.S. employers who’ve invested time and money to identify prospective employees will not be able to hire those individuals.

Will Temporary Guest Workers be Barred From the U.S.?

Reacting to pressure from employers, the president has apparently backed away from a previously-announced plan that would have barred guest workers in the agriculture and technology sectors from entering the United States.

“Given the unprecedented economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 health crisis, it is especially important now to welcome the world’s top innovators and job creators, not send them home,” said John Neuffer, speaking for the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Over a million immigrants acquired green cards in fiscal year 2019, and almost half – more than 450,000 – were outside of the United States. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that the order will block about 26,000 green cards each month or 52,000 over a sixty-day period.

Have the Courts Determined if the Executive Order is Legal?

A week after the president’s executive order was issued, a federal judge refused to suspend the sixty-day ban on immigration.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon rejected a motion filed by the Justice Action Center (JAC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and Innovation Law Lab for a temporary restraining order.

Judge Simon determined that it was outside his authority to halt the temporary COVID-19-related immigration ban. Doing so, he wrote, could interfere with any attempt by a president to restrict immigration temporarily for urgent national security reasons.

More Immigration Changes Seem Likely

The president’s executive order is not the only recent change that impacts immigration. In only the last few weeks, dozens of changes have been made to the system. Immigration hearings, deportation flights, and refugee admissions have all been affected by the rapid developments.

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be an evolving situation. A number of substantial changes are being made to the immigration system due to the pandemic, and although many of the changes are “temporary,” they will powerfully impact millions of lives for years to come.

As of May 2020, more immigration changes seem likely in the coming weeks, and no one can say with certainty how long some of the temporary changes triggered by the pandemic will remain in effect. If you are confused, you are not the only one.

You May Need an Immigration Attorney’s Help

If the executive order banning immigration for sixty days – or any of the other COVID-19-related changes to immigration regulations and procedures – affect you, your family, or your employees, you may need personalized legal advice from a trustworthy immigration attorney.

Immigration has always been confusing, complicated, and frustrating, and the current pandemic has considerably increased the frustration and confusion. However, the right attorney can help. Don’t hesitate to discuss the details of your situation with a Las Vegas immigration attorney.

If you are a citizen trying to bring relatives to the U.S., an employer seeking to hire international workers, or you are dealing with any other immigration matter, a good immigration attorney can explain how the immigration ban and the other ongoing immigration changes affect you.

The right lawyer can also provide the immigration-related legal advice and services you may need in these unprecedented times and circumstances.