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White House Amends Order Suspending Entry of Foreign Nationals Under Certain Work Visa

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation prohibiting foreign nationals  from entering the U.S. under H-1B, H-2B, J (if participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work program), or L nonimmigrant visa status. 

The original proclamation applied the prohibition on entry to foreign nationals who are outside the U.S. and do “not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation.” On June 29, the President issued an amendment to the original proclamation which altered this language to apply the proclamation to any foreign national outside the U.S. who: “does not have a nonimmigrant visa, of any of the classifications specified in section 2 of this proclamation and pursuant to which the alien is seeking entry, that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation.” 

The amended language clarifies any ambiguity created by the original proclamation. Because the original language specified the prohibition applied to foreign nationals outside the U.S. who did not possess a valid “nonimmigrant visa,” it could be read to exempt foreign nationals who possessed valid nonimmigrant visas outside the specified classifications. However, the amendment makes clear that the prohibition on entry to the U.S. under the proclamation applies to foreign nationals outside the U.S. who do not have a valid nonimmigrant H-1B, H-2B, J, or L visa who are attempting to enter under the same classification. 

Why Refine the Language?

The amendment establishes that the bar on entry applies to any foreign national who does not have a valid nonimmigrant visa in the same category he or she wishes to enter in. Refining the language closes any potential loopholes for foreign nationals with valid nonimmigrant visas outside of the H-1B, H-2B, J, or L classifications from seeking to enter the U.S. under these classifications. 

Impact of the Amendment

The amendment is likely to have minimal impact on the executive order, because it merely clarifies the suspension of entry under the enumerated categories. Foreign nationals outside the U.S. with valid H-1B, H-2B, J, or L nonimmigrant visas can still enter the U.S. while their visas are valid, and Canadian nationals remain unaffected by the executive order.

If you have questions about how the executive order or amendment may affect your immigration status, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys!