Last night, the President tweeted that he was going to issue an Executive Order to STOP legal immigration to the United States. Such an executive order would take the President’s anti-immigration resentments and legal theories to an untested extreme.
The President has the power to control the border under INA 212(f), which grants broad authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens … as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens in any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” Indeed, the President has done this previously, by banning the entry of individuals from certain nations, most recently including China.
The President does not have the authority, however, to restrict immigrant applications from within the U.S., meaning that individuals and companies can still file applications for changes of status and extensions of stay, as well as for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
While this tweet has sent a shock wave through the country, as a practical matter it cannot apply to those immigrants who are already within our borders. Additionally, those who are outside the U.S. seeking entry are already stymied by the closure of U.S. Consulates and U.S. borders, with a few exceptions for essential workers.
It should be noted additionally that this provision is meant to be temporary, and allowable only when the President determines that entry by immigrants would be detrimental to U.S. interests. No doubt there will be further explanation and litigation, but please note that in our opinion any such Executive order will not change the status quo, will involve carve-outs and exceptions, and will likely be temporary.
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As of now, there is little reporting but we did post a video of our analysis of existing law, and what the limits of that law are, on our Facebook page this morning.
Once the Executive Order is issued (likely Wednesday), we will post a detailed analysis on our Facebook Page, Youtube Channel, Linkedin, Instagram and our Website.
For now, here is the video of our analysis: