When President Trump issued his “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” on April 22, 2020, the proclamation made no exception for the visa applications of minors under the age of 21 whose family members reside as lawful permanent residents in the United States. In fact, minors hoping to immigrate to the United States are only eligible to receive a visa during the period in which the Proclamation is taking place if one of their parents is a U.S. citizen or they fulfil another exception to the Proclamation, such as being of a “national interest” or children of parents who are coming to the United States to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
A recent complaint was filed by Plaintiffs Gomez, Mirna S., and Vicenta S. against Defendants Donald J Trump, William Barr, Michael Pompeo, US Department of Homeland Security, and Chad Wolf. The plaintiffs argue that the Proclamation issued by President Trump “exceeds statutory grants of authority, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” It is argued that the defendants are violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to justify the change in procedure concerning the allocation of immigration visas, failing to address conflicts with other laws and legislation such as the INA, and by going against laws put in place by Congress to help reunite minor children with their parents. The plaintiff also argues the defendants' actions are unconstitutional as the President is argued to have overextended his power and “usurps Congress's authority and its expressed intent to allow for the entry of individuals to further the goals of family reunification.” Finally, the plaintiff argues the defendants have violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment because “United States lawful permanent residents have constitutionally protected liberty interests in family reunification with their children” and said individuals have not been given due process before being deprived of their “liberty interests.”
Though it seems like the “national interest” exception of the proclamation could pertain to minors in the process of trying to receive a visa, there has been no clarity on how this exception could be applied. If no action is taken to exclude minors of lawful permanent residents in the United States from President Trump's proclamation, some minors will age out of their visa preference category and will be forced to apply for another visa with substantially longer wait periods, thus meaning that they will not be reunited with family members in the United States for a much longer period of time.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-494-8033, complete my contact form