NOI 50: Can Trump Really Ban All Immigration to the U.S.?

In a thinly-veiled bid to further his anti-immigrant policies, President Trump has declared he will soon ban "all immigration" to the U.S. because of COVID-19.

Jacob Tingen: Hello nation of immigrants. This is it. As you can see, I’m still recording from home. Working in my home office. It has happened. President Trump has declared that he will halt all immigration into the US. We’re going to take a look at that after the intro. Not much else to say here. We’ll see what happens.

Announcer: You’re listening to Nation of Immigrants.

President Obama: America is a nation of immigrants.

Announcer: A podcast about US immigration law with your host Jacob Tingen.

Jacob Tingen: Okay, so this is where it started. A recent tweet. “In light of the attack from the invisible enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our great American citizens. I will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States”! and it ends on an exclamation point there.

Jacob Tingen: I think it’s interesting. In the CNN article it says, “Other aspects of the order remain unclear”, said the administration, including what legal authorities, the president will rely upon in the order and what other elements of immigration, including family, immigration or potential exemptions might be included.

Jacob Tingen: So it seems to be just typical 140 characters, Donald Trump, sending stuff out into the world and letting everybody else react. Including apparently people on his own staff. So this is just the method of operation. I’ve already gotten some calls and emails from clients asking what’s going to happen to my application. And so my first thought is, well, first of all, breathe, let’s see what actually happens. A tweet is not law, right? It does. We already know what Trump’s immigration policies are. They tend to be anti-immigrant, they tend to want to restrict immigration generally.

Jacob Tingen: But before we freak out or react, let’s see what’s actually going to happen. And the reality is, is that there’s no executive order, not yet. I mean, there probably will be, and you can read the tea leaves and think about what will be in it all you want. But there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there about why this is happening. And of course the justification for it in the tweet is in light of the attack from the invisible enemy. Which, it refers to coronavirus COVID-19, right? So in light of COVID-19 we’re going to suspend all immigration as a means of protecting people. What does it say here, in light of the attack from the invisible enemy as well as the need to protect the jobs of our good American citizens. So, he’s viewing it as a job saving measure.

Jacob Tingen: And we’ve recently talked about how immediately after the pandemic struck, there was a rush to get a bunch of agricultural visas approved because the US saw, “Hey, we need migrant workers on our farms. We need to make sure our food supply chain doesn’t just stop working all of a sudden”. And then there was also a rush to get visas approved for doctors and nurses and that kind of thing. And so we see that immigration helps us as a nation. But as different people fight against the restrictions on our daily routines and lives, which I completely understand, I also get frustrated with not being able to go to the gym and do the things that I used to do, right? So I think we all get it and we’re all in this together. But what’s fascinating here is Donald Trump is starting to push against the restrictions that he himself has put in place.

Jacob Tingen: It’s a weird duality going on there. Because first of all the federal government is saying, “Hey, everybody should follow these restrictions for the safety of everyone”. And then Donald Trump, who is the federal government right now, he’s the executive branch. Saying, “Yes, of course my experts are right”. But then at the same time pushing for everything to reopen and then saying, “But no, no, no, no, no. We’re going to protect ourselves by keeping all of the immigrants out”. I mean, it’s just disingenuous. It’s just not intellectually honest. There’s nothing going on here, but just anti-immigration stuff.

Jacob Tingen: So what do we have to look forward to? Who’s affected? First reports I’ve read say this is just about employment visas. So if it’s just about employment visas and your family based visa applicant, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, there’s still no executive order, so it’s not like I or anyone else knows. So I think the first step here is to just take a deep breath, right? Especially if you’ve got an immigration application pending. Just take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay.

Jacob Tingen: The second thing that I would say is there will be a court challenge to this. The likelihood that this doesn’t get challenged in court is zero, right? There will be a court challenge to this. What happens as a result of that is anyone’s guess. The Supreme Court has upheld a lot of Trump’s immigration restrictions in the recent past. And I’ve talked about that on this podcast, but the reason that the Supreme Court has done that, you could say, “Oh, well the deck is stacked against immigrants”, and that kind of thing. Because Trump has appointed his appointees to the Supreme Court.

Jacob Tingen: But I think something more is going on than just that. I mean I think there’s an element of that, right? But honestly, Congress has given an overwhelming amount of power over immigration to the executive branch and until Congress calls some of that power back and says, no, no, no, no, no, a lot of these immigration issues can be governed by just the laws themselves and the executive branch doesn’t need to have as much power over immigration as it currently does. Presidents tend to have pretty strong authority on these kinds of issues. So, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some lawsuits going back and forth. We’ve seen a lot of temporary nationwide injunctions going into effect and we’ve seen judges start to shy back from that now as a result of different things that have been written and some opinions about immigration issues.

Jacob Tingen: And so we’re seeing federal judges shy away from temporary injunctions. But I wonder if on an issue this big, if it wouldn’t just happen and then get appealed really quickly as has been the case lately? And we’ll just kind of see what happens. My hope though is that this doesn’t go into effect that it is some kind of executive orders suspending immigration into the United States that … I’m seeing a comment for the first time during a live video, that’s awesome. Thanks Aretha. It probably is a political strategy. I mean it’s unlikely that it’s not. But what’s interesting is yeah, what I’d like to see is that either this would be a very narrow executive order and so it just doesn’t apply to the vast majority of people, or that it just gets blocked in the courts, which is likely.

Jacob Tingen: So I wanted to hop on because I’ve had some clients who’ve recently applied. So I think for family based petitions for those who are adjusting status and are present in the United States, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to worry about. Again, we haven’t seen the order yet, but if you have some kind of pending employment petition, yeah, this might be cause for concern and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Is it going to be suspended for 120 days? Is one report that I read was the implication that it just be four months, 120 days? Is that what’s going to happen? Or is it going to be more along the lines of six months to a year? And then if it’s just four months, is it going to be they’re no longer going to accept applications or is it just they’re going to halt processing of them?

Jacob Tingen: They’ll accept them and receive them, but they won’t give out any green cards based on an employment based visa. These are all the questions that aren’t answered by 140 character Tweet that aren’t answered in any of the news articles I’ve read. Basically everybody’s spitballing and so because clients have been asking me and I said, “Look, I’ll just post some information on my YouTube channel”. I’m going to spitball with everybody else, but I’m going to spitball honestly, we don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see. When the executive order comes out, I’ll take a look. I’ll post a new video, so stay tuned and lawyer up. It’s the best advice I can give you.

Jacob Tingen: If you like the podcast, if you like the stream, please support us a at Go click on podcast, donate. You can also make sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn we’re everywhere. So thanks everybody for listening and thanks Nation of Immigrants. Take it easy and stay safe, as they say in Spanish, [foreign language 00:09:04], right? You know, stay, stay away from anything that could get you sick. All right.

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