Trump’s plan to suspend immigration would affect Indians waiting to migrate to US

A late-night tweet by US President Donald Trump on Monday that he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and to protect American jobs, has shocked Indian IT companies and technology professionals. As they anxiously await how the restrictions will pan out, New York-based immigration lawyer Cyrus D Mehta explained its likely impact in an interview with ET’s Ishani Duttagupta. Edited excerpts:

What will be the impact on Indian nationals?

It is very hard to say as we do not have the details. The executive order has not been issued. However, going by the experience of the earlier travel ban executive order, people with permanent residence status or green cards who are outside the US should be able to come back in. It would be unconstitutional to block their entry into the US.

Which visa category will be most hit?
The EO will most likely impact Indians other than green card holders who have yet to receive either a non-immigrant visa or an immigrant visa at the US consulates and embassy in India.

What about Indians stranded in the US due to travel restrictions?

People already in the US on a non-immigrant status will likely not be impacted unless they travel abroad and may also be able to extend and change status while in the US.

Do you feel there will be legal challenges?

I predict a multitude of lawsuits that will challenge the EO, and hopefully one court or more will issue a preliminary injunction and block it, unless the US Supreme Court hears the matter.

Do you think there will be exemptions?
There’s talk that the EO will most likely exempt farm workers on H-2A visas (although this will not impact Indians) and potentially healthcare workers.

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