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Entry Restrictions at the Northern and

Southern Borders in Response to COVID-19

Updated April 27, 2020
In response to the global spread of COVID-19, the federal government has issued several orders
restricting the entry of foreign nationals into the United States. Many of these restrictions were
implemented through President Trump's authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (INA) to suspend the entry of non-U.S. nationals (aliens) whose entry the President finds
... would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. One procarnafion issued  n Janua, 3I
'020, suspends the entry of foreign nationals who have been in mainland China within the prior 14 days.
A secoad proclamation issued on February 29, 2020, suspends the entry of foreign nationals who have
been in Iran in the prior 14 days. Twi more procmiartions issued in March 2020 restrict the travel of
foreign nationals from countries in the Schcnign Aroa, Ireland, and the United Kingdom within the prior
14 days. Finally, a proclam.aion that took effect on April 23, 2020, suspends the entry of aliens on
immigrant visas for 60 days, for the stated purposes of protecting Americans from job competition during
the economic recovery and reducing strain on the domestic health care system. This last proclamation
would appear to have limited impacts in the near term. The Department of State had arcadv sl speidcd
most immigrant visa processing around the world. Further, among other limitations and exceptions, the
proclamation does not apply to the spouses or children of U.S. citizens, to healthcare professionals or EB-
5 jtinestor, or to aliens who already held immigrant visas as of the proclamation's effective date. The
proclamation would impact some categories of immigrant visa applicants-including, among others,
parents of U.S. citizens-if its entry restrictions remain in place after the Department of State resumes
visa processing.
The Trump Administration has taken other action, relying on authority outside INA Section 212(f), to
restrict the movement of foreign nationals over land borders into the United States. Two orders restrict
non-essential travel by foreign nationals into the United States through ports of entry on the land borders
with both Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a
component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has issued an order (along with
implornonting regnations) suspending the introduction of foreign nationals from countries with
COVID-19. These new orders raise a number of legal issues-most notably their effect on migrants
seeking asylum in the United States.

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