The Hindu American Foundation expressed serious concern over President Donald Trump’s Executive Order announcing a partial ban on immigration. The executive order will ban for sixty days consular processing of green card (“immigrant visas”) applications. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, routine processing services had already been suspended as of March 20, 2020 at all US embassies and consulates around the world.

Trump’s ban will directly impact parents, siblings, and adult children of US citizens, and spouses and young children of permanent residents. In many cases, families have already waited years, if not decades, to be reunited. By some estimates, close to 250,000 Indian Americans are waiting for family sponsored green cards, and comprise the second largest group to be affected by the ban.

The President cited the move as a way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in various media statements, but no rationale is offered in the substance of the order to support this contention. Instead, the Executive Order argues that the ban is being imposed to protect American jobs from competition.

“There is no evidence to support President Trump’s contention that aged parents of Indian American citizen sponsors or adult children — often students — will compete for American jobs,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq.  “Instead, this cruel order will disproportionately target hard-working Indian and Hindu Americans seeking to unite their families, and they will suffer incredible harm.”

The order’s downstream effect could impact international students who would be applying for student visas over the summer for the fall semester at American universities. And the stipulation about a review of the temporary visa programs within 30 days could also affect H-1B temporary workers, a large number of whom are from India.

Shukla pointed out that all available evidence demonstrates that immigration actually enhances employment in communities seeing the largest influx of immigrants.  Immigrants spur economic and labor market growth and innovation, creating thousands of jobs, Shukla added.

A 2017 study found that a majority of larger start-ups had at least one immigrant co-founder, and were responsible for creating an average of more than 1200 jobs per company.

As of now, the executive order will not apply to:

  • Spouses or minor children of US citizens filing for green cards (“immediate relative”)
  • Applicants of green cards filing from within the US (“adjustments of status”)
  • Applicants of Special Immigrant Visas or EB-5 (“immigrant investor”) visas
  • Applicants of any temporary visas (tourist, student visas, H-1B visas, etc.), whether filed from within the US or for consular processing