Indian American attorneys react to President Trump’s pause on immigration

Indian American attorneys react to President Trump’s pause on immigration

Cyrus Mehta

Founder and Managing Partner,

Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners

The Proclamation on Wednesday from the White House is a brazen attempt by Trump to rewrite US immigration laws under the guise of protecting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proclamation places a ban on permanent immigration to the US with some exceptions. Although the EO purports to halt permanent immigration for 60 days, it leaves open the possibility of revaluation on Day 50 and extending the ban. The Proclamation also leaves open the possibility of introducing other measures impacting nonimmigrant visa programs such as the H-1B and L visa programs.

Essentially, the Proclamation places green card holders on a lower pedestal than temporary nonimmigrants under a pseudo economic theory that there is no way to protect Americans from the threat of competition from newly minted green card holders who can seek jobs in any sector. This false assumption is made even though some of the would be immigrants who have been banned were sponsored by employers because of their skills and who tested the US labor market for American workers prior to filing a green card application on their behalf. The Proclamation further cruelly blocks spouses and children of green card holders and even those who have won approvals based on their extraordinary ability or their contributions to the national interest. Spouses and minor children of US citizens are exempted and so are physicians and nurses, along with others coming to perform work related to COVID-19.

Although Trump claims to have derived this authority under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which he relied upon when he earlier issued the travel bans and which was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2018, I believe that he has overreached here. The President cannot wholesale re-write laws enacted by Congress, and decide the sort of immigrant he prefers over another based on personal whim and prejudice. For example, EB-5 investors have been exempted from the ban while other would be immigrants who have properly obtained approvals under the law, and many who have waited for years in green card queues, have been improperly banned.

There is no doubt that many lawsuits will be filed, and even states such as New York have promised to challenge the ban in federal court. Although the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s travel ban that focused on mainly Muslim countries,  it is not a foregone conclusion that courts will uphold this ban as it wholesale rewrites the law based on subjective opinions and pseudo economic theories that are not consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

As president of the United States, Trump is still subject to  laws enacted by the US Congress. He cannot be allowed to be King and change them through whim and caprice.

Dev B. Viswanath

Principal Attorney of

The Banad Law Offices

President Trump’s Executive Order Suspending Immigration for New Lawful Permanent Residents, also known as new green card holders, for 60 days, at this stage seems to be more related to populist pandering then educated and calculated measures to protect “American” workers.  The order is finite to only 6o days with the open-ended option to renew and it does not address short term or nonimmigrant visas such as H1Bs, L1 visas, J1s or other short term employment based visas.  The bigger and more concerning question for me is what other measures may be taken by the executive office to stagnant and curtail foreigners from living and working in the United States.  We should be careful to watch how agencies such as the Department of Labor, The Department of State, and US Citizenship & Immigration Services develop, if at all, any measures in the name of protecting the public in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.  We as public citizens should be alert and mindful of decisions the federal government continues to take on this subject, but take relief in the belief that this executive order itself will not change much.

Anand Ahuja

Attorney at Law, President,

Indian Americans for Trump 2020

President Trump’s Executive Order concerning immigration is about a 60-day ‘pause’ only and not a ‘ban’ on people seeking permanent resident status. It does not adversely affect some other categories of immigration. Some essential services workers such as farm hands, heath care workers, pharmaceutical workers etc., are actually to get priority.

The objective of this temporary measure is to “protect jobs of American workers”. There are more than 22 million American workers who have applied for unemployment insurance benefits. The actual number of unemployed American workers may be much more as some of these unemployed workers may not be eligible for unemployment insurance. By permitting these Green Card seekers to come to the USA, and apply for jobs here would make these American unemployed workers to compete with them. And if these new Green Card holders are not allowed to apply for jobs (and compete with these unemployed American workers), then they will become public charge, entitled to all welfare benefits such as food stamps, etc. Therefore, if these Green Card seekers are allowed to come to the country, they are going to be a burden on USA’s already crippled economy.

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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