Immigration Actions Taken by President Trump During His Last Days in Office

Renewed Declaration of a National Emergency at the Southern Border

On February 15, 2019, President Trump issued a proclamation declaring a national emergency at the southern border of the United States. This proclamation provided funding for the construction of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That proclamation was set to expire on February 15, 2021.

On January 16, 2021, President Trump issued a notice extending the national emergency for an additional year until February 15, 2022.

President Biden has said that on his first day in office he will issue a proclamation halting construction of the border wall.

Extension of Travel Bans

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of some categories of immigrants into the United States, initially for sixty days. Then, on June 22, 2020, President Trump issued another proclamation extending the suspension of immigrants and also suspending the entry of certain nonimmigrants, specifically those seeking H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and some J-1 visas. Both suspensions were set to expire on December 31, 2020.

On December 31, 2020, President Trump extended the suspensions of those categories of immigrants and nonimmigrants through March 31, 2021.

It is not yet clear what, if any, portion of those proclamations President Biden intends to change or rescind.

Removal of Travel Restrictions

Between January and May 2020, following the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, President Trump issued a number of proclamations suspending the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present in the following countries during the 14-day period prior to attempting to enter the United States: China, Iran, Schengen Area (which includes the countries of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. None of these orders had a specific termination date.

On January 12, 2021, the CDC issued an order effective January 26, 2021, requiring a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving to the United States from a foreign country.

Then, on January 18, 2021, President Trump issued a proclamation terminating restrictions on entry of travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. However, he left in place the restrictions on travelers from China and Iran.

President Biden, has indicated, however, that these restrictions will not be lifted on January 26, 2021.

 

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