President Trump signed into effect a new executive order entitled “Suspension Of Entry Of Immigrants Who Present A Risk To The United States Labor Market During The Economic Recovery Following The 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak”, on April 22, 2020.

While this sounds ominous and has the appearance of the great lion, king of the jungle, roaring loudly to assert its control over the natural kingdom, in reality, it’s a whimper of a scaredy-cat who has lost control of his country.

The truth among all the noise is that this executive order as it stands now affects no real change at all. Why?

  • Immigrants cannot travel now to the U.S., which has restricted entry to the U.S. to all foreign nationals except green card holders or direct family members of U.S. citizens, diplomats, and crew members.
  • The U.S. embassies and consulates are not giving in-person interviews, which means no foreign nationals are receiving new visas of any kind now
  • The duration of the order is for only 60 days, and the entry ban and pause of consular processing of visas, i.e. what was already in place for a while, have essentially the same effect, rendering it useless
  • The order only addresses immigrant visas which are based on employment – Estimates are that, assuming high levels of efficiency by the Department of State, that 75,000 employment-based visas might be issued in a two-month period. More than 26 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the past month. Do the math. It’s a drop in the ocean, not even a bucket.
  • The order does not eliminate immigrant visas and since these visas do not have a specific time limit, so it means that immigrants just need to wait out the order to get their visas. It only prolongs this happening, and it is already prolonged by the closure of the US embassies and consulates.
  • Most foreign nationals work in the U.S. on non-immigrant visas, meaning temporary visas that can last up to 5 years at most, not on immigrant visas, and these are not addressed in the order at all.
  • Most immigrant workers who get permanent residence do so by adjusting status in the United States while they work on temporary visas and do NOT wait outside the U.S. for immigrant visas, and this order does not stop any processes within the United States from continuing.

In essence, the order puts into effect what was already a reality: No consular interviews means no visas are being issued right now. All these immigrant visas will be issued eventually, and even if they are, their minuscule numbers mean that they have virtually no effect on the U.S. job market anyway.

It would be a stretch to even call this even a band-aid measure because it does not have any temporary effect at all beyond what was already happening. It is in the end, just a whimper from the scared lion who lost his courage.