May 29, 2020 Presidential Proclamation Suspending the Entry of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China

Posted on May 30, 2020

On May 29, 2020, President Trump announced his latest Presidential Proclamation aimed at restricting Immigration into the United States. Scheduled to take effect on June 1, 2020, the Proclamation effectively suspends the entry of all nationals from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) who are seeking to enter the U.S. on a nonimmigrant F or J visa in order to engage in graduate studies or conduct research in the U.S. Notably, the proclamation excepts and does not apply to any students from the PRC who are seeking to pursue undergraduate studies in the U.S.

An additional limitation is that the Proclamation only applies to such graduate students and researchers who

“… either receives funding from or who currently is employed by, studies at, or conducts research at or on behalf of, or has been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of, an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy” is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation. For the purposes of this proclamation, the term “military-civil fusion strategy” means actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities.”

The Proclamation also EXEMPTS and DOES NOT APPLY to:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States (ie. green card holders);
  • Aliens who are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • Aliens who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces, or their spouse or children;
  • Aliens whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement or who would otherwise be allowed entry into the United States pursuant to United States obligations under applicable international agreements;
  • Aliens who are studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies);
  • Aliens whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • Aliens whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Finally, the Proclamation further EXEMPTS and DOES NOT APPLY to individuals from the PRC who are seeking:

  • Asylum;
  • Refugee status;
  • Withholding of removal, or
  • Protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

As with all of President’s Trump’s Proclamations that are designed to limit or restrict foreign nationals from coming to or remaining in the U.S., this Proclamation is likely to be challenged in the Federal Courts as being unconstitutionally over broad and discriminatory as it is being applied to nationals of the PRC who are clearly being singled out here in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic for which President Trump is fond of blaming China. If there is any silver lining here, its in the laundry list of exceptions and exemptions that seem to protect a large category of PRC nationals from being excluded from the U.S.

If you have any questions about the Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Nationals and Students from the People’s Republic of China, contact U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel to schedule a consultation.

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