In a previous article (Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Northern and Southern Border Closures in U.S.), we advised that on March 20, 2020, the U.S. closed both the Northern and Southern borders to all but essential travel in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We further advised that unless it is extended, the closure will remain in effect until the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary determines it is no longer necessary, or one year from the publication of the rule, whichever is earlier. Based on the foregoing policy, the administration had been extending border restrictions between Mexico and Canada in 30-day intervals since March of 2020.
On May 19, 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule , amending the existing rule, that allows borders to be closed for health reasons. The new rule bans the, “introduction of certain aliens” until the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes that the coronavirus no longer threatens public health.
While previous border restrictions were extended on a 30-day basis, the new rule means that the CDC director has control over when the border reopens. In effect, the new rule allows the administration to extend restrictions at the border indefinitely.
The Trump administration has indicated that this order has been one of the most critical tools the Department has used to prevent the further spread of the virus and to protect the American people, frontline officers, and those in their care and custody from COVID-19. Critics of the administration have said that the new rule has nothing to do with curbing the spread of COVID-19 and Trump is using the pandemic to move forward an anti-immigrant agenda. Regardless of what you may believe, this new rule will have far reaching effects on many immigrant groups, including refugees and beneficiaries of green cards outside the U.S.
If you have any questions about border closures during the COVID-19 crisis or any other immigration matter, contact our attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. Our experienced immigration attorneys can address your concerns and advise you of the proper course of action.