Prospective immigrant visa applicants based on family-based petitions were alarmed by the news requiring health insurance as a condition for the issuance of their immigrant visas. Filipinos who have been waiting outside the United States for their visas to become available were concerned on how they could possibly comply with this requirement. What is the proclamation about and what is the current update?
Erika waited for more than 20 years for her visa to become available. She had processed for her visa and is awaiting her interview before the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Her legal counsel said that there is a strong probability that she will be interviewed in November 2019. In October 2019, she read the news about Trump’s new proclamation. She became hysterical and was losing hope about being able to immigrate to the United States. She wants to know what she needs to do and if she needs to comply with the health insurance requirement.
On October 4, 2019, President Trump released the “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System”. This will have the effect of barring qualified immigrant visa applicants from receiving visas unless they establish that they will be covered by an approved health insurance within 30 days after entry or can show proof that the visa applicant has the ability to pay for the foreseeable medical costs. Thousands of prospective legal immigrants, including those from the Philippines, will be adversely affected by this proclamation.
Doe v. Trump Case
A coalition of civil rights litigators from the Justice Action Center (JAC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Innovation Law Lab, with Sidley Austin LLP providing pro bono assistance filed a lawsuit on October 30, 2019 before the United States District Court for the District of Oregon to halt the implementation of the Presidential Proclamation. The lawsuit rightfully claims that the Presidential proclamation is illegal. It unilaterally rewrites the immigration law, imposes a new ground of inadmissibility and creates requirements that are extremely difficult or impossible to satisfy by the prospective visa applicants. The proclamation, according to the complaint filed, exceeded the scope of President’s statutory authority and violates Constitutional separation of powers and equal protection principles.
As a result of the lawsuit and prior to taking effect on November 5, 2019, Judge Michael Simon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon issued a temporary restraining order to prevent President Donald Trump’s from implementing this presidential proclamation.
Erika and prospective immigrant visa applicants should not be worried at this time about complying with the “No Insurance, No Visa” proclamation. With the temporary restraining order, consular officers may not require proof of health care insurance. However, this does not mean that the issue on public charge is not going to be addressed. It is important that during the visa processing the immigrant visa applicants have complete documentation, making sure that they are not likely to become a public charge upon their arrival in the United States.
(Atty. Lourdes S. Tancinco is an immigration attorney based in San Francisco CA and a partner at the Tancinco Law Offices. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook/tancincolaw, or at 1-888-930-0808)