Portland Immigration Group Sues to Protect Green Card Applicants

On Saturday, the Innovation Law Lab of Portland is among the immigration advocacy groups seeking an emergency injunction from an Oregon Federal judge to halt a part of the so-called COVID-19 Labor Proclamation, a portion that would restrict children of permanent residents from entering the country.  

The civil rights law firm, along with the Justice Action Center and the American Immigration Lawyers Association seek a temporary order to block Trump’s ban on visa services specifically for children of immigrants who are twenty years old. If they turn 21 while their applications are blocked, they will lose their chance to have their applications processed as minors.   

The groups aim for the government to be ordered “to restore urgent and emergency consular processing and visa adjudication services” to children “who are in danger of losing their place in the visa queue,” according to their motion.    

Government lawyer Courtney E. Moran replied to the application, saying that the plaintiffs had not shown that losing their position in queue would harm the subjects. “On the other hand, action by this Court to enjoin the Proclamation would make irreparable the harms to the national labor market that the Proclamation is addressing,” Moran was quoted, indicating that the affected persons posed a threat to unemployed citizens, if they should acquire green cards and thus be able to apply for jobs.    

The Proclamation’s effects are complicated, since it is supposedly intended both to prevent possibly-infected people from entering the country and also to limit the number of new immigrants who might compete for jobs with citizens and resident aliens already present. With these two goals – only slightly related, and incorporated into the same document – it is difficult to parse out what the proclamation’s effects will be on any given group of people, and what sort of exemptions can be made to it without destroying it.  

By John M. Burt