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I'm a US citizen, and I want my young son's and newborn daughter's Chinese grandparents (without green cards) to be able to visit and take care of them in the near future. They don't speak English, so quarantining for 14 days in a 3rd country would not only be expensive (hotel stay plus extra air travel) but also quite challenging for them. So I read the proclamation:

https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/

I read that guardians of US citizens are excluded from the travel ban.

Sec. 2. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.

(a) Section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:

(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

(ii) any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;

(iii) any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;

Now I'm trying to understand what constitutes a legal guardian. Is that determined by the individual states, or is there a Federal take on what constitutes a legal guardian?

Connecticut, where I live, in addition to permanent guardians, has both temporary guardians and standby guardians. From my reading of the CT rules, it seems we couldn't appoint the grandparents as permanent guardians without one of us parents abdicating our parental rights. But it seems there's nothing stopping us from appointing the grandparents as temporary or standby guardians. The question is, would that be sufficient to make the travel ban not applicable to them?

In all likelihood they would be flying into NY, not CT. Does that change the legal guardianship restrictions?

I waited 90 minutes to talk to National Visa Center on the phone but they were not very helpful. They seemed to imply that it would be up to airport or airline (I didn't hear clearly) whether the guardianship papers would be accepted. Thanks for any input you have.

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    If you are looking for loopholes to the quarantine requirements, this constitute fraud... Appointing them temporary guardians just to get around that is pretty clearly fraud and will probably earn them a ride home and a 10 year ban.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 7 at 20:50
  • I'm not clear why that is fraud. The proclamation says a guardian is exempt. It doesn't say anything about the guardianship needing to be established before the proclamation took effect and indeed that restriction wouldn't make sense. There is certainly nothing fraudulent about having the grandparents as temporary or standby guardians. As for the reason for temporary guardianship, how about both parents working and needing grandparents to care for the children? But USCIS certainly isn't famous for being reasonable... Sep 7 at 21:25
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    It's fraud because you are using the rule to get around a COVID restriction (meant for public safety). A caretaker is not a guardian, a babysitter does not become a guardian. You don't need to give guardianship to care for a child while a parent is away during the day working. The sole purpose is so you don't have to abide by rules which may be inconvenient or expensive.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 7 at 23:45
  • Because of the relative community transmission levels in China and the US, any continuance of Proclamation 9984 (every 15 days according to the text) at this point is political theater, not a realistic pandemic mitigation. (A mandatory 10-day quarantine after arriving, on the other hand, would be completely reasonable). I agree a babysitter almost never is appointed as (temporary) guardian, but they could if the parents wanted them to be, right? Due to the extra expense and burden, my wife's parents are convinced they can't come, which to me and my kids is more than mere inconvenience. Sep 8 at 2:20
  • That's not the purpose of guardianship, temporary guardianship is used when a child's parent(s) cannot act as a guardian for some period of time. For example a single military parent without an ex spouse guardian would assign temporary guardianship if they were deployed. Being a guardian carries heavy legal/financial responsibility, a daytime babysitter doesn't really qualify.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 8 at 17:56
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A temporary guardian would qualify, however, you would have to go to the probate court and explain why you are "unable to care for the minor". It would appear from the situation you describe that you are able to care for the child.

A standby guardian would also qualify if it has taken effect "upon the occurrence of a specified contingency, including, but not limited to, the mental incapacity, physical debilitation or death of the principal….” Killing yourself seems a little extreme just to avoid 2 weeks in quarantine.

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  • I suppose the probate court would make the decision as to whether a temporary guardianship was appropriate? Also, them being overseas could make it an odd thing to ask for. But it does say: "if the appointing parent or guardian is unable to care for the minor for any reason including, but not limited to, illness and absence from the jurisdiction". The "any reason" seems quite permissive, and doesn't clearly limit it to a time span longer than a working day. I could certainly see how it could be reasonably interpreted that way by a judge though. Sep 8 at 1:50
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I think that the strong implication of the proclamation is that the guardians are arriving with the minor for whom they are guardians, or that the minor U.S. citizens in question would be left without care but for their presence.

Perhaps someone has interpreted it differently, but I doubt that the proposed arrangement would pass muster with immigration officials in the U.S.

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    Hmm, I don't read that from the proclamation's text. It would make sense to explicitly limit the exception to minor US citizens that would be left without care without the non-permanent-resident parent or legal guardian's presence. (IMO it would not make sense to limit it to only those arriving with their charge.) But since they didn't make the limitation explicit, I infer that there's likely a reason they didn't add that limit. Sep 8 at 2:00
  • One of my real interests here is at what point the immigration officials actually make a decision. Does it happen at the airport, before getting on the plane? And/or does it happen when going through customs? Who's enforcing the proclamation? Sep 8 at 2:03
  • @MattChambers: The problem with it not being explicitly stated as such is they may not want to bar exceptional cases where a legal guardian becomes a guardian due to the death of a parent in the country around their child, but what this answer is saying is that it is highly likely that in review, it would be interpreted in this case as them needing to be coming with a charge. Sep 8 at 4:50
  • @MattChambers: The visa officer makes a determination when you apply for a visa, the airline staff makes a determination when you check-in or board, and the immigration officer at the port of entry makes a determination when deciding whether to let you in. It can be denied at any of those places.
    – user102008
    Sep 9 at 15:51
  • @user102008 Worth noting also that those determinations are basically non-reviewable and that the last one in particular is subject to extraordinarily wide discretion.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 9 at 21:27

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