COVID-19 Continues to Impact Immigration
There are few aspects of life that COVID-19 isn’t impacting. Immigration, and, more specifically, immigration enforcement, is no exception.
It’s worth knowing how USCIS is responding to this crisis as it may impact your case, or put your mind at ease.
ICE is postponing most enforcement.
ICE is only focusing on “foreign nationals who pose public safety risks and those who are subject to mandatory detention because of criminal records.” They do stress they are only postponing enforcement until the crisis has passed.
If you’re avoiding healthcare facilities because you fear ICE will come and get you, worry not. ICE has specifically said they’re avoiding these facilities in all but the most dire of circumstances.
You may have trouble getting care due to a lack of beds, but if you think you have COVID-19 you should seek treatment.
Immigration courts are closing.
They’re still open here in Pennsylvania, but this could change as the crisis continues to unfold.
USCIS is basically on hold.
They’re postponing interviews, halting visa applications, and halting naturalization ceremonies. If you had an interview scheduled you can expect the interview to be postponed and rescheduled.
If you were in the middle of an application it is possible you will fall out of status during this period, but USCIS has said it is making allowances for special circumstances. Working closely (though virtually) with an immigration attorney during this time can ensure you don’t get penalized for circumstances beyond your control.
You can learn more about the USCIS response to COVID-19 here.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has demanded the release of detainees.
Crowded detention centers are breeding grounds for COVID-19, and several detainees and enforcement officials have already tested positive as a result. Representative Joaquin Castro, (D-Texas) has called for the release of all detainees.
He’s joined by voices from the ACLU, 3000 medical professionals, the media, and other congressmen and women.
There are lawsuits underway which could provide hope to detainees and their families. A federal judge has already ordered the release of ICE detainees from county jails where COVID-19 cases were confirmed.
Get additional answers by calling our office.
This is a trying time for everyone. Being an immigrant is an uncertain exercise in the best of times. It’s even harder when there’s a crisis going on and everything is in flux.
If you have specific legal questions about your case, don’t hesitate to call and ask. There may be specific steps you will need to take to protect yourself legally.
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Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.
Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.
Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.