The Latest News on How Covid-19 is Shaping Immigration Policy


It’s hard to believe it’s been six weeks since the Covid-19 crisis “officially” hit in America. Throughout this time, the pandemic has become hopelessly intertwined with immigration issues.

The close of the month brings us three news items worth paying attention to. 

Federal Judge Upholds Trump’s 60-Day Ban on Green Cards

US District Judge Michael Simon of Oregon refused to suspend Trump’s executive order placing a 60-day ban on green cards. The move appeared to be a procedural one, rather than a philosophical one. The plaintiffs in the case had attempted to piggy-back an injunction on the back of the order which would deny visas to people who can’t pay their own medical costs.

Simon said connecting the two policies would be untenable and outside of his authority.

Procedure can have a massive impact on how any case unfolds. 

Worth noting: the so-called immigration ban doesn’t stop EB-5 investment visa applications, nor does it halt processing for temporary farm workers and crop pickers.

Marriage to Undocumented Immigrants Means the Loss of Stimulus Checks

The Covid-19 stimulus check won’t be coming for American citizens married to undocumented immigrants who filed taxes with an ITIN. At least, not yet: there is a pending lawsuit which might overturn this policy.

The lawsuit is coming from the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  MALDEF has filed the suit on behalf of six US citizens who ran afoul of the policy. The argument is that the policy is in violation of the 5th Amendment. 

“U.S. citizens should not be denied economic recovery payments by the federal government simply because of whom they choose to marry,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and counsel in the case. “The Constitution protects the right to marry and raise children, even if one spouse lacks a social security number.”

Conflicting Bills in the House

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sponsored the draconian PANDEMIC Act bill, a draconian measure meant to “force the government to deport all illegal immigrants held in the US when a national emergency is declared because of a communicable disease.”

It’s not clear how Gaetz expects the logistics of such a bill to be carried out. It might also be a moot point: Democrats control the House and this bill is unlikely to pass.

In stark contrast, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Congressman Cory Booker (D-NJ) have sponsored a bill demanding the release of detainees and the end of enforcement against individuals who don’t pose a significant safety threat to the United States of America.

It’s a tumultuous time. 

Hykel Law is here to help. We’re still offering virtual consultations by phone. Got questions? Concerned about how to protect yourself in the ever-shifting immigration climate? Give us a call today. 

See also:

Covid-19 Continues to Impact Immigration

Tax Time for Immigrants: What You Should Know

New Laws for Green Card Holders in 2020


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