As the United States responds to coronavirus, many immigrants are feeling frightened and confused about how this will impact them. While things are changing quickly and it’s difficult to be certain of what we can expect, our team is here for you and wants to help. In today’s blog, we’re looking at a few of the ways COVID-19 has affected the immigration process and what these changes mean for you.
As of March 20th and until at least April 20th, non-essential travel between the United States and Mexico has been forbidden. Essential travel includes U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents re-entering the United States, travel for medical purposes, travel for education, travel for work, travel for emergency response, cross-border trade, governmental and diplomatic travel, and military travel. All other travel is on hold. These changes mean that visits to see family or take a vacation will not be allowed in this interim.
There are also restrictions on travel to Canada, Europe, and other places.
For the safety of staff and immigrants, almost all court hearings are on hold until at least April 10th. These hearings will be rescheduled. If you have concerns about whether or not your hearing has been rescheduled or if you aren’t sure where your status stands now that courts are closed, we are here to help you.
Hearings in detention centers are continuing as normal; however, witnesses may not be allowed in person in certain detention centers. So please contact us prior to travelling to any hearing at a detention center as you may not be allowed entry. We are here to help you and your loved ones, especially if they are detained, in their immigration matters.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for green cards, citizenship, asylum, and granting refugee status. The suspension of their in-person services means that naturalization ceremonies are on hold. Interviews for those in the immigration process are also going to be pushed back to a later date.
In mid-March it was announced that no more refugees would be admitted into the United States until April 6th. The International Organization for Migration supported this decision, saying that travel would put refugees at risk for getting sick. At present, though the April 6th projection has passed, there has been no update on this suspension.
If you or a loved one is dealing with one of these issues, or any immigration matter upended by coronavirus, you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney right away. Our team is here to help. Contact us today and we will do our best to point you in the correct direction.