Updated: Jun 12
For the past two months, Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) continues to ravage through the United States. Between border closures, travel bans, and unemployment (etc.) immigrant hopefuls in America have a lot of unanswered questions. Out of status immigrants, those awaiting adjustment, or not status individuals are one of the most at-risk groups for this disease, due to fear of seeking medical attention because of immigration status. There are a few key points made over the last couple of weeks by the Trump Administration and USCIS.
Due to the rising rate of unemployment in the US Trump is considering further immigration restrictions, particularly those on foreign workers.
"He is expected to extend and expand restrictions on foreign workers coming into the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to appease a frustrated political base as Americans try to return to work." (Politico)
"The White House [also] is expected to consider further restrictions on foreign workers following President Donald Trump’s pledge to "suspend immigration" last month, according to administration officials tasked with a 30-day review of all visiting workers
While the unemployment rate hit a historic high of 14.7% in April, it was higher among foreign-born workers — at 16.5% — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics." (ABC News)
"The administration is expected to continue to review the changes regularly, likely every 30 to 60 days, said a Republican Capitol Hill staffer familiar with the discussions. The measures could extend into the fall or even until the labor market has fully recovered or a vaccine is developed." (Politico)
Trump is expected to sign his second order this week. This is on top of an order trump already signed back in April 2020, last month.
"Trump signed [a previous] order, blocking most people for 60 days from
receiving a permanent residency visa, or green card, though he continues to process visas for hundreds of thousands of temporary employees — the largest source of immigration. He also exempted wealthy investors and spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens." (Politico)
Immigration Offices are also facing their own set of challenges during this pandemic.
"The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our agency's financial outlook," a top USCIS official wrote in the letter to Danielle Spooner, president of the national union for agency employees. "Since the declaration of the national emergency, application and petition receipts dropped to half their previous levels and with them, agency revenue that keeps our doors open. Thousands of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees could be furloughed in late July unless the cash-strapped government agency, which oversees the nation's legal immigration system, receives more than a billion dollars in emergency funds from Congress. Without congressional action, USCIS, which relies mostly on application fees to finance day-to-day operations, could furlough "a portion" of its employees starting on July 20, the agency's deputy director for policy, Joseph Edlow, said in a message to staffers Tuesday afternoon." (CBS News) Since applications and filing petitions are declining, filing fees are also declining. USCIS also suspended their premium processing (form I-907) feature, so those hoping to expedite their petition can no longer do so for the time being.
On their website, USCIS.gov, USCIS has posted their response to Covid-19 and their respective actions for frequently asked questions.
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