Immigration and COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 GENERAL UPDATE

Please visit the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition website for updated information.

Here is a link to Congressman McGovern's COVID-19 updated list of resources.

Look4Help, our local directory also has a COVID-19-specific resource list.

On This Page:

USCIS Pause

Immigration Court

ICE

Public Charge and COVID-10

Public Charge Update

Standard  Driver's License vs. REAL ID

DACA Update

Scam Alerts

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Update

We Have Rights: What to Do in an Ice Encounter


USCIS PAUSE

All interviews are cancelled until "at least" April 1.  This includes interviews, asylum interviews, infomod/infopass appointments, and biometrics/fingerprinting appointments. Applicants should receive notices with new dates.  If you have an emergency situation, call the USCIS Customer Service hotline (1-800-375-5283) . There is more information on the COVID-19 page of the USCIS website.. 

All citizenship ceremonies have been suspended for March and April by court order. Individuals with a scheduled oath ceremony should receive de-scheduling notices and will eventually receive a new oath ceremony date. 


IMMIGRATION COURT

All hearings for individuals not in detention are postponed.

All detained hearings are still planned to take place.


ICE

  • All check-ins are happening over the phone. ICE will contact impacted individuals to let them know.
  • ICE announced that it "will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds" and delay enforcement against others. It also clarified that "ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors' offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement." More information is available on the COVID-19 page of the ICE website. 

PUBLIC CHARGE and COVID-19

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will not apply Public Charge rules to any immigrant who has symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Any immigrant who has a fever, cough, shortness of breath should call a doctor.   All immigants can receive testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases, including COVID-19 and pay for these services with one or more public benefits without fear of penalty from the Public Charge Rule.


PUBLIC CHARGE DETAILS

In January, the Supreme Court ruled that the Administration's proposed more restrictive Rule of Public Charge may go into effect even as challenges mounted by individual states work through the courts. Read more here. The revisions to the Rule of Public Charge reverse longstanding public policy that allowed nutrition, health, housing, and other public benefits to be used without causing "public charge" consequences. This means that immigrants who enter the country legally and apply to become permanent residents could be denied permanent resident status if they receive government benefits, such as food stamps and subsidized housing.  Immigrants who do not apply for public benefits will be more likely to be granted permanent resident status.

Among students and clients served by Center for New Americans, many are low-income upon arrival and may accept some form of public benefits. For most of our constituents, this is a short-term aid which they give up as soon as they are proficient enough in English and secure enough in their job or jobs (often more than one).  Our experience is borne out nationally as indicated in the attached article.

Who is affected by the Rule of Public Charge?

  • Some people who apply for a green card or a visa to enter the U.S.

​Who is not affected by the Rule of Public Charge?

  • Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) applying for citizenship
  • Applicants for or holders of TPS, U or T visas, Refugees, Special Immigrant Juveniles

STANDARD DRIVERS LICENSE VS. REAL ID

REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for identification that was created in 2005. Beginning October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID or a passport to fly within the United States or enter federal builDo I have a choice of driver license/ID types?

The cost to obtain a REAL or Standard driver's license/ID card is the same.  

For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website.

For more information on documents needed for a Real ID, please read the attached document.


DACA UPDATE

On November 12th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three cases concerning the Administration's proposal to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program known as DACA.

Established by executive order by President Obama, DACA grants access, and temporary relief from deportation to immigrant young adults who arrived in the U.S. as children without documents. 

A successful DACA application confers access to employment authorization, a driver's license, and in-state college tuition.  Center for New Americans has filed several DACA aplications with all of the required documentation, which is not insignificant.

Successful applications have enabled some of our students and our students' children to live stable lives, working and studying like their neighbors while legislators debate comprehensive immigration reform.

This article by the National Immigration Law Center provides more detail on the issue.

~~ People should continue to avoid negative interaction with law enforcement. Something like a DUI or conviction related to drugs can have irreversible negative immigration consequences.


SCAM ALERTS

Latest Scam:

The Office of Attorney General Maura Healey warns of scammers promising mortgage debt or other debt relief to you and your family from mortgage debt or unpaid taxes! They ask you to sign a document.

​DO NOT proceed in this type of transaction!  Please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division at 617-727-8400 for questions or concerns.

Learn how to Avoid Scams

Learn how to Avoid Scams

Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams

Telephone and email scammers are pretending to be government employees. They say that there is a problem with your social security number or account. 

If you receive a suspicious call:

1.    HANG UP!

2.    Do not give money or personal information

3.    Report the scam at www.oig.ssa.gov

https://www.youtube.com/user/SocialSecurityOnline


Update onTemporary Protected Status (TPS)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through Jan. 4, 2021. 

The notice automatically extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (collectively, TPS-related documentation). The validity dates for the affected countries are:

TPS Designation(s) Current Expiration Date New Expiration Date
El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan Jan. 2, 2020 Jan. 4, 2021
Honduras Jan. 5, 2020 Jan. 4, 2021
Nepal March 24, 2020 Jan. 4, 2021

DHS is extending the TPS documentation in compliance with the preliminary injunctions of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Ramos, et al. v. Nielsen, et. al. and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Saget, et. al., v. Trump, et. al., and with the order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to stay proceedings in Bhattarai v. Nielsen.

For more information, see the notice and the TPS page on the USCIS website.

 TPS  for Residents of Yemen an

TPS for people from Yemen and Somalia extends through March, 2020. For more information, please can check the USCIS website.

My TPS Is Ending – What Can I Do?

You may choose to leave the U.S.  Maybe you have lived here for decades and have family here.  You may not want to leave.  There are options that will allow some people to obtain legal status and remain in the U.S.

Recommendations

1.  Verify whether there is a deportation order out for you.  TPS recipients can check by calling 1-800-898-7180 and entering your A number.  Enter option 1 to learn if you have a hearing date.  Enter option 3 to learn about any decisions that were made about your case. If there is no information about you then there is no deportation order for you.

2.  Get your records now.  Find out what information is in the government’s official files.  It is important to know if there is something you have forgotten about or is different from the way you remember it.  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides access by anyone to government records.  The Privacy Act (PA) allows an individual to access his/her individual records from government.  

File Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act (PA) requests with any of the following offices with which you have had contact:

There are different processes depending on which office has the records you want.  Check the websites for more information.

• USCIS    (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services)

• ICE        (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

• CBP       (Customs and Border Patrol)

EOIR      (Executive Office for Immigration Review, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice) 

3.  Make a list of all the contact you have had with those offices

Did they stop you, pick you up, detain you, or deport you?  Did you go to immigration court?  Did you apply for any immigration visas, refugee status or asylum?  Did anyone apply for you?  If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you should talk to an immigration professional.

4. See if you can get legal permanent residence (a green card).

There are limited ways to get permanent residence: family-based, employment-based, diversity visa, refugee/asylee, money to invest, extraordinary talent or being a victim of crime/violence.

• Family-based means you have a spouse, adult child, parent or sometimes a sibling who can petition for you.

• Employment-based is when an employer petitions for you, after proving that no one else who is able to do the job is available.

• Every year, there is a lottery for people who want to get green cards.  Interested people submit their applications and a few lucky people are allowed to get green cards.  In order to enter the lottery you have to be outside the US or here legally.  Many people would be eligible to apply for this.  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/diversity-...

• People who enter the US already classified as refugees from persecution or who are granted asylum so they do not have to return to a country where they would be persecuted may apply for green cards after one year

• People who have a lot of money and plan to open a business that will provide employment to a certain number of people may be eligible to apply.

• People who have very unusual abilities may also apply, such as athletes, artists, and scientists.  

• People who were victims of certain crimes and cooperated with the police or were the spouse (child/stepchild) of someone through whom they got their immigration status who abused them. 

For more information you can check the following websites:

https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/eligibility-categories 

https://www.uscis.gov/non-uscis-forms (tourist visas, passports, ect)


WE HAVE RIGHTS

When ICE Is Outside Our Doors

Inside Our Homes

In Our Communities, In Our Streets

If ICE Arrests Us

 

Startup Growth Lite is a free theme, contributed to the Drupal Community by More than Themes.