statue of liberty

COVID-19 in the Context of Immigration Benefits

It is Thursday, March 26, 2020, and tomorrow will mark two weeks that the office of Michael G. Murray, P.A. has operated remotely, serving our immigration clients from the safety of our homes. COVID-19 has affected immigrants in countless ways that remain to be fully realized.

I am writing because I have recently replied to several clients, who seem very concerned about their immigration status given the closures of immigration courts and most in-person services at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

One client is concerned that an employment prospect, which relies upon the receipt of her employment authorization card, will be jeopardized by COVID-19 related delays.
To this client, and to all immigrants seeking various forms of relief at this point in time, I am saddened that I cannot be a greater source of comfort in offering tangible solutions. The hard truth is that the main focus for most is to stop the virus or flatten the curve so that every day lives can return to normal.

In terms of immigration, I can speak of years of experience in observing how the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) and USCIS respond to forces of nature and other circumstances affecting applications and benefits sought. I have noticed that appropriate consideration is generally given to circumstances beyond one’s control.
And I have a sincere belief that this response extends beyond the immigration context. So, take a deep breath. This too shall pass.

Also, it may be helpful to check in with the USCIS home page for updates. https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

The EOIR website and Twitter page are also monitoring and updating regularly.
https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic
https://twitter.com/DOJ_EOIR