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How COVID-19 Is Affecting U.S. Immigration

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life across the entire world, but the devastating impact of this global health crisis has been more deeply felt in the United States, a country where more than 42,000 people had lost their lives by April 21st and where epidemiologists predict the death toll could climb to more than 50,000 before the summer. All facets of life have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and this includes the complicated immigration system in the U.S.

In mid-April, more than a dozen governors contemplated the potential return to partial economic activity by early May, an undoubtedly risky but possibly necessary move in the midst of a contagion. A few days later, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to issue an executive order that would immediately suspend all immigration. The details of this decision were not available as of April 21st, but the political backlash was swift.

Ever since taking office in 2017, Trump has been looking for ways to curtail and complicate immigration. This is something he believes will appeal to his most radical voter base, particularly in a reelection year. As with previous attempts to stop immigration, this one will likely encounter many legal challenges in the nation’s highest courts, and it will sow confusion within the agencies that handle immigration matters, all the way from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and detention centers to consulates and immigration courts.

The lives of immigrants in the U.S. have been impacted by the pandemic in ways that are too numerous to summarize. Petitions and applications have been stalled, detainees have become infected with coronavirus at detention centers, asylum applicants waiting across the border in Mexico are uncertain as to what may happen to their status, and there are no clear guidelines on what should be done in terms of deportations and removals at a time when international borders are restricted.

What immigrants need to keep in mind during the pandemic is that their status shouldn’t preclude their rights to due process and humanitarian relief. For example, missing deadlines for filing forms or appearing at interviews shouldn’t be grounds for compromising legal status at a time when everything is a mess. Nonetheless, this is already happening. Removal orders sending undocumented migrants, particularly those who once sought asylum, to countries with high rates of infection and mortality would endanger lives.

Immigrants in the U.S. are bound to continue suffering more transgressions, mistakes, and overzealous enforcement actions during the pandemic, which is why they should retain the services of experienced immigration lawyers. San Diego residents should be able to count on the fact that the U.S. is a country of laws, regulations, and rights that cannot be undone because of a dangerous microorganism. The legal landscape for immigrants is changing on almost a daily basis, and this underscores the need to have immigration attorneys who can protect the rights of their clients. 

Hiring a highly qualified San Diego immigration lawyer is one of the best ways to make the immigration process less complicated and stressful during these turbulent times. If you need reliable, high-quality legal advice about immigration issues, reach out to the immigration law experts at KS Visa Law. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 858-874-0711. 

April 2024