By Cyntia Sosa
How COVID-19 is Affecting Immigration
The pandemic that has been brought on by COVID-19 has affected various parts of our society, especially in closing different businesses and forcing citizens to socially distance from others. A major affect that this pandemic has on society is how it is impacting immigration and immigrant communities. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they will be closing their offices until June 4th, which could have an impact on different systems such as DACA renewals and appointments that had been scheduled during the closures.
These closures and halt on services has caused various services to be cancelled or rescheduled such as interviews, naturalizations, biometrics appointments, oath ceremonies, and much more. Because of this, many immigration benefit processing’s have also been stalled. U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have been closed which will affect visa services. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) announced that there would be a delay in the enforcement of detaining people who are not considered public safety risks, as well as not pursuing them in hospitals or other health care facilities (Redmon, 2020).
Even though the USCIS offices are closed, DACA renewals are still being processed. USCIS has announced that they will be using previously submitted biometrics for renewals for people who had appointments scheduled ahead of time. There are many DACA recipients and immigrants who are in the frontlines working to care for others during the pandemic, but they have been excluded from things such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (C.A.R.E.S ACT), which was created to provide American citizens with assistance during these difficult times, however it excluded the vulnerable population of immigrants. They were excluded from provisions that would ensure testing and economic relief to those who were eligible for the assistance, which not only poses a risk for these communities but also for the people that they are around every day. COVID-19 affects everyone in the community, regardless of race or ethnicity, so people should have equal access to resources ensuring that we move forward as a country in public safety and in our economy.
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