The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly led to several frightening circumstances for those across the country, and much still remains unknown regarding how or when society will return back to “normal.”
For immigrants as well as naturalized citizens, however, life amid the coronavirus has been met with some unique challenges.
Restricted Travel and Entry
In March 2020, President Trump announced a 60-day suspension on immigration to focus on the country’s “potentially protracted economic recovery” and the increasingly high rates of unemployment.
The travel ban restricts certain immigrants from entering the U.S. during that time period, including those in the following categories who are also 1.) outside of the country and 2.) do not have a valid visa or permanent resident status:
Family-based immigration for parents and siblings
Diversity visa lottery immigrants
Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents
Lack of Financial Relief
Additionally, immigrants within the country are some of the worst hit by the economic fallout of business closures and slowdowns.
A $2 trillion relief bill was passed by the federal government in March to provide financial relief to workers and businesses who were hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Over 70 million Americans will be given with IRS checks of $1,200, and many have already received them. But these checks were not granted to everyone.
Coronavirus relief checks are only permitted to go to those with Social Security numbers, which excludes those who pay taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number. This stipulation excludes undocumented immigrants, but that’s not the truly surprising part.
The exclusion also applies to anyone in a mixed-status household, including U.S. citizens who are married to undocumented immigrants. Over 16 million people live in mixed-status households nationwide, including about 8.2 million U.S.-born or naturalized citizens.
Earlier this month, U.S. citizens with immigrant spouses sued the federal government for withholding their coronavirus relief checks after paying federal taxes.
Helping You Navigate Immigration During COVID-19
The pandemic has also disrupted immigration services and legal proceedings taking place within the country. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) effectively closed their offices and suspended all in-person services until June 4.
During this time, online filings and petitions can still be made online, and legal services can be provided in the same manner by an immigration attorney.
No matter what stage of immigration you are in, it’s imperative that you seek out the assistance of an immigration lawyer to help move your case forward. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm for legal advocates in your corner during these trying times.
Contact Maney Gordon Zeller at (800) 708-4399 to schedule your free case review. We are offering online, phone, or video consultations during the pandemic and will continue to assist new and existing clients with their immigration needs.