Guide to Changes in American Immigration Laws after COVID-19

Guide to Changes in American Immigration Laws after COVID-19

Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay.

COVID-19 has changed almost everything happening on this planet we call earth. It has changed the outlook of the nations to see the world and its processes. With everything changing around the world and countries adopting new policies and altering the existing ones in accordance with the new normal, it was impossible for the US to keep its immigration policy and immigration laws intact.

Trump has been playing very smart in this regard and his administration has blocked the entrance of immigrants from the southern border- US-Mexico border. He also administered some other unignorable changes to the Immigration policy and these changes are not the ordinary ones to look at. However, some of these policy changes are temporary which is a good thing but some changes can be permanent considering the prior behavior of the Trump government. However, there is also a conspiracy that the Trump government has used pandemic as a pretext to implement the immigration policies it has been long thinking about. But keeping the conspiracies aside here is a guide for you to know some of these changes about the US immigration policies and laws and consult legal advice accordingly if needed.

Cross Border Entry Limitation and Blocked Illegal Migrants

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump administration has limited the cross border entry between the US and Mexico and allows entry for very important purposes only e.g. travel due to medical emergencies, schooling and work.

The administration also blocked the entry of illegal migrants who enter the southern border with an intention to settle in the US without completing the legal procedure of migration. The entry of such migrants has also been blocked through the northern border and the government plans to keep monitoring such illegal attempts made by the migrants. Non-immigrant visa holders are also not allowed to stay in the country until the whole coronavirus situation gets controlled.

Closure of Immigration Courts

The department of justice closed around ten immigration courts and canceled all the hearings for the time being. The department said that the safety of the judges, lawyers, clerks, and the immigrants is their utmost priority and their safety cannot be risked in such uncertain circumstances.

However, the cases of the immigrants who are in detention are being heard on an emergency basis.

Suspension of in-person services by USCIS

Starting from March USCIS suspended in-person services and refused to cater to non-emergency cases and visitors. The reason behind this step by the administration was again to save the public from the risk of getting affected by the virus.

However, from June 2020 USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services) has also resumed all kinds of services to the public but they have also expanded the number of precautionary measures being taken and the limitations and restrictions being imposed on the visitors. USCIS also plans to open all kinds of services once the pandemic situation gets controlled completely and the government eases lockdown.

Decision on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

A US district court on July 29, 2020, gave its decision about inadmissibility on public charge grounds and temporarily forbade the trump government from enforcing the public charge amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision further forbids the administration from enforcing, applying, implementing or considering effective the inadmissibility on public charge grounds when there is still national health emergency declared in response to COVID-19. The decision of the federal court has put a temporary ban on public charge but it’s one great news for the immigrants to celebrate amidst this pandemic.

Blockage on Refugee Admissions

The other bad thing that happened during this pandemic was the decision of the trump administration to block the refugee admission to the US. The immigrant stories make it sound very bad on the government’s side but these changes were made keeping in mind the safety of the state and the other nations around.

Ban on Chinese Students

The Trump policy has banned the Chinese students who have been previously involved in research and studies related to China and its “military-civil fusion strategy” but the undergraduate students are exempted from this ban. This ban was put by a presidential proclamation and was made effective from May 29, 2020.

However, one thing that needs to be highlighted here is that the ban is only for those students and researchers who have been working on china’s “military-civil fusion strategy” and not the other students studying in other disciplines.

There have been other changes in the US immigration policy as well since the COVID-19 pandemic started but some of those have been repealed, hence they have not been mentioned here. This guide will help you track and keep your knowledge updated about the changes being made in the US immigration laws after COVID-19.

Author: Dereka Adam

Dereka Adam is a content writer and a guest contributor to Perfect Motivations, Inc.
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