ICE is a federal government law enforcement agency whose responsibilities include preventing people from entering the United States illegally, apprehending people who are illegally present in the US, detaining certain immigrants, and similar police operations. Because ICE’s resources and activities have been hampered by the coronavirus crisis, the agency has issued a statement detailing its enforcement priorities during the crisis.
Although US officials seem to believe that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, they continue to halt various processes of the immigration system, basically stating, “because of the coronavirus.” Legally, the President has the constitutional power to make discretionary decisions in order to protect and strengthen national security. This may include making decisions to promote the health and well-being of the US people. However, many advocates are growing concerned that the Trump administration is using the virus as its justification--or facade--to further its objectives of restricting immigration.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak and its threat to the nation’s economy, the US Congress passed a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package, that includes economic stimulus payments to most US citizens as well as many immigrants. If you are eligible, you can receive your payments through your private bank account (if it is registered with the Internal Revenue Service) or by paper check mailed to your home address.
If you are an immigrant who has lost your job in the US or been laid off, can you (or should you) seek state unemployment benefits? As is the typical case with legal questions, the answer is not simple -- it is rather complex and nuanced.
The Coronavirus Crisis and Your Immigration Status: Options If You are Unable to Depart the US on Time
If you are a “non-resident alien” (someone located in the United States, legally or illegally, who is not a citizen and who does not hold a valid green card), accruing unlawful presence in the US can cause a lot of problems. You might be detained, you might be departed, and you might be barred from re-entering the US for 3 years, 10 years, or even permanently.
It’s a safe bet that there is no aspect of the US immigration process that has remained unaffected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. Following is a general overview of some of the adjustments that have been made. Keep in mind that the immigration coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly and that some of the information in this article may be outdated by the time you read it.