On March 23, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sent a letter to USCIS demanding it take the following actions on or before March 27:
- Extend statutory or regulatory deadlines for immigration benefits;
- Suspend all deadlines during the time of the COVID-19 national emergency; and
- Extend any nonimmigrant status and otherwise maintain the status quo for purposes of eligibility for protection and immigration benefits processed by USCIS from the date the President declared a national emergency on March 11, 2020, until 90 days after the emergency proclamation ends.
As coronavirus looms, thousands of immigrants are currently at risk of inadvertently violating US immigration law.
Nonimmigrants whose visas are set to expire within the next few months are in a particularly challenging position. Those who accrue unlawful status may be barred from returning to the US for up to ten years depending on how long they overstay their visas. But many are unable to leave the country before their visa expires, as they face border closures, hospitalization, quarantine, and other obstacles outside their control.
We strongly encourage nonimmigrants with temporary statuses to consider filing to extend or change their nonimmigrant status to avoid falling out of status or accruing unlawful presence. For more information, click here.