USCIS has reopened some offices today

2020-06-04 Daily News

  • USCIS has reopened some offices today. Starting today, June 4, USCIS began reopening some offices to the public. USCIS has taken some precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including providing hand sanitizer, requiring a face covering, and providing floor markings to ensure social distancing is practiced. Application Support Centers are still closed until further notice. Information on specific offices and hours of operation can be found here.
  • A government watchdog reported that DHS underestimated family separations. According to a new Inspector General report published on June 2, DHS reported only a fraction of the families who were separated at the border by CBP. The government watchdog found that at least 60 families were separated in May-June 2018, when DHS had reported only 7. These separations occurred at the height of the Trump administration’s now-ended “zero tolerance” policy. CBP took issue with the report’s suggestion that CBP separated families without regard to their health, safety, and reunification.
  • Kansas will ask the Supreme Court to uphold its law requiring voters to produce citizenship documents. The Kansas attorney general announced plans to appeal a 10th Circuit ruling against the state. The appeal will ask the Supreme Court to allow Kansas to enforce a law requiring potential voters to provide paperwork proving their citizenship when registering to vote. If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will affect multiple states, since Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia have similar laws. Critics of such laws believe their goal is to suppress votes. The appeals court similarly noted that since it went into effect in 2013, the law had suspended or cancelled 31,000 potential voters’ registrations for failing to meet the proof of citizenship requirement. Meanwhile, at most 67 non-citizens registered or attempted to register to vote in Kansas in the past 19 years.
  • Some asylum seekers continue to trek north to the United States despite border closures. Both the Mexican and American borders have closed to nonessential travel in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This has left many asylum seekers stranded in Central America and Mexico. Some Cuban, African, and Haitian asylum seekers were among those stranded in Honduras when the borders closed, and despite the closures, have continued to travel north towards the United States. It is unclear how many people there are, but the asylum seekers are traveling on foot and will have to trek through multiple countries before reaching the U.S. border.
  • Latino immigrant activists have brought crucial assistance to families during the pandemic. Nonprofits like New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) normally assist immigrant workers, but since the pandemic started, they have been instrumental in providing food to families. NICE is one of many nonprofits in New York whose work has shifted since COVID-19 began to spread. Mayans without Borders is currently providing similar assistance to Central American indigenous immigrant families near Boston. For many immigrant families, federal assistance is not available, or if they are eligible, the families fear retribution if they accept anything. This fear has included seeking medical help for COVID-19 symptoms, which may be one factor in why Latino communities have suffered a disproportionate number of deaths.

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