Flushing Law Office

136-20 38 Avenue, 11B

Flushing, NY 11354

(718) 305-1660

joseph@alexandrelaw.com

Law Office of Joseph B. Caraccio

620 Wilson Avenue, Suite 271

Brooklyn, NY 11207

(516) 669-0448

jbc@jbclawoffice.com

© 2018 by Joseph B. Caraccio Attorney-at-Law 

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NY Immigration Lawyers practicing immigration law in New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, Bushwick, Bed-stuy, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Red Hook, Downtown, Atlantic Avenue, East New York, Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Forest Kills, Jamaica, Rego Park, Queens Village, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Huntington Station, Mineola, Glen Cove, Hempstead,  Glen Head, Bayville, Sea Cliff,  Levitown, East Meadow, Herricks, Albertson, Roslyn, Old Brookville, Locust Valley, Wyndanch, Elmont, Ozone Park, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Astoria, Flushing, Newark, Kearny, and we will take any Immigration Case anywhere in the United States.

EOIR, IMMIGRATION COURT CANCELLATIONS & CLOSURES 

 

All non-detained hearings scheduled through April 10, 2020, have been postponed. 

Most Immigration Courts in the US are currently open but you should check the EOIR Website to check the status of the Immigration Court in your area. https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic

 

In New York City, all three Immigration Courts are currently closed but the Immigration Court on Broadway is open for filings only. 

 

USCIS CANCELLATIONS & CLOSURES

 

As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.

 

Emergency Circumstances 

USCIS has discretion to take the following measures on a case-by-case basis upon request, if you have been affected by a natural catastrophe or other extreme situation, such as the COVID-19 Outbreak (https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations):

Extensions and Changes of Status

When applying for an extension or change of status due to a special situation that prevented your planned and timely departure, we may take into consideration how the special situation prevented your departure. If you do not apply for the extension or change of status before your authorized period of admission expires, we may excuse the delay if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control.

Employment Authorization

If you experience severe economic hardship because of unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, you may request employment authorization to work off-campus (if you meet certain regulatory requirements). See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9). Examples of unforeseen circumstances include (but are not limited to):

  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment (through no fault of your own); 

  • Substantial fluctuations in currency value or exchange rate; 

  • Inordinate increases in tuition or living costs; 

  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support; 

  • Medical bills; and 

  • Other substantial and unexpected expenses. 

To apply, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with a copy of your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and any other supporting materials to USCIS.

Your Form I-20 must include the employment page completed by your Designated School Official, certifying your eligibility for off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.

If your request is approved, you may be able to work off-campus in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of your current course of study. See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii).

 

Special Student Relief

Special Student Relief is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of Homeland Security for F-1 students from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Examples of emergent circumstances include natural catastrophe, war and military conflicts, and national or international financial crises.

You may be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization if you:

  • Are the citizen of a country specified in a Federal Register notice; 

  • Have been lawfully present in the United States for the period indicated in the Federal Register notice; 

  • Have reported on time to your Designated School Official and been enrolled in a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school since the special situation; 

  • Are currently maintaining F-1 status; and 

  • Experiencing severe economic hardship. 

To apply, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with a copy of your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and any other supporting materials to USCIS.

Failure to Appear for an Interview or Biometrics Appointment, or Failure to Respond to a Request for Evidence

If you did not appear for a scheduled interview or appointment, or did not submit evidence or respond to a notice or request in a timely manner for reasons directly tied to the special situation, you may show how the disrupting event affected your ability to appear for interview or submit documents as required.

 

*Please note, USCIS is still processing applications that have already been filed.

 

For more Information from USCIS: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

New ICE Enforcement Policies 

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has provided updated policies regarding Immigration Enforcement during the public health crises of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/updated-ice-statement-covid-19

 

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, ICE will temporarily adjust enforcement beginning March 18, 2020. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus on the public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For individuals who do not fall into those categories, ICE/ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate. 

 

ICE will continue to carry out missions critical to criminal investigations and enforcement operations determined necessary to maintain public safety and national security. 

 

No ICE Enforcement at Health Care Facilities

During the COVID-19 crises, individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.

During this crises, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities. ICE has publicly stated that this includes: hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in “the most extraordinary of circumstances.” https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/updated-ice-statement-covid-19

 

USCIS Relaxed Rules 

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has also taken steps to accommodate immigrants seeking relief during this crises. USCIS has been relaxing rules regarding original signatures, allowing electronic copies of signatures to suffice during this crises. USCIS also provided flexibility in the three-day in-person Form I-9 compliance process.  USCIS has suspended face-to-face services and they are automatically rescheduling interviews and oath ceremonies that were scheduled to take place during the time period that USCIS field offices are closed.

 

AILA & Other Immigration Advocates Demanding More

Immigration advocacy groups, including the staff at the Alexandre Law Firm, and Felipe Alexandre, have been demanding USCIS do more during this crises to protect the legal status and the health of immigrant applicants. 

No one should be forced to put their health and health of their loved ones in jeopardy by taking unnecessary risks during this global pandemic, in order to maintain their legal immigration status. Furthermore, no one should have their case prejudiced by the need to comply with arbitrary deadlines and/or impossible travel requirements that conflict with the Government’s guidance to shelter-in-place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and further loss of life. 

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), sent USCIS a demand for immediate suspension of all deadlines stating, in part, as follows: 

On behalf of its membership, AILA respectfully requests USCIS to implement the recommendations in its March 16 and March 23 letters. Most importantly, AILA demands USCIS to take the following three 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.

AILA’s demand further states that if no action is taken by March 27th then they will be forced to take more drastic steps to compel USCIS to suspend deadlines and adopt, “common-sense emergency measures that other agencies have already adopted.”


 

We will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. 

 

Our office remains open at this time, by appointment only. If you have questions or concerns about an immigration matter you may call or email us. 

jbc@jbclawoffice.com