May 20, 2020
Know Your Rights for the New England community
We hope that you will find the selected immigration topics helpful as you and your constituents try to navigate the challenges presented with limited USCIS hours and businesses struggling. This document is not a comprehensive explanation of the complex immigration rules or policy and it does not take the place of legal advice. This FAQ only touches upon some of the common immigration questions that may arise during the pandemic.
Click here for the FAQ: AILA NE COVID19 FAQ New England community May 2020
May 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Please find below the most recent information we have about the agencies’ responses to the Covid-19 emergency.
USCIS offices will resume normal processing on or after June 4. All interviews (including asylum interviews), InfoMod, and biometrics appointments are being de-scheduled, nationwide automatically. Individuals will receive new appointment notices automatically.
If an emergency arises, leadership is present at the local offices to handle the matter.
Please follow standard procedure by calling the 800#, explain the urgent nature of the issue, and obtain a case #. If the phone attendant is unable to provide an emergency appointment date that sufficiently addresses the urgency of your case, go to the local office with the case # and someone will be able to assist you.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30 to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain:
- Requests for Evidence;
- Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
- Notices of Intent to Deny;
- Notices of Intent to Revoke;
- Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; and
- Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.
Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date:
This flexibility applies to the above documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and July 1, 2020, inclusive.
Response Due Date:
USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action. USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.
USCIS is adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.
USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for latest facts and other USCIS updates.
OCC is no longer accepting in person service as of March 26, 2020. Filings must be mailed or through e-service (Informaiton for setting up an e- service account here: https://eserviceregistration.ice.gov/?fbclid=IwAR0U-MrCWAM4Gzc_sWdZreK3mSBCXZlFzJO0GyGV1TwVujRZ_Jq6GxRo0Cs)
All non-detained aliens’ master and individual hearings scheduled 03/16-05/29 are postponed. Detained hearings proceeding as normal for now.
Filings may be submitted electronically. Instructions available here: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/filing-email.
We invite all members to follow any official EOIR announcements here: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic.
The Boston Court issued a new standing order on 4/20, available here: https://www.justice.gov/
ALL routine IV and NIV processing has been suspended. For the most update info, please look at: https://www.aila.org/infonet/dos-suspends-routine-visa-services-covid19
Below is a statement issued by ICE:
Ladies and Gentlemen
To ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will temporarily adjust its enforcement posture beginning today, March 18, 2020. ICE’s highest priorities are to promote life-saving and public safety activities.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.
Homeland Security Investigations will continue to carry out mission critical criminal investigations and enforcement operations as determined necessary to maintain public safety and national security. Examples include child exploitation, gangs, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, and participation on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. This work will be conducted based on ability to coordinate and work with prosecutors from the Department of Justice and intake at both the U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Prisons.
During the COVID-19 crisis, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.
Office of Congressional Relations
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Amendment to the March 2019 Federal Register notice, and adding Logan International Airport as a Designated Health Screening POE: starting on, March 14, 2020, Boston Logan will implement CDC enhanced public health screening services and protocols for specific flights. In particular, US Citizen/Permanent Residents, their relatives and other qualified travelers flying into the US via Logan, will now undergo health screenings. Joint U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) via Federal Register notices announced that DHS has directed all operators of aircraft to ensure that all flights carrying persons, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, their relatives and others not subject to any of the bans who have recently traveled from, or were otherwise present within, the People’s Republic of China or the Islamic Republic of Iran only land at one of the designated airports. U.S. travelers from European Schengen countries and starting at midnight tonight, and those from the UK and Ireland are subject to the same protocol.
- Boston Logan Airport Process for Satisfactory Departure for Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
If your client lives in the jurisdiction covered by Boston Logan Deferred office and is in the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), where their 90 day duration of stay is due in the next 14 days or less, CBP at Boston Logan confirmed that they will review and grant Satisfactory Departure on a case by case basis.
CBP Logan Process (for now):
If individuals were admitted under the VWP/ESTA program AND are unable to depart the U.S. before their current period of admission(must be within the 14 days or less from the date of request) because of COVID-19 related issues such as, believe that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 OR are not able to board a flight because they are experiencing ANY flu-like symptoms (such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat or fever) OR No available flights, OR other related health reasons, may submit a request (individually or through their attorney) to CBP Logan Deferred Inspection office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org , with the following information:
- Subject line: VWP Satisfactory Departure
- Body of Email:
o Individual’s name
o Date of Birth (DOB);
o Passport Number
o I-94 number and expiration date
o Reason for request
- Attach to the email:
o Passport biographic Page
o Original departure flight itinerary along with the new flight itinerary, if available
o Evidence to support the request, if available
Please do not call Deferred Inspection office to follow up. Each individual will be notified of their decision.
Please see additional regulatory information about Satisfactory Departure below. The CBP Liaison Committee is reaching out to CBP HQ to request all ports of entry implement a similar process to Boston, JFK and Newark.
Please Note: The CBP Liaison Committee is continuing to bring questions to CBP including whether further periods of Satisfactory Departure will be granted for VWP/ESTA participants if individuals remain unable to depart the US because of COVID-19 issues after their initial 30-day period. Please continue to use email@example.com to send your questions to the CBP Committee. Please also let the CBP Liaison Committee know of any issues with making these requests at Boston.
What is Satisfactory Departure and who should apply for it?
Ports of entry (including deferred inspection locations) may be contacted by VWP travelers already in the United States who are unable to depart the United States before their authorized period of admission ends.
There is no provision under U.S. law to extend the stay of an alien admitted under the VWP. The only form of relief for an alien admitted under the VWP who is unable to depart timely due to emergent circumstances is the exercise of Satisfactory Departure.
Pursuant to Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 217.3(a), if an emergency prevents an alien admitted under the VWP from departing the United States within the period of authorized stay, a period of Satisfactory Departure may be granted not to exceed 30 days – provided that the request is made during the period of admission and the alien is still in status at the time of the request. If departure is made within the period of approved Satisfactory Departure, the alien is regarded as having made a timely departure without overstaying the allowed time. In emergent circumstances, requests for Satisfactory Departure may be granted if the alien is out of status but can prove the intent was to depart timely – authority to approve these cases is reserved for the Director, Field Operations, unless re-delegated locally.
Requests for Satisfactory Departure are generally adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, in extraordinary circumstances, CBP may adjudicate requests for Satisfactory Departure. Many aliens admitted under the VWP may be stranded at U.S airports due to canceled flights. Where appropriate, CBP should grant Satisfactory Departure if the alien is awaiting a canceled flight and the period of VWP admission is expiring prior to the traveler’s ability to depart.
Practice Advisory: Satisfactory Departure & Status of NAFTA L and TN adjudications at VT land borders – COVID-19
Dated March 19, 2020
Regarding Admissions in L and TN status:
We received confirmation that as of the date of this writing, Canadian nationals can continue presenting L and TN applications in conjunction with requests for admission at CBP Vermont Ports of Entry, with the following caveats:
– if an applicant has traveled to any of the countries listed in the Presidential proclamation, he/she must cancel his/her appointment and reschedule.
– if such applicant comes to the Port, he/she will be isolated and returned to Canada without any additional processing.
If a foreign national entered the U.S. at any of the Vermont Ports of Entry and cannot exit the U.S. before the expiration of his/her Form I-94 due to an emergency, he/she may call the Port to speak with a supervisory officer to discuss his/her situation. A determination as to whether satisfactory departure can be granted will be made in consultation with the Port Director and Area Port Director.
In either case it is critical to remember that procedures are changing constantly and thus, best practice is to either contact a port directly or a check with a local colleague to obtain as current information as possible. Numbers and contact information for the ports are can be found at: https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports
Due to the recent activity surrounding COVID 19 (Corona Virus), the Massachusetts RMV is taking measures to reduce customer visits in our Service Centers and AAA offices.
Only the following 8 RMV centers will be open effective March 18th until further notice: