While many offices close and the population shelters in place, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is open for business (via mail and online filings) and continues to process cases.
Our office also remains open, although most consultations these days are done by phone, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. The front desk in all three of our offices is still manned by our excellent staff who continue to receive in-person packages and materials from clients and vendors. We also continue to do in-person appointments.
The USCIS has stopped interviewing at local offices and has canceled naturalization ceremonies which is very unfortunate. But, with social distancing, such large ceremonies would have been impossible. Hopefully they will resume in the near future, otherwise their backlog of cases will be almost insurmountable with further delays in adjudications.
As for foreign visitors to the USA and others on non-immigrant visas, many are in quite a predicament. If a non-immigrant worker such as H-1B or L-1 worker gets laid off, they can’t exactly leave the country right now, and they can quickly fall out of status once their grace period expires. And, those on ESTA or B-2 visitor status with expiration dates fast approaching have a serious dilemma where they cannot leave the USA and where there are limitations on extending status.
This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer continues to work tirelessly, both at home and at the office to preserve the legal rights of clients and to timely file applications so that clients do not miss critical deadlines.
As for immigration courts, the courts that handle jail cases are still operating on a daily basis. The regular immigration courts that handle cases for foreign nationals who are not in jail, have canceled cases through April 10. That will most likely be extended in light of the president’s announcement extending social distancing for another 30 days.
For further information, you may contact the author, Bruce Coane, who is a lawyer Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is available 24/7 at [email protected]. He may also be reached at 713-850-0066 and 305-701-4624 during the week. The website is http://www.coane.com.