COVID-19 News and Updates

In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, I have cancelled the remaining book tours and all travel for the next month. My apologies for any inconvenience. These will be rescheduled, including a visit to BookWoman in Austin, Texas for later this summer. Watch this space for updates.

I am currently working from home and I have written on my law firm site about immigration-related impacts of COVID-19, including USCIS appointments, State Department closures and new travel ban proclamations. This continues to be updated daily so feel free to share the link broadly.

It is amazing that it takes a global pandemic to make medicare for all and paid sick leave a national conversation. The Trump administration’s response and media coverage has been nothing short of pathetic, and may have endangered countless lives. People are continuing to congregate, entertain large numbers of people, travel, and not heed warnings, which is completely outrageous given what we know from Italy and Spain.

Immigration lawyers are often in the smack middle of a crisis like this because people are trapped abroad and need assistance, or need change/extension of status applications filed on an emergency basis because they are trapped here. As such, we are also on the frontlines of dealing with the very human needs created by our complex labyrinth of immigration laws, and responses to the pandemic.

My recommendations for how we can best alleviate pain and suffering in immigrant communities right now are below, and go well beyond reactionary measures to ban travel.

  • Grant continuances for all immigration court hearings and reschedule USCIS interviews
  • Release all persons from ICE detention
  • End “Remain in Mexico”
  • Completely suspend public charge rules so people don’t feel the need to stay away from accessing healthcare
  • Grant outstanding extension/change of status requests for non-immigrants
  • Suspend rules regarding non-citizen eligibility for healthcare –
  • Grant Temporary Protected Status / Deferred Enforced Departure for countries hit hard by the pandemic–China, South Korea, Iran, Italy
  • Suspend immigration enforcement such as ICE worksite visits, raids, and executing final orders of removal
  • Grant automatic stays of removal for another 6 months for anyone with an ICE reporting requirement.

I will be working on cases from home for the next few weeks, and if you need help or assistance with a legal matter or to complete your tax returns, please contact me.

Most importantly, it is critically important that we are in this together as a society that that we should not disrupt food supply chains and distribution by hoarding more than what we need. Only buy what you need for the next week and leave some for others. Given big chain stores are likely to be out of items and Amazon is also slowing down deliveries, it may be wiser to look at your neighborhood grocery stores such as the local Indian, Chinese or Mexican grocery store for staples, household goods and snacks to ride out the pandemic.

The local library might be closed but there is hoopla for book/audio/video rentals through the library, as well as kanopy, for similar borrows. And streaming services are going to be a boon.

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