If you’re trying to stay in the United States through asylum or other means, the fact that the entire country is going into a sort-of lockdown may be frightening. The good news is that most of the busy immigration courts in the country are going to be staying open throughout the week of March 14, though there are calls for the most crowded court proceedings to be postponed or closed.
One interesting thing that is happened, specifically to detainees, is that there is a call for their release if they have health vulnerabilities. Presently, there is a backlog of 1.1 million cases in the 68 civil immigration courts across America. In Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention alone, there are around 38,000 immigrants. The current call for the release of those with health vulnerabilities would include people who are pregnant, who have lung disease, who have suppressed immune systems or those who are over 60.
What does all of this mean to you as an immigrant who is waiting for your day in court?
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need to wait a little bit longer. Cases are already backlogged, and social visitation has been suspended by ICE. Some major naturalization ceremonies have already been cancelled in Dallas, and you may need to talk to your attorney about videoconferencing about your case.
When major changes happen, every system in the U.S. can be disrupted. This is a difficult time, but if you have questions, you can still reach out to your attorney. They will help guide you as cases are continued, delayed or become backlogged in the future.