The 2020 immigration policies have been very far from perfect, but as Covid-19 lingers the effects it has had and will continue to have on immigration only strain an already broken system.
2020 Immigration: 6 Ways Covid-19 Will Impact Immigration
1. A Slower Slow System
Perhaps one of the most obvious influences of Covid-19 is the fact that most businesses and governmental institutions have closed their doors. While many maintain a “skeleton crew” to ensure that everything doesn’t grind to a halt, other “non-essential” services have had to temporarily suspend operations until the virus is more controlled. When it comes to the immigration system, this only serves to worsen an existing issue -delays. As it stands, the immigration system is months if not years behind in paperwork and case processing which means that there is a backlog of paperwork that needs to be processed before any new paperwork can be reviewed. Essentially – submit your paperwork today and it’ll go on the bottom of the pile…a pile that’s very, very tall. Now with Covid-19 shutting down non-essential operations, there are fewer resources available to process those backlogged and current applications which means further delay.
2. Existing Immigrants In Need
As Covid-19 continues to sweep through the population, many of those who need access to financial help and medical care are unable to access those resources due to their immigration status.
This means that many immigrants are suffering from the health effects of Covid-19. Firstly, because they are afraid to seek medical care either because they are undocumented. Secondly, because they are afraid of being seen as reliant upon financial assistance and unable to support themselves – something that is now factoring into whether new immigrants are permitted entry into the United States.
The economic effects of Covid-19 have also left many immigrant families with no income and in some cases no eligibility for financial assistance. This hasn’t just meant a financial struggle for those living in the U.S. but they have also been unable to send money home to their native country – money immigrant families rely on to live.
3. Increased Persecution
Under the current administration, the immigrant population has come under increasing persecution and scrutiny. The anti-immigrant sentiment has, unfortunately, been a popular one among many – encouraged by an administration hellbent on pushing anti-immigration policies. Now, with the media emphasizing the origin of Covid-19 as China, the anti-immigration sentiment is certainly not going to settle down in the near future – at least not without an administration change and some serious restructuring!
Note that this is not saying that more individuals in the U.S. are becoming increasingly xenophobic, rather that this virus is giving those who already have an anti-immigration stance, further “justification” for their sentiments. The vast majority of the American population is not persecutory against the immigrant population!
4. Poor Health at the Border
The U.S. – Mexico border situation has created a number of very serious concerns for the health and safety of immigrants. Unfortunately, the “Remain in Mexico” policy has created a significant health risk for those immigrants at the border – the perfect environment to encourage the spread of Covid-19. This means that more and more immigrants are going to be exposed to the virus and create significant risks on both sides of the border.
5. Spreading Coronavirus By Deportation
Although many of the services we rely on in the immigration system are unavailable due to Covid-19, there are still deportations taking place. This creates a problem because some of the people who are being deported have been exposed to Covid-19 or – in the case of one man from Guatemala – have the virus at the time they are deported. This only increases the range over which the virus can travel and the number of people who are going to be exposed. This is not to mention the fact that the transportation of deportees is unlikely to include a plan of action to test those being deported for Coronavirus. This then means that anyone else on that particular transportation is going to be exposed as well. How could this be remedied? Portugal had a plan of action that included providing immigrants and asylum seekers in their country with full citizenship rights for the duration of the pandemic. This doesn’t just stop the deportation and consequently the spread of Covid-19, but it also gives immigrants and asylum seekers in Portugal the opportunity to seek out the Covid-19 testing and medical treatment if needed, without any worry of deportation or threat to visa status.
6. Increasing Persecution of Asian Immigrants
Unfortunately because of the backstory being given and the speculation behind the origin of Coronavirus, many people are becoming increasingly belligerent and persecutory towards Asian Americans and Asian American immigrants. This is obviously unacceptable and devastating to those involved as no immigrant living in the United States should be subjected to any type of discrimination, let alone discrimination based on assumptions and speculation!
Do You Need 2020 Immigration Assistance?
If you or someone you know lives in or around the Pasadena, California area, and is in need of legal representation in regard to their current immigration status, Nelson Immigration Law can help. Give us a call today at 626-683-3451!