Immigration In Pandemic Times Vol. 1, No. 3

In May 15, 2020
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  • True to our analysis about the short-sightedness of immigration travel bans, several virologists have theorized that the ensuing rush of Americans trying to come back home from Europe after the Trump administration announced a ban on all travel from the continent, may be the source of a major outbreak of the virus in the United States. As of now, more than 80,000 people have died in the United States due to COVID-19, and deaths are expected to rise as states open up with no vaccine in sight.
  • Furthermore, deportation flights from the United States seem to be fueling the pandemic in other countries such as Guatemala, where deportees from the United States make up as much as fifteen percent of the infected population. Countries trying to stop these deportation flights are facing the threat of sanctions from the Trump administration.
  • Meanwhile, the Trump administration is using COVID-19 to completely eliminate asylum. Under Trump border rules, the United States has granted refuge to just two people since late March.
  • USCIS, which is funded only through customer fees, has said that it could run out of money by the end of summer without a 1.2 billion bailout from Congress mainly because applications for immigration benefits have decreased substantially. Contrary to the analysis though, this has less to do with the recent Trump visa bans than the fact that the H-1B lottery process has changed substantially from the past year.
  • The Trump administration is eyeing new restrictions on the optional practical training (OPT), a program that allows foreign students to stay in the United States after their studies to pursue work experience and opportunities for one to three years. This comes as no surprise since the administration has been trying to end this program for a while now.
  • The Out Crowd, an audio journalism from the frontlines of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting, the first ever given for audio journalism.
  • Immigration Court Update: All hearings in non-detained cases are postponed through, and including, Friday June 12, 2020.

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