Our immigration work is forever challenging: there is a humanitarian crisis at the border with MPP, asylum bans, families in detention centers, separation of families, delays with immigration, increased request for evidence, public charge rule, elimination of fee waivers and increases in USCIS applications to name a few. Just when we thought it could not get much worse, we are hit with COVID-19 and everything that we just mentioned now has a new and more urgent meaning. The humanitarian crisis at the border is now heightened with migrants not only having to worry about what to eat and where to sleep but also about remaining healthy and free of the virus. By being denied entry into the country they are faced with inhumane situations in which they do not have access to resources that they need to remain safe and healthy. Families continue to be separated and cannot quarantine with their loved ones, uncertain of their family members health and fate.
As a local organization working on immigration legal services, we continue to serve our clients everyday-just a little differently now. As I write you this newsletter I am sitting in my daughter’s room while my husband keeps our two kids busy in another room. Our attorneys are working remotely and taking turns with legal staff to check into the office to pick up mail and send out important client documents. We have been on the phone with clients and with immigrants looking for services. We notice that many of them are asking for other services-like where to get help with utilities and questions related to COVID-19. Their immediate needs have shifted slightly as they struggle to keep their families safe and worry about being laid off work.
Through our rich network and dear partners, we are able to provide resources that may be available to them and we try to help in any way that we can. Our focus is on keeping connected with our clients and continuing to work on their cases as much as we can. Please read below for more information on the immigration courts and our legal work, resources available due to the virus and how you can help protect immigrants during this time of need and uncertainty.
Stay healthy and check in on your loved ones as much as you can.
Executive Director NIJFON