Immigration Updates for the Week of March 16-20, 2020

 

  • The initial H-1B electronic registration period closed today, March 20, 2020, at 12:00 pm EST . Selected registrants will be notified  no later than March 31, 2020 and can then proceed to file the entire H-1B petition.
  • The U.S. State Department is suspending visa services in most countries due to COVID-19. All routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa appointments have been canceled as of March 18, 2020.
  • The Canadian border is closed to non-essential traffic. The U.S. and Canada have made an agreement to partly shut down the U.S.-Canadian border. Key supplies will be able to travel between the two countries and those who need to cross the border for work, as well as international students and workers on visas, will be able to enter Canada.
  • DOJ closes 10 immigration courts. The DOJ announced on Tuesday , March 17, 2020, that other  immigration courts around the country  will remain open for filings and will conduct hearings for detained cases only.
  • The first ICE detention center employee has tested positive for the coronavirus. On Thursday, ICE confirmed that a member of the medical staff at Elizabeth Detention Center has tested positive for COVID-19. ICE has reiterated that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among detainees throughout the United States.
  • ICE has postponed some arrests amid the outbreak. ICE announced on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 that it will temporarily postpone most arrests and focus primarily on those who pose safety risks and those subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.
  • ICE has suspended social visits at detention centers. On March 13, 2020 ICE announced that all social visits to detention centers would be temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
  • The Supreme Court has indefinitely postponed arguments due to the coronavirus. The court will remain open for official business and filing.
  • USCIS will accept reproduced original signatures for now (March 21, 2020).
  • USCIS halts premium processing of I-129 & I-140 petitions commencing on March 20, 2020.