Immigration during COVID-19
Read updates to immigration processes and resources for immigrant communities in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. More topics>>
Changes to immigration processes
Proclamation preventing employment based nonimmigrants from entering US for remainder of 2020
President Trump, on June 22, issued a Proclamation preventing certain nonimmigrant visa applicants from entering the United States with a justification of protecting the United States labor market. This suspension will last until at least December 2020, and impacts individuals seeking entry in the following employment based nonimmigrant categories if the person is outside the US and has not already been issued a visa: H-1B, H-2B, L-1, certain J-1. The proclamation also extends an earlier Proclamation suspending certain immigrant visa applicants from entering the US. According to the proclamation, exemptions may be granted at the sole discretion of the consular officer if the applicant's work is critical to the U.S. in a number of ways such as if it involves: the provision of medical care to people who have COVID-19 and are hospitalized, the provision of medical research to help the US combat COVID-19, or work necessary for the economic recovery of the United States. There is an additional troubling provision within the proclamation that may impact the ability of people in the US who are inadmissible or deportable, who have a final deportation order, or who have been arrested, charged or convicted for a criminal matter from obtaining work authorization. If you are concerned that this proclamation may impact you please contact a competent immigration attorney. A brief overview of the decision can be found here.
COVID-19 and international travel
The federal administration has issued a travel ban which took effect at midnight Friday March 13. The ban affects individuals traveling to the U.S. from Europe. A factsheet on the ban from the Office of Customs and Border Protection can be found here. The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), on March 17, announced a suspension of all refugee resettlement.
Immigration Court hearings
The Executive Office for Immigration Review has cancelled non-detained court hearings. Some courts are scheduled to resume operations in July. People who have cases scheduled before the immigration court should call 1-800-898-7180 to learn about case rescheduling. The office's COVID-19 announcement and additional immigration court related updates can be found here. Case status information can be found by calling 1-800-898-7180 or visiting the office's webpage or Facebook page.
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
The Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sensitive location policy, prevents agents from conducting immigration enforcement operations in sensitive locations, including health care facilities, except in emergency circumstances. ICE's webpage explains this policy in light of COVID-19. More general information on the policy can be found here. On March 18, ICE issued a public notice indicating that it will suspend immigration enforcement actions against people who are not a public safety risk or subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds. ICE is also suspending in person check-ins for people who have to report because they are on Order of Supervision. If this situation applies to you, the local ICE office has provided the following contact number to check in: 612-843-8601. Calls are accepted between 8AM-2PM Monday-Friday.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reopened offices on June 4. Please visit the USCIS webpage for updates regarding COVID-19 related office procedures. It may also be helpful to refer to USCIS's policies in cases where individuals are impacted by natural disaster or special situations. USCIS has also indicated that it is extending time frames to respond to Notices of Intent to Deny, Requests for Evidence, and Notices of Intent to Terminate for notices issued between March 1 and May 1. More information here.
Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Medaria Arradondo address discrimination against the Asian American community
If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the City of Minneapolis, please contact the Civil Rights Department to file a complaint.
The State of Minnesota has also launched a discrimination helpline for people who experience or witness bias and discrimination to report incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The toll-free hotline # is 1-833-454-0148 and is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. More information in multiple languages can be found here.
Information and resources for communities impacted by COVID-19
Presentations or speaking events from OIRA related to this topic
- COVID-19 basic information videos released on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in English, Espanol, Hmoob, and Soomaali.
- What to do if you are sick with COVID-19? Videos from Hennepin County Public Health Department in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish.
- Know Your Rights Facebook Live event with Advocates for Human Rights on April 3 at 7PM. (in Spanish).
- Videos about Minnesota's Stay at Home Order in English, Hmong, Somali, Spanish and additional languages.
- "Immigration and Covid-19" Facebook Live event with Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota on Tuesday March 31 in English and Spanish.
- March 29 KFAI radio program "La Voz Del Pueblo" with Minneapolis Chief of Police Medeira Arradondo explaining enforcement of the Governor's Stay at Home order in Spanish.
- City of Minneapolis Cultural Radio Programming in English, Espanol, Hmoob and Soomaali.
Financial help and consumer protection
- CLUES Coronavirus Resource Center
- Fraud and price gouging complaints can be filed with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.
COVID-19 and employment/work issues
- Workers rights information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry in English, Hmong, Somali, Spanish
- List of contacts on various work related issues including unemployment, wage and hour, safety and health and more
- Employer and Employee Frequently Asked Questions
- National Immigration Law Center Resource entitled "Immigrant Workers Rights and COVID-19"
- The City of Minneapolis has a wage theft ordinance to protect workers. To learn how to report a violation of Minneapolis labor standards, dial 311 or visit the violation report page
- Small Business Resources including Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 and public charge
- Public Charge brochures from the Minnesota Department of Human Services in English, Hmong, Karen, Somali, Spanish
- Applying for or receiving unemployment benefits does not count for public charge.
- There are also no negative public charge impacts for getting testing or preventive medical help if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Learn more about public charge.
Culturally Specific Food Assistance
Some community members have reported difficulty in accessing culturally appropriate food options. Some resources below for food assistance:
- Comprehensive list of food shelves in the State of Minnesota
- Isuroon, 612-517-8095
- Pillsbury United Communities -- locations at Waite House and Bryan Coyle
Last updated Oct 5, 2020