As of June 4, immigrants who have pending issues with the immigration services will be able to have in-person services given the closure of those government facilities three months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release this Wednesday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that from now on access to their facilities and personal interviews will have new rules to protect the public and officials from the coronavirus.
Thus, appointments will become more spaced to reduce the amount and allow compliance with the established social distancing, cleaning of the facilities and waiting room occupancy. The public should come with a protective mask, and if someone feels sick they should not appear and ask for a new interview date.
According to the official statement, in the case of delayed asylum applications, immigration officials are going reschedule dates for new interviews…whereby candidates will receive a new notification of the date and time and the location where they will be held, together with a list of safety precautions. Therefore, given the situation created by the pandemic and the fact that these interviews are usually delayed, they will be video-facilitated, with the interviewing officer and the asylum candidate and companions in different rooms.
In the case of affirmative asylum interviews, candidates for asylum must be accompanied by all immediate family members listed as dependents on the application and an interpreter, if the applicant does not speak English. If a candidate is a minor or has any type of limitation, they can be accompanied by a trusted adult.
For “credible fear” interviews for non-detained persons, candidates must bring any family members listed on the interview notice. These persons or witnesses are also allowed to participate by telephone. In these interviews, Immigration will provide its own professional and reliable translators, the official statement says.
“The Immigration press release does not explain why candidates can’t bring their own translators. My recommendation is that they appear with their lawyer as a witness and with all the relatives who have been summoned,” says immigration lawyer José Rosendo Suárez.
Given the new guidelines and the sanitary situation, the naturalization ceremonies will be reduced to a maximum. Only the new naturalization candidates will be cited and the television message of President Donald Trump welcoming the new citizens will not be shown, but a link will be sent to them to be able to see him on YouTube.