April 21, 2020
Immigrants & COVID-19: Adding Pandemic to a System Already in Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic is posing challenges for everyone, but the hardships it poses for immigrants and the immigration system have been especially harsh. While prisons and jails across the country move to reduce their populations, immigrants in ICE detention centers continue to fear exposure to the virus. Some immigration courts remain open for detainee hearings, but the Department of Justice has failed to set uniform policies, a cause of concern to judges, lawyers, and their clients. Citizenship ceremonies are on hold, but Customs and Border Patrol has begun to employ expedited deportation at the border. At the same time, immigrant workers are on the front lines in the battle against the virus in the health, restaurant, and other essential industries. How can we accomplish our public health goals in a manner in keeping with our laws and traditions as a nation of immigrants?
Russ Feingold, President, ACS
Ahilan Arulanantham, Senior Counsel, ACLU of Southern California
Jacinta Ma, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, National Immigration Forum
Hon. Ashley Tabaddor, President, National Association of Immigration Judges
Kara Stein, ACS Vice President of Policy & Program, Moderator