It is hard to understand all the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on immigration to the United States, in part because the pandemic is ongoing. The impacts that we do know of are not, however, few and far between.
Here are just some of the impacts COVID-19 has had on immigration almost two years after the WHO declared it a pandemic:
COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Now a Requirement
People seeking entry into the U.S. must have proof of vaccination against COVID-19. This means at least two weeks must have passed since your second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or, alternatively, your single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Please note that this vaccination requirement only applies to those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, such as those who meet the age requirements and do not have a medical condition that prevents them from being vaccinated. It is possible to waive this requirement for religious reasons, but you will have to waive all vaccinations. Current immigration policy does not allow individuals to deny consent for just one type of vaccine.
In-Person Asylum Interviews Have Resumed
Effective November 22, 2021, asylum offices resumed in-person interviews of asylum seekers—but with COVID-19 health and safety regulations in place. For example, the asylum seeker and their legal representation will be separated from the interviewing officer by plexiglass.
This marked an end to the long suspension of in-person asylum interviews.
The “Remain in Mexico” Program Continues
Despite two attempts to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or the Remain in Mexico program, the Biden administration has been forced to reinstate the Trump-era program by a federal judge.
This means that the administration will be required to “start turning asylum seekers back to Mexico,” according to Reuters, by the first week of December 2021.
Biden Administration Works to Reverse Some, But Not All, Trump-Era Policies
The Trump administration enacted numerous changes to the country’s immigration policy in the first months of the pandemic. Like many other countries, it adopted travel restrictions to mitigate the virus’ spread. However, it also barred refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants from entering the country.
Today, the Biden administration has reversed some Trump-era policies—but certainly not all of them. The administration established a task force to reunite families separated at the border, but fast-track deportations to Central American countries are ongoing, among other Trump-era policies.
To read a comprehensive study of how the pandemic has and continues to affect U.S. immigration, kindly visit “Immigrants in COVID America” by the University of Michigan: https://immigrantcovid.umn.edu/home.
Proudly Helping Clients with Immigration Matters
If you or someone you love needs guidance through the complicated world of U.S. immigration, our Utah immigration attorneys at Pearson Butler are here to help. It is our goal to help you resolve your immigration matter with ease, as we have done for so many clients over the years. You can rest easy knowing that we will stand by your side at every step of the way.
Call (800) 265-2314 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.