Monday, March 30, 2020
Immigrant Health Care Workers Play a Vital Role in the United States’ COVID-19 Response
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the U.S. health care system will likely be pushed to its limits. During this time, it is important to remember the role that immigrant health care workers play alongside their native-born colleagues on the front lines of this fight—and how strongly our health care capacity depends on the expertise of these workers.
From physicians to nursing home aides, immigrants play critical roles in the health care infrastructure of the nation. These roles will likely become even more critical in the weeks and months ahead.
A study in the medical journal JAMA found that roughly 30 percent of all physicians in the United States were born in other countries. The same is true for one-in-five pharmacists and one-in-six registered nurses. About 23 percent of home health, psychiatric, and nursing aides are immigrants as well.
Immigrant workers are found at all points along the health care occupational spectrum, at all levels of skill and education.
Immigrant doctors in particular play an out-sized role in providing health care to rural towns and disadvantaged communities. And immigrant health care workers more generally are critical in serving the elderly and people with disabilities in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Congress Passes Bill Ensuring US Citizenship for Children of Military Members
A bill that would ensure automatic U.S. citizenship for the children of U.S. military service members will soon hit the president’s desk. The Citizenship for Children of Military Members & Civil Servants Act passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support last Thursday.
Until recently, children born abroad to U.S. service members and federal employees were generally considered to have residence in the United States, which meant that they had access to an easy process to have their children recognized as U.S. citizens.
This was no longer the case when the Trump administration announced changes to the definition of U.S. “residency” for military service members stationed abroad in August 2019.
Although the changes were largely technical, they sparked widespread confusion when first announced. The impact of this policy change on military personnel created an unusual moment of bipartisan agreement, and Congress decided to create a legislative fix.
A child born outside of the U.S. can still obtain citizenship at birth if one or both of their parents is a U.S. citizen who meet certain residency requirements. In most cases, the parent needs to have lived in the United States for five years, two of which must have occurred after the age of 14. Special rules were in place for military service members who had children while stationed abroad.
Monday, March 16, 2020
How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Immigration
Spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has caused panic across the United States. With the number of confirmed cases on the rise, the coronavirus has started to affect several facets of immigration.
How government officials handle the virus could have a significant impact on people navigating our immigration process, their health, and the immigration system at large. Some government responses have already made an impact.
USCIS Office Closures Over Coronavirus
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shut down its Seattle field office on Tuesday, March 3 due to concerns over the coronavirus. An employee of the USCIS office had visited a family member at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington before it was confirmed the facility had an outbreak of the virus.
Other USCIS offices may close as the virus spreads across the United States. USCIS is tracking office closures on their website.
Those waiting outside the Seattle office last week were surprised to find it closed. One man, who had been ordered to leave the country for Mexico, couldn’t get to his passport—it was locked inside the office. Another man had been waiting for his biometrics appointment but would need to reschedule.
USCIS office closures can have a large impact on immigrants and their families. They often wait months or longer for their scheduled appointments. Rescheduling missed or cancelled appointments can result in further delays.
Monday, March 9, 2020
Immigration judges want to know how to handle coronavirus
The union representing immigration judges urged the Trump administration in a letter Monday to "immediately" implement steps to protect judges and their staff and provide guidance on how to proceed amid the coronavirus outbreak, which also has the potential to exacerbate the overwhelming backlog of pending cases.
The letter calls for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, an agency within the Justice Department that oversees the nation's immigration courts, to inform employees about the plan "as it relates to a potential pandemic," noting that some immigration court functions "may not lend themselves to telework."
"As you know, our work requires us to be in close contact with the public on a daily basis, often in very large numbers and groups," wrote Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.
She continued: "Beyond our own employees, the respondents who come before us may also be at high risk for developing serious illness. Because we order their appearance and they face the prospect of removal if they don't appear, sick respondents and respondents vulnerable to serious illness will keep coming to court unless we take action."
Monday, March 2, 2020
Derivative Citizenship for Children of U.S. Citizens
U.S. Citizenship for Children Under INA Section 320
Child Citizenship Act
Adult permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship by filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. But minor children (under age 18) may not use this form. Under Section 320 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, also known as the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children under 18 automatically acquire U.S. citizenship if the following three conditions have been fulfilled:
At least one of the child’s parents is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization;
The child is a permanent resident under 18 years of age;
The child is residing in or has resided in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the
U.S. citizen parent.
Once all three conditions are met at the same time, the child is a U.S. citizen by matter of law. The order of events makes no difference. If a child is a permanent resident and under 18, and then at least one parent naturalizes, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. If a parent naturalizes and then the child gets permanent residence, the child becomes a U.S. citizen the moment he or she becomes a permanent resident, if that happens before the child is 18.