Immigration & Asylum

If you or a loved one need to access medical services for any reason, please do so regardless of your insurance or immigration status. Go to the nearest public hospital or call 911.

  • If you have a lawyer or legal representative, stay in close contact with them.

  • If you do not have a lawyer or legal representative, contact:

    • ActionNYC, an immigration legal hotline, and a good resource when seeking legal representation and consultation. To contact them, call 1-800-354-0365 between 9AM-6PM, Monday - Friday or call 311 and say "ActionNYC." They offer multilingual services, call and ask for an interpreter in your preferred language. They will do their best to connect you with legal immigration resources in your area.

    • The New Americans Hotline through Catholic Charities provides legal immigration assistance. Call them at 1-800-566-7636. Find out more about them below.

Support for Undocumented People

  • The NYSYLC is an organization dedicated to supporting undocumented youth and families. They have created a guide focused on resources for undocumented immigrants, access it here.

    • Unfortunately, their fund is no longer accepting petitions for financial assistance, but their website holds valuable information. 

  • A resource list for people who are undocumented, compiled by the California-based organization Immigrants Rising. You can download and read their resource guide here for national resources.

Highlights from USCIS and EOIR

  • All immigration and naturalization cases are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • “As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended routine in-person services through at least May 3,” including for example, asylum office appointments, naturalization oath ceremonies, and biometrics appointments.

  • USCIS staff will continue to perform essential functions that do not involve in-person meetings. For example, they will continue to accept and process I-765 Applications for Employment Authorization, I-485 Applications for Permanent Residence, and N-400 Applications for Naturalization. It is still important, if possible, to submit I-589 Applications for Asylum before the one-year anniversary of your arrival.

  • For a comprehensive list of USCIS offices’ current functions, check the Closure’s Page. Biometrics, naturalization/citizenship, and asylum office appointments are impacted.

    • Asylum office appointments - If you were previously scheduled for an Asylum Office interview, and neither you nor your Legal Representative have received notice of a cancellation, check with the Asylum Office to make sure it has been cancelled. Find the details on  their Contact Center page. It is easier online, but if you need to speak with a representative for another reason, call 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

      • If cancelled, an appointment will be automatically rescheduled, you will again receive written notice of your new appointment. 

    • To check on the status of your appointment, you may also use the new Check My Case Status feature of USCIS website.

    • If you are still waiting for your new biometrics appointment more than 90 days after USCIS operations have resumed, call 800-375-5283.

    • If you do not receive your new naturalization ceremony information by mail within 90 days of offices reopening, go to the USCIS Contact Center and use any of the functions to contact USCIS.

  • If your asylum case is before the immigration courts, such as a Master Calendar or Final Individual/Merits Hearing before an immigration judge, you will need to contact the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) on their website. You may also call the hotline at 1-800-898-7180 and give your A-number for information about your next court date.

  • Of note, all non-detained immigration court hearings scheduled through May 15, 2020 have been postponed. New appointment notices will automatically be mailed when the courts re-open.

Change of Address

  • As always, you are required to notify immigration services of a change to your mailing address within 10 days of your move. It can cause major issues in your case if you fail to update your address, and thus miss important communications.

  • If your case is pending at the Asylum Office, you must do two things. First, file an online change of address with USCIS. You may submit the change of address form online here, where you will find a step-by-step application guide. Next, you must also send them a copy of your printed confirmation of Change of Address. They do not automatically receive your updated address. If you have an attorney or legal representative, ask for their help.

  • If your case is in immigration court (i.e. Master Calendar or Final Merits Hearing), you will have to submit a different change of address form to the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review). If you have an attorney or Legal Representative, make sure they have done this. Find the appropriate form here by choosing the state and asylum court where your case is assigned. You should mail this by post.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Work Permit

  • If your work permit is expiring within the next 3 - 6 months, apply to renew it as soon as possible to ensure there is no gap in your authorization to work. For more information, go here. Contact your lawyer or legal representative for assistance, and if you don’t have one, follow these instructions.

Public Charge

  • Asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees (along with some other trauma relief-based statuses) are not subject to the public charge test. Speak with your lawyer or legal representative about how public charge will affect your immigration case. See more details and USCIS’s official response below in the section “Public Charge.”

 

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

  • The Department of Homeland Security oversees ICE and other agencies. They have published each agency’s response on their website.

  • Beginning March 18, 2020, ICE “will focus enforcement on public-safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.”

  • ICE will not arrest people in hospitals.

 

Locating a loved one who may be in immigration detention

  • If you think a loved one who is over the age of 18 has been detained by immigration, use the ICE locator tool to search their database.

  • See this helpful guide for more supportive resources for immigrants in detention and their families from InformedImmigrant.com, also available in Spanish.

 

We are communicating back and forth with the immigration offices and courts, and we are seeing results, slowly but surely!