Published June 11, 2020
By: Richard Hanus, Esq.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Service local offices (US DHS/CIS):
In the past week, the public has seen the first signs of normal operations at US DHS/CIS offices across the U.S., including the Chicago Field Office. Approved applicants for U.S. citizenship who have been waiting to be scheduled for a ceremony to be sworn in as U.S. citizens are finally starting to receive notifications to appear. The new dates are for mid-June, and due to social distancing requirements the number of applicants scheduled have been significantly reduced compared to previous practice. Further, the new notices being issued remind applicants to bring their own face masks or coverings along with personal pens.
Notices to applicants for permanent residence (adjustment of status) and naturalization to appear for interviews, as well as for biometrics/fingerprinting appointments, will likely start being sent out in the coming week as well.
Asylum office operations have also started up again and in person interviews are now being scheduled at Asylum offices across the U.S., including Chicago’s. Hearings will be conducted with the applicant, their lawyer and interpreter placed in one office and with the applicant being interviewed via video conference by an asylum officer sitting in a separate nearby office.
Reminder – Certain DHS/CIS Deadlines are Extended 60 Days to Respond:
Deadlines set forth in DHS/CIS office notices dated between March 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020 (inclusive), and entitled Request for Evidence, or Notice of Intent to Deny or Revoke, are considered extended by 60 days. The same 60 day extension and parameters applies to deadlines to file an appeal or motion on most denied petitions or applications within the jurisdiction of DHS/CIS’ Administrative Appeals Office.
Court for Non-Citizens Fighting Deportation:
The U.S. Department of Justice/Executive Office of Immigration Review has announced that in person Immigration Court proceedings for both detained and non-detained removal proceedings will resume on June 29, 2020. It is still unknown how DOJ/EOIR management plans on conducting master calendar/status hearings, where large numbers of respondent are typically scheduled to appear before the same judge on a given day, and where the courthouse waiting areas are often overflowing with people waiting for the case to be called.
U.S. consular posts abroad: Between the pandemic and the recent Executive Order putting a halt to many avenues of immigration, few details are known about the resumption of normal operations. Applicants abroad awaiting interview scheduling or for final processing of a pending visa application should reach out to their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for further information. As discussed here before, certain healthcare workers are exempt from the limitations imposed as a result of the pandemic and Executive Order on immigration.
Other government facilities:
The State of Illinois’ Secretary of State/Department of Motor Vehicles offices have started opening up their doors to limited categories of customers. Starting June 1 and through July 31, DMV facilities will be focusing on serving new drivers, as well as those with expired drivers license or state i.d.’s. Additional services are also available online through the DMV website below. Lastly, drivers licenses and state i.d.’s that have expired or are due to expire by July 31, are considered to be automatically extended through October 1, 2020.
For more information on Illinois Secretary of State/DMV operations, visit their website: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/home.html
PUBLISHED June 11, 2020– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2020, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois