What’s the latest with the coronavirus pandemic?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Most of my videos, I try to make them so they’ll last and be what’s called evergreen, they’ll last forever, that the information that we provide in here is accurate and fresh, but that also, it has lessons in it for the future. But this video, I’m just going to talk about the current state of things in immigration.
What we’re seeing right now, and this video’s being recorded on April 6, 2020, is that at the state department for the embassies and at USSCIS, a huge slowdown. As you might expect with everybody either working remotely or offices flat out closing, you’re seeing a slow down across the board. At USCIS, they’re not conducting interviews.
Interestingly, when you’re canceling interviews, they’re immediately setting up for the next interview. I think that’s a good sign.
But with social distancing and all the quarantines that are in effect and the rough patch that we’re about to go through and have been going through, I think that you’re going to see more and more slow down. A lot of people are wondering, “Should we get started on our immigration case?” I believe that you should.
The way that I think about it is my hair’s getting a little bit long. You can’t really tell because I put some hair gel in it and stuff and probably gets shaggier and shag, but when this is all over, barbers and hairdressers and people that work in hair salons are going to be super busy because everyone’s been staying in their home. I was having to trim my eyebrows today and doing all the old man stuff that I have to do to stay looking sharp and pretty for all you.
Just like those people, you’re going to want to be at the head of the line. You’re going to want to be at the head of the line with your favorite barber or hairdresser, and you’re going to want to be at the head of the line at USCIS.
With new immigration cases, cases that we’re filing at USCIS, they are still receipting cases. They’re still issuing receipt notices. The lockbox and the place where USCIS begins cases, they’re still processing cases.
It might be a little bit slower, but to me, time is relative and you might as well get your case on file and get in line because when you apply for any immigration benefit, you’re given a priority date. All that means is that you’re ahead of the person that was filed ahead of yours or behind yours and you’re ahead of the people otherwise. You know what I mean.
Then in other words, once you get your place in line, you’re sitting pretty and you’re just waiting. With the delay being equal across the board, to me it makes sense to use this downtime to at least get an earlier priority date and see if they can’t get some work done on your case.
With the state department, we’ve been seeing some interesting things. Embassies are generally closed, but some people are getting visas, particularly our lawsuit clients seem to still be getting visas. It’s not true across the board, but we are seeing instances where visas are finally being issued after litigation.
As for the courts, the federal courts are still open, so we’re still filing lawsuits. We filed three or four last week. I anticipate filing some more this week. Things are going. They’re just going slowly. For now, if you are thinking about filing for a benefit, it might be a good time because you’re at home and you can gather all the evidence and documents that you want.
If you don’t want to apply now too, that’s fine. As far as, “Is the business is open sign still on at USCIS and the state department?”, I think yes, it is, but on a slightly less quick format. Things are slowing down, things will probably continue to slow down, and we’ll probably see more of a downward decline into adjudications. Then eventually things will ramp up back up and we’ll all be busy.
Of course, this video puts to the side all the sickness and sadness and all those things. I hope you’re staying safe. I hope you’re doing okay. I hope you’re taking care of yourself, your physical health and your mental health. If you have any questions about immigration in the light of coronavirus, give us a call, 314-961-8200.
Let me say something about that. Somebody got really upset at us the other day, saying, “Jim said to call on the video.” Yeah, I’m saying to call, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be your lawyers for free just because I said, “Give us a call.” If you have questions, give us a call.
If you want to email us, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You know we have that Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. We have like five or seven people joining that thing every day. I think people are really hyper interested in immigration right now. If you liked this video, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever I make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.