Are you an undocumented immigrant with coronavirus symptoms? During these difficult times, the Department of Homeland Security has special procedures to prevent spreading of the disease. We have compiled the most important information for you.
Will I be deported if I go to the hospital?
If you feel sick, seek medical care, regardless of your status. ICE will not conduct arrest at locations like hospitals, health clinics, urgent care facilities, schools or churches. ICE follows the “sensitive location memo”, which prevents apprehensions and searches in these locations. Enforcement actions in those facilities are extraordinary, and while there may be exceptions they require prior approval.
What if I am in the detention facility?
Detention facilities have screening guidance for new detainees. As of 3/17/20, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in ICE detention facilities.
If you are at risk that you have been exposed to COVID-19 or if show fever or respiratory syndromes, you will be housed separately from the general population. If such a detainee is ordered to be released, health agencies will be notified.
If you have a family member in a detention facility, you will not be able to visit them. ICE has temporarily suspended social visitation in all detention facilities.
Members of the Congress still have access to the facility and can conduct oversight.
Detainees with underlying conditions who have high probability of contracting the virus will stay in the detention facilities for now. A current lawsuit seeks immediate release of nine immigrants currently detained in Tacoma, Washington. The detainees are at high risk of COVID-19 infection due to their underlying medical condition and age.
I want to request a stay of removal
ICE now temporarily allows filing Form I-246, “Application for Stay of Deportation or Removal”, via mail instead of in person. Your application must be supported by documentation from a doctor regarding your medical condition, treatment, prognosis, and any assistance you may need relating to your condition; accompanied by money orders, certified funds, or requests for fee waivers. If your application is approved, you may be released under supervision with certain conditions, and you may have to post a bond for at least $1,500 in order to be released.
Will I be removed if I have symptoms of coronavirus?
There are some other actions that may be taken if you do have symptoms. New apprehensions will be screened before deportation. Other detainees will be given a medical clearance.
If you exhibit symptoms such as a high fever prior to boarding a deportation or removal flight, you will be denied boarding and transferred to a medical facility for screening. Any detainee with a temperature of 100.4 degrees (38 °C) or higher will be immediately referred to a medical facility and their deportation or removal will be postponed.
What if I have a scheduled appointment with an immigration office and I feel sick?
If you feel sick, contact the immigration office where you have an appointment for further guidance. The USCIS recommends that if you are sick, or are exhibiting any symptoms, you consider cancelling your appointment. However, if you are due to appear in immigration court, you should contact your attorney so that they can make the necessary arrangements. Most immigration courts have remained open, you can check whether your local immigration court is open .
I am a student and my school is closed. What happens to my status?
If you are participating in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, you can temporarily engage in distance learning. Given the current situation, you can do so even from your home country without losing your status. Your school needs to notify SEVP about these adaptations. Please follow SEVP pages for further guidance.