March 31, 2020

I trust that you and your families are staying safe as we adapt to an ever-changing environment caused by the COVID-19 crisis. I’m sure you’re receiving many e-mails, texts, and information about COVID-19. It’s very important to our firm that we keep the immigrant community up to date on a weekly basis on how COVID-19 may affect your immigration case. At Solano Law Firm, our attorneys and support staff continue to work on your matters in a remote-work capacity to keep our personnel and others safe. As always, we remain accessible via email, phone, and can offer a virtual meeting when needed.

Want to watch this update instead? Click on the image below to view our Facebook live video with all the details on what is currently happening in regards to COVID-19 and the immigrant community.
We are continuing to work hard on your cases. We want to thank our clients who have been scanning their documents and sending in their filing fees. We are all in this together and it is truly a team effort.This week we filed applications for green cards, waivers, visas, work permit and all other family based immigration cases. Our attorneys are attending hearings at the Immigration Courts for our clients who are in jail. We are appalled at the Department of Justice for putting the lives of judges, staff, and attorneys at risk by requiring us all to appear in court rather than handling all hearings by telephone. Nevertheless, the freedom of our detained clients is of upmost importance and we will do everything necessary to get them out of jail and back to their families during this pandemic.

ICE

ICE issued a statement last week that they will only detain people who are a threat to national security or who are subject to mandatory detention. We have not heard of any recent raids but we are receiving calls from people who have recently been detained by ICE after an arrest by their local police. Do not believe that ICE officers are going to stop doing their job and let everyone go free. ICE has the authority to issue a bond to someone or release them without paying a dollar but ICE is not exercising that authority. Instead they tell the detainees to file their case with the court and let the immigration judge decide a bond. We continue fighting these cases in front of judges. Within the last few weeks we’ve obtained $5,000 bonds for our clients. Be careful when you’re driving without a license and for police activity during this pandemic. If the local police arrests you and they contact ICE, ICE can detain you and start deportation proceedings against you.

Also, there has only been one reported case of coronavirus at a detention center in Hackensack, NJ. We are concerned for the safety of our clients who are currently detained. ICE states they are doing their part to protect detainees but we have seen the conditions in the jail and they certainly don’t adhere to Center for Disease Control protocols. That is why we are working long hours to help detainees get out of jail. We have instructed our detained clients and their families to notify us they have any of the coronavirus symptoms. We will contact the Detention Center and fight for the jail medical staff to follow CDC protocol.

USCIS

As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019. USCIS offices will reopen on April 7 unless the public closures are extended further.
What this means is that nothing has changed except in-person meetings. They are still accepting copies of signed forms and that is how we are filing applications.

Immigration Courts

All detained cases are moving forward. Both Immigration Courts in Atlanta are open. If you are not detained and have a hearing scheduled in the Atlanta Immigration Court between today and April 10, 2020, that hearing is cancelled. We will notify you when the new hearing is scheduled.

For our detained clients from Alabama – The Immigration Court in Jena/LaSalle, LA closed on 3/26/20 and did not disclose reasons for the closure. The Department of Justice did not specify for how long the court would be closed but indicated that the Immigration Court in Oakdale, LA will handle the detained cases from LaSalle Detention Center. If your family member is detained in LaSalle we will keep you updated as always.

Sincerely,
Zaira Solano
Founder, Solano Law Firm


Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-20-20-intl-hnk/index.html
https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Estamos Aquí Para Usted – Actualización Covid-19