The pandemic continues to wreak havoc not just on public health, but on all aspects of our life – including immigration. At the beginning, we mainly were dealing with countries shutting down the movement of people in order to slow the spread of the virus. Then government agencies began to shut down immigration functions because of stay at home rules. The immigration headaches of frontline workers – be they health care workers or those in other essential functions (like maintaining the food supply) – garnered considerable news. And, as was predicted widely, rising unemployment has given President Trump an opening to propose radical anti-immigration proposals like an executive order banning the issuance of immigrant visas.
One positive immigration development is the passage of the HEROES Act. The bill is a $3 trillion COVID rescue bill and it includes a section making a number of important immigration fixes. Some are related to dealing with an immigration system ill-equipped to deal with the myriad of problems that have arisen since the pandemic began. Some are designed to give relief to essential workers. Other sections focus on people at risk in ICE detention centers. In this issue, we have a detailed section by section summary of the bill’s immigration provisions. We also are including a summary of the Healthcare Workforce Resiliency Act, a bill that many believe could be added to a Senate COVID rescue bill.
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