According to reporting from WBUR News, immigration attorneys in Boston are sounding the alarm about harsh and unreasonable filing deadlines issued by federal authorities. Unfortunately, the unexpected orders have left many immigration advocates scrambling to try to protect the rights and interests of their clients—mostly young children. Here, our Boston immigration attorney highlights the most important things to know about the story.
New Orders Issued in Recent Weeks
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) started sending new deadlines to immigration lawyers in the Greater Boston area earlier this month. Based on the information received by legal advocates, the EOIR is seeking new applications from people within weeks.
The deadlines are unusually harsh. As explained by the managing attorney at the Boston office of Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), “we’ve never seen these orders issued before by the immigration court.” The deadlines matter: Some immigration lawyers note that it could be the difference between someone being able to remain in the United States or being deported from the country.
Vulnerable People: Most Cases Involve Children
One of the most alarming aspects of this story is that most of the affected cases involve young children. WBUR News reports that the kids subject to these orders mostly arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors. They are making immigration claims available to vulnerable people, such as applying for asylum protection or seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SJI) is a form of immigration relief for children who have been subject to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. A child who receives SJI status can eventually apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States. However, due to the unexpected deadlines, some otherwise eligible children may not have time to file a comprehensive application for SJI.
COVID-19 Pandemic Poses Additional Challenges
An unreasonable filing deadline is difficult enough to deal with in normal times. While no one wants to deal with endless delays in the immigration process, petitioners also need enough time to prepare a strong claim. The entire process has been made far more challenging during COVID-19. The pandemic is still causing serious disruptions in Boston and throughout the country. Indeed. only recently did the Boston immigration court resume more normal operations. Beyond that, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts confirmed the highest number of new cases of the virus during any day of the pandemic. During these difficult times, the EOIR and other government agencies should be more accommodating to vulnerable people, especially young children.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Boston Immigration Attorney
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Boston immigration lawyers are highly respected, with awards and accolades. We are qualified to handle the full range of immigration law matters, including asylum claims and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status claims. Give us a call now to arrange a confidential initial case evaluation. With a legal office in Boston, we are proud to represent immigrants throughout New England, including in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine.