COVID-19 Information

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This is a confusing and scary time for everyone, especially for immigrants who may have a more difficult time understanding and accessing their benefits due to their immigration status. At AI Justice, we're committed to helping immigrants navigate this complicated situation. Please note this situation and the responses to it are rapidly changing. We will provide updates as we receive them, but if you have any questions or concerns please call 305-573-1106 ext. 1400.

Health Care

  • Medicaid eligibility for immigrants in Florida has not been expanded. Current Medicaid eligibility in Florida is limited to the following immigrants:
    • Lawful Permanent Residents for 5+ years (if you obtained residency via asylum, refugee status, or Cuban/Haitian Parole, your eligibility is not contingent on the length of time you have been a permanent resident)
    • Asylees
    • Refugees
    • Cuban and Haitian entrants
    • Those paroled into the U.S. for at least one year
    • Conditional entrants granted before 1980
    • Battered non-citizens, spouses, children or parents (Only eligible after 5 years from Prima Facie Determination, Approved VAWA self-petition, or VAWA Cancellation, or)
    • Victims of trafficking and spouse, child, sibling or parent ( Issued Continued Presence; Letter of Eligibility; Prima Facie Determination; or Approved T-visa)
    • Those granted withholding of deportation
    • Members of a federally recognized Indian tribe or American Indians born in Canada
  • DACA and TPS recipients are not eligible for Medicaid benefits in Florida.
  • Florida allows children under the age of 19 who are “legally residing” in the State to qualify for Medicaid or KidCare. Immigrant eligibility for children covers many more immigration statuses than adults. Requirements can be found here.
  • Enrollment in the ACA Marketplace is open to those who lost health care coverage due to job loss.
  • You can receive care at community health centers regardless of your income level or immigration status. For more information about how to access COVID-19 testing near you, please visit: https://www.floridablue.com/covid-testing-locations
  • Testing, prevention, and treatment for COVID-19 will not be considered in public charge determinations. 

Tax Rebate

  • To receive a tax rebate from the IRS, filers, spouse and children must all have a social security number (SSN).
    • Military families in which one spouse has a SSN are eligible for a tax rebate.
    • Filers who submitted tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are not eligible. If any member of a household is listed as using an ITIN, the entire household is excluded from receiving payment.
    • Non-citizens and legal permanent residents must meet the substantial presence test for tax purposes to be considered a "resident alien" under tax law. 
  • If your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2018 or 2019 was under $75,000 (individual) or $150,000 (couple), each adult will receive $1,200 and each child under 16 years old will receive $500.
  • This tax rebate does not count as income for any means-tested benefits like SNAP, Medicaid or TANF.
  • Acceptance of this tax rebate will not be considered in public charge determinations.

Food Assistance

  • SNAP eligibility has not been expanded for immigrants, meaning only "qualified non-citizens" are eligible for this assistance. (Please see the Medicaid section above for a list of "qualified non-citizens")
  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides free or reduced cost meals for children who are enrolled in school but cannot attend due to COVID-19 closures, regardless of immigration status.
    • Use of P-EBT will not be considered in public charge determinations.
  • WIC, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and home delivered meals (i.e. Meals on Wheels) are available regardless of immigration status.
    • Use of these benefits will not be considered in public charge determinations.
  • Food pantries and Commodity Supplemental Food Program are available regardless of immigration status.
    • Use of these resources will not be considered in public charge determinations.

Unemployment Insurance

  • Immigrants must be work-authorized at the time they file for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits - both during the base period used to calculate the benefit amount and during the entire period they are receiving benefits. TPS, DACA and other work-authorized immigrants are eligible for as long as they meet these requirements.
  • In addition to state UI, work-authorized immigrants may also be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA can expand your unemployment benefits from 12 weeks (Florida) to 25 weeks total, and by up to $600 per week.
  • Utilization of UI and PUA benefits will not be considered in public charge determinations.

Public Charge

*Please use the resources available to you and your loved ones. If you are worried that using benefits will negatively impact your immigration status or that of a family member, please call 305-573-1106 ext. 1400*

  • Public charge determination applies to a very limited group of immigrants seeking admission into the U.S. or lawful permanent residency.
  • Few immigrants are eligible for benefits, and those who are not likely subject to public charge. Benefits received by family members are not considered in public charge determinations.
  • Regardless of immigration status, immigrants can access treatment, testing, and other care for COVID-19. This will not be considered use of health services for public charge determination.
  • Reduced hours, job loss, and related financial difficulties caused by COVID-19 can also be explained and will not negatively impact public charge determination.
  • Rebate and unemployment assistance will not be considered for public charge.
  • WIC, P-EBT, food pantries, TEFAP, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and home delivered meals not considered for public charge.

Evictions and Foreclosures

  • On April 2, 2020, the Governor of Florida issued a 45 day moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
  • If you have questions about your renter's or homeowner's rights, please contact Dade Legal Aid at (305) 579-5733 or Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. at (305) 576-0080.

Immigration Enforcement

*Whether you are at home or in public, you have rights when interacting with immigration enforcement, regardless of your status. If you have any questions about your rights and how to interact with immigration enforcement, please review these resources or call 305-573-1106 ext. 1400.*

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not been granted new funding. The transfer of funds destined for health-related use to fund enforcement activities is prohibited.
  • ICE has committed to not conduct enforcement at or near health care facilities. 
  • There is currently no provision for extending work authorizations for TPS and DACA recipients. 

Driver’s Licenses

  • Florida issued an Emergency Order granting a 30-day extension for all Florida driver's licenses, commercial driver's licenses and identification cards that will expire between March 16 and April 15, 2020.
  • Delinquent renewal fees have been waived during the extension period for these driver licenses and identification cards.

Census

  • Data collected from the census is used to determine congressional representation and allocate $800 billion in federal funds. These programs directly affect you and your community’s schools, health care programs, emergency departments, children and senior care facilities, infrastructure, and other critical services.
  • The 2020 census will only ask you questions related to household composition and homeownership as of April 1, 2020, Census Day. You will be asked about: the number of people living or staying in your home; whether your home is owned or rented; the age, race, and ethnicity of all household members; and the relationship of each household member to you. Nothing else will be asked. The census has nothing to do with and will not ask you about your citizenship status or immigration status.
  • All information collected from the census is only used for statistics production. By law, the Census Bureau and is not permitted to share your responses to immigration enforcement or law enforcement agencies.

In-Person Appointments and Services - EOIR, ICE, USCIS

  • Miami Immigration Courts
    • Hearings for Non-Detained Individuals
      • As of May 4, 2020, all hearings (Master and Individual) through June 29, 2020 will be rescheduled.
      • Call 800-898-7180 for any upcoming court dates.
    • Hearings for Detained Individuals
      • Hearings at Krome Detention Center and Broward Transitional Center continue as scheduled.
  • Miramar Field Office
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    • On March 18, USCIS temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS offices will begin to reopen on June 4.
    • As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow. If you are feeling sick, please do not go to your appointment. Follow the instructions on your appointment notice to reschedule your appointment for when you are healthy. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment if you are sick.
      • Guidelines for Entering USCIS Facilities
        • Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
          • Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
          • Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
          • Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
        • Visitors may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
        • Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
        • Members of the public must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. Visitors may be directed to briefly remove their face covering to confirm identity or take their photograph. There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors should pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
        • Individuals are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens.
      • More information on visiting USCIS facilities can be found at uscis.gov/visitorpolicy. 
    • USCIS will automatically reschedule biometrics appointments, interviews, and swearing-in ceremonies for applicants, petitioners and beneficiaries that were cancelled due to the temporary office closure. Individuals will receive a new appointment letter in the mail with specific safety requirements.  For more information, contact USCIS Customer Service.
    • For non-immigrants whose status is expiring and cannot leave the United States due to these special circumstances, USCIS recommends applying for an extension or change of status. USCIS further notes that where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time. The alert also reminds non-immigrants late filings can be accepted based on extraordinary circumstances
    • For those present through the Visa Waiver Program who are ineligible to apply for an extension, USCIS recommends that they request a period of satisfactory departure, which can grant up to an additional 30 days. Contact USCIS or the nearest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deferred Inspection office.

Temporary Restrictions on Entry of Certain Immigrants to U.S.

  • Beginning April 24, 2020 certain types of immigration will be restricted for 60 days by the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.
  • Suspension of entry applies to certain individuals obtaining immigrant visas outside the United States at consulates.
  • Suspension of entry does NOT apply in the following circumstances:
    • All non-immigrant visas (including for tourism, business, medical treatment and other purposes)
    • Immigrants applying for green cards within the United States
    • Green card holders returning from abroad
    • Holders of a valid advance parole document
    • Spouses and children under 21 of U.S. Citizens
    • Immigrants entering on a visa as a: healthcare professional, researcher combating the spread of COVID-19, or worker essential to the combat effects of the COVID-19 (includes spouses and children under 21)
    • EB-5 Immigrant Investors
    • Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces (includes spouses and children under 21).

 

MAIN OFFICE
6355 NW 36th St, Suite 2201
Miami, FL 33166
T 305-573-1106
F 305-576-6273
E-Mail: info@aijustice.org

About Us:

AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.