AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Files Lawsuit Against USCIS Seeking Maintenance of Status for Nonimmigrants, Extended Immigration Benefit Deadlines

4/3/20 AILA Doc. No. 20040331.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

Washington, DC – In a follow-up to its March 23, 2020, letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) calling for the immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and the maintenance of status for nonimmigrants in the U.S., the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has filed a complaint against USCIS in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of its members to seek these necessary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AILA Director of Federal Litigation Jesse Bless said, “USCIS has every power to immediately and temporarily toll any and all immigration-related deadlines and expiration of status to the benefit of U.S. employers, lawfully admitted foreign nationals, and the public. Many of those fighting on the front lines – our nurses and healthcare workers – are foreign nationals on nonimmigrant visas. At present, immigration attorneys seeking to effectively represent U.S. employers and foreign nationals face a dangerous catch-22: risk exposure and try to protect their clients’ immigration status or protect themselves and risk putting their clients’ cases or rights in jeopardy.”

AILA President Marketa Lindt said, “Across the country, immigration attorneys and their clients are being forced to choose between missing a filing deadline and violating stay at home orders and exposing themselves, their staff and their clients to a deadly illness. USCIS must join many other federal agencies in extending its filing deadlines so that lawfully present foreign nationals in the United States can maintain status during this national crisis. By refusing to do so, USCIS is needlessly endangering lives.”

The complaint can be found in full at this link.