Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on Immigration Applicants
The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the people up and down the East Coast was massive. It has already been a few days since the people in New York and New Jersey experienced the storm but the effects are still felt— including those involved in immigration applications and removal proceedings.
Just like when other severe hurricanes troubled the states in the U.S.—storms such as Hurricane Katrina—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have once again issued widespread information on dealing with immigration consequences of the storm. Thus far, basic information is available regarding U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) plans; virtually nothing has been said about Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
On November 2, the USCIS announced the provision of services and relief to those who were affected by the recent storm. Still depending on the circumstance, this announcement would give benefits or considerations in terms of expediting the process of employment authorization documents and extensions of certain non-immigrant status designations. Those who also failed to submit evidence or attend an appointment because of the storm will also be given significant consideration by the USCIS.
So those individuals who failed to meet the deadlines of the submission of materials required after their receipt of the Request for Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny will have a 30-day extension. But only those whose deadlines indicate the date between October 26th and November 26th are going to be given this leeway. However, the USCIS still stresses that the burden remains on the applicant to provide some proof that Hurricane Sandy indeed impacted them so bad that they were unable to meet the deadlines and submit the required materials or evidence.