The coronavirus pandemic has affected every member of our society, regardless of status or class. But if you aren’t a U.S. citizen (e.g. employees on temporary visas, undocumented immigrants, etc.) you may have trouble accessing the same forms of emergency relief from the state or federal government.
For example, families have been excluded from receiving CARES Act stimulus checks if anyone in their household was undocumented. As a result, even lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens were denied stimulus checks simply because one or more of their family members were undocumented.
Whether you need medical, legal, or financial resources, it can be hard to know where to go. This is why our team at The Sekou Clarke Law Group has put together the following resources. We want you and your loved ones to have what you need to endure these difficult times. As always, please reach out to us at any time if you need legal counsel or representation.
If you are undocumented, you are likely ineligible for health insurance. However, clinics across the country provide care and treatment to uninsured individuals, and they don’t turn away those without legal status. One example of a low-cost clinic that welcomes undocumented individuals is Planned Parenthood. You can find other free clinics across the country using this database.
Additionally, most emergency rooms and hospitals receive federal funding, which means they cannot turn you away if you are undocumented.
A Note About the Public Charge Rule
Many immigrants are concerned about seeking medical treatment because of a new policy that took effect earlier this year. The public charge rule allows adjudicating officers to deny visa applications if they believe the applicant is (or is likely to become) a public charge. Use of public benefits is one factor that can trigger a denial based on public charge grounds of inadmissibility.
Fortunately, USCIS has made it clear that treatment, testing, and preventative care related to COVID-19 will not affect a person’s eligibility for a green card or any other type of status. In other words, an adjudicating officer cannot view your COVID-19-related medical care as evidence that you are a public charge.
Informed Immigrant has created a database of resources for immigrants suffering from the effects of the pandemic. You can search by location to find a wide variety of services near you.
In Florida, for example, you can currently take advantage of:
- Food, medicine, hygiene product delivery services
- Free meals for youth
- Drive-through testing sites
- A map of local food banks
- A Miami-based COVID-19 hotline
This database is updated weekly.
Legal Resources from Our Team
For any questions or concerns regarding your rights as an immigrant at this time, turn to our professionals at The Sekou Clarke Law Group. We can help you navigate this challenging legal terrain, fight to protect your status, and keep your family together.