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What resources are available for immigrants in New Jersey during the coronavirus outbreak? What information is there about enforcement of immigration policy?
Health Care Coverage and Resources
No one in New Jersey should hesitate to get tested, regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. Testing for COVID-19-related services will not be at any charge, regardless of immigration status or whether you have health insurance. Seeking health care related to COVID-19 will not negatively affect an individual's public charge analysis. For more information on care for those without health insurance, see here.
- Coronavirus Information: Resources from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about coronavirus are available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and other languages here. The CDC's Spanish-language resource hub is available here. A New Jersey ESL educator has aggregated additional information in many different languages here.
- Mental Health: A Spanish-language video from The Hope Center for Wellness provides strategies that families facing stress and anxiety during this pandemic can implement.
Special Relief Programs and Helpful Resources
- DACA Renewal: Make the Road NJ in collaboration with Rutgers Law School students is hosting virtual DACA clinics every Friday from 2 - 5 PM where they will help with filling out the application and one of their staff attorneys will be available to answer questions. To participate in one of the virtual DACA clinics, call 908-368-1196 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spanish-Language Resources: Cultura Unida is sharing COVID-19 Spanish-language information and resources for New Jerseyans here (in Spanish), including information about employment resources, food assistance, health services, and social services.
- Resources for Undocumented Immigrants: The blog, My Undocumented Life, is maintaining a list of resources (in English) for undocumented immigrants and their families during COVID-19. The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation is also maintaining a list of resources (English and Spanish).
- College Financial Aid: Deadlines for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application for NJ Dreamers are extended to June 1, 2020: https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJAlternativeApplication.aspx (in English)
- Worker Benefits and Protections: The Department of Labor has created a chart called "What NJ Workers Should Know": English and in Spanish.
- Help for Companies and Non-Profits: The Economic Development Authority has created an eligibility wizard (English and in Spanish) to help organizations understand what support programs are available.
Immigration Policy and Enforcement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement (in English), noting that "ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors' offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement." Immigration officials have confirmed (English and Spanish) that testing, treatment, and preventative care related to COVID-19 will not negatively affect an individual's public charge analysis.
In addition, New Jersey contact tracers are not working with ICE. Information shared with contact tracers remains confidential, will not negatively affect your public charge assessment, and will not be used for the purposes of law enforcement or immigration enforcement in any way.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended in-person routine services through at least May 3 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Staff will provide emergency services for limited situations. For more information, see here (English and Spanish). United We Dream has issued guidance (in English) related to these office closures, focused on the DACA renewal request process.
The U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review has postponed all non-detained hearings schedule through May 1, 2020. More information is available here (in English).
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is updating a page (in English) with legal information related to COVID-19 and immigration.
Expanding Access to Professional and Occupational Licenses
A new law signed by Governor Murphy prohibits lawful presence in the United States as a qualification to obtain a professional or occupational license, provided that the applicant meets all other requirements for licensure. The bill impacts the roughly 500,000 undocumented residents in New Jersey, who will now be eligible for professional licenses such as nursing, counseling and cosmetology.