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By Sanwar Ali:
Donald Trump is considering ending the US “lockdown” from the beginning of May. Health experts are uncertain about this. It could take longer to make sure that there are suitable tests to find out if people have coronavirus and also if they have had it in the past without knowing about it.
The US has the World’s highest number of confirmed cases with more than 460,000 people infected. The US also has the highest number of confirmed deaths with more than 20,000, recently overtaking Italy. However, statistics can be very unreliable. The number of those infected and the number of deaths has increased greatly since one of our recent coronavirus reports.
It seems that there will be heated discussions between those who want the economy reopened soon and others who wish to be more cautious. Trump had the following comments:
“staying at home leads to death also."
"I will certainly listen. Two sides, remember. I understand the other side of the argument very well."
Previously Trump had hoped that the US would be back in business by Easter. Well that will not be happening now.
Donald Trump cannot decide by himself to reopen the Country
The Federal Government issues guidelines on closing businesses and restrictions on gatherings. These are recommendations. Governors are the ones who will decide on when the US will actually “reopen for business”.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams also had the following to say on Fox News:
"Some places will be able to think about opening on May 1”
"Most of the country will not, to be honest with you, but some will."
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic being used as an excuse for harsh US immigration policies
Emergency powers to stop the spread of coronavirus has been used to expel 6,300 undocumented migrants on the Mexico border. Apparently the 21 March public health measure allows officials to expedite removals and ignore the immigration laws.
Acting US Customs and Border Protection CBP commissioner Mark Morgan had the following to say:
"This is not about immigration. This is about public health,"
"This is about putting forth aggressive mitigation and containment measures."
India requests extension for H1B visa holders due to coronavirus pandemic
Indians are stranded in the US mainly due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The US State Department has forwarded India's request for the extension of visas for Indians in America to the US Department of Homeland Security.
The increase in the number of people being layed off due to coronavirus is affecting Indians as well. The largest percentage of US visa holders with H1B visas are Indians. There have been high level talks between the US and India about the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and US President Donald Trump had talks about this and other issues on 4 April.
Chinese workers in the US are also facing visa problems.
Tang Chen a software developer in the US was laid off. She couldn't sleep. Would she be able to stay in the US? The travel firm where she had previously worked at Fort Washington, Pennsylvania had begun the process of applying for an employment based immigrant visa (“Green Card”). However, this has now been discontinued. She cannot find another job in the US. It is also extremely difficult to find a flight ticket back to China. Tang comes from eastern China's Zhejiang province, and has worked in the US since 2014 on an H1B visa.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) called on USCIS to suspend immigration deadlines during the coronavirus pandemic. AILA President Marketa Lindt had the following to say:
“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."
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