Hurricane Sandy Prompts Temporary Immigration Relief Measures

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Obama Administration is waiving certain immigration laws. Although the Department of Homeland Security usually handles these measures, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services posted a press release stating that because a natural disaster can affect a person’s ability to maintain lawful status or acquire certain benefits, eligible individuals may be able to request temporary relief measures, The Washington Times reported.

According to USCIS, These benefits may include an extension for individuals previously granted parole by USCIS, expedited adjudication for F1 employment authorization applications, assistance to legal permanent residents stranded overseas without appropriate travel documents, and an extension of nonimmigrant status for a person currently in the United States even if his or her request is received after the admission period has expired.

If an individual was not able to appear for an interview because of the hurricane, he or she may be able to re apply if proper forms of evidence are submitted to cement the claim. Those who were unable to respond to Notices of Intent to Deny or Requests for Evidence will also be granted an extended deadline of 30 days, USCIS reported.

The Obama Administration supports the waiver by stating that a natural disaster can negatively impact an individual’s ability to maintain his or her lawful immigration status. However, critics believe the move is unwarranted, as the issues stemming from a natural disaster have no real correlation with immigration or related benefits, according to the Times.

“While this outrageous storm amnesty has been ignored by the mainstream media, it is very real and largely unprecedented,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told the source.

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