April 7, 2020
On behalf of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), I write to urgently request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) further expand its recent announcements that relax certain filing deadlines, in order to ensure that applicants and petitioners, particularly children, do not risk their health to complete requests for additional evidence or meet other timelines in the midst of a national public health emergency. The new measures recently put into place are welcome, but do not go far enough to protect applicants, caregivers and professionals who work with them, or USCIS adjudicators and other government officials who would be forced to comply with, or adjudicate under, deadlines that have lost their meaning in the face of the global pandemic. Further relaxing the deadlines will keep more people safe, and provide for better government stewardship of USCIS resources. Applicants should not have to put their health or lives at risk to complete an application; nor should adjudicators expend their time on applications that may be incomplete or subject to denial, solely because the applicant or petitioner could not supply needed information within the standard timeframe due to circumstances beyond his or her control.