Evan as Trump continues to draw condemnation for his racist "Chinese virus" attempt to ramp up prejudice against both immigrants and Asian -Americans, in a time of crisis, ICE is wisely turning away, at least for the moment, from Trump's agenda of mass immigrant roundups and internment in his growing network of detention facilities which has justly been compared to concentration camps. America is not yet back to the point of reviving the spirit of the disgraced Japanese-American internment during WW2 which Chief Justice Roberts strongly condemned in his Trump v Hawaii majority decision in the 2018 Muslim ban case.

Could this at least temporary victory of reason and humanity in ICE[s decision to limit enforcement to criminal immigrants only (as the Obama administration claimed to be doing) also lead to fairer and less hostile USCIS decisions involving applications for legal immigration benefits?

Suppose, hypothetically, that the beneficiary of an H-1B petition is working as a health care provider in a field directly related to controlling the spread of epidemics such as coronavirus or providing treatment for people affected by or suspected of having the disease? Is this the right time for USCIS to quibble
over whether that person's offered H-1B position qualifies as a "specialty occupation", which s currently a prime source of RFE's and denials?

Or suppose that a computer engineer is working on a new system which could help scientific researcher in developing a vaccine for the virus? Computer-related positions are a favorite target for H-1B examiners these days. Should they continue to be?

Suppose that someone who has distinguished himself or herself in a given business field important to the economy of a local community battling the virus is now working in that field and waiting for a decision on an O-1 petition? Would it be appropriate for a USCIS examiner to quibble over whether published articles about the person appeared in "major" newspapers or journals, as so often happens in O-1 cases at the present?

Or suppose that an employment-based petition has been filed for someone who is obviously qualified on the merits, but that it was filed a week or two late, after the person's previous "nonimmigrant" status had expired. Let us also supposed that the person is from Italy, Spain, or some other country where the virus is now spreading out of control.

Would it be fair, or rational, to force that person to travel back to that country to apply for a visa, when travel from the country to the US is now banned?

There are many similar examples that one could think of, as I will show in forthcoming comments on this topic.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard Law School LL,B
Harvard College A,B