The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Tuesday that migrants seeking U.S. citizenship must be fully vaccinated for COVID.

According to the new agency rule, individuals applying for U.S. citizenship must show proof of COVID vaccinations before a civil surgeon can complete the required immigration medical examination. The USCIS noted that the said requirements would take effect on October 1.

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Migrants Seeking U.S. Citizenship Must Provide COVID Vaccine Proof

KRQE reported that the new rule also requires migrants subject to immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccines series, whether one or two doses, depending on the vaccine brand.

USCIS underscored that its update on its policy guidelines is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) update to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons on August 17.

The agency said it designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform the immigration medical examination for applicants within the U.S. and to document the results of the medical test on "Form I-693."

Migrants or those who will apply for U.S. citizenship must undergo an immigration medical examination to determine if they are free from any conditions that would prevent them from obtaining citizenship "under the health-related grounds." 

The new rules noted that physicians may not sign off on Form I-693, officially called the "Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record," unless the applicant has had COVID vaccines.

The USCIS said it may still waive the process if an individual falls under these conditions, like if the applicant has contradicting medical conditions or contradicting religious beliefs or is a minor not eligible for a vaccine.

Applicants who live in places where there is a limited supply of vaccines will also be exempted from the new rule.

DHS Inspector General Office Issues ICE COVID Guidelines

Meanwhile, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has agreed to a list of recommendations to stop the spread of COVID in detention facilities and to better respond to future pandemics.

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted inspections in some ICE facilities and found that the agency struggled to effectively control COVID and protect detainees and staff.

The OIG report revealed that many areas in the said detention facilities had a hard time managing the health and safety of detainees.

Among the OIG recommendations for ICE facilities to practice was the use of masks by staff, ensure all detention facilities conduct facility-wide COVID testing especially for all new detainees, transfer detainees only allowed by the Pandemic Response Requirements (PRR), and keep detainees with COVID away from those who are believed to have COVID but are not confirmed.

The report noted that the staff and detainees did not always practice physical distancing and wear PPEs, although there is a sufficient supply of the said protective equipment. The OIG also said the ICE detention facilities did not test all new detainees coming into facilities for COVID. 

The OIG report came as the Biden administration increased the number of migrants placed into an expedited federal immigration court process in August.

According to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a Syracuse University research institute that tracks immigration court cases, at least 11,847 migrants who were seeking asylum were placed into the Dedicated Docket program last month.

In May, the DHS said it would start placing migrant families into this new fast-track program designed to process immigration cases in under 300 days. 

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Joshua Summers

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