COVID-19 Updates and Information

LAST UPDATED: November 2, 2020

MIRC's offices are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic. However, our staff are still working hard to serve our existing clients and Michigan's immigrant communities. You can call us at (734) 239-6863 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. with questions or to discuss your case. Immigrant workers with questions about employment issues can call our farmworker and immigrant worker rights hotline at 1-800-968-4046.

The following information is aimed at helping Michigan’s immigrant communities navigate information and resources in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage our immigrant communities to view the state of Michigan’s coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information on state efforts. Non-English state resources can be found here. Click here for resources in indigenous languages, and here and here for multilingual fact sheets and infographics. Please visit Michigan Legal Help for Michigan specific legal updates in real time (en español).

MDHHS Three-Week Emergency “Pause” Order November 18-December 8

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new emergency order today that enacts a three-week pause to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Under this order, restriction include (but are not limited to):

  • Indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time
  • Bars and restaurants will only be open for outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery orders.
  • Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. 
  • Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed. 
  • Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however all other organized sports must stop. 
  • Colleges and high schools must stop holding in-person classes (preschool through 8th grade remains local district choice)
  • Employees must work from home, when work can be done from home

Find the full list of the Order guidelines here

MDHHS Emergency Order Under MCL 333.2253 “ Gathering Prohibition and Mask Order”

On October 5th, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a Gathering Prohibition and Mask Order regarding both indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as the use and requirements of masks. 

Gatherings: The order limits indoor gatherings at residences to no more than 1o people, and notes that gatherings of up to 10 persons at a non-residential venue are permitted so long as each person at the gathering is wearing a face covering. Gathering between 10 and 500 people indoors occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted so long as: there is fixed seating, there is limited attendance to 20% of seating capacity, everyone wears a face mask, and, for venues without fixed seating, attendance must be limited to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room (special rules apply for Region 6). Outdoor gatherings at a residence of up to 100 persons are permitted, with a recommendation of face coverings, and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 persons occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted provided that each person at the gathering wears a face covering. Non-residential outdoor gatherings of between 100 and 1,000 persons with fixed seating are permitted so long as: everyone wears a face covering, there is MDHHS Emergency Order Under MCL 333.2253limited attendance to 30% of seating capacity in venues with fixed seating, and in venues without fixed seating, attendance must be limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within any distinct area within the event space. The gathering restrictions imposed by this MDHHS order do not apply to the incidental gathering of persons in a shared space, including an airport, bus station, factory floor, restaurant, shopping mall, public pool, or workplace.

Face coverings: The order requires that businesses, government offices, schools, and other operations must not allow indoor gatherings of any kind unless they require individuals to wear a face covering consistent with this order. For schools in Region 6, the wearing of face coverings is recommended. Those who are exempt from the face covering requirements include those who: are younger than 5 years old (children under the age of two should not wear a mask); who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment; who are exercising outdoors and able to consistently maintain six feet of social distance; Are swimming; who are receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary; who are entering a business or are receiving a service and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes; who are communicating with someone who is deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication; who are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel, and where wearing a mask would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety responsibilities; who are at a polling place for purposes of votinginanelection; are officiating or engaging in a religious service; who are giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience, provided that the audience is at least six feet away from the speaker. 

Enforcement: Law enforcement officers are permitted to investigate violations of this order and enforce this order in coordination with the appropriate regulatory entity. Violations of the order are punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000, consistent with the amended schedule of fines, issued on May 27, 2020.

Information and Resources

Guides top

The following guides provide information about accessing resources in addition to the information listed below. Please refer to the guides to review when it was last updated.

  • Mutual Aid
    Map for finding the mutual aid network in your community.

Unemployment Assistance top

Most non-citizens with valid employment authorization or social security number are eligible for expanded unemployment benefits under the new federal stimulus. If you are undocumented or only have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”), you are not eligible for unemployment insurance. If you are unsure about your immigration status and whether you qualify for unemployment insurance, please contact our employment hotline at 800-968-4046.Receiving unemployment benefits does NOT create any risk of negative immigration consequences, regardless of the new “public charge” rule. See USCIS information on this here. Filing for unemployment insurance with a social security number that is not yours is considered fraud or identity theft and can have serious civil and criminal consequences.

MIRC’s FAQ on Noncitizen Eligibility for Michigan Unemployment Insurance is available in English and Spanish. Up to date information from the State of Michigan regarding unemployment insurance can be found here. The state has compiled a helpful fact sheet that will walk you through how to file a claim. It is also available in Spanish and Arabic here. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (“LEO”) also released this FAQ regarding unemployment benefits.

Protecting Workers top

Workers concerned with the health and safety of their workplace may submit a complaint to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“MIOSHA”). Making a complaint via MIOSHA is confidential and you can make the complaint in any language. You can either contact them by phone at 800-866-4674 or via their online form. Additional worker rights resources be found at the National Employment Law Project, The Sugar Law Center, and Farmworker Legal Services.

Small Businesses top

Resources for small businesses can be found through Michigan’s Small Business Development Center. Contact Global Detroit for more information about the Paycheck Protection Program and additional resources for small businesses.

Beware of Scams top

Scammers are profiting from fears associated with COVID-19. These scams are typically in the form of robocalls or emails. To avoid scams:

  • Hang up on all robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. 
  • Do not open attachments or click links from email addresses you do not recognize. 
  • Do not open emails from individuals or the government about vaccines or home test kits. Instead, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for verified COVID-19 updates. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs Border Patrol (CBP) top

Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP “supervision”) appointments are being conducted by phone. Contact the deportation officer for questions: (313) 568-6049. Non-professional visitors are not allowed in detention facilities right now. Video calls may be available in the Calhoun and St. Clair county jails. Please review any change in policy about immigration enforcement and other ICE COVID-19 updates here. Additionally, CBP is limiting the travel of individuals from Mexico and Canada into the United States at land ports of entry to “essential travel.” The restrictions have been in place since March 20 and will continue until at least November 21, 2020.

Immigration Court - Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) top

Certain immigration courts have resumed non-detained hearings. See below for the latest operational status of courts nationwide. For case specific information, please have the relevant alien registration number and call 800-898-7180 or visit the Automated Case Information portal.

The Detroit Immigration Court resumed hearings in non-detained cases on Monday, July 13, 2020. Respondents or their representatives will receive notice of their new hearing date at least 10 days beforehand. You can check the case information system online or over the phone at 1-800-898-7180 to review the status of your case. Please note that all detained hearings are also moving forward at this time. For as long as the State of Michigan continues to operate under a state of emergency, any attorney-at-law for any party may appear telephonically in all detained cases within the jurisdiction of the Detroit Immigration Court so long as it is arranged with the immigration court staff. Please check the EOIR website for the latest information on a specific court’s closure and document filing instructions. 

The immigration court has implemented public health guidelines for all entering the court. Face coverings are required in EOIR space at all times. As needed, those children younger than two years old and those individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing such a face covering are exempt from this requirement. In addition to the following keep in mind: 

  1. Please do not bring people with you into EOIR space unless they are required to be present for your hearing. Remember that the immigration court may limit entry
  2. To maintain appropriate social distancing and best facilitate hearings, you may be asked to move or leave a particular area.
  3. Waiting times to enter the building and EOIR space may be significantly longer than usual. Make arrangements to arrive in advance of your hearing so you arrive at the courtroom on time.

You may find more information around current public health guidelines and updates regarding the Detroit Immigration Court here.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) top

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASC). USCIS has or will send notices by mail for rescheduled and new appointments. Details about new health protocols for all visitors, as well as individual office closures, can be found here

Please call the USCIS Contact Center for assistance with emergency immigration-related services. USCIS continues to accept and process applications, like for employment authorization and naturalization. For more information, click here.

Extension of Status for Tourists top

Individuals who are in the United States may be able to apply to extend their stay due to extenuating circumstances. If you are in the United States on a B1/B2 tourist visa or under the Visa Waiver Program, please read through this document. All other individuals with non-immigrant visas who have questions about how to extend their status should call 734-239-6863.

Driver’s Licenses top

The Department of Homeland Security has pushed back the enforcement deadline of a REAL-ID compliant driver's license from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021.

Vehicle registration renewals can still be completed online at and Automobile, motorcycle and watercraft registration renewals can also be completed in self-service stations which can be viewed in this link. Additional information surrounding the passing of the bills can be found here.

The Secretary of State in Michigan has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding their services during the coronavirus outbreak available here

Those who are not eligible to renew their driver’s license or state ID card online or by mail should schedule a time to do so in-person at a Secretary of State branch office by reserving an appointment online at or calling 888-SOS-MICH. 

Per Public Act 241 of 2020 – which was enacted on Oct. 28, 2020, expirations for all driver’s licenses, state ID cards, and registrations for vehicles, recreational vehicles, and trailers expiring on or after March 1, 2020, will be extended through Dec. 11, 2020. The federal government has also extended expirations for all commercial driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, medical certifications, and commercial endorsements expiring on or after March 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020.

The Michigan Department of State is required to waive late fees during this time. Customers should still attempt to renew their credential as soon as possible.

Cash Assistance top

Below are various initiatives across the state of Michigan offering financial assistance to individuals, many explicitly serving immigrant communities. Please visit each page to learn more about how to apply to access these funds. If you would like to contribute to the United Farm Workers fundraiser, you can do so here

Southeast Michigan

Southwest/ Western Michigan

Access to Food top

Food banks and pantries are still in operation. To learn more about how to find food either via food pantries, vouchers, emergency food programs, etc. dial 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898211, or visit the 211 website. Before visiting any food pantry, you should contact the pantry to learn about COVID-related changes. If you are a qualifying senior and cannot leave your home, look up your local Meals on Wheels program here. For more information, you can go to Food Gatherers,, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Feeding America West Michigan, or Zaman.

The City of Detroit is now offering daily meals for children and seniors.

All families with children under 18 (or under 26 if enrolled in special education programming), not just those eligible for Free or Reduced-price meals, can pick up school meals. Please visit the Michigan Department of Education website for school meal sites across Michigan or contact Michigan Department of Education at 517-241-5374 or

An extensive list of places with free lunch for Michigan K-12 students can be found here. You can also find locations for free breakfast and lunch on the Meet Up and Eat Up Locator Map.

All Michigan households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will now get more benefits. Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during the month of October. From April 1st, the work requirement for the Food Assistance Program has been suspended: you can qualify regardless of whether you’re working 80 hours a month.You can check the balance on your Bridge Card online or by calling 888-678-8914. Arabic and Spanish speakers are available. Any person who is deaf, speech-impaired, deafblind or hard of hearing can call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.

University of Michigan students can get free food and toiletries at the Maize & Blue Cupboard.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 0-26 that are eligible for Free or Reduced-Price School Meals. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program benefits, as well as those not currently enrolled in the program. No application is necessary for eligible families to receive P-EBT benefits. There is no citizenship or immigration status requirement for Pandemic EBT. There is no “public charge” consequence to receiving Pandemic EBT.

Medical and Health Access top

When to Seek Medical Attention: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth to protect other people.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently clarified that Emergency Services Only (ESO) Medicaid covers necessary COVID-19 testing and treatment. For those that are seeking emergency treatment, ESO Medicaid is available to those who are eligible for Medicaid regardless of Immigration status. 

In addition, for those seeking COVID-19 related testing, treatment, or preventive care, this will not be a determinant of public charge when applying for a green card.

Detailed information on what ESO covers and links for locations are located in this flyer as well as in our website for additional COVID-19 related news and updates.

Regardless of immigration status, you can still get health care. This includes emergency room care through Emergency Services Only (ESO) Medicaid, federally qualified community health centers (which treat everyone, regardless of immigration status: you can find one here), migrant health centers, free clinics (which you can find here), and public hospitals. Examples of locations include the places listed below. Please note that these places are now accepting new patients (but that can change) and all of these places can provide prescriptions for COVID-19 testing. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that Emergency Services Only Medicaid will cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment effective for dates of service on or after March 10, 2020. USCIS will not consider testing or treatment in any public-charge determinations for immigrants applying for a green card.

The City of Detroit and the Coronavirus Community Care Network are providing free COVID-19 testing to all residents in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, and no prescription is necessary. You can find the latest information here.  If you do not have a doctor but would like to find one, please see this list of medical clinics that may be accepting new patients (both insured and uninsured). If you are undocumented and looking for healthcare in Detroit, this is an updated list of federally qualified community health centers in Detroit that are accepting new patients and providing prescriptions for testing.

You may qualify for COVID-19 testing through public health county offices at no charge. Testing may be limited, however, so make sure to call ahead. Some testing sites are asking for identification; acceptable ID can include a passport, school ID, or utility bill with your name on it. If you qualify for testing but you are turned away for issues related to identification, please contact us at 734-239-6863. Testing or treatment for COVID-19—as with all communicable diseases—does not affect your public charge determination. More information about healthcare access and free testing is available from the National Immigration Law Center.

As always, healthcare providers may not discriminate on the basis of disability, as well as race, national origin, age, gender, or religion. People with disabilities may not be denied care based on stereotypes or assessments of their relative “worth.” If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, contact the U.S. Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights

Mental Health Resources top

COVID-19 and its prevention efforts can be stressful and isolating for many. For information about how to recognize stress and learn about ways to support yourself and loved ones, click here (en español). If you are struggling, please reach out to the following resources:

Victims and Witnesses of Crime top

If you do not feel safe in your home, seek help and call 911. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (en español) at 1-800-799-7233 (or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you are unable to speak safely, you can text LOVEIS to 22522). The YWCA of Kalamazoo maintains a 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 269-385-3587, as well as a 24- hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 269-385-3587. If you need assistance with filing a Personal Protection Order, ask to speak with a Legal Advocate. Emergency shelter services provided by the YWCA and Safe Haven Ministries across Michigan remain uninterrupted. YWCA and Safe Haven Ministries have 24/7 hotlines that survivors can call to request information. Virtual support groups and counseling services by either agency are also taking place. YWCA and Safe Haven Ministries have a lot of capacity and are still providing full services such as move-ins to shelters, crisis counseling, and assessments. DV agencies have capacity to meet these needs, are fully staffed, taking preventative measures, and are prepared to respond in the event of exposure. To find a shelter or hotline near you, search here. For updated information on what services are being provided by a shelter, please contact the shelter or consult the shelter’s website. 

Courts in Michigan remain open for emergency cases and essential functions including requests for new, or extension of existing Personal Protection Orders. Please see MichiganLegalHelp for updates on court procedures for all types of civil cases. 

Law Enforcement across Michigan continue to respond to calls reporting domestic violence, and will still be arresting criminals who commit high misdemeanors such as sex crimes or domestic violence and felonies.

State Courts top

Court authorizes judicial officers to conduct proceedings remotely (whether physically present in the courtroom or elsewhere) using two-way interactive videoconferencing technology or other remote participation tools. Judges who conduct remote proceedings must provide notice of the time and procedure for participating in the remote hearing, and verify that all participants are able to proceed in this manner. Courts are handling essential functions only as described in Administrative Order 2020-6.

Housing: Moratorium on Evictions and Utility Shutoffs top

Eviction moratorium in Michigan (with the exception of Detroit) is now over, should you need resources and guides for any legal or financial help please use the link for resources. Whether you have a Notice to Quit, Demand for Possession, or Summons for court, call or apply for help right away. The sooner you do this, the more likely you’ll get help and avoid being evicted.

The 36th Detroit Court announced the extension of its moratorium on eviction through August 15, 2020. Resources are available to assist Detroit residents facing eviction. The City of Detroit, in coordination with Southwest Counseling Solutions and the Homeless Action Network of Detroit (HAND), will provide eviction-prevention programs to Detroit tenants.

Also, under the federal CARES Act, a landlord of a rental property tenants has federal financial assistance ("covered property") cannot file a court eviction complaint for nonpayment of rent or charge any late fees to a tenant until July 25, 2020. Any property that participates in HUD, USDA Rural Development, or Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) rental housing programs, as well as any housing with a “federally backed” mortgage (FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) is subject to the CARES Act. After July 25, a covered landlord must give the tenant a 30-day notice before starting a nonpayment of rent eviction case against a tenant. No tenant can lawfully be evicted for nonpayment of rent from a CARES Act-covered property until August 24, 2020. Visit this website to see if your rental property is subject to the CARES Act eviction filing moratorium 

These moratoriums do not release you from any obligation under your lease. This means you still owe your landlord any rent that becomes due during the time of the eviction suspension period.

See this “Can I be Evicted During COVID-19” flowchart by Legal Services of South Central Michigan for more information. If you believe that you are being unlawfully evicted from your home or have questions about how COVID-19 impacts evictions, foreclosures or rent in the state of Michigan, consult these resources compiled by Michigan Legal Help.

Executive Order 2020-28 orders any local government water supplier to restore water service where water was shut off for non-payment. For other utilities such as electric and natural gas service, unlike some states, Michigan has not issued a moratorium on utility shutoffs. Some utility providers in Michigan have instituted special shut-off protections for low-income or vulnerable households (see DTE, Consumers Energy). You should reach out to your utility provider for more information. A list of all Michigan utility providers can be found online, or you can contact the Michigan Public Service Commission at 800-292-9555.

Michigan Public School  top

Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Emergency Order (Oct. 6, 2020) requires K-12 schools to provide public notice to schools’ communities regarding probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours. In addition, local health departments will provide direct notification to individuals who are, or are suspected, of being a close contact of a school-associated case.

For updated information regarding your school district’s COVID-19 regulations, visit the district’s website. 

General Education Resources

Internet: This website provides free/low-cost internet options.

Learning Tools: Michigan Virtual is a nonprofit that offers seventy K-12 courses for free to educators and parents. Crash Course offers videos on many subjects, from world history to astronomy. Additional free online education resources can be found here.