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Immigration News - September 30, 2021 • Apx. 4,000 migrants in Del Rio expelled under Title 42. On Sunday, DHS Secretary Mayorkas said that about 4,000 migrants apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol in Del Rio, TX have been expelled under public health rule, Title 42, and between 10,000 and 12,000 migrants were released into the U.S. Mayorkas noted that the policy is “not an immigration policy,” but rather “is exercised as the CDC…has ordered, in light of the arc of the pa...ndemic.” DHS conducted five repatriation flights on Saturday, all from Del Rio to Haiti. • Biden administration proposed rule to reinstate DACA. On Tuesday, the Biden administration proposed a rule that would solidify the DACA program. DACA was previously enjoined by a Texas court in July of this year, putting an estimated one million people at risk of removal. DHS wrote that the rule “embraces the consistent judgment that has been maintained by the Department…that DACA recipients should not be a priority for removal.” The proposal from Biden is not an expansion of the program, which provides work authorization and deferral from deportation for its recipients. • Thousands of Haitian migrants again moving toward U.S. Panamanian government officials have reported that approximately 4,000 migrants are en route to the U.S. after having passed through Panama on the Colombian border. An anonymous source from Panama’s security ministry said that the majority of the migrants are Haitian, with the rest originating mostly from Cuba. Last month, Colombia and Panama decided to allow 500 migrants a day to pass through their borders, far fewer than the nearly 1,500 arrivals seen daily. In total, over 80,000 migrants have passed through Panama this year. • Immigrant advocates call to end ICE contract and plan for women’s prison in PA. On Saturday, about 100 people gathered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to protest plans to reopen a Berks County immigrant detention facility, which had previously held immigrant families. Last month, Berks County commissioners voted to allow ICE to use the detention center to detain women seeking asylum. Advocates had previously criticized the facility’s conditions, and argued asylum seekers should be released to live with family members or sponsors in the community. • California Governor signs bill striking the word ‘alien’ from state laws. Late last week, California eliminated from state law the use of the word “alien,” an immigration term used to describe unauthorized immigrants of foreign-born individuals living in the U.S. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on Friday, which was written by CA Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. Rivas has previously said she was inspired by President Biden’s immigration plan to remove the term from federal law in favor of the word “noncitizen.” The bill suggests replacing “alien” with words like “resident,” “person,” “undocumented immigrant” or “a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.”
Immigration News - September 21, 2021 • USCIS awards FY 2021 Citizenship and Integration grants. On Sept. 20, 2021, USCIS announced the award of $10 million in grants to 40 organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for naturalization. The grants also aim to promote prospective citizens’ integration into American civic life by funding educational programs designed to increase their knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. Located in 25 states, these or...ganizations will receive federal funding to support citizenship preparation services for LPRs through September 2023. • Senate parliamentarian rules Democrats can not include a pathway to citizenship in budget. On Sunday, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that Democrats cannot provide a path to citizenship for about 8 million undocumented immigrants as part of their budget bill. The party hoped the immigration changes would cover Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children, people affected by conflicts or natural disasters in their home countries, farm workers and other essential workers. The decision deals a setback to reform advocates who have long pushed for Congress to grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in the U.S. • Biden signs executive order authorizing Ethiopia sanctions. President Biden signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against those prolonging conflict in northern Ethiopia, adding pressure on parties to end the civil war. The Department of Treasury can now go after several targets, including those in the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments as well as in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, who continue to fuel the conflict instead of negotiating a cease-fire, according to a statement from the White House. The conflict started in November 2020, and has since caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than 5 million people needing assistance and nearly one million facing famine. • White House promotes economic benefits of legalizing migrants. On Friday, the White House Council of Economic Advisors said that giving green cards to millions of undocumented immigrants would likely raise tax revenues, enhance productivity and have other benefits for the children of immigrants – all which would generate “substantial economic value for the country,” they said. The Council also said that legalizing immigrants could raise the cost of social benefit programs, but taxes immigrants would pay could cover those costs, in addition to the “positive fiscal contributions” of the next generation. • EOIR releases policy memo on updated terminology regarding noncitizens. EOIR issued Policy Memo 21-27 after Executive Order 14012, clarifying that adjudicators should use language “[consistent] with our character as a Nation of opportunity and of welcome.” The memo includes terms to replace “alien,” “undocumented alien or illegal alien,” and “unaccompanied alien child” in EOIR.
Immigration News - September 16, 2021 • DOS and DHS release statement on CAM application approval. The Department of State (DOS) and DHS released a statement announcing that the Central American Minors (CAM) program will begin accepting new applications as of 9/14/21. The statement also included a reminder that eligibility for the program was also expanded to include legal guardians who are in the U.S., pursuant to any of the following qualifying categories: lawful permanent ...residence; TPS; parole; deferred action; deferred enforced departure; or withholding of removal. In addition, this expansion of eligibility will now include certain U.S.- based parents or legal guardians who have a pending asylum application or a pending U visa petition filed before May 15, 2021 • Senate parliamentarian asks Democrats for more details on immigration plan. The Senate parliamentarian, who will decide if a $3.5 trillion spending plan can include immigration reform, is pushing Democrats for more details on their plan as she weighs whether to approve it. Sen. Dick Durbin, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday that Democratic staffers will present parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough with new information this week after they initially briefed her last Friday on their reasoning for including immigration reform in the spending bill. Durbin said the new information would be related to “legal theories.” • U.S. launches new task force in effort to unite families separated under the Trump administration. The Biden administration is expanding its efforts to find and reunite migrant families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under President Trump as part of a zero-tolerance policy on illegal crossings. A federal task force is launching a new program on Monday that officials say will expand efforts to find parents, many of whom are in remote Central American communities, and help them return to the U.S., where they will get at least three years of legal residency and other assistance. Since February, the task force has reunited about 50 families. • Reports shows that migrant apprehensions are slowing at southwest border. A new report from NBC News shows that the rate at which U.S. border authorities are apprehending foreign nationals crossing the southwest border without authorization dipped significantly in the first week of September. The 21-day average number of detentions per day was 6,177 as of Friday, compared to 7,275 in mid-August. While DHS has not released its August statistics on southwest border apprehensions, the 21-day average statistic suggests August numbers will be lower than July’s. If confirmed, the drop would defy historical seasonal trends in which, typically, apprehensions have consistently increased. • Colorado joins handful of states that give financial aid to undocumented college students. Colorado is one of at least seven states that provide financial aid to undocumented students. To be eligible, a person must meet several qualifications, like attending a Colorado high school for three years before graduating. Under a 2019 state law, these students have access to money to help with tuition, books and housing. Last October, the state started accepting applications, and so far, 1,700 students have applied.
Immigration News - September 9, 2021 • Biden admin seeks $6.5B in ‘urgent’ disaster and refugee funding. On Tuesday, Biden administration officials said they were requesting billions of dollars from Congress for the resettlement of Afghan refugees – and for extreme weather recovery efforts – in a proposal to keep the government funded after September 30. On the call, officials said they were asking for $6.5 billion in funding for Afghan refugees, and that they were expecting ...65,000 Afghan refugees to arrive in the U.S. by the end of September. Another 30,000 refugees are expected to arrive over the next 12 months. • Third Circuit broadens due process right to an interpreter. Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals announced that judges cannot assume that individuals who speak variations of standard English do not need interpreters. The court also ruled that immigration judges must determine whether individuals who face deportation and speak a variation of English also understand “American” English, or if an interpreter will be needed. The three-judge panel unanimously determined that it is a violation of the constitutional right to due process for an immigration judge to conduct an asylum trial and take testimony from a noncitizen after it becomes clear the individual does not understand American English, including a significant percentage of what the judge is asking. • Minnesota sheriff changes approach to inmates facing immigration detention. A Minnesota sheriff is making it harder for federal officials to detain inmates for immigration issues in a move he hopes will make new residents from other countries more comfortable reporting crime. Specifically, Sheriff David Hutchinson of Hennepin County issued a directive in June that severely limited the use of immigration detainer warrants, which hold individuals in jail who may otherwise be released. Additionally, Hutchinson got rid of the ICE office at the Hennepin County jail, and is no longer letting ICE know when individuals who are undocumented will be released from jail. • USCIS invites feedback on EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. On Tuesday, USCIS issued a notice inviting stakeholders to submit questions about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The agency is seeking all feedback and questions to be submitted by September 23. USCIS also noted that statutory authorization related to the EB-5 program expired on June 30, 2021.
Immigration News - September 2, 2021 • DHS to lead federal agency coordination efforts to resettle vulnerable Afghans. Earlier this week, President Biden directed DHS to lead coordinating efforts across the federal government to resettle vulnerable Afghans. Robert J. Fenton, Jr. will lead the interagency Unified Coordination Group, which will offer immigration processing and resettlement support. The Unified Coordination Group will report directly to Secretary Mayorkas and w...ill include a broad range of services throughout the resettlement process, from initial immigration processing, COVID-19 testing, and isolation of COVID-positive individuals for anticipated quarantine, to resettlement support for individuals who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents. The resettlement support will include initial processing at pre-designated U.S. military bases prior to being resettled into communities. • 344 groups call on Biden administration to halt deportations to Haiti. On Monday, a broad coalition of organizations called on the Biden administration to expand relief for Haitian migrants, including halting all deportations to the country. In a letter to President Biden and his top foreign policy and immigration officials, 344 groups said they are “alarmed” that deportation flights to Haiti have proceeded, even after the political and natural crises that have hit the country. Although the Biden administration has expanded TPS to Haiti since May, deportation flights to the country have continued, with at least 130 people deported to the country since the president’s assassination, including some infants. • Biden announces plans to change immigration work programs. The Biden administration’s first published regulatory agenda includes plans for significant changes to the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers. According to the agenda, USCIS plans to amend the H-1B program by redefining the employer/employee relationship; clarifying when USCIS must be notified about a change in H-1B employment; and creating rules for employer site visits. The DOL plans to go forward with a proposal to increase prevailing wages for the H-1B and PERMS programs. Additionally, a new proposed rule on prevailing wages is expected from the DOL in November. • Complaint alleges retaliation at immigration detention facilities after protests over conditions. A man held at Otay Mesa Detention Center said in a complaint that employees at the facility harassed him in retaliation for his leadership in protests over conditions during a COVID-19 outbreak there last year. Specifically, the complaint says that ICE and its contractors subjected migrants to retaliation after organizing hunger strikes and other protests over unsanitary conditions. The complaint asks the DHS for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to investigate the allegations and to make recommendations to ICE to stop future retaliation, including calling on the agency to terminate its contracts with the private prison companies at the named facilities. • COVID-19 cases increase among children as South Texas border detention facility. As coronavirus cases continue to rise along the South Texas border, there has also been an increase in COVID-19 cases of unaccompanied migrant children held in detention centers in Cameron County. On Tuesday, officials from the county reported 58 migrant children held in detention centers and minor shelters for unaccompanied children had tested positive for COVID-19. The migrant children cases make up about 20% of the 300 new coronavirus cases reported in Cameron County from Saturday through Monday, according to the county. This is a 107% increase in COVID-19 cases among migrant youth held at these facilities from last Thursday.