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Immigration Resources


If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

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Immigration News - January 26, 2023

• USCIS extends COVID-19-related flexibilities. USCIS is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through March 23, 2023. Currently, these flexibilities allow USCIS to consider a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in the following requests or notices before taking any action, if the request or notice was issued between March 1, 2020 and March 23, 2023. This includes Requests for Evidence; Continuances to Request Evidence; Notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind; Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers; Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

• Biden moves to limit access to asylum. Due to the record number of migrant arrivals at the southern border, the Biden administration has not expanded asylum eligibility. Two weeks into his term as president, Biden gave officials nine months to issue regulations to make it easier for migrants to gain asylum. Two years later, the administration has still not issued rules to make it easier for people to receive asylum, rather the administration has expanded Trump-era border policy which blocks certain migrants from requesting asylum and adds limits on asylum eligibility. Since Biden commissioned the asylum eligibility rules in an executive order in February 2021, there have been debates over the regulations. Some top administration officials are concerned that the rules could make additional migrants eligible for asylum and make it more difficult to deport them if appropriate.

• House border security bill bumped. Some House Republicans raised concerns about recent legislation supported by their party leadership which would impose restrictions on migration at the border. This decision has derailed plans to have a vote on border security issues in the upcoming weeks. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R.- La.) released the border security bill as “ready-to-go” legislation that would be brought for a vote in the House “in the first two weeks of 2023.” The bill has 58 co-sponsors and was introduced by Republican Rep. Chip Roy. The bill would authorize the Homeland Security chief to block any foreign citizen from entering the U.S. if the official decides it “is necessary in order to achieve operational control over such border.” It was planned there would also be a vote on a second immigration bill that would ensure federal immigration authorities are notified if an undocumented immigrant purchases a firearm.

• IOM warns asylum-seekers scams in Juarez. The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been providing migration expertise to Juarez, which neighbors El Paso, Texas. The agency has been coordinating with local officials to rent an abandoned hotel. At the hotel, medical volunteers have been helping quarantine more than 4,500 new arrivals in Juarez. IOM Juarez office chief Tiago Almeida explained “Mexican minors continue to be expelled and it is a concern that some of them break a cycle,” referring to Mexican unaccompanied children who fall victim to smuggling rings. He explained that these minors are recruited by “guides” who lead them over the border wall or across mountains or deserts.

• Cubans journeying across sea to Florida. Nearly 5,200 Cuban migrants have been found at sea since October 1, attempting the journey by vessel to Florida. South Florida has been faced with constant sea rescues by passing cruise ships and complaints of strained resources by Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay. Ramsay said the Florida Keys are facing 10 landings a day with over 200 abandoned vessels along the shorelines. Officials are hoping that President Biden’s new immigration policy for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua will deter people from traveling across sea to the U.S.

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Immigration News - January 24, 2023

• Asylum applicants can now file Form I-765 online. USCIS announced that certain asylum applicants can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online. Applicants for employment authorization under category (c)(8), Pending Asylum and Withholding of Removal Applicants and Applicants for Pending Asylum under the ABC Settlement Agreement, may file Form I-765 online. To apply for an Employment Authorization Document under the (c)(8) category, applicants may file the form 150 days after filing an asylum application.

• Martha’s Vineyard migrants. After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sent dozens of migrants by plane to Martha’s Vineyard, immigration lawyer Rachel Self said she rushed to where the immigrants were staying to help. Self said she received a call from Javier Salazar, the sheriff of Bexar County in Texas. He offered to help Self investigate and gather evidence from the migrants about their journey. The work by the lawyer and sheriff helped the group of 49 people become eligible for a type of visa only available to those who are victims of crimes and who are assisting in law enforcement investigations.

• Families separated at the border. Nonparental separations have been occuring at the border under a U.S. law designed to shield asylum-seeking minors from child traffickers and other threats, yet the policy has been separating some families. Nonparents, which includes grandparents, aunts and older siblings, are separated from migrant youth along the border. Casey Revkin, executive director of Each Step Home, a nonprofit that helps detained migrant children and their families along the southern border, explained the group has assisted two grandmothers and an aunt over the past month that were separated from the minors they were traveling with. Although the family members provided documentation that they were the main caregivers, they were still separated from the children.

• Migrant arrivals at record levels in December. The number of migrants processed by U.S. border officials at the U.S.-Mexico border reached a monthly record high in December. This was before President Joe Biden announced stricter border enforcement measures that have reduced illegal crossings. Last month, migrants were processed by Customs and Border Protection officials 251,487 times. This is a 7% increase compared to November, mainly caused by a record number of migrants from Cuba and Nicaragua. Since Biden’s new immigration restrictions were announced in early January, the number of migrants apprehended at the southern border has dropped. Border Patrol has been encountering about 4,000 migrants per day which is a 40% drop from the daily average in December.

• Green card validity extended. USCIS is extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) for petitioners who properly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status for 48 months beyond the card’s expiration date. This change went into effect on January 11, 2023 for Form I-829 and will start on January 25, 2023 for Form I-751. This change is being made to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form-829.

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Immigration News - January 17, 2023

• Mayorkas extends and redesignates Somalia for TPS. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia for an additional 18 months. This announcement was made last week, allowing for the redesignation of Somalia, meaning Somali nationals residing in the U.S. as of January 11, 2023 can apply for TPS, so long as they meet all eligibility requirements. The extension and redesignation of Somalia for TPS are due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent Somali nationals from safely returning to their home country. This extension will allow for approximately 430 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through September 17, 2024, if they continue to meet TPS eligibility requirements.

• Final phase of processing expansion. USCIS has announced the final phase of the premium processing expansion for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications. This phase applies to new (initial) petitions, in addition to all previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 multinational executive and manager classification or E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. Those who wish to request premium processing must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. USCIS will be expanding premium processing to additional form types to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the legal immigration system.

• Asylum hopefuls say financial sponsors are hard to come by. Migrants and asylum seekers hoping to come to the U.S. due to violence in their home countries have found that protections in the U.S. are only accessible to those with money or those who have been able to find someone to financially sponsor them. President Biden recently announced the expansion of humanitarian parole for Cubans, Haitians, Venezuelans, and Nicaraguans but migrants must apply online, pay airfare, and find a financial sponsor in the U.S. for two years to be allowed entry into the country. Many people in the U.S. are reluctant to sponsor people they do not know, fearing they will be liable for the debts of others. With the difficulty in finding a financial sponsor, there has been a 90% drop in Venezuelan arrivals after the policy shift in October.

• Republican House will vote on immigration bills. The new Republican-led House will be voting on numerous bills to impose abortion limits and to reduce immigration. There are seven bills that were assured speedy votes in the rules package passed last week. The bill that relates to immigration would empower the Homeland Security secretary to block the entry of migrants “at his discretion” as necessary to “achieve operational control” over the border. Another immigration bill would make the background check system notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement if a person in the U.S. unlawfully seeks to buy a gun.

• Process enhancements for supporting labor enforcement investigations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that noncitizen workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, the violation of labor rights, can now access a streamlined and expedited deferred action request process. Deferred action provides protection to noncitizen workers from threats of immigration-related retaliation from exploitative employers. This process will improve the agency’s practice of using its discretionary authority to consider labor and employment agency-related requests for deferred action on a case-by-case basis.

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Immigration News - January 12, 2023

• Biden and López Obrador vow to tackle immigration. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed to reform immigration from Mexico to the United States when they met on Tuesday. López Obrador said he has asked Biden to urge Congress “to regularize the migration situation of millions of Mexicans who have been living and working in the United States.” Biden, López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met for their two-day summit to discuss issues such as the surge of immigrants arriving in the United States. The three leaders agreed to push for progress on issues beyond immigration, such as drug trafficking, supply chains and climate change.

• Biden administration prepares more measures to curb border crossings. The Biden administration announced new measures during Tuesday’s North American Leaders’ Summit to try to control the amount of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border. The administration revealed a virtual platform that will be used for migrants to find information about the numerous legal pathways they may be eligible for, either in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. There will also be a new resource center opening in southern Mexico. Work has begun on developing the portal and is expected to be finished within the following months. The U.S. is working with Mexico to create a center where migrants can get information about how to apply to enter the U.S., similar to the migrant resource center that is in Guatemala.

• Texas Republican moves to impeach Homeland Security chief. Rep. Pat Fallon, a House Republican whose district is near Dallas, filed articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The resolution from Fallon describes the recent increase in migration along the U.S.-Mexico border as a failure on Mayorkas for not enforcing federal immigration laws and threatening U.S. national security. Fallon further argues that Mayorkas should not have ended or attempted to end numerous Trump administration immigration policies. The resolution also accuses the Homeland Security chief of perjuring himself before Congress, including testimony where he claimed the department does not have operational control over the border.

• As Cuban exodus continues, Biden adjusts immigration policy. Cuban migrants have been making their way to Havana as the U.S. embassy in the city has resumed full immigrant visa services for the first time since 2017. President Biden recently announced the U.S. will be accepting 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela legally every month. The U.S. embassy in Havana closed after 26 officials reported falling ill after mysterious “sonic attacks.” The return of the full services at this location has come at a time when Biden is trying to handle the migration crisis along the border by allowing some Cubans, Haitians, Venzuealans and Nicaraguans to come to the U.S. legally through having U.S. sponsors and background checks.

• Senators visit the U.S.-Mexico border. Sens. Kysten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, followed by a bipartisan group of senators, visited the southern border on Tuesday with local leaders in Somerton to discuss options to address the humanitarian, security and economic issues communities along the border are facing. Local leaders explained the concerns about humanitarian issues, funding, the strain on Border Patrol agents and possible migrant releases into the community. All leaders called for the federal government to step in and help address the situation.

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Immigration News - January 10, 2023

• Form I-134. USCIS announced an update to Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support. This form is to be used as an agreement to provide financial support to a beneficiary of certain immigration benefits for the duration of their temporary stay in the United States. Those who file this form must file a separate Form I-134 for each beneficiary. The form requests information regarding the beneficiary’s financial information and assets along with general personal information about the beneficiary.

• U.S. and Mexico officials discuss migration. It is expected that President Joe Biden will be discussing immigration, security and supply-chain issues when he meets with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the North American Leaders’ Summit. The three leaders are expected to discuss these issues at their dinner on Monday night before all three are to meet on Tuesday at the summit. It is believed that the three countries are working through trade disputes over implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

• Biden inspects U.S.-Mexico border. President Joe Biden arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border and inspected a port of entry over the weekend. This is the President’s first trip to this area after two years in office. Biden went to El Paso to observe how border officers search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. He then traveled along the border fence and walked along the area that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juarez. The last stop the president made was to the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and was explained the services offered at the center. Biden’s visit to El Paso was controlled and he did not encounter any migrants within his four hours there.

• Mayorkas says Abbott is ‘not collaborating’ with administration on immigration. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is “not collaborating” with the Biden administration on immigration at a time when the country is handling an influx of migrants along the southern border. During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Mayorkas said “We cannot have the rights and the needs of individuals who are seeking humanitarian relief in the United States be exploited for political purposes. We cannot have unilateral governor action that is not coordinated with the federal government to address an issue that is of national importance.” In protest of Biden’s immigration policies, Abbott and other Republican governors have been sending buses of migrants to Democratic-led cities over the past months.

• Top Biden officials expressed concerns over border restrictions. Senior Biden administration officials have heard concerns and questions last week from Democratic allies frustrated with the border restrictions Biden announced last Thursday. Some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus told Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and White House official Louisa Terrell during a virtual briefing that they felt blindsided regarding Biden’s implementation of the expansion of Title 42 expulsions and proposed regulation that would bar some migrants from asylum.

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Immigration News - January 5, 2023

• USCIS releases new immigrant investor form. USCIS has published Form I-956K, Registration for Direct and Third-Party Promoters. The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 added the requirement for direct and third-party promoters to register with USCIS. Each person acting as a direct or third-party promoter of the following must complete Form I-956K: a regional center; a new commercial enterprise; an affiliated job-creating entity; or an issuer of securities intended to be offered to immigrant investors in connection with a particular capital investment project. Form I-956K has no filing fee.

• Filing location change for Form I-730. USCIS is changing the filing location for Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, to streamlining workloads in the constantly developing electronic environment. Before, this petition would be filed either at the Texas Service Center or the Nebraska Service Center depending on where the petitioner resides. Now, with this new change, all Form I-730 petitions should be filed at the Texas Service Center. This change went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. All procedures and adjudicative processes for Form I-730 remain the same, only the filing location has changed.

• Almost 1 million immigrants granted US citizenship in 2022. During 2022, there was the highest number in almost 15 years of immigrants granted U.S. citizenship. According to data provided by USCIS, nearly 1 million immigrants became U.S. citizens in 2022. The countries where most new citizens came from were Cuba, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, citizenship interviews and ceremonies were temporarily suspended causing a backlog of applications that were only approved last year. Throughout 2022, USCIS and the Department of State issued twice the number of employment-based immigrant visas compared to the amount issued before the pandemic.

• DHS proposes higher fees for work-based visas. The Biden administration announced a proposal for raising the fees for visas and naturalizations meaning it would raise the cost on business-related applications but maintain or reduce the costs for humanitarian visas. The proposed rule was announced on Tuesday and aims to increase USCIS’s revenue from an estimated $4.5 billion a year to about $6.4 billion a year. A majority of the agency’s funding comes from application fees but the Biden administration and Congress has appropriated additional funding to help USCIS handle its backlogs over the past two years caused by the pandemic.

• Colorado plans to send migrants to New York. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is planning on sending migrants to major cities including New York. The governor explained that the state is helping migrants reach their final destination, which includes New York for many people. New York Mayor Eric Adams said during a radio appearance in regards to this matter that, “This is just unfair for local governments to have to take on this national obligation.” Denver has been struggling to provide assistance to the influx of migrants arriving in the city. Over the past month, more than 3,500 migrants have arrived in Denver and each night around 1,800 asylum seekers have sought shelter in the city.

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Immigration News - January 3, 2023

• Arrests shed light on cartel involvement in migrant smuggling. Mexican police arrested seven men on the Juarez-Casas Grandes Highway. Chihuahua state police noticed five vehicles driving west toward an isolated road that leads to the Mexico-New Mexico border. The officers stopped the vehicles and found that the drivers were transporting 20 migrants in their cars and a rope ladder. The alleged smugglers told Mexican authorities they were driving to the Chihuahua-New Mexico border to help 14 citizens of Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as six people from Southern Mexico, climb over the border wall to illegally enter the U.S.

• U.S. plans to expand border expulsions. The Biden administration is planning to use Title 42 to expel Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian migrants apprehended at the southern border back to Mexico. The administration will allow some to stay in the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the pandemic-era restrictions, known as Title 42, must stay in place until the legal battle over the future of the policy is decided. The new rule for Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians will mimic the existing program in place for Venezuelan migrants which was launched in October. The program allows up to 24,000 Venezuelans outside the U.S. to apply to enter the country by air through humanitarian parole if they have U.S. sponsors, otherwise Venezuelans will be arrested if they try to cross the border.

• New U.S. citizens hit a 15-year high. Nearly one million immigrants became citizens in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. This is a record high in almost 15 years and the third-highest number ever, according to a Pew Research analysis. The total number of people seeking to become citizens is not shown in the year-end data and is much higher due to the pending applications. There are about 670,000 naturalizations still pending. The Biden administration is trying to make the naturalization process more efficient by simplifying forms and redirecting interviewees from cities that have backlogged immigration offices.

• U.S. ramps up immigration arrests mostly at Mexican border. Compared to 2021, immigration arrests nearly doubled in 2022. U.S. border authorities have been apprehending more migrants and courts blocked efforts by President Biden to narrowly target immigrant detentions to focus on serious criminals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested nearly 143,000 immigrants in the 2022 fiscal year which ended Sept. 30. About two-thirds of those arrests were people with only immigration violations. ICE deported about 72,000 migrants to more than 150 countries.

• Form I-129. USCIS updated Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Petitioners can use this form to file on behalf of a nonimmigrant worker to come to the U.S. temporarily to perform services or labor, or to receive training, as an H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 or R-1 nonimmigrant worker. Petitioners can also use this form to request an extension of stay or change of status to E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B1 or TN, or an above classification for a noncitizen.

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Immigration News - December 29, 2022

• The U.S. asylum backlog. The U.S. asylum backlog has reached nearly 1.6 million pending applications in U.S. immigration courts and at USCIS. This is the largest number of pending asylum applications on record. There has been over a seven-fold increase in asylum cases from fiscal year 2012, where there were 100,000 cases pending, whereas by the end of fiscal year 2022, the backlog grew to over 750,000. Asylum seekers range from 219 different countries and speak 418 different languages. The overall average length an asylum seeker waits for a hearing is about 4.3 years, but in Omaha, Nebraska, the wait averages 5.9 years, with the longest delay. A majority of asylum seekers are being monitored electronically through the Department of Homeland Security’s Alternative to Detention program, but a small portion are being held in ICE detention.

• Afghans work their way through U.S. immigration system. It has been over a year since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan. Since then, there have been tens of thousands of Afghan families that have resettled in the U.S. through different immigration pathways. Some will be able to have permanent residence in the U.S. while others only have permission to be in the country for a short period without a chance for a more permanent status unless they apply for asylum or Congress passes legislation to change their status. Those who have temporary status hope to stay in the U.S. through the Afghan Adjustment Act which is drafted legislation that would give Afghan evacuees with temporary status a pathway to permanent U.S. residence, but this measure has not yet come up for a vote.

• Migrants dropped off near Kamala Harris’s home. Busloads of migrants were dropped off near Vice President Kamala Harris’s home on Christmas Eve. Three busloads of migrants arrived at the Naval Observatory, where Harris lives. The migrants were met by the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network. Amy Fischer, an organizer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network said that Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s actions were “rooted in racism and xenophobia.” She further said “At the end of the day, everybody who arrived here last night was able to get free transportation, on a charter bus, that got them closer to their final destination.” As of Dec. 22, more than 8,700 migrants have been bused to Washington D.C. from the Texas border.

• Tech layoffs affect H-1B visa holders. With the recent increase in tech layoffs, H-1B visa holders are struggling to figure out their next steps. The temporary H-1B work visa allows American employers to hire foreign workers for skilled jobs. When a worker with a H-1B visa is laid off, they only have 60 days to secure a new job or risk deportation. The layoffs have put a renewed pressure on Washington to reconsider the limitations of U.S. immigration policies around high-skilled labor. Tahmina Watson, founding attorney for Watson Immigration Law in Seattle argues the 60-day grace period is too short, especially during an economic downturn when jobs are more difficult to find.

• Form I-485. USCIS announced a new addition to Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you file this form on or after Dec. 23, 2022, you must file the 12/23/22 edition of the form or USCIS will reject your filing. Form I-485 is to be used by a person in the U.S. to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

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The Law Offices of Laura Adjangba wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

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Immigration News - December 22, 2022

• Biden to travel to Mexico in January. President Joe Biden plans to travel to Mexico January 9-10 to meet with Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Biden will be in Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit. National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Biden’s summit agenda will focus on climate and environmental challenges, policies meant to increase the North American nations’ competitiveness, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, health and safety measures, and migration issues. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to attend the summit.

• Congress drops Afghan allies item. Congress dropped from its $1.7 trillion spending package an amendment that would have created a pathway for residency for Afghan refugees. The act was developed by co-sponsors from both parties, and was supported by various veterans groups and advocates who said the U.S. made commitments to Afghan partners. The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) would have removed the fear of deportation and unemployment to at least 73,000 evacuees who entered the U.S. on humanitarian parole, which is a temporary status that will expire next summer. The act would have given Afghan evacuees the chance to receive green cards after completing additional vetting.

• Spending package won’t include ‘Dreamer’ protections. Congress is to vote this week on the $1.7 trillion spending package for the federal government through September 2023. The funding package will not include protections for “Dreamers” who are undocumented individuals that came to the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. There was a potential deal developed between Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) which had a framework that would protect 2 million Dreamers in exchange for interior enforcement. This framework crashed last week leaving House Democrats in search of a solution.

• Biden’s inflation-immigration pitch. The Biden administration is planning on new changes for immigration reform for the new year by considering ways to provide legal status for “Dreamers” and to increase the labor supply to help lower inflation. The administration must find a legislative compromise to address the influx of migrants at the southern border while also increasing the number of immigrant workers to help the labor shortages. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said immigration reform is “harder in the divided Congress, but it’s so clearly necessary in light of what we’re seeing in the job market.”

• Migrants at U.S.-Mexico border await ruling on asylum limits. Thousands of migrants have been camping along the border on the Mexican side as they wait for the U.S. to lift its asylum restrictions. The pandemic related expulsion policy known as Title 42 was set to end on Dec. 21 until Republican-led states sought the Supreme Court’s help to keep the restrictions in place. The Biden administration asked the court to lift Title 42, but not before Christmas. The court has not yet made a decision resulting in many migrants waiting along the border for a ruling

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Immigration News - November 22, 2022

• Federal court border ruling may increase migrant buses. The migrant buses being sent to Washington D.C. are expected to increase after a federal court ruling restored asylum seekers’ access to the country’s borders. Many people that were bused to other cities such as New York or Chicago will instead go to D.C. due to these cities being too cold or expensive. Tatiana Laborde, the managing director of SAMU First Response, a nonprofit group which has helped migrants arriving in D.C., explained the city is better prepared for the possibility of a spike in arrivals. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has created an Office of Migrant Services to help assist migrant arrivals. Last week, a federal judge ordered an end to Title 42, the Trump-era pandemic policy that allowed U.S. border officials to expel migrants to Mexico or their home country. The end of this policy may result in more buses being sent to Washington.

• ICE lifted its ban on family visits but relatives still struggle to see loved ones. For more than two years throughout the pandemic, those who were kept in immigration detention facilities were barred from having family members and friends visit. In May, ICE lifted the ban, yet immigrant advocates and people held in the detention centers have argued that the visits have not been consistently reinstated. Individual facilities have the discretion to employ protective measures at any time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Advocates have raised concerns regarding the authority given to individual detention centers and whether judgments to restrict visitation access are made in good faith.

• Undocumented college scholarship recipients. Undocumented college graduates who are recipients of two major scholarship programs have shown to have a higher workforce participation rate compared to graduates in the general population. According to a new report done by the TheDream.US and Golden Door Scholars, both organizations which finance and mentor undocumented students, have shown that their graduates have a 94 percent workforce participation rate compared to the 84 percent rate for college graduates nationally. The survey was conducted across 1,400 graduates of the programs who have attended 140 colleges throughout the United States.

• Advocates press for Congress to pass DACA legislation. Pressure has increased from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) advocates who have been urging Democrats in Congress to pass DACA legislation. Voters in Arizona have recently passed Proposition 308, which will allow in-state tuition for certain undocumented students. The Founder and CEO at Aliento and Dreamer Reyna Montoya had created the campaign to pass the proposition. Montoya has discussed the importance of Proposition 308 being passed and further explained the need for Congress to pass DACA legislation.

• Foreign workers in the U.S. are vulnerable to the Twitter turmoil. Twitter employees that rely on the company for work visas have been left in a limbo due to the new owner of the company. Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, gave employees an ultimatum to commit to working “hardcore” or to leave. Many employees who wish to leave the company feel as though they cannot because they would then have to leave the United States. Tech companies in the U.S., such as Twitter, rely on H-1B visas to bring skilled foreign workers into the country. Throughout fiscal year 2022, Twitter had about 300 employees approved to work on H-1B visas.

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Immigration News - November 17, 2022

• Form I-589. USCIS announced applicants should use Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, when applying for asylum in the U.S. and for withholding of removal. This form can be filed if the applicant is not physically present in the U.S. and is not a U.S. citizen. If the applicant fails to file Form I-589 within one year of arrival in the U.S. they may not be eligible to apply for asylum under section 208(a)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

• Philadelphia receives first bus of migrants. Philadelphia has received its first bus of migrants that have been sent from Texas. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has already sent thousands of migrants to other cities across the country. On Wednesday morning, the migrants arrived at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. Helen Gym, a Philadelphia City Council member, reported that there were around 28 migrants on the bus, including a 10-year old who was sick. Philadelphia city officials said Texas government officials did not give the city any notice of the transport, nor did they coordinate with them about it.

• Texas governor declares ‘invasion’ at border. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared an invasion at the U.S.-Mexico border and requested to invoke invasion clauses of the U.S. and Texas constitutions to give him the authority to boost security at the border. Abbott plans to take actions such as deploying the National Guard for enforcement at the border and is sending the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest immigrants who have crossed the border illegally. He further plans to use gun boats to secure the border, designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, and will attempt to enter into agreements with other states and countries to further enhance border security.

• U.S. judge rules COVID-era border expulsions order unlawful. A U.S. judge ruled on Tuesday that Title 42, which is a pandemic-related policy allowing the expulsion of thousands of migrants to Mexico, is unlawful. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan explained in a 49-page opinion that the policy was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated federal regulatory law. Sullivan explained that the policy violated a federal law governing regulations known as the Administrative Procedure Act. The Biden administration filed a motion to delay the implementation of the decision by five weeks to allow it to move additional resources to the border.

• Special protections extended for immigrants amid federal lawsuit. The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would continue through June 2024. This announcement will protect over 335,000 immigrants from deportation. TPS protects immigrants who are unable to return to their home countries due to a humanitarian crisis such as armed conflict or a natural disaster. Many TPS recipients have lived in the U.S. for years due to multiple extensions of the protections for certain counties. TPS does not provide a direct pathway to U.S. citizenship.

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Immigration News - November 8, 2022

• Migrants’ documents being confiscated by border officials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are reviewing their policies and practices to ensure that once a migrant is released from their custody, they will be given back their documents. Migrants reported to “60 Minutes” that CBP officials along the U.S.-Mexico border kept their documents, even though the agency policy instructs agents to return the personal property of migrants unless they are fraudulent. The accounts by these migrants have prompted Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson, Joaquin Castro, Raúl Grijalva and Nanette Baragán to ask the Government Accountability Office to “conduct a review” of CBP’s “activities, policies, and procedures regarding the handling of personal property belonging to individuals in its custody.”

• ‘Special Immigration Services’ injunction narrowed by 9th Cir. Last week the Department of Homeland Security lost in the Ninth Circuit in its attempt to undo an injunction requiring Citizenship and Immigration Services to comply with statutory requirements for processing petitions for “Special Juvenile Immigration.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld but narrowed the injunction by saying a one-way tolling provision was unreasonably broad. The court may modify the struck tolling provision on remand.

• Analysts don’t expect significant changes in immigration policy after midterms. Experts believe it is unlikely immigration policy will change after the midterm elections despite the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the labor shortage. Some experts have suggested that if Republicans take control of Congress, President Joe Biden may then use the administration process to conduct immigration changes. Tevi Troy, a senior fellow of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s presidential leadership initiative, said if the makeup of Congress changes, Biden will likely turn to options as executive orders for immigration policy changes.

• Why this is the deadliest year for the U.S.-Mexico border. In recent weeks, mortuaries in Eagle Pass, Texas have been overwhelmed and forced to handle a “backlog of bodies” in a city-owned refrigerated truck. The local government bought the makeshift morgue during the pandemic but never had to use it until now. The border town has been storing bodies in the truck before they can go to the overworked medical examiner, the Eagle Pass fire chief, Manuel Mello III. Mello recently had nine overflow corpses in the truck and said they are all migrants.

• GOP candidates focus on border security. Republican candidates have been addressing immigration in the 2022 midterm elections, using campaign ads with threatening images of the southern border and offers to enact legislation to complete former President Donald Trump’s border wall. In an ad for Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, he is seen standing in front of border fencing and tells voters it is time to “militarize the border” and “end this invasion.” Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance from Ohio pointed to increasing border wall funding.

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Immigration News - November 3, 2022

• Human rights coalition requests no military intervention in Haiti. A coalition of civil society groups wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, requesting the administration to permanently discard the possibility of a military intervention in Haiti. The coalition includes more than 90 civil society, faith-based, humanitarian, peacebuilding and diaspora groups, including the Washington Office for Latin America, the Chicago-based civil rights group Mi Villita Neighbors and the Quaker pro-peace lobby Friends Committee on National Legislation. The letter recognizes the challenges Haiti is facing since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In their letter, the groups said Haitian civil society has flatly rejected foreign military intervention as a solution.

• Pushing for pathways for Afghan allies. After the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan over a year ago, a majority of more than 79,000 Afghans arrived to the U.S. in 2021 through humanitarian parole. The parolees do not have permanent legal status and must apply for asylum or a green card, which may take years for approval. Senate legislation sponsored by three Republicans and three Democrats would allow Afghans with temporary status to apply for permanent legal residency after completing additional vetting. The legislation also affects allies who are still in Afghanistan and currently have no legal path to leave. There are roughly 300,000 allies left behind who have applied for the Special Immigrant Visa program.

• Migrants bussed across the United States. Throughout 2022, Republican governors have been organizing bus rides to transport migrants from border states to liberal cities. The bus rides offer the migrants a promise of a new life, where they will receive assistance in the cities they are transported to, but upon arrival, many end up becoming homeless. Since June, more than 20,000 asylum seekers have been sent to New York City by bus. The city has become overwhelmed with the migrant arrivals, resulting in the city’s homeless shelter system overcrowded.

• Latino voters look beyond immigration and hope candidates will, too. With the quick approach of midterm elections, politicians attempt to compete for the “Latino vote” in battleground states. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, the economy remains the top issue ahead of midterms for Latino voters, followed by health care, education, crime and gun policy. Although immigration continues to be an important issue among Latino voters, politicians often make it the only issue to attract Latino voters.

• Pepper balls launched at group crossing U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Border Patrol agents launched pepper balls at a group of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border along the Rio Grande in El Paso after the agency reported one person threw a rock at an agent and another was assaulted with a flagpole. A video showed the agents approaching the group of migrants, which included a man carrying a Venezuelan flag as he crossed the river. Landon Hutchens, the spokesperson for Border Patrol, said that as the group of Venezuelans protested along the river, the tried to enter the U.S. illegally.

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Immigration News - November 1, 2022

• Big Tech cites national security in push for immigration. Policy leaders in Big Tech are pushing for Congress to pass immigration changes before the year ends by bringing up the national security concerns that have influenced the recently enacted science and technology funding law. Tech leaders want Congress to follow up on the law passed three months ago which aims to reinvest domestic semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research. The law has measures to attract foreign talent to U.S. businesses that are necessary for its success. The CHIPS and Science Act aims to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to American shores and to better compete with countries such as China.

• Immigrants deported on cannabis charges. President Joe Biden recently announced pardons for nearly 6,500 Americans convicted on federal marijuana possession charges as part of an executive order to eventually decriminalize simple marijuana possession. Immigration advocates argue the pardons should also be granted to undocumented immigrants that were incarcerated and some deported for marijuana charges after spending most of their lives living and working in the United States. More than 130 immigration advocacy groups plan on sending a letter to Biden, requesting an inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and visa holders with marijuana convictions.

• Possible surge of Haitian migrants. The Biden administration is considering its options on how to respond to the possible surge of Haitian migrants. The administration is debating whether to temporarily hold migrants in another country or to expand its capacity at an existing facility at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The White House National Security Council is asking the Department of Homeland Security what number of Haitian migrants would cause the U.S. to need to designate a third country to hold and process Haitian migrants found at sea and what number would overwhelm that country, requiring Haitians to be taken to Guantánamo. Guantánamo Bay currently has a Migrant Operations Center that is used to house migrants found by the Coast Guard in the Caribbean.

• DACA is slowly dying unless Congress steps in to save it. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, advocates, and political scientists have said the program may slowly be reaching its end unless Congress steps in to save it. In October, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a lower court which questioned the legality of the program and stopped allowing new applicants. Nine states originally filed suit in 2018, arguing that the Obama administration did not have the authority to implement DACA and District Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas agreed, declaring it unlawful in July 2021. The Biden administration appealed this decision to the Fifth Circuit.

• Lack of immigration reform hurts businesses and farmers. Farmers want Congress to pass reform that will give year-round growers and producers access to the H2-A farmworker program used by seasonal growers and producers. Many farm owners want the U.S. Senate to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which has passed the House twice. The labor shortage in the farming industry has caused food prices to increase, along with a supply chain already weakened due to the pandemic and the Russian invasion in Ukraine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released statistics showing a food crisis could worsen in 2023 because of a lower domestic supply.

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Immigration News - October 25, 2022

• DHS designates Ethiopia for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security has announced the designation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Those who are already residing in the U.S. as of Oct. 20, 2022 will be eligible for TPS. Due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ethiopia, DHS has decided to designate Ethiopians for TPS. This is Ethiopia’s first designation for TPS. A country may be designated for TPS when the conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory categories for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions on how to apply for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document.

• Form N-648. USCIS has published Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability, to be used for those applying for U.S. citizenship and need to request an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization due to physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. This form may be submitted with the completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, or separately at a later date. A medical professional should complete your Form N-648 no more than 180 days before you file your naturalization application.

• ACLU urges border authorities to limit detention of pregnant migrants. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with 136 additional advocacy groups and medical professionals, sent a letter to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency on Friday. The letter has urged CBP to expedite the intake processing for migrants that are pregnant, postpartum or nursing infants. Doctors are concerned about the lack of access to showers, bathrooms, fresh food, and safe places for pregnant women to care for their wounds in detention facilities. The letter also asked the agency to release pregnant and postpartum migrants, along with their families, after they have been admitted and discharged from an offsite hospital rather than sending them back to the detention centers.

• First group of Venezuelans with sponsors arrived. The first group of Venezuelan migrants with U.S. sponsors has arrived under the new immigration program implemented by the Biden administration. Four Venezuelans approved under the new private sponsorship program arrived by plane on Saturday. Hundreds of additional Venezuelans have also been approved to come to the U.S., where they will be granted humanitarian parole for at least two years. This program is modeled after the sponsorship program the Biden administration implemented to allow tens of thousands of Ukrainians to come to the U.S. due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sponsorship program for Venezuelans was announced last week as part of a strategy to deter Venezuelans from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

• USCIS extends COVID-19-related flexibilities. USCIS is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through Jan. 24, 2023. This extension is aimed to help applicants, petitioners, and requesters. Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in specific requests or notices listed by the agency, if the request or notice was issued between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 24, 2023. This includes, Requests for Evidence; Continuations to Request Evidence; Notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind; Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers; Notices of Intent to withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5.

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Immigration - October 20, 2022

• USCIS removes barriers to naturalization for applicants with disabilities. USCIS announced an updated policy guidance to clarify and conform with the revision of Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. Form N-648 has been shortened and simplified consistent with the Biden administration’s goal of removing barriers to legal immigration under Executive Order 14012, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. New telehealth guidelines were also added to further remove barriers for applicants and medical professionals. The revisions are also in response to the administration’s goal to remove barriers for underserved populations under Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

• Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador discuss immigration. Earlier this week, President Joe Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador discussed the increase of migrants from Venezuela arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, the Biden administration announced it will be accepting 24,000 Venezuelan migrants under a sponsorship program while Mexico agreed to take back Venezuelans that come to the U.S. illegally. The White House stated that the leaders discussed “joint migration management efforts, including actions to reduce the number of individuals who unlawfully cross the U.S.-Mexico border and to expand legal pathways as an alternative to irregular migration.”

• Photographer documents life in immigration detention facility. Since 2018, photographer Pablo Allison has documented the journeys of migrants. Allison’s latest project, the “Detainee Handbook” looks into the lives of migrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from inside the detention center he had to stay at. While in a detention facility for almost a month, Allison took portraits of detainees and asked them to write their stories or ideas related to incarceration, family, migration, etc. The “Detainee Handbook” is a collaboration between people and his sketches of those he met within the facility.

• Small town in Mexico hosts thousands of migrants. San Pedro Tapanatepec, a small town in southern Mexico, has been hosting 7,000 migrants, a majority from Venezuela. Earlier this week, Mayor Humberto Parrazales estimated the number has doubled to about 14,000. Many Venezuelans have planned to make the journey to cross the U.S. border but the recent change in U.S. policy will now expel Venezuelan migrants under Title 42 for trying to cross the border illegally. Instead, Venezuelan migrants must now apply online and arrive to the U.S. by air to be admitted. This new policy has resulted in many camped out in tent shelters in Mexico.

Border cities see low violent crime rates. Recent FBI crime data has shown some towns along the U.S.-Mexico border has lower violent crime rates than other U.S. cities of similar sizes. It is unclear why rates stay so low compared to cities of the same size and similar demographics, but many point to research that indicates low crime in immigrant communities. Further, it could be attributed to the high presence of law enforcement in the region, including Border Patrol to federal drug enforcement agents.

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Immigration News - October 18, 2022

• Unaccompanied migrant children. Nearly 130,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the U.S. government’s shelter system in fiscal year 2022. This is a record high that has surpassed the 122,000 unaccompanied minors at federal shelters during fiscal year 2021. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement handles the housing of unaccompanied children who do not have legal immigration status or can be released to a sponsor. Many minors the agency assists are normally migrant teenagers who crossed the southern border without their parents or a legal guardian. The influx of unaccompanied migrant children can be partly attributed to the poverty, violence, and other worsening conditions in Central America.

• Judge rules new DACA program can stay temporarily. A federal judge ruled last week that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) can stay in place temporarily. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who declared DACA illegal last year, said the policy can continue with limitations which include no new applicants for the program and those who are already in the program can continue to renew their applications. Hanen ordered attorneys for the federal government to provide additional information on the new rule and that he expects legal arguments for it but there is no time set for future hearings.

• Venezuelan migrants in shock after new U.S. immigration plan. Last week, the U.S. announced that it will be expanding expulsions under Title 42 and introduced a new plan to allow about 24,000 Venezuelan migrants to apply to arrive at U.S. ports of entry by air if they have a U.S. sponsor. These plans aim to deter migrants from illegally crossing the border. Some migrants who are already attempting the journey into the U.S. explain these new plans leave them in a legal limbo. Migrants argue that the airport entry program favors wealthy people that can afford to fly to the U.S. and have connections upon arrival.

• Migrants in New York seek work. Asylum seekers are unable to request a work permit until 150 days after submitting their asylum application. City and state officials are urging the federal government to change this rule. Many new arrivals are joining the large population of undocumented workers who work in the service and construction industries yet are at risk of exploitation. The nonprofit New Immigrant Community Empowerment operates a job center in Queens which has been overwhelmed with new arrivals seeking employment. Most of the jobs the center helps connect immigrants with are in construction or small renovation jobs.

• Mexico warns Venezuelan migrant caravans will be turned away. Mexico warned Venezuelan migrants that those traveling in caravans will be turned away from a new U.S. immigration sponsorship program. The U.S. announced a new program last week that would allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to live and work in the U.S. through sponsorship. Along with this new plan, Title 42 will be expanded, allowing for the expulsion of Venezuelans who cross the southern border. The Mexican government’s National Migration Institute said that if Venezuelan migrants want to be accepted under the sponsorship program, they should not travel in caravans or travel irregularly through Mexico because they will then be deemed ineligible.

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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

#HispanicHeritageMonth #JoseAndres

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Immigration News - October 11, 2022

• USCIS updates military naturalization guidance. USCIS published an update to its policy manual as a result of a settlement agreement in Calixto v. Department of the Army, known as the Calixto Agreement. In this agreement, effective September 22, 2022, the U.S. Army agreed to certify Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, for Calixto class members. These class members can become eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), even before attending initial entry training. Calixto members are individuals who enlisted in the U.S. Army as part of the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest pilot program on or before Sept. 30, 2017, who were not discharged as of Sept. 22, 2022, or had received an discharge that was not characterized as honorable, general under honorable conditions, other than honorable conditions, bad conduct, or dishonorable.

• Immigrant workers rebuild Florida. Immigrants and asylum seekers have been targeted by Florida advertisements on apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram for day labor after Hurricane Ian. Advocates are concerned the migrants are being targeted by fly-by-night businesses that seek to exploit people for hard work and low wages. The advertisements have been reaching people in New York, with Spanish messages offering jobs. New York community organizer, Ariadna Phillips, said “This looks and smells like human trafficking.” Phillips already was told from several laborers that their wages were docked to pay for their room and board which was not part of their original agreement with the company.

• Afghan evacuees place their hope in the asylum system. More than 17,400 Afghan evacuees that are now in the U.S. under temporary legal authority are seeking asylum or special visa status due to Congress failing to pass a law that would allow them to request permanent residency. The fast evacuation of Afghanistan last year caused many of the Afghan evacuees that arrived in the U.S. to not have completed immigration cases or a path to permanent legal status. Evacuees were granted parole which is a temporary authorization to enter and live in the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. Over the summer, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act to allow Afghan evacuees to be eligible for green cards yet it was not passed due to opposition from some congressional Republicans.

• Florida migrant transport planning began in July. According to state documents, Florida officials began planning to send migrants to other states back in July. The documents provide further information regarding the two flights that transported 48 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard. The flights are being investigated by a Texas sheriff and resulted in two lawsuits. The documents state that the flight was intended to “assist in the voluntary relocation of Unauthorized Aliens who are found in Florida and have agreed to be relocated” elsewhere in the country.

Spike in migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. There has been an increase in migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Migrants from these three countries have been making up almost one-third of all migrants encountered by U.S. immigration authorities in August. Throughout August, immigrantion authorities encountered more than 203,000 individuals at the southern border. Migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cube made up about 56,000 of those encounters.

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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

#HispanicHeritageMonth #EllenOchoa

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Immigration News - October 6, 2022

• White House is discussing a push around immigration. White House officials have been discussing whether changes to the U.S. immigration system should be one of President Joe Biden’s major policy pushes for his post-midterms legislative agenda. The President has not yet made any decisions and discussions over this topic have been within a small group of Biden aides. The policy details of an immigration push would depend on the makeup of Congress and the political climate. This type of push reflects the idea among Biden’s advisers that as he prepares for a re-election with a campaign with the slogan “Promises Kept,” and immigration was one of Biden's original promises during his 2020 campaign. Republicans are planning to point to the record number of illegal border crossing yet the administration is continuing towards a bipartisan solution.

• Transgender Guatemalan woman’s deportation case gets Supreme Court review. The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will be taking up a transgender Guatemalan woman’s case to avoid deportation after a U.S. immigration board claimed she did not prove that she would face persecution if she returned to her home country. The court granted Leon Santos-Zacara’s petition for review that addressed two questions about the process immigrants need to follow to appeal rulings ordering their deportation. Santos, 34, says a neighbor in Guatemala raped and threatened to kill her when she was 12 because of her gender identity and sexual orientation. She argues that if she were to be deported, she will likely be subject to similar harassment and violence.

• Florida immigration group hits DeSantis over migrant flights. A Florida immigrant advocacy group is launching an ad campaign to attack GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, specifically over his treatment of migrants. Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes is planning on spending six figures on two ads. The first ad attacks DeSantis for the migrant flights he sent to Martha’s Vineyard. The other ad criticizes the governor for reducing temporary care for unaccompanied migrant children. The ads will be running in Central and South Florida on YouTube, targeting immigrant and Latino communities.

• Border patrol agent fatally shoots a migrant in custody. The FBI is investigating a fatal shooting of a migrant that was in U.S. custody at a Border Patrol station near El Paso, Texas. The FBI responded Tuesday afternoon to a shooting involving a Border Patrol agent and “a person detained” at the station. Neither the FBI nor CBP have yet to provide information regarding the victim’s nationality or the circumstances of the shooting. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is also reviewing the incident.

• U.S. immigration rebounds but labor gaps remain. Immigration to the U.S has rebounded after the past two-year decrease but it is unlikely that the labor shortages will be quickly resolved. After the U.S. reopened its borders, foreign workers have been coming to the country at a pace just under that last seen in 2019. As of June, there were about 1.7 million fewer immigrants in the U.S. that were of the age to work than there would have been if immigration had continued at its pre-pandemic pace. U.S. employers have been struggling to hire and keep employees since 2020. The shortage of workers has triggered higher wages, adding to the current inflation the country has seen in about four decades.

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Immigration News - October 4, 2022

• Why the visa process could be discouraging visitors. About 40% of international visitors coming to the U.S. need to apply for a visa to enter which can be an expensive and long process. Visa applicants typically have to do online paperwork then wait for their appointment time with the embassy for an interview where applicants must show proof of finances, plans upon arrival in the U.S., and proof of business or travel plans. These extra steps sometimes discourage people from applying for visas and result in the U.S. often missing out on a lot of tourist dollars. Experts believe that many visa applicants do not discuss their experiences during the visa process with the press due to fear of their ability to be approved being deterred.

• Immigrants provide huge benefits to U.S. taxpayers. New research has found that immigrants provide major fiscal benefits and a significant subsidy to U.S. taxpayers. New research has corrected previous flaws that underestimated the fiscal benefits of immigrants, including those with less than a high school degree. Economist Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and an economics professor at George Mason University, has introduced new fiscal estimates showing the impact of immigrants that could possibly change the way economists analyze the entry of immigrants for tax and budget purposes. Clemens notes that this new method “simply counts the direct fiscal flows to and from individual immigrants by education level” and that this method “omits substantial indirect, dynamic effects on immigration.”

• Woman who allegedly helped arrange migrant flights. It is believed that Perla Huerta is the woman who arranged the two migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. Huerta served as a counterintelligence agent and combat medic specialist in the U.S. Army until August. A woman named “Perla” promised one migrant clothes, food and money in exchange for finding other people who would go on a plane to Massachusetts. The migrant provided a photo to CNN of the woman that approached him and a friend of Huerta later confirmed it was her.

• Why there is no ‘invasion’ at the border. According to a recent poll by the Texas Politics Project, Texans reported they believe border security and immigration are the most important issues the state is currently facing. Conservatives in the state continue to call on Gov. Greg Abbott to declare an invasion at the U.S.-Mexico border and cite to the Constitution, arguing that a state can defend itself if it is “actually invaded.” Denise Gilman, professor and director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law explained how this belief is a misrepresentation of what is happening at the southern border and a misunderstanding of the law.

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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

#HispanicHeritageMonth #AntoniaNovello

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Immigration News - September 29, 2022

• USCIS stops accepting CW-1 petitions under the Disaster Recovery Act. USCIS announced they will no longer accept CW-1 petitions filed by employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (the CNMI) under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act on or after Oct. 1, 2022. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 included the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act, Title IX, Div. P, Pub. L. 116-94. The Disaster Recovery Workforce Act increased the CW-1 cap by 3,000 for fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022 for certain workers with construction and extraction occupations that were performing service or labor directly connected to or associated with recovery from major disasters or emergencies declared by the president or for preparation for a future disaster or emergency.

• USCIS extends Green Card validity. Beginning Sept 26, USCIS is automatically extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The language in Form I-90 receipt notice has been updated to provide notice of the 24-month validity extension. The updated receipt notices with the new extension can be presented with an expired Green Card as evidence of continued status. The agency anticipates that this extension will help applicants who experience longer processing times because they will receive proof of lawful permanent resident status as they await their renewed Green Card.

• Biden maintains current cap on refugee entries. President Biden is maintaining the current cap of 125,000 refugees that can be admitted into the U.S. during the next 12 months. Biden sent a message to Congress which said the cap on the number of refugees would remain the same as it was in the past year. Refugee advocacy groups have praised this decision but are urging the Biden administration to speed up the processing of those who apply to enter the U.S. as refugees. Although last year the U.S. allowed 125,000 refugees to be admitted, the administration only processed around 20,000.

• Immigration attorneys seek legal options for migrants transported by bus. The Republican governors of Arizona, Texas and Florida have been sending migrants by bus and plane to other cities, resulting in immigration advocates seeking legal options for the asylum seekers that were sent north. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have already sent over 10,000 migrants to Democratic-run cities as a political statement against the Biden administration’s immigration policies. A federal class-action lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of the migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard. The migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard claim they were recruited in Texas and misled because they were told they would receive housing and jobs upon arrival.

• Meeting of 19 Western Hemisphere nations discussing migration. The White House hosted a meeting with U.S. officials and over a dozen countries in the Western Hemisphere to discuss concerns over mass migration in the region. The meeting was to follow-up on the agreements made during the Summit of the Americas in June, where the nations signed onto an agreement known as the Los Angeles Declaration. The declaration stated that governments are to work together to expand temporary worker programs, bolster legal pathways, provide support to countries hosting large migrant populations and to have a crackdown on human smuggling networks. White House officials met with representatives from the 19 countries to discuss the implementation of the declaration and appoint special coordinators for each country.

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Immigration News - September 27, 2022

• TPS for Burma extended. The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Burma for an additional 18 months, from Nov. 26, 2022 through May 25, 2024. The extension was announced due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Burma that prevent people from safely returning to the country. DHS also announced a redesignation of Burma for TPS for the same reason which will allow Burmese nationals residing in the U.S. as of Sept. 25, 2022 to be eligible for TPS. Currently, Burma is experiencing continued violence and a humanitarian crisis due to a military coup, upheaval and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians. This extension will allow for 970 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through May 25, 2024, as long as they meet TPS requirements.

• Legal challenges follow DeSantis’s migrant flights. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently sent two charter flights with about 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard without providing proper notice to officials in the town and did not tell the migrants the flights would be taking them there. DeSantis has argued that the flights have protected Florida from “negative ramifications” of a border crossing surge. DeSantis is facing legal challenges such as an investigation by a Texas sheriff, who referred to the governor's migrant flights as a “predatory” operation. The migrants have filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging a “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme.” Lastly, DeSantis is facing a Democratic lawmaker’s state lawsuit challenging the use of a $12 million migrant relocation fund.

• Private refugee sponsorship program. The Biden administration is planning to start a private refugee sponsorship program within the following months to help the refugee admissions in the United States. Private organizations and groups of everyday Americans will be able to sponsor and resettle refugees, similar to the programs the U.S. conducted for the resettlement of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees this past year. The program is expected to launch by the end of this calendar year. The private refugee sponsorship program will allow private citizens to identify refugees on their own and resettle them.

• Only one third of Americans support migrant flights. Only one third of Americans, including half of Republicans and one in six Democrats, have said it is acceptable for state officials to fly or bus migrants from border towns to other states. Republican governors have been transporting migrants to other states, yet in a two-day poll conducted last week only 53% of Republican respondents said they support the practice. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent 11,500 migrants to Washington D.C., Chicago and New York since April. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has sent more than 1,800 migrants by bus to D.C. and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

• NY bill would provide legal help for immigration proceedings. Low-income immigrants in New York who are facing deportation would be provided with legal help under a new bill recently proposed by two state lawmakers. The Access to Representation Act would allow for immigrants in New York to have a right to legal counsel, becoming the first state to establish this right for those facing their immigration proceedings. The bill is estimated to cost around $300 million. Immigration advocates have constantly pushed for a right to legal counsel in these civil federal proceedings.

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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

#HispanicHeritageMonth #SoniaSotomayor

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Immigration News - September 15th, 2022

• H-2B cap for first half of FY 2023. USCIS has reached its congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2023. Sept. 12, 2022 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2023. USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap including petitions for current H-2B workers in the U.S. who extend their stay, change employers, or change the terms and conditions of their employment; fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, or supervisors of fish roe processing; and workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009 until Dec. 31, 2029.

• Migrant surge in El Paso. A recent surge of migrants, a majority from Venezuela, is currently overwhelming the shelters in El Paso, Texas. Over the past week, roughly 1,000 migrants have been released near bus stations in hope they will find their way to their next destination within the country. Currently, the El Paso Sector of the U.S. border reports an average of 1,300 migrants crossing per day, whereas compared to data from May, migrant crossings at this sector was about 1,000 people per day. Many Venezuelan migrants who have not yet been processed have gathered in an El Paso neighborhood called Chihuahuita to await processing. Border agents have then been performing biometric screenings on migrants before allowing their “street releases” but will hold those who may pose a threat to public safety.

• Border chief directed agents to release foreign nationals. In a memo obtained through Florida’s lawsuit against the Biden administration, it was discovered that U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz directed agents to release noncitizens into the U.S. because there would not be enough space to detain them in anticipation of Title 42 being lifted. In the May 19 memo, Ortiz instructed agents to release “processed noncitizens in the vicinity of nongovernmental organizations” and to coordinate with NGOs regarding the locations the migrants would be released, “paying particular attention to the availability of services and transportation options.” CBP did not enact the policy due to an injunction placed by a federal court to halt the Biden administration from ending Title 42.

• Migrants bused from Texas to Chicago. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) spoke out against the busing of migrants conducted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as being “un-American.” Lightfoot discussed how the migrants being sent on the buses are not treated with respect or dignity, explaining that they are put on buses, sent to an unknown destination with little food and water. Since April, Abbott’s office has bused 10,400 migrants across Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago. Lightfoot discussed how many migrants have to be taken to the hospital once they get off the bus due to being on the long bus rides with delicate medical conditions.

• Democratic senators call on ICE to stop using facial recognition. Two Democratic senators called on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requesting the agency end its use of facial recognition and other surveillance technologies, arguing it threatens individual privacy rights. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to ICE Director Tae Johnson referencing a report from Georgetown University that provided information of ICE showing the use of facial recognition and how the agency buys information from data brokers to carry out deportation proceedings. The senators requested answers from the acting director regarding multiple questions about the facial recognition technology and requested an answer by Oct 3.

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Immigration News - July 14th, 2022 (USCIS)

Time Frame Extended for Uniting for Ukraine Parolees to Comply with Medical Screening and Attestation After Arrival to the United States

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the time beneficiaries paroled into the United States under Uniting for Ukraine have to attest to their compliance with the medical screening for tuberculosis and additional vaccinations, if required. Effective immediately, beneficiaries paroled into the United States under Uniting for Ukraine must complete their medical attestation within 90 days of arrival in the United States. Previously, beneficiaries paroled into the United States under Uniting for Ukraine were required to complete the medical screening and attestation within 14 days of arrival to the United States.

The attestation is a condition of parole and must be completed in the beneficiary’s USCIS online account. Beneficiaries are responsible for arranging their vaccinations and medical screening for tuberculosis, including an Interferon-Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) blood test.

Beneficiaries who test positive for tuberculosis must take the appropriate measures, including additional screening, such as a chest radiograph, isolation, and treatment. Beneficiaries must also complete the tuberculosis screening attestation for their minor children within 90 days of arrival to the United States, even if the child is under the age of 2 years old and qualifies for an exception to the tuberculosis test screening. For more information and resources, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Uniting for Ukraine: Information for TB Programs page.

Uniting for Ukraine was announced on April 21, 2022, to provide a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole. Individuals participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States. Additional information is available on the USCIS and DHS Uniting for Ukraine webpages.

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Immigration News - April 14th, 2022

• Mexican Truck blockade at southern border. A truck blockade along the Mexican side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge is causing cargo headed to the U.S. to have to take different crossings. The blockade is causing shipping and delivery disruptions for a variety of products. The Mexican truckers are protesting Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s new inspection efforts. After imposing the strict inspection policies, within the first six days, more than 3,400 commercial vehicles inspected were placed out of service for serious safety violations. Commercial traffic is at a complete standstill at the customs post where the trucks are increasing the wait time to enter the United States. Many 18-wheelers are being sent to other entry ports in Texas.

• How U.S. immigration policies affect Ukrainian refugees. Over 4 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia’s attacks in late February. Many Ukrainians have fled to bordering countries in Europe. On March 24, President Biden announced the U.S. will welcome 100,000 refugees. The plans to welcome the refugees remains uncertain. Experts say it will take more time to admit 100,000 Ukrainians into the U.S. than many might hope or expect. The administration said some Ukrainians will come in under the refugee program but it normally takes two years or longer for someone to enter the U.S. as a refugee. Another form of entry is humanitarian parole, where people can be allowed into the country for a temporary period.

• GOP candidates double down on anti-immigration rhetoric. GOP candidates have been attacking undocumented Latino immigrations despite warnings that this strategy many backfire in general elections. Nevada Republican Senate Adam Laxalt has dropped $13,000 on radio ads addressing his opposition to protections for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, commonly referred to as “Dreamers.” GOP consultant Mike Madrid states voters in the Southwest have recently rejected conservative candidates who use hard anti-immigration language. Other GOP candidates from places such as Ohio and New Mexico have been criticized for their recent anti-immigration campaigns.

• Bus of migrants from Texas arrives in Washington, D.C. under Abbott’s new plan. Governor Greg Abott made a new plan to transport migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C. as a response to the Biden administration’s decision to lift Title 42. The first bus arrived with about 30 people on it. When Title 42 ends in May, federal authorities reported there could be up to 18,000 migrants a day at the southern border per day. Abbott responded to the administration’s decision and stated he will be sending the migrants to D.C. where the Biden administration could better deal with them. The program is voluntary for migrants and must be requested by cities and counties, but the state will pay for the buses. Migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua agreed to go on the first bus to D.C. from Texas.

• Democrats fight against Biden immigration policy. Many moderate Democrats are fighting against the Biden administration for ending Title 42. Democrats running for reelection in the midterms are intensifying their fight against the administration and argue there is not an adequate plan that will handle the influx of migrants at the border once Title 42 is lifted. This week alone, two Democrat Senators Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Mark Kelly of Arizona toured or plan to tour the U.S.-Mexico border. They are meeting with CBP to get information about how Title 42 will impact communities there. Hassan urged the administration to not end Title 42 until there is a better plan in place to handle the influx of migrants.

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Immigration News - April 12, 2022

• Haitian migrants in the Florida Keys. Since the beginning of this year, more than 800 Haitian migrants have arrived at the Florida Keys by boat. Two of the boat landings have happened in Ocean Reef, an exclusive gated community in Key Largo, home to some of the wealthiest residents in the country. The U.S. Coast Guard reports intercepting about 4 vessels of Haitians per month, each boat averaging about 150 occupants. The influx in Haitian migrants in the Keys is part of a large spike in refugees from Caribbean nations coming to the U.S. by sea. This form of immigration may increase over the coming weeks due to the Biden administration relaxing some pandemic related immigration policies. Many residents and officials are concerned about this influx.

• Problems left behind by Title 42. The Biden administration is lifting Title 42 in May and will now have to plan on what to do regarding the past two year of denying asylum-seekers. Lifting Title 42 has become a major political fight. Republicans argue the administration is being soft on its immigration policies while Democrats are concerned over the future migrant surge. The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for a surge of crossings as high as 18,000 a day. Mexico has recently required citizens of Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela to have a visa before coming to Mexico, which may help block nationals aiming to get to the U.S. border. The administration may use “Remain in Mexico” which will keep asylum-seekers in Mexico until their U.S. court date.

• Public charge rule. When President Biden took office, one of his goals was to target the “public charge” rule. This Trump-era policy denied permanent residency or citizenship to people who are likely to rely on the state to meet their basic needs. When Biden took office, he rolled back on this regulation, which resulted in 14 Republican state attorneys general filing suit against Biden, claiming he was sidestepping the rules around making new federal regulations. Currently, the Supreme Court is deciding whether these state attorneys have standing. The Department of Homeland Security released a “notice of proposed rulemaking” and call for comment on April 25 regarding a new policy regulating the adjudication of the public charge statute.

• Ukrainians immigrating to the United States. Due to the Russian attacks in Ukraine, 4.4 million Ukrainians have left their country and entered neighboring European countries. When President Biden was in Europe, he announced the U.S. will be accepting up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The Biden administration has yet to establish a clear plan on how the U.S. will admit the refugees. While waiting for the administration to develop a plan on admitting the refugees, Ukrainians who are unable to obtain visitor visas could apply for humanitarian parole. Humanitarian parole allows migrants to apply at U.S. consulates overseas or at U.S. ports of entry, allowing Ukrainians to enter the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons.

• Democratic revolt over Biden’s border policy. After the Biden administration announced the end to Title 42, moderate Democrats revolted, joining Republicans in demanding the pandemic health policy be reinstated. Five Democratic senators joined Republicans in introducing a bill on Thursday that would preserve the policy until 60 days after the surgeon general announces the end of Title 42. Two House Democrats who represent border districts in Texas requested the Biden administration to hold off on ending the policy. Moderate Democrats and Republicans argue that the U.S. does not have an adequate plan to deal with the influx in migrants that will arrive at the border once the policy is lifted.

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Immigration News - April 7, 2022

• Three states sue over the end of Title 42. On Monday, three states sued the Biden administration due to its plan to end the Trump-era pandemic policy known as Title 42. The Biden administration announced on Friday that it plans to lift Title 42 restrictions on May 23. As a result of this announcement, Missouri, Arizona, and Louisiana filed suit against the administration. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the administration from lifting Title 42, arguing the CDC violated the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to allow for a comment period on its revocation. The suit expresses concern that lifting Title 42 would cause a surge of migrants at the border that may overwhelm state and federal resources. The suit lists 20 defendants, including every agency involved with operations at the border or public health.

• Migrants from Russia smuggled into Key West. Undocumented migrants from Russia and other former Soviet countries were smuggled into Key West, Florida. Authorities reported that due to the war in Ukraine, refugees and others have been seeking dangerous routes into the United States. Spokeswoman Alyson Crean from the Key West Police Department reported the boat chartered from Cuba arrived at the south end of Duval Street on Sunday afternoon. The Key West police were called after about 15 migrants walked into a café. Officials said witnesses reported that the 15 migrants who arrived at the café may have been part of a larger group of about 40 individuals who traveled on the boat.

• African immigrant advocates point to ‘double standard’ as Ukrainians receive relief. President Joe Biden recently announced the U.S. will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the country. Congress members Ayanna Pressley and Mondaire Jones request the administration to extend the same type of relief to Haitian migrants. Advocates for African immigrants argue the U.S. has already done more for Ukrainians than for Haitians fleeing their country after a deadly earthquake and their president’s assassination. Further, Cameroonians have been displaced due to their country’s civil war. Immigrant advocates and politicians have been constantly requesting relief for Black immigrants and refugees in the United States.

• GOP attempting to link Title 42 to coronavirus deal. Republicans are considering linking a Trump-era immigration policy to a coronavirus relief deal which senators aim to pass by the end of the week. GOP senators are pushing for a vote targeting the Biden administration’s plan to end Title 42 as part of a debate over a $10 billion coronavirus relief deal. To pass the coronavirus aid deal, Senate leadership will need cooperation from all 100 Senators which could give Republicans leverage to push an amendment vote. The Biden administration announced last week its plan to end Title 42, a Trump-era health policy that allows migrants at the border to be expelled to their home country or Mexico due to the pandemic.

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Immigration News - April 5, 2022

• Migrants march in Mexico. On Friday in Tapachula, Mexico, about 500 migrants from Central America, Venezuela, and other countries conducted a march. The march is a traditional annual protest related to Holy Week. Migrants at the front of the march carried a white cross as they pushed past the police and National Guard lines. The march began two weeks early as migrants plan to go further than usual and aim to make it to the southern U.S. border. The migrants used the cross as a ram to break through the National Guard lines. Officers, who were supplied with riot shields, batons, and irritant spray detained some migrants while others ran past. Migrants joined the march because many feel confined to Tapachula while awaiting a hearing in the U.S. for their asylum claims, resulting in being unemployed and stuck within the state.

• Growing number of Ukrainians at U.S.-Mexico border. There has been a recent influx in the last week of Ukrainian refugees seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Ukrainians are arriving at the Mexican border city of Tijuana to claim asylum in the United States. The number of people arriving has been increasing daily. The Department of Homeland Security is permitting some Ukrainians to be exempt from Title 42 on a case-by-case basis. Director of migrant affairs for Tijuana, Enrique Lucero, reported that while he expects all the Ukrainian refugees to be able to enter the country, American authorities have been slow to process them, resulting in many people setting up temporary camps at the border. U.S. officials at the border are processing about 100-200 Ukrainians a day and it takes nearly three hours to process them.

• ICE lawyers directed to clear low-priority immigration cases. The Biden administration will potentially clear hundreds of thousands of deportation and asylum cases pending before immigration courts. On Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out a memo directing its lawyers to review cases and try to clear low-priority cases under enforcement guidelines the administration created last year. Currently, there is a backlog of 1.7 million cases. By clearing low-priority cases, the American Immigration Lawyers Association estimates this would include at least 700,000 low-priority cases, equaling about 40 percent of the backlog. ICE has not released their estimate of how many cases would be cleared under this plan.

• CDC to phase out border restrictions. On Friday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it will be ending Title 42 on May 23. The agency said it will be appropriate to lift Title 42 in May because of the lower levels of transmission in the U.S. and at the border, the protective measures available, and the higher vaccination rates among U.S. CBP personnel. Title 42 will be ending gradually to provide the Department of Homeland Security with enough time to increase protective measures at the border, including providing vaccines for migrants. Immigrant advocates are looking forward to the end of Title 42 while Republicans and some Democrats are concerned the increase of unauthorized crossings will overwhelm the border and distract officers from addressing drug trafficking and other crimes.

• Possible increase in asylum requests and immigration. Ricardo Zúniga, the Biden administration’s special envoy for the Northern Triangle region, says the U.S. is likely to have an increase in asylum requests and immigration. Within the span of two weeks, democracy in Central America appears to be facing a downfall. An anti-corruption judge in Guatemala went into exile on March 21 due to threats against her life over cases that involved Guatemalan officials and the country’s president. The president of El Salvador has recently made strict arrests in response to a spike in homicides within the country. Former President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, is facing extradition to the U.S. due to accusations of being involved with drug cartels trafficking cocaine to America. These challenges in Central America may result in a rise in immigration to the United States.

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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.