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Immigration News - September 26, 2023

U.S. Judge Rules Against Biden's DACA Regulation

A U.S. judge last Wednesday ruled against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which is a program offering deportation relief and work permits to immigrants who arrived to the U.S. illegally when they were children, known as “Dreamers.” Although the Biden administration tried to strengthen the program’s standing with a new regulation, Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen found that the regulation issued by Biden did not remedy legal deficiencies that led him to finding DACA unlawful in 2021. The judge declined to order an immediate end to the program and the protections it offers. The ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hanen’s order has extended the current injunction that had been in place against the program, which bars the government from approving any new applications, but its protections will still exist for current recipients.

• USCIS to celebrate Constitution Day. USCIS celebrated Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by welcoming more than 6,900 new citizens in over 130 naturalization ceremonies between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22.

• Mexican families crossing the border. There have been tens of thousands of Mexican family members crossing the southern border over the recent months. This increase may be due to Biden’s decision to end migrant family detention and launch the CBP One App.

• H-2 temporary visa programs. The Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to strengthen protections for temporary workers through the H-2A temporary agricultural and the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker programs. DHS has proposed providing greater flexibility and protections for participating workers.

• Latino voters. A majority of Latino voters are hoping the Biden administration will take a more aggressive approach to provide immigration relief to those living in the U.S. without legal status and secure the southern border.

• New spending plan. The House GOP has unveiled a new short-term spending plan that applies conservative priorities such as funding cuts and stricter border policies.

• Biden officials respond to NY migrant crisis. Last week, the White House detailed some steps it is taking to help New York handle its influx of migrants. The Biden administration said it will be focusing on helping migrants who are already able to obtain work permits.

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Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!!


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Immigration News - August 4, 2023

Judge Rules Against the Biden Administration’s New Asylum Policy.

A federal judge in San Francisco struck down the Biden administration's strict asylum policy last week. Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in Northern California called the new asylum restrictions “both substantially and procedurally invalid.” The judge gave the administration a 14-day stay on the ruling before it takes effect, resulting in the Justice Department immediately issuing a notice to appeal the decision in a higher court. The administration is fighting to keep its new asylum policy which started in May, requiring asylum-seekers to schedule an appointment for an asylum hearing at a port of entry along the border or to show they had already sought and been denied asylum in a country they traveled through to get to the U.S.

Read More. . .

Our Analysis: This ruling has been a major blow to the Biden administration since there has been a decrease in illegal crossings since the implementation of this policy. Immigrant advocacy groups who sued the administration argue this policy violates immigration law, which says foreigners who reach U.S. soil are entitled to request asylum, regardless of how they entered the country. Civil rights groups are supporting the judge’s decision but are concerned some migrants remain vulnerable as long as the rule is still in place.

• H-1B visa lottery. USCIS will hold a second lottery for H-1B visas to meet an annual cap for fiscal year 2024. An initial lottery was held in March and the agency announced another lottery is necessary to meet the fiscal year 2024 cap.

• Visa denials. A new report has been released from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and Shorelight Education. The data shows international students from African nationals face a higher likelihood of visa rejection.

• Mayorkas impeachment efforts build. House Republicans are accusing Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of mismanaging the southern border and misrepresenting migration levels.

• Abbott’s border policies. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing the limits of state power by using razor wire along the banks of the Rio Grande to deter illegal migrant crossing.

• Family reunification parole process. The Department of State’s National Visa Center will begin issuing invitations under the family reunification parole processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on July 31,2023.

• Child labor. The Labor Department has reported illegal child labor is up by 44% since this time last year. The Biden administration is facing criticism of underage migrants working dangerous jobs.

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Happy Fourth of July!

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Immigration News - May 2, 2023

• Citizenship and naturalization for adopted children. USCIS has updated its policy guidance to clarify how the U.S. approaches citizenship and naturalization provisions applicable to adopted children. The update is to help families understand the requirements so adoptees can get U.S. citizenship and documentation of citizenship.

• Immigrant crime victims. There have been recent delays in issuing U visas, taking years for this relief to be approved. These visas are given to immigrant crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement.

• Afghan refugees. Although there is bipartisan support for a path to permanent residency, thousands of Afghan refugees remain in a legal limbo in the U.S..

• Tracking devices for migrants. ICE announced they will be testing smartwatch-like devices to track migrants who are released from federal immigration custody. This is a wrist monitor which ICE plans to use to track migrants waiting for their immigration hearing in the U.S.

• U.S. urges organizations to sponsor immigration. The U.S. is aiming to have more organizations sponsor immigrants from Cuba and other countries as part of Biden’s new parole program. One of the conditions of the parole program is to have a U.S. sponsor before migrating to the country.

• Deportation flights to Cuba. The U.S. has sent its first deportation flight to Cuba since 2020. The deportation flight transported 40 Cubans that were apprehended while on boat and 83 who were detained at the southern border.

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Immigration News - March 9, 2023

Biden Administration Announces Plan to Crack Down on Migrant Child Labor.

On Monday, the Biden administration vowed to crack down on the labor exploitation of migrant children across the United States. There have been initiatives released by the administration addressing new means to investigate child labor violations among employers and to improve the support given to migrant children when they are released to U.S. sponsors. Migrant children often fall victim to child labor because they use false identification and find jobs through staffing agencies that do not verify their Social Security numbers.

• Border investigation demands - House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) requested to hear from every chief patrol overseeing parts of the southern border.

• Immigration case backlog - Federal immigration judges hear cases faster than ever before, yet the backlog of pending cases is growing, reaching 2 million.

• Undocumented immigrants leaving the US - There has been an increase in undocumented immigrants that have lived in the U.S. for years, suddenly deciding to return to their countries of origin.

• Fee for EB-5 Integrity Fund - USCIS posted a Federal Register notice that it will start collecting a fee for EB-5 Integrity Fund from each designated regional center.

• Visa holders face tech layoffs - The recent increase in tech layoffs has caused panic among immigrants concerned about their future employment in the U.S. and fear of deportation.

• Suit over meat plant raid - Nearly 100 immigrants prevailed in a lawsuit accusing the government of racial profiling and excessive force during a 2018 raid at a meat processing plant, resulting in a $1.17 million settlement.

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Happy International Women's Day!!

#internationalwomensday #InternationalWomen

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Happy Black History Month!!

#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryMatters #blackhistorymonth2023

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Immigration News - February 23, 2023

• Special student relief provisions. USCIS is issuing guidance in its Policy Manual to clarify the validity period of employment authorization for F-1 nonimmigrant students experiencing severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances who are work authorized under the special student relief (SSR) provisions of 8 CFR. The update provides clarification for cases of severe economic hardship due to emergent circumstances, allowing USCIS to grant off-campus SSR employment authorization to an F-1 nonimmigrant student for the duration of the Federal Register notice validity period. This employment authorization does not extend past the student’s academic program end date. The update notes that USCIS may issue employment authorization documents for the duration of the Federal Register notice.

• New Biden administration proposal. The Biden administration announced a new proposal which would limit access to asylum for migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally if they fail to apply for protections within one of the countries they crossed before reaching the United States. The administration did not provide an exact date when this policy would go into effect but they must hold a public comment period for 30 days. Senior Biden officials said they plan to implement this policy around the same time Title 42 ends. If this policy is approved, migrants will be ineligible for asylum if they had not used existing lawful processes, scheduled a time and place of arrivals at a port of entry or been denied in a third country they have traveled through.

• Fentanyl smugglers at the southern border. The Biden administration is attempting to address the fentanyl production and sale that has been causing 70,000 fatal overdoses in the U.S. every year. There is bipartisan pressure in Washington to stop Mexican drug cartels from smuggling fentanyl across the border. Bipartisan discussions took place regarding a renewed drug war and tougher border policies due to the surge in fentanyl deaths across the United States. Experts say fentanyl smuggling has dramatically increased in recent years with fentanyl seizures doubling in 2022 compared to 2021. Experts believe the Mexican government is too weak to handle the cartels no matter how much pressure Washington applies.

• Afghan families split since US withdrawal. It has been about 18 months since the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan due to the Taliban takeover. Many Afghan families were split up and face uncertainty regarding their future in the United States. Immigration attorneys have explained that there are unaccompanied minors whose parents are still in Afghanistan. Some fled the country through the US diversity visa lottery but now face complications as families might have grown beyond what their initial application reflected. There have also been issues interfering with efforts to process and approve people’s flights out of Afghanistan.

• Biden proposes severe asylum restrictions at the border. The Biden administration announced a proposal on Tuesday that would bar migrants from seeking asylum if they try to cross the southern border illegally without first seeking protection in a country they traveled through. The administration hopes to implement this policy due to its “anticipation of a potential surge of migration at the southwest border” after the planned end of the Title 42 pandemic border policies in May. The rule would apply to migrant single adults and families but not to unaccompanied minors.

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Immigration News - February 21, 2023

• Supreme Court cancels oral arguments over Title 42. The Supreme Court canceled the planned oral arguments over the pandemic immigration policy known as Title 42. The justices did not provide an explanation as to why the matter was removed from the argument calendar. The arguments were originally set for March 1 but now it is unclear whether it will be rescheduled. This decision may have been made due to the Biden administration’s recent announcement that it plans to end Title 42 on May 11. Since the implementation of Title 42 under the Trump administration, the policy was used to expel migrants more than 2 million times.

• Speaker McCarthy visited southern border. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy visited the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since starting his new role. Four House Republican freshmen joined McCarthy on the visit. The group went to the Tucson region for a briefing and aerial tour from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They also held a press conference at a ranch in Arizona’s Cochise county where McCarthy said they would focus on making improvements to border security. The trip was a way to showcase the next generation of lawmakers who have the potential to take the lead on border security and immigration legislation.

• Afghans could lose deportation protections unless Congress acts. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees could lose their work permits and deportation protections this summer unless Congress acts. Many Afghans were evacuated to the U.S. during the Taliban takeover in 2021. Fewer than 5,000 of the 77,000 Afghans that resettled in the U.S. have secured permanent legal status. There has been bipartisan support to make evacuated Afghans eligible for permanent U.S. residency but the proposal known as the Afghan Adjustment Act has failed to make its way through Congress. Refugees that came to the U.S. were initially given “parole” which allows foreign citizens to enter the U.S. without a visa and to stay in the country temporarily for two years.

• Green card Seekers’ kids get protections. USCIS announced a policy update which will add protections for children of temporary visa holders from losing their legal status while their parents’ green card applications are pending. This update will provide children and young adults with a dependent visa to lock in their age for their application process for a green card. Many of these children are nationals of India and China who are facing long wait times due to the green card backlogs. There are more than 200,000 “documented dreamers” in the U.S. at risk of aging out of legal status at the age of 21 while waiting for permanent residency based on their parents’ green card application.

• ICE unable to stamp out abuse allegations at detention centers. Immigration advocates say that the conditions at U.S. immigration detentions centers are worsening even after years of investigations and calls to action to improve the system. ICE and private detention centers have been facing constant reports of abuse, neglect, and mismanagement. Although there are alternative programs, the number of ICE detainees has remained steady during the Biden administration, with many detainees neither facing criminal charges or prior records.

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Happy Presidents Day!!

#PresidentsDay #Presidents

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Happy Black History Month!

#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryMatters #blackhistorymonth2023

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Immigration News - February 16, 2023

• US economy needs immigrants. An increase in immigration could help address the labor shortage in America but a rising share of Democrats and Republicans are hoping for a decrease in immigration. According to a new Gallup survey conducted in January, over 1,000 US adults participated by responding to the question of whether they were satisfied with America’s current immigration levels. The poll found that 71% of Republicans were dissatisfied with the amount of immigration and want to see immigration decrease in the future. This is an increase compared to 69% in 2022 and 40% in 2021. The poll had 19% of Democrats saying the same which is an increase from 11% in 2022 and 2% in 2021. There were over 11 million job openings in December which could have been filled with immigration.

• Mayorkas talks immigration with Latino Senate Democrats. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed immigration policy earlier this week with the Senate’s four Latino Democrats. The group included Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Sen. Alex Padilla of California, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico. The senators explained their concerns regarding Title 42 as well as the recently announced policy proposal which would limit asylum eligibility for migrants who passed through another country traveling to the southern border. Padilla said the meeting was “productive” and that “immigration was the focus.”

• Avoiding visa bottlenecks abroad. The State Department recently announced it plans to launch a pilot program allowing stateside visa renewals. This will allow foreign workers to renew visas without returning to their home countries. Workers renewing expired visas currently must get an appointment at a US embassy or consulate abroad. Stateside visa renewals offer relief to H-1B and L-1 visa holders who want to visit family members or pursue other travel abroad. The bottlenecks abroad often result in many workers delayed in getting to visit their families for multiple years. Those who had to leave the US due to emergencies have faced disruptions of careers and personal lives because of the delays.

• Connecticut’s insurance coverage for immigrants. Hundreds of people submitted testimony on a proposal to extend Connecticut’s Medicaid program to provide health care coverage to immigrants. If passed, this would expand HUSKY medical coverage in 2024 by covering all qualifying low-income residents under the age of 26, regardless of immigration status. This bill is the latest push by immigrant advocates to grant all people the right to health care. Currently, the bill allows for children to qualify for health care until 19, but those not grandfathered in will lack HUSKY access.

• The ‘workforce crisis’ in Georgia. On Tuesday about 300 immigration advocates went to the Georgia State Capitol to push for new policies to help foreign-born workers’ contributions to the Georgia economy. Immigrant advocates expressed their support behind House Bill 131, the “Workforce Development Act,” which aims to extend tuition rates comparable to instate tuition to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

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Immigration News - February 14, 2023

• Homeland Security hired outside lawyers for potential impeachment. The Department of Homeland Security has hired outside lawyers for representation in possible impeachment proceedings by House Republicans who are trying to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The department hired Debevoise & Plimton, a law firm in New York, to represent Mayorkas. The firm was chosen because of the experience its attorneys’ have with impeachment proceedings. The department hired outside counsel because its own in-house legal staff did not have much experience handling impeachment proceedings. House Republicans wish to impeach Mayorkas based on his handling of immigration at the southwest border.

• New immigration legislation introduced. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R.S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced new immigration legislation which would provide a pathway of legal residency for those known as dreamers. The Dream Act would allow people who were brought to the U.S. as children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to earn citizenship. Dreamers are protected from deportation by DACA and can work legally in the country. The future of DACA is uncertain, with a current court case in Texas challenging the legality of the program which could result in the end of DACA. The Dream Act would help young people who are facing uncertain futures finally have a pathway to legal residency.

• Migrants seeking US sponsors find questionable offers online. There is an underground market on social media offering financial sponsorship which has emerged since the Biden administration announced it will accept 30,000 immigrants each month arriving by air from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua through humanitarian parole. Applicants for this program must have someone in the U.S. that will offer financial support for at least two years. Facebook groups have been created which have dozens of posts a day advertising financial supporters, requesting migrants to pay them to be their financial supporter. Immigration attorneys have not found a specific law which would stop people from charging others money to sponsor beneficiaries.

• US credits new programs for January drop in border crossings. The number of migrants encountered at the southwest border has dramatically decreased throughout January. The Biden administration credits its new border policy as the cause of the drop. There has been a reported 40 percent drop in total encounters with migrants in the last month. In December there was a record of 252,000 encounters which dropped to about 156,000 throughout January. Of the encounters in January, about 128,400 migrants were apprehended between ports of entry, making January the lowest month of reported migrant encounters between ports in nearly two years.

• Lawmakers give DeSantis $10 million more to move migrants. The Republican supermajority in the legislature gave Florida Governor Ron DeSantis another $10 million to transport migrants to other states. State GOP lawmakers passed a bill that gives the state broad authority to move migrants in other states to “sanctuary cities” outside Florida. There is no specifics in the legislation on how state contractors would identify migrants, provide information about their destinations or whether the state will notify officials in cities where the migrants are being sent. There is no information either about whether state officials will work with federal immigration authorities.

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Happy Black History Month!!

#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryMatters #blackhistorymonth2023

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Immigration News - February 9, 2023

• Filing location for Form I-360 and Form I-485. USCIS announced the beginning February 10, 2023, self-petitioning abused spouses, children, and parents must file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrants, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the Nebraska Service Center instead of the Vermont Service Center. The addresses have been updated on the Direct Filing Addresses page for these forms. The agency will allow a 30-day grace period for petitioners to file Form I-360 and Form I-485 at the Vermont Service Center. Items must be postmarked on or before March 12, 2023. After this date USCIS will reject and return any applications sent to the Vermont Service Center.

• Biden’s State of the Union speech. Tuesday night President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union speech which briefly touched on immigration and issues revolving the pathway to citizenship. Yalidy Matos, an assistant professor at Rutgers University was interviewed by NPR to discuss the immigration issues Biden addressed in the speech. Matos said Biden’s strategy for immigration was bipartisan and mainly focused on his border plan. Biden touched on the need for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients along with agreeing to get Republicans what they are seeking for border funding and border security. Matos explained that the main focus on the State of the Union was the U.S. economy.

• Title 42 case may soon be moot. The Biden administration requested the Supreme Court to dismiss a challenge to end the pandemic immigration policy known as Title 42. The administration argues that their recent announcement that the health emergency will end on May 11 would make the case regarding Title 42 moot. The Supreme Court in December halted a trial judge’s ruling that would have lifted the policy. The justices are planning on hearing arguments in the case on March 1. The Supreme Court is only set to address the issue of whether the states that had requested the stay could pursue their challenge to the measure. The administration sent a brief this week which said “the mooting of the underlying case would also moot petitioner’s attempt to intervene.”

• Facial recognition bias. The app used by the U.S. government for migrants to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border is getting in the way of many Black asylum applicants from being able to file their claims due to the facial recognition bias in the tech. The app, known as CBP One, is failing to register many people with darker skin tones, resulting in them being unable to request entry into the United States. Migrants from Haiti and African countries are suffering from the algorithm bias. Advocates argue that since the use of this app over the past month, the algorithm problems are causing a decrease in the number of Black asylum seekers who can complete their applications.

• House oversight panel clashed at border security hearing. The House oversight panel was in a disagreement at its hearing on border security on Tuesday. Rep. James R. Comer (R-Ky.), who chairs the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said the goal of the meeting was to get information about the border from law enforcement. Two U.S. Border Patrol chiefs came to the hearing to provide insight and testimony. Congressional Democrats on the committee argued that the new Republican majority in the House had the hearing as a political opportunity to blame the administration on the high migration at the southern border.

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Immigration News - February 7, 2023

• Scammers target potential applicants for parole program. President Joe Biden started a new parole program in January which accepts a limited number of migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti, yet many potential applicants for this program have been targeted by scammers. One condition of the parole program is to have a financial sponsor in the United States. This condition has resulted in many deals being made through word of mouth, WhatsApp and social media for sponsorship ranging from $8,000 to $10,000, and many of these advertisements are scams. A majority of these posts have been found on Facebook and Instagram, offering to sponsor migrants for a set price and then disappear once they are paid through Zelle or CashApp.

• More Russian migrants seeking asylum in the United States. There has been an increase in Russian migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States. The increase is due partly to the U.S. government expanding its effort to allow more asylum seekers to cross the border legally. Between October and December, about 12,500 Russians entered the U.S. through ports of entry along the southern border. The Biden administration has not changed its policy for Russian migrants, but the government has expanded its use of present appointments for migrants from any country to walk to a port of entry and request exemption from Title 42, which is an immigration policy which expels asylum seekers from legally crossing the border due to the pandemic.

• Dreamers speak out as U.S. program faces new threat. It has been ten years since the Obama administration enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed for nearly 825,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as undocumented children to be protected from deportation and have work permits. The children are known as “Dreamers” and are now facing an uncertain future due to nine Republican-led states requesting Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas to end DACA. The coalition of states claims DACA is “unlawful” and “unconstitutional”. Currently, 600,000 people are in the U.S. under this program and are concerned about their future immigration status.

• Migrants in NYC. Governors of Republican-led states have been sending migrants to Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City frequently by bus. New York has received close to 44,000 asylum seekers with 12,000 new arrivals during the past month alone. New York has welcomed the migrants, yet the city is unprepared to handle the influx of people. The shelters in the city are already burdened with people and the increase in migrants has caused a severe housing emergency. When Eric Adams first became mayor of New York City, there were roughly 45,000 people in the shelter system, which has now increased by 71 percent totaling 77,000 people. Actual shelter space for the migrant arrivals is sparse, resulting in the use of hotels as relief centers.

Mayorkas faces GOP investigations. House Republicans are developing their plans to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas which would be the first cabinet secretary impeached in more than a century. Mayorkas has previously said he will not resign from his position in the face of the GOP investigations of the way he handled the border. Top Republicans suggested during their planned hearings that Mayorkas was intentionally letting asylum seekers cross illegally. Marokas said he will comply with the investigations.

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Happy Black History Month!


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Immigration News - Feburary 2, 2023

• Migrants grapple with government app to make asylum appointments. Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection expanded its CBP One app to allow migrants to make appointments to request protection at a port of entry. Providers along the border have reported the disadvantages of this app which affect the most vulnerable asylum-seekers who may not have access to a smartphone or WiFi, or may not know how to use the platform. The app had been experiencing issues with glitches, limited foreign language options, and a lack of transparency about appointment availability. The app now allows migrants to directly schedule appointments at ports of entry to request the chance to seek asylum. The app also allows Haitians, Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans to apply for temporary legal status from their home countries.

• Afghans trek to seek refuge in the U.S. Some Afghans have been taking the long journey through 11 different countries to reach the United States. The migrants have been starting their journey by applying for a humanitarian visa for Brazil and end their journey by scaling the border wall and jumping off into the United States. Border agents in the U.S. have apprehended 2,132 Afghans last year, with nearly half arriving in November and December. Last year 2,200 Afghans crossed through the jungle between Colombia and Panama, towards the U.S. border. Half of these crossings occurred in November and December.

• Haitians in U.S. feel pressure to sponsor migrants. Haitians in the U.S. have been feeling pressured to help sponsor family and friends under the new U.S. migration program aimed to help people from Haiti come to the U.S. on humanitarian parole with the support of a U.S. financial sponsor. Gilbert St Fort, a South Florida resident from Haiti said he received numerous calls after the Biden administration announced the new sponsorship program earlier this month. Immigration and community advocates reported many Haitians living in the U.S. have been contacted by family members, friends and loose acquaintances requesting sponsorship.

• Republican-led states ask judge to end DACA. Nine Republican-led states have asked a Texas federal judge to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program completely within the next year. Texas led the coalition of states requesting the end of the program which was created by the Obama administration and has continued since then. DACA has been used for ten years, allowing hundreds of immigrants lacking legal status to come to the U.S. as children and stay in the country without fear of deportation. The program allows recipients to work in the country, yet it does not provide them with permanent residency. As of September 2022, 589,660 young adults were enrolled in DACA.

• Mayorkas impeachment debate. The new House GOP majority is taking a step toward impeaching Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) held a hearing on the border on Wednesday which was the first meeting in a planned series. One group of Republicans wants to make their case over this matter while another group is ready to begin the impeachment process immediately. This has become a challenge for House GOP leaders as they try to resolve the split demands of members.

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Happy Black History Month!

#BlackHistoryMonth #blackhistorymonth2023 #BlackHistoryMatters

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Immigration News - January 31, 2023

• USCIS redesigns Green Card and Employment Authorization Document. USCIS announced new designs to improve security of Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). The agency began issuing the redesigned cards as of yesterday. The new Green Card and EAD designs contain technology designed to safeguard national security and improve service. The changes include improved detailed artwork; tactile printing; enhanced optically variable ink; highly secure holographic images on both sides of the cards; a layer-reveal feature with a partial window on the back photo box; and data fields displayed in different places

• Migration could prevent a population crisis. Lant Pritchett, a developmental economist, explained the decline in the population being an issue that could affect the future economy. There has been a decrease in birth rates resulting in aging populations and small workforces. Economists believe that migration is the obvious solution to this problem yet political implications may be hard to overcome. Pritchett explains that increasing the amount of temporary work migration may address the economic problem but would avoid the political issues. Tara Watson, an economist and the director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, argues this solution does not provide people with a lot of discretion over their work environment since temporary work options are tied to a specific employer.

• Las Vegas nonprofit helps immigrants gain citizenship. The Immigrant Home Foundation in Las Vegas has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice for helping immigrants navigate the immigration system with resources and referrals to handle immigration issues, pursue citizenship and more. Janette Amador, the organization’s community outreach director explained the nonprofit provides immigrants with petitions for their families to come to the U.S., waivers for those who may be in violation of immigration law, consular processes for those not qualified for a green card, and coordinates with law enforcement to help provide immigration relief for victims of domestic violence. Each year the organization helps about 3,000 applicants of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

• Biden’s new immigration policies. The Biden administration has implemented a strict approach to address the record apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. There has been criticism of his new policies yet immigration authorities are reporting the changes to be working based on preliminary data released last week. The new immigration policy allows for U.S. officials to expel migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela at the border under Title 42 but now allows these migrants to apply for humanitarian parole. This new process requires migrants to have a financial sponsor in the U.S. and apply abroad. Migrants who are unable to find a financial sponsor have been waiting for a work permit or staying in Mexico.

• Biden’s migrant parole program popular in Haiti. President Biden’s new parole program for migrants is popular in Haiti, with many people rushing to get passports to become eligible. Policy advocates in South Florida argue the effort has been complicated for immigrants in the Haitian community due to misinformation. Clarel Cyriaque, a Haitian-American immigration attorney in Miami explained that social media has been giving people in the community false information regarding the new immigration policies implemented by Biden.

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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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