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Legislative Bulletin — Friday, December 2, 2022



S. 9

Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2022

The bill would vacate certain convictions and expunge certain arrests of victims of human trafficking. If the victim of human trafficking in question is a foreign national, the bill would forbid immigration authorities to remove them from the United States or deny them immigration benefits in relation to their expunged arrest or vacated conviction.

Sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

11/17/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Gillibrand

11/17/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 9352

To improve services for trafficking victims by establishing, in Homeland Security Investigations, the Investigators Maintain Purposeful Awareness to Combat Trafficking Trauma Program and the Victim Assistance Program

The bill would establish a Victim Assistance Program within Homeland Security Investigations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (HSI-ICE) to provide support to individuals impacted by human trafficking. The bill would also make permanent an existing program that ensures the well-being of HSI employees and partners who are exposed to repeated stress and associated trauma through their work in supporting victims and investigating human trafficking crimes. This is a companion bill of S. 4611.

Sponsored by Representative David Joyce (R-Ohio) (3 cosponsors— 2 Democrats, 1 Republican)

11/22/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Joyce

11/22/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary


The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, December 5, 2022.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, December 5, through Thursday, December 8, 2022.


House Committee on Rules Meeting to Discuss Two Immigration-Related Bills: EAGLE Act of 2022 and Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022

Date: Monday, December 5 at 3:00 pm ET

Location: H-313, The Capitol



Mayors, Educators, Business Leaders, and Others Push for Immigration Reforms Before the Year Ends

On November 29, 71 Republican and Democratic mayors from across the country signed a letter urging Congress to enact legislation offering permanent solutions for Dreamers before the end of the year. A Dreamer is an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States as a child. In the letter, the mayors expressed their disappointment with the lack of Congressional action to pass humane, incremental immigration reforms. The mayors also highlighted that protecting Dreamers is supported by the majority of American voters and expressed their solidarity with the immigrant communities living in their cities and counties.

In addition, several university presidents and business leaders have also emphasized the importance of passing a bipartisan legislative fix for DACA recipients and other Dreamers before the end of this Congress — during the lame-duck session. They expressed concern about a potential Supreme Court ruling that could strip DACA recipients of their work permits and threaten the livelihood of over 1.3 million DACA-eligible individuals. DACA is a deferred action policy aimed at Dreamers, temporarily shielding them from deportation and providing them with work authorization. DACA, however, does not provide lawful status, nor does it provide the opportunity to stay permanently. While there are as many as 3.6 million Dreamers residing in the United States, only about 616,000 Dreamers are currently protected under DACA.

In a similar effort, agriculture organizations and farmworker advocates together urged Congress to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bill that, among other provisions, would provide a pathway to citizenship for about one million farmworkers and modernize the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program. These groups highlighted that no other economic sector depends as much on immigrants as the agricultural industry, with immigrants making up as much as 73% of farmworkers in the country. They also pointed out that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would help reduce food prices, which increased 11.2% in the last 12 months. The House version of the bill passed in March 2021, with the bipartisan support of 217 Democrats and 30 Republicans. However, the Senate version has not moved forward since then.

Biden Administration Considers Border Strategies to Replace Title 42

According to reports from various sources, the Biden administration — ordered by a District Court to lift Title 42 by December 21 — is considering imposing new restrictions on migrants attempting to apply for asylum in the United States. Title 42 is a pandemic-era order that both the Trump and Biden administrations have used since March 2020 to rapidly expel arriving migrants without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum. Over two million people have been expelled under Title 42 since the pandemic began.

Among the reported proposals, the Biden administration is considering prohibiting asylum seekers from seeking refuge in the United States unless another country first denied them safe harbor. According to the reports, the new policy, if adopted, could go into effect as soon as the government stops the implementation of Title 42 on December 21. The reports also highlighted that the plans were not final and had not been presented to President Biden Biden or the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The plan would echo a previous attempt by the Trump administration to ban asylums seekers who had transited through a third country before arriving in the U.S. That effort was struck down by the courts.

The administration is reportedly also considering ramping up criminal prosecution of arriving migrants, as well as pairing restrictions with expanded pathways for migrants to come to the United States legally.

The reports came a day after a group of four moderate Democratic Senators sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas expressing their concern about the impact of suddenly lifting Title 42 and asking him to provide the Senate with a strategy to deal with migration at the border after December 21.

Russian Dissidents Left in Detention After Applying for Asylum in the US

A November 28 New York Times report revealed that over 20,000 Russian dissidents have crossed the Southwest border to claim asylum in the U.S. over the last calendar year, expecting to receive protection as allies against Russian aggression. However, many are instead finding themselves detained in immigration prisons.

The report highlighted that the number of Russians making their way across the southern border has increased in recent months as Russian President Vladimir Putin persecutes dissidents and arrests those evading the draft in its war against Ukraine. Even before the war began in late February, anti-government activists were leaving the country to seek refuge in the United States. Since the war’s start, the number of arrivals have reached their highest levels in recent history. U.S. authorities processed 21,763 Russians at the southern border in Fiscal Year 2022, compared with just 467 in 2020. In October alone, 3,879 Russians were encountered at the border.

Many asylum seekers are taken into U.S. custody, screened, and then released and allowed to argue their cases later in court. However, thousands of other asylum seekers, including many Russians, are being sent to detention centers where they have remained for months. There, they face difficulty securing lawyers and collecting evidence for their asylum cases. In addition, the report noted that lawyers working with migrants believe Russian asylum seekers have been detained at higher rates in recent months, sometimes with bonds set at more than $30,000.

Federal Government to Close Berks County Immigrant Detention Center in January

On November 30, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the contract with Berks County Immigrant Detention Center in Pennsylvania, with the facility expected to end all existing operations by January 31. The facility, which opened in 2001, was for many years one of three holding centers used to detain migrant families (along with two facilities in Texas, one in Dilley and one near San Antonio). The center temporarily ceased operations in 2021 as the Biden administration ended the practice of long-term family detention, but it reopened in early 2022 as a facility holding only women.

The facility has been accused of mistreatment of detainees and poor living conditions, and many local and national advocacy groups have long called for it to be shut down.

ICE Accidentally Posts Personal Information of 6,252 Asylum Seekers on the Agency’s Website

On November 28, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) accidentally posted the names, A-numbers, case statuses, and detention locations of 6,252 asylum seekers in ICE custody. According to an agency spokesperson, the accident — which left the sensitive information up for five hours — occurred “while performing routine updates” to the agency’s website. The agency also said that ICE is notifying the impacted noncitizens and their attorneys of the improper disclosure. According to ICE, the impacted cases have been flagged to determine whether the improper disclosure of information could impact the merits of individuals’ protection claims. In addition, ICE said that it will identify through IP addresses the entities that accessed the information, and that it is monitoring the internet for any reposting of the data.


US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Case About Biden Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Priorities

On November 29, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in the case United States v. Texas, which challenges the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement guidelines. The enforcement guidelines being challenged represented the Biden administration’s efforts to prioritize immigration enforcement resources on those who are deemed national security threats, those who recently crossed the border without authorization, and those who have been convicted of aggravated felonies or other violent crimes.

The case stems from an April 6 lawsuit that Texas and Louisiana filed against the federal government’s enforcement guidelines. The case hinges on three questions: Whether Texas has standing to challenge the guidelines, whether enforcement guidelines violate federal immigration law or laws governing agency actions, and whether lower courts can issue nationwide injunctions blocking federal immigration policies.

Because DHS and ICE do not have the capacity to target, detain, and deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., they, like other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, have long utlized prosecutorial discretion to direct limited resources towards effective enforcement. Before the Supreme Court, the Biden administration argued that limited resources require prioritizing certain enforcement actions.

On the question of standing, the administration further argued that if Texas and the other states prevail, any states could “sue the federal government about virtually any policy” in the future. The case represents one of several lawsuits in which Republican-led states have attempted to block significant parts of the Biden administration’s immigration and border agenda.

Judge Hanen Instructs Attorneys to Propose a Schedule to Resolve Pending Matters of DACA Case

On November 29, Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the attorneys in the case Texas v. United States to confer and proposed a schedule to resolve pending matters by December 16. The case stems from a lawsuit brought by nine Republican-led states, led by Texas, challenging the legality of DACA. On July 16, 2021, Judge Hanen had ruled against the legality of DACA as it was set out under the Obama administration. The decision stopped new and pending applications to the program, but the judge did allow a stay of the ruling for the approximately 600,000 current DACA recipients. To address procedural concerns raised in Judge Hanen’s ruling, on August 24, 2022, DHS announced a final rule that codified a substantively identical version of DACA.

On September 10, 2021, the Department of Justice appealed Judge Hanen’s ruling before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On October 5, the Fifth Circuit sided with Judge Hanen in ruling against the legality of the DACA program as set out in 2012. The Fifth Circuit declined to rule on the legality of the new DACA program set out in the Biden administration’s 2022 rule, which was set to go into effect on October 31. A decision on the lawfulness of the new but substantively similar DACA program was remanded to Judge Hanen, who has now extended an injunction against the rule as he continues his decision.

While the case proceeds before Judge Hanen and likely ultimately before the Supreme Court, DACA recipients remain at risk of losing protection from deportation and work authorization.


There were no immigration-related government reports this week.


Explainer: DHS Immigration Enforcement Guidelines

This is an explainer on the DHS immigration enforcement priorities that are currently under consideration of the Supreme Court. The guidance provides flexibility to DHS personnel, who are advised to balance aggravating and mitigating factors when making enforcement determinations.

America’s Worker Shortages in the Agriculture and Food Industries: Direct Impact on Food Waste and Inflation

The paper explains how the labor deficit in the sector is increasing food waste and inflation. The paper also recognizes that inflation is a global phenomenon where immigration reform in the United States is not a panacea. It argues, however, that labor reforms such as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA), would provide stability in the agricultural sector, prevent the offshoring of food production, and reduce food waste from unharvested crops in American farms, consequently helping to alleviate food inflation.

Fact Sheet: Changes in Migrant Demographics at the Southwest Border

The fact sheet describes and visualizes the changing dynamics at the border — particularly concerning the increasing number of Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Colombians. It also discusses the policy implications of these changes.

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*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Arturo Castellanos-Canales, National Immigration Forum Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Arturo can be reached at Thank you.

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