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Legislative Bulletin — Friday, December 23, 2022



H.R. 2617

2023 Omnibus Spending Bill

The bill allocates 1.7 trillion dollars for federal government spending through September 2023. Among its various provisions, the bill would provide funding increases to address increasing migration at the southwest border, including a $1.8 billion increase for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and $800 million for shelters and nonprofits at the border working to welcome and process asylum seekers.

Sponsored by Representative Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia) (2 cosponsors— 1 Republican, 1 Democrat)

04/16/2021 Introduced in the House by Representative Connolly

12/20/2022 Passed the House of Representatives after a 70-25 vote.

12/22/2022 Passed the Senate after a 68-29 vote.

H.R. 9550

Taking Action to Prevent Suicide (TAPS) Act

The bill would establish an anti-suicide task force to assess the underlying factors leading to high suicide rates at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Sponsored by Representative Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) (5 cosponsors— 3 Democrats, 2 Republicans)

12/14/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Gonzales

12/14/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security

H.R. 9575

No Taxpayer Funds for Illegal Alien Abortions Act

The bill would prohibit any employee or contractor of ICE or the Department of Health and Human Services from transporting foreign nationals across State lines for the purpose of procuring an abortion.

Sponsored by Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) (14 cosponsors— 14 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

12/15/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Boebert

12/15/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, and the Judiciary

H.R. 9630

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to expand availability of H-1B nonimmgrant visa

Sponsored by Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) (0 cosponsors)

12/20/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Krishnamoorthi

12/20/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Education and Labor, and the Judiciary

H.R. 9646

To preserve expiring employment-based visas, and make them available for issuance during fiscal year 2023

Sponsored by Representative Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans )

12/21/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Bucshon

12/21/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

S. 5261

Continued Presence Improvement Act

The bill would protect certain victims of human trafficking by expanding the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant immigrants continued presence in the United States. Continued Presence is a temporary immigration status provided to individuals identified by law enforcement as victims of human trafficking. CP provides victims with a legal means to temporarily live and work in the United States before they can apply for more permanent relief.

Sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) (0 cosponsors)

12/14/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cardin

12/14/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 5301

Immigration Parole Reform Act of 2022

The bill would clarify that parole may not be granted according to criteria that describes entire categories of potential parolees. It would also define what qualifies as an ‘urgent humanitarian reason’ or ‘significant public benefit.’ The bill would also provide clarity on the timing and extension of immigration parole.

Sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (0 cosponsors)

12/19/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Grassley

12/19/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 5330

Stateless Protection Act

The bill would establish a new stateless protected status (SPS) to individuals who are stateless. SPS would provide permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for stateless individuals residing in the United States. This is a companion bill of H.R. 9671.

Sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) (0 cosponsors)

12/21/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cardin

12/21/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 5353

A bill to provide for the admission and protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable individuals, to provide for the processing of refugees and asylum seekers in the Western Hemisphere, and to modify certain special immigrant visa programs

Sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) (0 cosponsors)

12/21/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Leahy

12/21/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary


The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session until the start of the new Congress on January 3, 2023.


There are no immigration-related hearings scheduled for next week.



Government Spending Bill Fails to Include Protections for Dreamers, Afghan Evacuees, Others

On December 23, the Senate wrapped up the 117th Congress by passing a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package that would fund the federal government through September 2023. Despite broad support from faith leaders, businesses, veterans, and the American people, immigration protections for Dreamers, Afghan evacuees, and farmworkers were not included in the final spending package.

A bipartisan framework designed by Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Arizona) to provide an earned pathway to status for 2.3 million Dreamers and secure the Southwest border reportedly failed to gain enough support to pass in the final weeks of the legislative session. An agriculture-based immigration reform bill — which had previously passed the House with bipartisan support and received the endorsement of farmers and farmworker groups — was introduced but also lacked traction to be included in the spending package.

Needed traction and support did seem to exist for a third bipartisan compromise that was ultimately left out of the spending bill, the Afghan Adjustment Act. The bill aims to provide a path to permanent status for Afghan evacuees while ensuring those who access the pathway go through a rigorous vetting and screening process. Four additional cosponsors  — Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) — joined the effort the week of December 12. On December 17, a group of 22 retired top military officials sent a letter urging Congress to pass the bill. Despite a group of bipartisan senators filing the bill as an amendment to the omnibus on December 21, and vocal support on the Senate Floor from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Moran, and others, the legislation never received a vote.

The bill did include significant increases in funding for various agencies involved in responding to increases in migration at the Southwest border, including a $1.8 billion increase in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) funding from FY 2022 levels and $800 million dollars for shelters and nonprofits working to welcome asylum seekers at the border and elsewhere. The passage of the bill was temporarily delayed by an amendment led by Senator Lee (R-Utah) to codify Title 42, a pandemic-era authority that has been used to rapidly expel arriving migrants without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum under U.S. law. The amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 47-50.

Biden Administration’s Public Charge Final Rule Goes into Effect

On December 23, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final rule went into effect. The final rule, issued on September 8, restores the 20-year-old meaning of “public charge” in the context of adjudicating eligibility for visas and green cards. This rule fully unravels the Trump administration’s prior attempt to increase noncitizen ineligibility for certain visas and green cards.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a noncitizen who primarily depends on the U.S. government for subsistence may be deemed a public charge and denied a green card or admission to the U.S. Since 1999, non-cash assistance like Medicaid or food stamps was not considered when making public charge inadmissibility determinations. But in 2019, the Trump administration enacted a controversial rule increasing the list of benefits, including non-cash assistance, that could be considered when adjudicating inadmissibility. As a result, some noncitizens and mixed-status families did not take advantage of certain benefits they were entitled to for fear of immigration consequences. This rule was vacated in 2020.

DHS’s new rule codifies the pre-2019 criteria for public charge determinations, limiting the number of public benefits that can weigh against green card and certain visa applications.

Biden Administration Commemorates International Migrants Day

On December 18 — in commemoration of International Migrants Day — the Biden administration recognized the contributions of individual migrants, as well as their rights and struggles. In a press release, the Department of State highlighted that people migrate for work or education, to reunite with families, and to seek new opportunities for themselves as well as their families. The press release noted that some migrate temporarily and return to their home countries, while others stay in foreign countries. The administration pointed out that migration also happens in the context of forced displacement and noted that some 100 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide. In addition, the administration pointed out that climate change and natural disasters have led to 23.7 million internal displacements in 2021.


US Supreme Court Delays Termination of Title 42

On December 19, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary order that delayed the termination of Title 42, initially scheduled for December 21. 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 2.4 million people have been expelled under Title 42 since the pandemic began.

On December 20, in response to the Supreme Court order, the Biden administration asked the court to delay the ending of Title 42 until at least December 27, citing ongoing preparations for an increase in arriving migrants and the upcoming holiday weekend.

The case, Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, stems from a lawsuit spearheaded by the ACLU against the Trump administration in 2020 over Title 42 expulsions. After hitting an impasse in negotiations with the Biden administration, the plaintiffs went back to court in July 2021 to seek an immediate termination of the policy. On November 15, a U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the Biden administration to lift Title 42 because it found it “arbitrary and capricious.”

On December 12, nineteen Republican-led filed a request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to suspend the lower court order terminating the policy. The D.C. Circuit court rejected the appeal on procedural grounds, and the states appealed to the Supreme Court. The Biden administration and the ACLU have both filed responses arguing against the states’ intervention, and the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the states’ appeal in the final days of 2022 or early in January 2023.

Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of Prohibition on Encouraging Undocumented Immigration

On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to the Biden administration’s petition to revive a federal law that makes it a criminal offense to encourage illegal immigration. The case, United States v. Hansen, stems from a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated the law, finding that it violated the First Amendment because it criminalizes constitutionally protected free speech. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling threw out part of the conviction of a California man, Helaman Hansen, who had been prosecuted due to an allegation that he had unlawfully induced and encouraged immigrants to migrate to the U.S. illegally and overstay their visas.

State & Local

Texas Governor Abbott Deploys 500 National Guard Troops Along Rio Grande to Physically Stop Migrants

On December 20, several sources reported the presence of over 500 Texas National Guard Troops along the banks of the Rio Grande attempting to use concertina wire to block  the path of migrants attempting to reach El Paso, Texas. Immigration policy and border security are the responsibility of federal enforcement agencies, and while it has not been unusual for state governors to deploy National Guard troops to the border, their authority is generally limited to assisting in infrastructure projects or notifying Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of border crossings between ports of entry.

Legal experts have raised questions about the use of the National Guard troops to physically stop migrants from crossing the border. A representative for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that “what Texas is doing by preventing people from seeking asylum is patently unlawful and should stop immediately.”

On December 22, Governor Gregg Abbott reported that the deployment of the National Guard was part of Operation Lone Star. Operation Lone Star (OLS) is a controversial immigration and border enforcement strategy that Texas Governor Abbott launched in March 2021 that includes a number of efforts to use state resources to restrict and apprehend arriving migrants. Since its inception, OLS has run into multiple legal challenges as border management and enforcement fall within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Federal government. According to a Texas Tribune report, OLS so far has cost more than $4 billion.

Arizona Governor Ducey Agrees to Remove Shipping Containers on US-Mexico Border

On December 21, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R-Arizona) notified a U.S. District Court that his government would remove all the double-stacked shipping containers placed along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border by January 4, 2023. The announcement came seven days after the U.S. Government filed a lawsuit against Ducey’s administration on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service. In the lawsuit, the federal government argued that the unauthorized placement of the containers constituted a violation of federal law and trespassing on federal property. In addition, the federal government stressed that such trespassing harms federal lands and hinders the fulfillment of contracts awarded for the closure of border wall gaps in that sector.

Governor Ducey’s project, which had an initial cost of $13 million, began in August this year when he issued an executive order instructing the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to fill in gaps along the border with shipping containers. The order was issued without official permits or authorization. The second phase of the project was expected to have a cost of $95 million dollars.


Congressional Research Service (CRS); U.S. Border Patrol Apprehensions and Title 42 Expulsions at the Southwest Border: Fact Sheet; December 19, 2022

This CRS report provides an overview of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) apprehensions and Title 42 expulsions in FY 2022. The report highlights that USBP apprehended more than 2.2 million foreign nationals crossing into the United States between ports of entry, the largest number in its history. The report notes that the apprehended migrants were either placed into removal proceedings under Title 8 or expelled from the United States under Title 42.

Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG); El Centro and San Diego Facilities Generally Met CBP’s TEDS Standards but Struggled with Prolonged Detention and Data Integrity; December 20, 2022

This DHS-OIG report highlights that after conducting an unannounced inspection at four U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in the El Centro and San Diego areas of California, the facilities showed instances of prolonged detention for migrants and overcrowding. The report notes that the facilities inspected generally met standards related to providing drinking water, snacks, meals, and supplies, but CBP’s compliance with standards for access to showers, handling of personal property, and access to interpretation services was inconsistent.


Alternative Pathways for Arrivals at the Border

The paper seeks to put the challenges we face at the southwest border in the broader context of growing displacement in the hemisphere, describing how many come to the border because there is no other real alternative — no “right way” to come.

Journey to the U.S. Southern Border

This interactive resource will allow you to experience a virtual journey where you’ll face the challenges a migrant family could encounter when making the journey to the U.S. – and consider what choices you would make.

42 Border Solutions That Aren’t Title 42

This resource provides 42 sustainable, effective border solutions that are not Title 42. The 42 solutions are broken up into three categories — border processes, root causes, and border security.

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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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