BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2022
The bill would require DHS to indefinitely detain immigrants who have not been accepted for deportation to other countries if they have a highly contagious disease; if their release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences; if their release would threaten national security; or if their release would threaten the safety of the community because the immigrant is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.
Sponsored by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) (22 cosponsors— 22 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
06/09/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Inhofe
06/09/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Citizen Vote Protection Act
The bill would require states to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards that expressly mention whether or not the holder is a U.S. citizen. If the person to whom the license or identification card is issued is not a U.S. citizen, the document shall refrain from further including the immigration status of that person.
Sponsored by Representative Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) (0 cosponsors)
06/07/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Davis
06/07/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, and House Administration
Professional’s Access to Health Workforce Integration Act of 2022
The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants for career support for skilled internationally educated health professionals.
Sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)
06/09/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Roybal-Allard
06/09/2022 Referred to the House Committee on House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Border Construction Materials Transfer Act of 2022
The bill would require the federal government to transfer to the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, without reimbursement, any unused material associated with the construction of barriers along the Southwest border.
Sponsored by Representative James Baird (R-Indiana) (0 cosponsors)
06/13/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Baird
06/13/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security
Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Act of 2022
The bill would create a bipartisan commission focused on studying the effects of solitary confinement in America’s prison system, including immigrant detention centers.
Sponsored by Representative David Trone (D-Maryland) (3 cosponsors— 3 Republicans, 0Democrats)
06/13/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Trone
06/13/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to assess technology needs along the maritime border and develop a strategy for bridging such gaps
Sponsored by Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico) (3 cosponsors— 3 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
06/14/2022 Introduced in the House by Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon
06/14/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Hearing: Addressing Root Causes of Migration from Central America through Private Investment: Progress in VP Harris’ Call to Action
Dates: Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 10:00 am (House Committee on Foreign Affairs)
Location: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Celina de Sola, Co-Founder and President of Glasswing International
Mr. Jonathan Fantini-Porter, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Partnership for Central America
Mr. Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
As DACA Reaches Tenth Anniversary, Future of the Program Remains in Limbo
On June 15, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — created in 2012 via executive action — reached its tenth anniversary. As many DACA recipients have relied on the program to build lives and start families in the U.S., the program continues to face a legal challenge that has put their status at risk and hindered the ability of first-time DACA applicants to receive adjudications on their cases.
On July 16, 2021, a District Judge in Texas issued a ruling holding DACA to be unlawful and preventing U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) from approving new DACA applications. However, noting the reliance interest of current DACA recipients, the judge temporarily stayed the injunction for individuals who obtained DACA on or before July 16, 2021, which in practice permits DACA renewals. The Biden administration appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the appeal remains pending.
DACA provides work permits and protection from deportation to certain undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children. DACA recipients — who can renew their status every two years — are also able to lawfully obtain Social Security numbers and state identification cards or driver’s licenses. DACA does not provide lawful status and it does not provide a pathway to permanent status, such as a green card or citizenship. According to USCIS, as of December 31, 2021, there are 611,470 current DACA recipients in the United States.
CBP Border Data Reveals Record Number of Encounters in May
On June 14, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released official data on the number of migrants the agency had apprehended or encountered at the border in the month of May. The data showed a slight 1.7% increase in overall monthly encounters as the numbers increased to 239,416 in May from April’s total of 235,478.
The encounter data continues to be inflated by a high number of repeat crossers, with recidivism rates reported at 25%. Taking this repeat crosser rate into account, CBP reported that the total number of “unique” crossers encountered was 177,973 — a 15% increase from April. In addition, due to improved border security, CBP now apprehends a far higher percentage — approximately 82.6% — of all border crossers than in past years. As a reference point, between FY 2002 and FY 2006, CBP estimates it interdicted 35.5% of attempted border crossers.
The data also reveals the continued impact of Title 42 at the border, and the policy was used to rapidly expel migrants 100,699 times in May. The policy is primarily being used for single adults from Mexico and the Northern Triangle — this group accounted for 85,436 of all Title 42 expulsions in May, or 85%.
The slight increase in overall encounters was driven in part by a sharp increase in arriving migrants from Haiti (10,673 encounters). The month of May also saw arriving Ukrainian migrants decrease 66% to 7,243 encounters, and a decrease in arrivals from Cuban migrants for the first time in 11 months, falling 27% to 25,691 encounters.
The number of unaccompanied children arriving at the border increased May to 14,699, a 21% increase from April. According to a May 3 report, the administration has been expanding shelter space to safely house unaccompanied children as they arrive at the border.
Biden Administration Announces Terrorism-Related Exemptions For Certain Afghan Evacuees
On June 14, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department (DOS) announced terrorism-related exemptions for Afghan evacuees to apply for protection and other immigration benefits in the United States. The exemptions aim to ensure that individuals who have lived under Taliban rule and those who have fought against the Taliban are not mistakenly barred because of overly broad applications of terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds.
The new exemptions will be applied on a case-by-case basis to individuals who have undergone rigorous screening and vetting and are determined not to pose a risk to national security or public safety. Without the exemptions, evacuees may have been barred from certain status and benefits for paying their electric bill while living under Taliban rule, or for paying money to get through Taliban checkpoints officials and escape the country.
In the announcement of the policy, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated that, “These exemptions will allow eligible individuals who pose no national security or public safety risk to receive asylum, refugee status, or other legal immigration status, demonstrating the United States’ continued commitment to our Afghan allies and their family members.”
Federal Judge Blocks Biden Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Guidelines
On June 10, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement guidelines that re-prioritized enforcement efforts to focus on immigrants who are deemed national security threats, those who recently crossed the border unlawfully, and those who have been convicted of aggravated felonies or other violent crimes.
The ruling stems from an April 6 lawsuit that Texas and Louisiana filed against the federal government’s enforcement guidelines. The judge sided with the states, arguing that while the federal government has case-by-case discretion, DHS policy binds officials in a “generalized, prospective manner.” The Court’s opinion also addressed the argument of limited resources, finding that although the administration may prioritize its resources, it does not have the authority to change the law and must operate within the bounds set by Congress. The Biden administration intends to appeal the ruling.
Supreme Court Rules that Noncitizens can be Detained Indefinitely Without Bond Hearings
On June 13, the Supreme Court ruled that noncitizens seeking relief from deportation can be detained for more than six months under federal immigration law without bond hearings. The decision overturned a ruling by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that protected detained immigrants’ right to bond hearings after six months of detention. Justice Sotomayor, writing for the majority in an 8-1 ruling, argued that “there is no plausible construction of the text” in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that obligates the government to provide bond hearings after six months of detention.
However, Justice Sotomayor added that while it is not required to do so, the federal government still “possesses discretion to provide bond hearings” under the INA. The ruling could affect thousands of immigrants subject to prolonged detention while their cases are decided by the country’s backlogged immigration courts.
In a separate decision, the Supreme Court ruled that federal judges lack the authority to instruct the government to release immigrants who have been detained without hearings on a class-wide basis. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in a 6-3 ruling, argued that the INA “generally prohibits lower courts from entering injunctions that order federal officials” to grant relief to an entire class of plaintiffs. In a partial dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote that the ruling deprives detained immigrants of “meaningful opportunity to protect their rights” and that class action suits advance “judicial economy by eliminating the need for duplicative proceeding pertaining to each class member.”
Supreme Court Dismisses Case Supporting Use of “Public Charge”
On June 15, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by twelve states led by Arizona that sought to protect a 2019 Trump-era regulation known as the “public charge” rule. The public charge rule allowed federal officials to reject immigrants applying for a green card, an immigrant visa, or a temporary visa if they have previously accessed or are deemed likely to rely on certain forms of public assistance.
The rule took effect in February 2020 after the Supreme Court ruled that it was within the Trump administration’s authority to issue the regulation. However, in February 2021 President Biden revoked the rule via executive order, an order which was subsequently challenged in courts by fourteen states. On April 26, the Supreme Court rejected the states’ appeal but permitted them to continue legal challenges in the lower courts. In this instance, the case returned to the Supreme Court but was summarily “dismissed as improvidently granted.”
U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs, National Visa Center (NVC) Immigrant Visa Backlog Report, June 10, 2022
This State Department report highlights that as of May 31, 2022, there were 455,031 immigrant-visa applicants whose cases are complete and ready for interview. The report also shows that 426,486 immigrant-visa applicants are still pending the scheduling of an interview.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This explainer describes the current state of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, discussing the ongoing attempts to scale back or end the program in the courts and the current administration’s attempts to preserve the program.
This is an explainer of the DHS immigration enforcement priorities issued on September 30. The new guidance provides flexibility to DHS personnel, who are advised to balance aggravating and mitigating factors when making enforcement determinations.
This explainer highlights the elements of the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program which provide Ukrainian citizens who fleeing Russia’s aggression opportunities to come to the U.S. as parolees.
* * *
*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Arturo Castellanos-Canales, National Immigration Forum Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Arturo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.