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Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 9, 2023

Welcome to the National Immigration Forum’s weekly bulletin! Every Friday, our policy team rounds up key developments around immigration policy in Washington and across the country. The bulletin includes items on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, as well as some coverage at the state and local levels.


Immigration policy is a dynamic field subject to constant change. Here, we summarize some of the most important recent developments in immigration policy on the federal, legal, state, and local levels.

Content warning: This section sometimes includes events and information that can prove disturbing.


Mexican Asylum System Under Pressure Amid U.S. Border Restrictions

On June 6, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that irregular migrant entries between official ports along the United States’ southwest border had dropped by more than 70% since the end of the Title 42 public health order on May 11.

Yet across the border in Mexico, the U.S.’s newest migration-related restrictions have been contributing to serious operational and humanitarian challenges. Shelters are well over capacity, the Mexican asylum system is under immense pressure, and people are suffering as they try to parse confusion over how the U.S.’s byzantine and shifting immigration rules could affect their futures.

At CAFEMIN, a shelter in Mexico City, over 500 migrants have squeezed into a facility meant to hold a fifth of that number. Other shelters in Mexico’s capital and beyond are similarly struggling to keep up with demand, with basic necessities around food, water, and hygiene in short supply.

“The United States is transferring responsibility for people to Mexico,” Melissa Vértiz from the nongovernmental Migration Policy Working Group told NPR. “But the Mexican government has only received people without necessarily creating the conditions that allow them to stay.”

Amid new limits on asylum and tougher consequences for crossing without authorization at the U.S.’s southern border, large numbers of migrants are now applying for protection in Mexico, where officials expect a record 140,000 asylum applications this year.

But many other vulnerable people are only waiting in Mexico for an opportunity to enter the U.S., and they’re deeply frustrated by the U.S. government’s controversial CBP One phone application — a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s plan to redirect asylum seekers to ports of entry with a pre-scheduled appointment.

Federal officials have announced major changes to the app in hopes of improving access, and they’ve expanded appointment availability in recent days. But asylum seekers are still tired of waiting indefinitely in Mexico, where they’re targeted for crime and violence, and where they are struggling to find shelter.

Despite these warning signs from the U.S., Mexico has also decided to debut its own processing app, called a “pre-registration system.” Through the app, which will reportedly be rolled out first in Mexico City, asylum seekers can go online to express their intent to claim protection.

“You shouldn’t have to schedule an appointment when you’re running for your life,” Kica Matos, president of the National Immigration Law Center, told CNN. “The CBP One app is a logistical and humanitarian failure that should not be replicated by Mexico or any other country.”

U.S. Resettles Almost 7,000 Refugees in May

The United States resettled 6,975 refugees in May, a 9% increase over the 6,394 refugees resettled in March — a promising sign for the U.S. refugee program.

Eight months into fiscal year 2023, the U.S. has resettled 31,797 refugees out of President Joe Biden’s annual determination of 125,000. If officials were to resettle 6,975 refugees for the next four months, the U.S. would welcome 59,697 refugees in fiscal year 2023 — a major improvement over the past five years, but still far short of the cap set by the Biden administration.

To achieve the goal of 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2023, the U.S. would now need to resettle 23,300 refugees every month for the next four months. Historically the last month or two of the fiscal year sees the highest number of refugee arrivals, so it is possible the U.S. could resettle over 60,000 refugees in FY 2023 — nearly half of the presidential ceiling.

Tae Johnson Retiring From ICE at End of June

On June 5, Tae Johnson, Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director, announced he would retire at the end of the month.

Johnson has spent a career spanning over three decades at ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recognized Johnson for his service, crediting him with helping to “transform the organizational culture of ICE by focusing its resources on public safety and national security.”

“I have personally benefited from his frank assessments, solid judgment, and his deep expertise drawn from decades of experience,” Mayorkas said.

Johnson’s retirement announcement closely follows that of another veteran immigration official now in leadership, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.

ICE has been without a permanent director since 2017. President Joe Biden’s nominee for the position, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, withdrew his candidacy last year after lengthy delays around a Senate confirmation vote.

State and Local

Florida Sends Two Charter Flights With Three Dozen Migrants From Texas to California 

On June 5, Florida officials coordinated two charter flights from El Paso, TX, to Sacramento, CA, transporting three dozen migrants. Several reports noted the migrants were coerced into boarding the flights with false promises of open jobs and a lack of clarity about where they would be arriving.

A spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said that the migrants — most of whom were from Colombia or Venezuela originally — gave both verbal and written consent for the transports. But California officials said the noncitizens were in fact misled by false promises of employment.

“It was a lie,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. “It was false. You can’t consent based on deception.” Bonta said earlier this week that he is investigating whether the migrants flown to Sacramento were part of a “scheme” and signaled that his probe could result in “civil or criminal actions against the state of Florida or any of its employees or officials, as well as the private vendors that were hired by the state of Florida.”

For his part, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) tried to justify his administration’s actions during a surprise appearance at Arizona’s southern border on Wednesday by blaming California and other sanctuary jurisdictions for causing issues at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, migrant families are fleeing the state in response to a recently-passed sweeping, anti-immigration bill. Among other things, the new law criminalizes the transport of an undocumented person into the state, including relatives and acquaintances. It also includes a requirement that businesses with 25 employees or more utilize E-Verify–a program that tracks whether individuals are legally authorized to work in the U.S., invalidates the use of driver licenses issued by other states to undocumented immigrants, and that hospitals collect information regarding immigration status on their intake forms.

Now, facing the backlash of the new law and losing valuable migrant workers amid a labor shortage, Florida republicans spoke at an event in Hialeah to try to diminish concerns regarding the impact of the law. GOP Republican Rick Roth states, “[t]his bill is 100 percent supposed to scare you, I’m a farmer and the farmers are mad as hell. We are losing employees that are already starting to move to Georgia and other states.”

New York City to Receive Over $104M in FEMA Funding

On June 7, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced over $104 million dollars for New York City to help provide shelter and services to asylum seekers. Since last spring, over 72,000 migrants have passed through the city, where more than 44,000 asylum-seekers are currently relying on shelter services.

Amid these increased arrivals, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has called on the federal government to provide additional resources to respond to mounting pressures on the city’s infrastructure. Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul (D-New York) have also asked to expedite the work permits of asylum seekers – who are forced to wait over 150 days before becoming eligible for employment authorization – to fill critical labor shortages across the state.

Meanwhile, a growing number of legal challenges are also compromising New York City’s ability to respond to the needs of asylum seekers there. On May 9, ahead of an anticipated uptick in arrivals after the end of the Title 42 public health order, Governor Hochul declared a statewide emergency, granting New York City the authority to move migrants outside its borders. But many counties in the state issued executive orders blocking the movement of migrants into their communities.

Over 30 counties in suburban and upstate New York have sued the city over bussing asylum seekers to their jurisdictions. These counties claim that housing migrants pose a serious threat to public safety and have issued executive orders to halt the movement of migrants there.

Now, Adams has responded to these lawsuits and executive orders with his own court challenge, claiming that the counties are acting unlawfully.

Adams says that his suit “aims to put an end to this xenophobic bigotry and ensure our state acts as one as we work together to manage this humanitarian crisis fairly and humanely.”


It can be challenging to keep up with the constant barrage of proposed legislation in Congress. So, every week, we round up new bills here. This list includes federal legislative proposals that have recently been introduced and that are relevant to immigration policy.

S. 1822

A bill to require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to expand the use of non-intrusive inspection systems at land ports of entry

Sponsored by Sen. Gary C. Peters (D-Michigan) (1 cosponsor — 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

06/06/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Sen. Gary C. Peters

06/06/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

S. 1857

A bill to statutorily establish Operation Stonegarden, through which eligible law enforcement agencies shall be awarded grants for border security enhancement

Sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) (1 cosponsor — 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

06/07/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jon Tester

06/07/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee the Judiciary

S. 1885

A bill to eliminate employment-based visa caps on abused, abandoned, and neglected children eligible for humanitarian status

Sponsored by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) (0 cosponsors)

06/08/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cortez Masto

06/08/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee the Judiciary

S. 1887

A bill to provide visa availability for the Government Employee Immigrant Visa program

Sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) (1 cosponsor — 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

06/08/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Sen. Van Hollen

06/08/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee the Judiciary

H.R. 3808

To amend the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009 to authorize additional special immigrant visas, to require a strategy for efficient processing, and to establish designated senior special immigrant visa coordinating officials

Sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado) (2 cosponsors — 1 Republican, 1 Democrat)

06/05/2023 Introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Crow

06/05/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3919

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit the ability to take into account the mental health of an applicant for asylum

Sponsored by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) (4 cosponsors — 4 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/07/2023 Introduced in the House by Rep. Troy Nehls

06/07/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3920

To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of certain aliens

Sponsored by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) (4 cosponsors — 4 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/07/2023 Introduced in the House by Rep. Troy Nehls

06/07/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3929

To amend title 40, United States Code, to include Wyoming County in the region covered by the Northern Border Regional Commission

Sponsored by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New York) (0 cosponsors)

06/07/2023 Introduced in the House by Rep. Claudia Tenney

06/07/2023 Referred to the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Financial Services


The U.S. Senate will be in session from Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16, 2023.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session Monday, June 12 through Thursday, June 15, 2023.


Here, we round up congressional hearings and markups happening in the field or in Washington.

Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Health and Human Services

Date: Tuesday, June 13 at 10:15 a.m. EST (House Committee on Education and the Workforce)

Location: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.


The Honorable Xavier Becerra, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Unaccompanied Children

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. EST (Senate Committee on the Judiciary)

Location: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Witnesses: TBA

Business Meeting

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. EST (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)

Location: Senate Dirksen Building, SD-562, Washington, D.C.

Bills: S.1253, S.1444, S.1560, S.1798. S.1822, S.1835. S.61, S.820


Reports by bodies such as the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General provide invaluable information on immigration policy and practice. Here, we give brief summaries of new immigration-related reports, with links to the resources themselves in case you want to learn more.

Congressional Research Service (CRS); Department of Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2023 Provisions; June 2, 2023

This report analyzes substantive changes made to administrative and general provisions in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2023.


The Forum is constantly publishing new policy-focused resources that engage with some of the most topical issues around immigration today. Here are a few that are particularly relevant this week:

Statement for the Record U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on “The Biden Border Crisis: Part III” — May 23, 2023

This Statement for the Record explores the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a symptom of our country’s larger broken immigration system, with an eye toward solutions.

Eliminating the Naturalization Backlog

This report provides a general overview and analysis of USCIS naturalization backlogs looking at historic trends, contributing factors, and staffing levels, as well as examining USCIS’s record on responding to past backlogs. It concludes by providing proposals to make the processing of naturalization applications more efficient and setting a goal to timely reduce and eliminate the naturalization backlog.

The Implications of the Biden Asylum Rule in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Northern Triangle Nations

This paper analyzes the implications of the Biden asylum rule in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Northern Triangle nations. It highlights that the asylum systems in these countries are already overstretched and underfunded. We argue that these countries do not represent efficient, functional, and viable alternatives for migrants to seek asylum.

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