BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022
The bill would establish an immigration court system independent from the Department of Justice. The bill would restructure the current immigration court system under Article I of the constitution. It would also allow for the appointment of temporary judges and create temporary court facilities, and it would allow immigration judges to impose fines for contempt of court.
Sponsored by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-California) (52 cosponsors— 52 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
02/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Lofgren
02/03/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
05/11/2022 Passed the House Judiciary Committee after a 24-12 vote
Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022
The bill is a funding package meant to fund the government’s ongoing response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among many other provisions, the bill would appropriate $900,000,000 to assist Ukrainian refugees and $350,000,000 to address humanitarian needs in Ukraine and other countries in the Eastern European region impacted by the situation in Ukraine. The bill would also allow Ukrainian parolees the ability to access certain resettlement benefits offered to refugees.
Sponsored by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) (0 cosponsors)
05/10/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative DeLauro
05/10/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Appropriations and on the Budget
05/10/2022 Passed by the House by a 368 – 57 vote
05/11/2022 Received in the Senate.
05/11/2022 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time.
Spc. Bishop E. Evans Border Security Act
The bill would codify and extend the implementation of Title 42 — a pandemic-era order used since March 2020 to rapidly expel arriving migrants without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum — until February 1, 2025.
Sponsored by Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania) (0 cosponsors)
05/10/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Kelly
05/10/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Judiciary
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit the availability of asylum for aliens transiting through third countries
Sponsored by Representative Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) (11 cosponsors— 11 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
05/11/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Perry
05/11/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act
The bill would create the Office of the Special Inspector General for Ukrainian Military, Economic, and Humanitarian Aid. The Office of the Inspector would conduct and supervise audits and investigations related to the programs and operations appropriated to Ukraine. Among its duties, the Office of the Inspector would monitor and review the coordination between the United States and the Government of Ukraine to support Ukrainian refugees and partners in the region.
Sponsored by Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)
05/11/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Kennedy
05/11/2022 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, May 16, 2022.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, May 16, through Thursday, May 19, 2022.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
House Passes Ukraine Aid Package
On May 10, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 368-57 to pass the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, a bill that would provide nearly $40 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian aid to respond to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The bill would provide Ukrainians who are resettled in the U.S. under parole — whether after arriving at the border or through the recently created Uniting for Ukraine private sponsorship program — access to certain resettlement benefits typically offered to refugees. The bill would also appropriate $900,000,000 to assist Ukrainian refugees and parolees who have resettled in the U.S. and $350,000,000 to address humanitarian needs and assist refugees in and from Ukraine.
The administration had initially sent a request to Congress for additional Ukraine funding on April 28, but the package was initially held up over disagreement over whether to combine it with a COVID-19 funding deal. The COVID-19 deal has been stalled for weeks as Republican leaders have signaled they intend to only let it move if they can force an amendment vote codifying the controversial Title 42 border policy. Ultimately, House and Senate leaders reached an agreement to move the Ukraine package independently — leaving the COVID-19 funding issue still to be resolved.
The administration’s initial request for Ukraine funding also included provisions that would provide a pathway to permanent status to Afghan evacuees who have been resettled in the U.S. under parole and currently have no clear option to stay in the country. Despite bipartisan support for these provisions, they were not ultimately included in the version of the bill that passed the House.
The bill is now under consideration in the Senate and appears likely to pass the week of May 16.
Biden Administration Disbands CBP’s Critical Incident Teams Amid Internal Investigations
On May 3, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus announced that Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (CITs) would be disbanded by October 1, 2022. CITs have been used by Border Patrol for decades, with responsibilities that include collecting evidence for CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which handles most inquiries into agent misconduct. Advocates and others have questioned the level of independence and accountability present during these investigations when Border Patrol is, in essence, investigating itself.
In the announcement, Commissioner Magnus stated that OPR would assume full responsibility for the critical incident response function utilizing its own assigned personnel. He stressed that the decision was made “to ensure our agency achieves the highest levels of accountability” and that “all reviews and investigations are conducted by personnel with appropriate expertise, training, and oversight.”
Report Shows Large-Scale ICE Surveillance Infrastructure
On May 10, a report published by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology revealed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is operating a surveillance infrastructure that enables the agency to access extensive personal information of individuals it is investigating. The report highlights that ICE has amassed personal data from the vast majority of people living in the country by accessing the digital records of state and local governments and buying databases with billions of data points from private companies. The report estimates that the agency has spent approximately $2.8 billion between 2008 and 2021 on new surveillance, data collection, and data-sharing initiatives.
The report highlights that ICE uses facial recognition technology to search through the driver’s license photographs of around 32% of all adults in the U.S. According to the report, the agency has access to the driver’s license data of 3 in 4 adults and tracks the movements of cars in cities home to 70% of adults in the nation. Additionally, the report notes that when 74% of adults in the U.S. connected the gas, electricity, phone, or internet in a new home, ICE was able to learn their new address automatically.
Far-Right Vigilantes Intercept Migrant Children at the Southern Border
According to a May 9 New York Times report, some far-right activists — driven by an unfounded conspiracy theory called Qanon — are intercepting migrant children at the southern border and collecting information about their families. The report notes that some QAnon influencers have become vigilantes to protect migrant kids from the baseless theory that migrant children are allowed to cross the border in order to be funneled into pedophilia rings around the United States.
The federal government has long had concerns that unaccompanied migrant children could be vulnerable to criminal exploitation. Hence, it has adopted significant statutory and regulatory vetting procedures designed to ensure that migrant children are screened for trafficking and released only to sponsors who are family members or those who have legitimate connections to them. According to groups that monitor and combat trafficking, it is rare that minors are crossing the southern border as part of sex-trafficking schemes.
US District Court Hears Case on Title 42, Extends Temporary Restraining Order
On May 13, a federal judge in Louisiana heard arguments over whether the Biden administration can end the use of Title 42 at the border. After the hearings, the judge extended a temporary restraining order that prevents the Biden administration from phasing out the use of Title 42 before May 23, the date on which the policy is currently set to expire. The judge did not rule on the request for a permanent injunction but announced he planned to do so before May 23. 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.
The case Louisiana et al. v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention et al. stems from a lawsuit filed by Louisiana, Arizona, and Missouri that sought an injunction against the lifting of Title 42. The states also requested a temporary restraining order preventing the government from beginning to phase out the policy while the court was still considering the case. In their lawsuit, the states said there were indications that certain migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador were already being exempted from Title 42 expulsions.
The Department of Homeland Security agreed in its response to the motion that it had begun processing some migrants from Central America — about 14 percent during a recent one-week stretch — under pre-pandemic guidelines. However, the agency stated that the migrants in question were being placed in expedited removal proceedings.
In Dispute Over MPP, Agreement that Supreme Court Has Jurisdiction
On May 9, the Biden administration and Republican officials representing the states of Texas and Missouri filed briefs in which they agreed that the Supreme Court has the authority to settle the dispute over the termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as Remain in Mexico. Their briefs were submitted after oral arguments and an instruction from the Justices to provide an answer as to whether the SCOTUS has the jurisdiction to consider the merits of the case.
The case, Biden v. Texas, revolves around whether the Biden administration may end MPP. Texas and Missouri — the states challenging the decision to end the policy — argue that the Biden administration (and several prior administrations) is statutorily required to implement MPP as long as it does not have the capacity to detain all arriving migrants.
Also, on May 9, eighteen states led by Indiana filed an amicus brief before the SCOTUS in support of preventing the Biden administration from ending MPP. The states that submitted the amicus brief are Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
State & Local
Arizona Joins Texas in Sending Buses Carrying Migrants to Washington, DC
On May 12, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey sent a state-financed bus carrying 20 asylum seekers from Yuma, AZ, to Washington, D.C. A spokesperson for Governor Ducey said that the decision to bus migrants came in response to the CDC’s April 1 announcement that it intended to end the use of the Title 42 public health policy on May 23. The spokesperson also announced that the state plans to finance between two and three trips per week, depending on participation rates.
Ducey’s government did not provide details of how much the trips would cost the state, saying it would depend on how many people wanted to participate. Arizona’s government, however, promised to cover the costs but would seek reimbursement from the White House.
The migrants have been welcomed by D.C.-based NGOs and put onto other buses and trains towards their actual destinations.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This updated resource provides policy recommendations that would create more humane and efficient border processing, refocus on regional approaches that combat trafficking networks and address the root causes of migration, and enact practical border security fixes that address key remaining vulnerabilities.
This resource explains the elements of the Uniting for Ukraine program, launched by the Biden administration on April 21, to provide Ukrainian citizens who have fled Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression opportunities to come to the U.S.
This explainer provides more information about the Title 42 border policy, its impact on the border, and what will happen when the policy is lifted on May 23.
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*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.