BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Exception for Certain Bars to Admissibility Relating to Previous Unlawful Entry as Children Act
The bill would exclude foreign nationals under 11 years of age from the ten-year ban to re-enter the United States. The ten-year ban applies to individuals who have accrued more than a year of unlawful presence in the United States. If they leave the country, they are unable to re-enter for ten years.
Sponsored by Representative Al Green (D-Texas) (0 cosponsors)
11/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Green
11/03/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Justice for Victims of Open Borders Act of 2022
The bill would reform grant disbursements through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) so that states must prioritize victims of violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
Sponsored by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) (3 cosponsors— 3 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
11/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Green
11/03/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Ritchie Boys Congressional Gold Medal Act
The bill would require the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the “Ritchie Boys,” a group of 15,200 military intelligence service officers who played a pivotal role in helping the Allied Powers win World War II. Approximately 2,200 of the Ritchie Boys were Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria.
Sponsored by Representative David Trone (D-Maryland) (0 cosponsors)
11/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Trone
11/03/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Financial Services and House Administration
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 2:30 pm E.T. (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)
Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
Karina Cisneros Preciado, Former Detainee at Irwin County Detention Center
Margaret G. Mueller, MD, Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern Medicine
Peter H. Cherouny, MD, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services, University of Vermont College of Medicine
Stewart D. Smith, DHSc, Assistant Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Pamela Hearn, MD, Medical Director, LaSalle Corrections
The Honorable Joseph V. Cuffari, PhD, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
Midterm Election Results Spark Opportunities for Bipartisan Immigration Solutions
On November 8, millions of Americans participated in the midterm elections to vote for 470 seats in the U.S. Congress — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats — 12 governorships and hundreds of state legislature seats. Votes are still being counted, and the outcome of the elections concerning control of the House and Senate remain unclear as of November 11.
The election results sparked reactions from members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, including several comments that touched on immigration reform. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), in a November 10 Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal recapping the results, recognized the importance of tackling inflation — the top concern for voters, per polls — by “increasing legal immigration and expanding the number of work visas in sectors that face worker shortages.” He also noted that the U.S. needs “at least a million legal immigrants per year to keep the population from declining.” In addition, Senator Romney pointed out that besides increasing immigration, the country needs to fix the problems at the border through a bipartisan deal. Similarly, as results were coming in on November 8, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-North Carolina) expressed his desire to work with the Biden administration to find solutions at the border.
In Texas, Arizona, and Florida — states whose governors have controversially defied federal authority over immigration enforcement laws, notably transporting migrants across states — the elections for governor saw Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) reelected for four more years. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey (R-Arizona) was unable to run for reelection due to term limits, and the race for his replacement remains too close to call.
The election cycle contineus. However, immigration advocates and employers across fields are calling for some targeted reforms to get through Congress in the upcoming lame-duck session. Among the measures that they hope to see through before the end of the year, solutions for Dreamers, immigrant farmworkers, and Afghan evacuees top their list.
Biden Administration Extends TPS for Current Haitian, Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Sudanese, Honduran, and Nepalese Beneficiaries
On November 10, the Biden administration announced the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for beneficiaries of Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal through June 30, 2024. The extension — set for November 16 — was announced 15 days after negotiations between the Biden administration and attorneys for TPS holders in the case Ramos v. Nielsen ended without resolution on October 25. The failed negotiations threatened to leave over 337,000 TPS holders, including those with U.S. citizen children, to potential deportation by December 31, when TPS for these countries was set to expire. However, the extension means their status will no longer expire at the end of the year.
The announcement was unlike typical TPS extensions, and instead refrred to as a “litigation compliance notice” that extends TPS “while the injunction in Ramos and Bhattarrai remains in effect.” The extension will only apply to those affected by the lawsuit, meaning some Haitian and Sudanese TPS recipients who received protection after recent Biden administration redesignations are not eligible.
The case Ramos v. Nielsen has its origins in 2018, when the Trump administration attempted to end TPS for several countries, arguing that the emergencies that motivated their original designations had ended and the countries no longer warranted renewals of the protective status. TPS holders sued the administration in 2018, and a California federal district judge blocked the termination, holding it unlawful. But three judges on the 9th Circuit reversed this decision in 2020, prompting plaintiffs to request a rehearing in front of additional 9th Circuit judges.
The Department of Homeland Security can designate a country for TPS if the country faces a severe ongoing emergency such as a natural disaster or war. If migrants from that country were already physically present in the U.S. before the designation date, TPS grants them short-term protection from deportation (usually 12-18 months). 15 countries are currently designated for TPS, with some designations having been continuously renewed since the 1990s.
High-Ranking Biden Administration Officials Travel to Havana to Discuss Solutions For Migration Crisis
On November 9, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter, and Immigration Services Director, Ur Jaddou, traveled to Cuba to speak with Cuban officials about the current migration crisis stemming from the island nation. The primary goal of this meeting was to discuss the full resumption of immigrant visa processing in January 2023, as well as the recent resumption of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP). As the success of each of these programs would require the American Embassy to reopen in Havana to handle processing, the meeting also served as an attempt to repair relations between the United States and Cuba to better handle the crisis.
In fiscal year 2022, over 220,000 Cubans were detained at the U.S. border with Mexico, far more than the previous record for Cuban encounters. Moreover, since October 1, roughly 1,600 Cubans were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard in attempts to travel by sea. Sea travel in particular, has been a point of tension as of late due to a recent incident in Bahía Honda where a U.S. Coast Guard ship allegedly rammed into a makeshift speedboat, killing 7 passengers, including a 2-year-old child. The administration’s hope is that reopening the embassy and resuming both visa processing and the CFRP will lead to a safer, more secure pathway for Cubans to relocate into the United States.
600 Migrants Released in El Paso as Busing Stops and Holding Facilities Reach Capacity
Between November 4 and 6, 600 migrants were provisionally released from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody in El Paso, Texas. These migrants originated mostly from Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Notably missing from the mix was Venezuela, as Venezuelans are now subject to immediate expulsion to Mexico under Title 42. According to CBP, the migrants were released to Tornado Bus Company in downtown El Paso. The station agreed to arrange transportation for those with the funds to purchase their own fares. For migrants without the money to leave El Paso, the city was previously chartering buses to New York and Chicago – separate from the busing efforts of Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas). El Paso bused over 10,000 migrants to New York, coordinating the arrivals with the New York City Mayor’s Office beforehand. However, the city ended this busing program on October 20 due to lack of federal funding. It is currently waiting on a $7 million reimbursement from the federal government for this program.
Migrants without the money to leave El Paso and now without the opportunity to board a taxpayer-funded bus to New York or Chicago are left to federal holding facilities and local shelters. But government and nonprofit facilities alike are at capacity, forcing some of the migrants to sleep on the street.
U.S. Commemorates Veterans, Including Noncitizens
On November 7, President Biden proclaimed November 11 as Veterans Day to recognize the valor, courage, and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including immigrants and foreign born citizens. In commemoration of the holiday, the Biden administration held 50 naturalization ceremonies across the country where more than 3,900 naturalization candidates, including members of the U.S military, veterans, and their families took the Oath of Allegiance.
According to recent data, over 700,000 foreign-born veterans live in the United States, out of which 94,000 do not have U.S. citizenship. Unfortunately, many of those noncitizen veterans face deportation. While the numbers of removal proceedings are not clear, a 2019 Government Accountability Office report found that 250 noncitizen veterans were under deportation threat between 2013 and 2018 — 92 of them were ultimately deported. In addition, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 veterans have been deported over time.
Recent estimations suggest that there are about 45,000 immigrants actively serving in the military. To join the U.S. military, noncitizens must be permanent residents — green card holders — have permission to work in the United States, have obtained a high school diploma, and speak English. Currently, there are a number of bills in Congress aimed at protecting noncitizen veterans from deportation. Also, the Biden administration has begun efforts to help deported veterans and their families.
USCIS Announces Online Filing for Asylum Applications
On November 9, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of online filing for asylum applications. According to USCIS Director Ur Jaddou, the new measure aims to minimize the reliance on paper records and make the agency’s operations more efficient and effective. The measure comes amid a record-high backlog of almost 9 million pending cases of USCIS according to the latest report by the agency.
According to the announcement, during fiscal year 2021, USCIS received more than 8.8 million requests for immigration benefits, out of which 1.21 million were filed online. That number represents a 2.3% increase from the 1.18 million filed in FY 2020.
DHS Announces List of Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs
On November 9, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the coming year. The list of 88 countries now includes the Kingdom of Eswatini — this year’s only addition.
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. The H-2B, on the other hand, permits employers to hire nonimmigrants to perform temporary nonagricultural services in the United States.
State and Local
Massachusetts Voters Keep Recent Law that Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s License
On November 8, Massachusetts voters voted to keep a new law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses. The law, titled the Work and Family Mobility Act, was passed in June after the Democrat-controlled Massachusetts House and Senate overrode a veto by Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts). In a last effort to repeal the law, some Republican lawmakers submitted the law to a referendum, but voters decided to uphold it 54% to 46%.
Under the new law, undocumented immigrants can apply for a driver’s license using a foreign passport or consular identification document, combined with one of five additional documents. The law prohibits registrars at the Registry of Motor Vehicles from inquiring about an applicant’s immigration status and authorizes them to verify the identity and date of birth of an applicant using those documents. The new law, which will take effect July 1, 2023, is expected to benefit over 200,000 undocumented immigrants. Massachusetts now joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing undocumented immigrants to access driver’s licenses.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This explainer describes the elements, policies, likely impact, and some concerns of the Venezuela Parole Program and Title 42 expansion to Venezuelans.
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.
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.
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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 email@example.com. Thank you.