BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
African Diaspora Heritage Month Act of 2022
The bill would designate September as the African Diaspora Heritage Month.
Sponsored by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) (6 cosponsors— 6 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
09/29/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Kaine
09/29/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
H-2A Reform Act of 2022
The bill would require the Secretary of Labor to issue the necessary regulations to establish that the adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) shall be the difference of the amount between 125% of the federal minimum wage required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the value of any other benefit provided to the immigrant. The AEWR is the rate that the Department has determined is necessary to ensure the employment of H-2A foreign workers will not have an adverse effect on the wages of agricultural workers in the United States similarly employed.
Sponsored by Representative Michelle Fischbach (R-Minnesota) (0 cosponsors)
09/30/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Fischbach
09/30/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Haiti Criminal Collusion Transparency Act of 2022
Among various other provisions, the bill would prohibit the issuance of visas to economic and political elites in Haiti who have ties with criminal gangs.
Sponsored by Representative Val Butler Demings (D-Florida) (3 cosponsors— 3 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
10/07/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Demings
10/07/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary
To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve the academic achievement of English learners and immigrant children and youth
Sponsored by Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) (0 cosponsors)
10/11/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Espaillat
10/11/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Educaction and Labor
To reimburse the State of Texas for Operation Lone Star
The bill would require the federal government to reimburse the State of Texas for the expenses incurred in fiscal years (FYs) 2021 and 2022 while carrying out Operation Lone Star. Operation Lone Star is a state initiative launched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in March 2021 in response to rising border crossings.
Sponsored by Representative August Pfluger (R-Texas) (0 cosponsors)
10/11/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Pfluger
10/11/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security
Case Backlog and Transparency Act of 2022
The bill would require DHS to submit to designated Congressional committees a report on backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The report would be required to identify the number of pending immigration benefit applications, describe the active suspense categories and the number of cases pending in each category, and list the average processing time for each type of immigration benefit application.
Sponsored by Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-California) (0 cosponsors)
10/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Cárdenas
10/25/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Border Patrol First Act
The bill would require the Department of State to transfer $240 million dollars, out of the balance appropriated for refugee and migration assistance in Central America, to DHS. In turn, DHS would be required to use that funding for CBP programs and activities, and to reimburse Texas and Arizona for projects conducted by such States relating to securing the southern border of the United States.
Sponsored by Representative Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) (0 cosponsors)
10/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Van Duyne
10/25/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session the week of Monday, October 31, 2022.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
There are no immigration-related hearings scheduled for the week of Monday, October 31, 2022.
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
FY 2022 Border Data Reveals High Encounter Numbers as Demographics Shift
On October 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released data regarding migrant border encounters for the month of September and for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. Per the data, CBP recorded a record 2.4 million encounters – a 37% jump from the 1.7 million recorded in FY 2021. The encounter data does not represent a record number of overall irregular border crossing, as higher repeat-crossing rates and a lower rate of “got-aways” than past years means FY 2022 totals remain below several peak border crossing years in the early 2000s.
The border data confirmed CBP’s continued implementation of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy used to rapidly expel arriving migrants without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum under U.S. law. The FY 2022 data shows over one million migrants were expelled under Title 42 for the second straight year.
There were about 183,000 unique border encounters in September alone, a 15% increase from August. This was propelled mostly by the high number of immigrants fleeing authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, making up about 77,000 of the total number. Through the whole fiscal year, migration from these three countries outpaced migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, reflecting a broader demographic shift at the border. However, with the recent expansion of Title 42 to Venezuelans, preliminary October data reveals a decline in Venezuelan arrivals.
Meanwhile, Cubans have continued to seek other means of entry than the Southwest border. CBP reported 6,182 Cubans were encountered at sea in FY 2022, and the numbers have been increasing recently. Since the start of October, 921 Cubans have been intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard, already setting a pace that would eclipse the total from FY 2022.
Biden Administration Has Expelled Over 5,300 Venezuelan Migrants as First Parolees Arrive
On October 27, the United Nations reported that since October 12, the Biden Administration had expelled more than 5,300 Venezuelans to Mexico under Title 42. The high number of expulsions results from the recent U.S.-Mexico agreement to expand Title 42 expulsions to Venezuelan asylum seekers who arrive at the border.
Title 42 is a pandemic-era order that both the Trump and Biden administrations have been using to rapidly expel arriving migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum under U.S. law. Before the U.S.-Mexico agreement, Venezuelan asylum seekers were among the nationalities exempted from Title 42, partly because Mexico had refused to accept them. However, per the agreement, Mexico has now agreed to accept up to 1,000 expelled Venezuelan migrants each day.
On October 21, in response to the increased number of expulsions of Venezuelans under Title 42, twenty-two members of Congress — led by Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) — sent a letter to President Biden expressing their “profound disappointment” and urging him to stop Title 42 expulsions. In their view, Title 42 violates domestic and international law and poses a danger to the lives of asylum seekers.
DHS also reported the arrival of the first Venezuelan beneficiaries of the recently announced private sponsorship parole program, that will allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to access temporary protections in the U.S. Advocates have raised concerns that the restrictive eligibility requirements of the parole program mean it will not serve as a real alternative to irregular migration.
This month, the United Nations reported that since the start of the political and economic crisis in Venezuela in 2015, more than 7.1 million Venezuelans have been living as refugees and forced migrants around the world. More than 80% of those who have left Venezuela are living in Latin America and the Caribbean, where — according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) — some 4.3 million are facing challenges accessing food, housing, and stable employment.
Mexico’s Government Officially Ends MPP Agreement With the United States
On October 25, Mexico’s government announced the end of the country’s collaboration with the United States regarding the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. The announcement came one day before the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the Mexican government had failed to publish the guidelines under which migrants expelled under MPP would be received and protected in the country. The ruling — now largely ineffective because the policy is no longer in use at the border — forces Mexican authorities to publish those guidelines without delay.
Both the court’s ruling and the Mexican government’s announcement came almost three months after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would end the Remain in Mexico program. MPP, which the Trump administration implemented in 2019, forced more than 70,000 non-Mexican nationals arriving by land from Mexico to await the results of their removal proceedings in Mexico. The Biden administration stopped enrollment in MPP in June 2021. However, on August 13, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the termination of MPP violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Hence, in compliance with court orders, the Biden administration resumed the implementation of MPP on December 6.
On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government is not required to implement MPP and the policy can be lawfully ended. The case was sent back to the lower courts, and on August 8, a U.S. District Judge lifted his injunction blocking Biden officials from ending the program.
Survey Reveals Support for Path to Citizenship, Decrease in Support for Great Replacement Conspiracy Theory
According to a survey released on October 27 by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), 57% of Americans believe undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should be given a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. The survey noted that support for a pathway to citizenship has remained consistent since 2013, with a peak of 67% in 2019.
The survey also revealed that the percentage of Americans who agree with the statement “immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background” has declined to 30% in 2022 from 36% in 2019. The survey reported that 64% of Americans disagreed with the statement, which is representative of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Americans who are immigrants or who know someone who is an immigrant were significantly less likely to agree with the theory.
Secretary of Labor Warns of ‘Catastrophe’ Resulting from Failure to Pass Immigration Reforms
On October 25, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh emphasized the importance of immigration reform for the national workforce and stated that without it, a “bigger catastrophe” than a recession or inflation is coming. His warning referenced concerning demographic trends in the U.S. labor market. For instance, the U.S. population is aging rapidly, fertility rates are falling, and net immigration levels are not high enough to keep pace. In addition, a projected peak in high school graduates in 2025 threatens to limit the total size of the next-generation labor pool and the transfer of knowledge between generations of workers.
According to Secretary Walsh, removing barriers for immigrant workers to join the U.S. labor force is a critical solution to tackle imminent labor shortages. Secretary Walsh, however, expressed concern over the political parties’ split approach to immigration and the lack of bipartisan coordination. He also pointed to businesses’ support for immigration reform, noting that such reform — specifically, creating better pathways to obtaining visas and citizenship — is supported by business owners across the country with whom he has spoken.
Among the most affected industries due to labor shortages, agriculture — which relies on a large immigrant workforce (73%) — is currently at least a couple of million workers short, according to Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford. Hence, this week, agricultural business leaders increased advocacy efforts for Congress to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Among many other provisions, the bill would create a pathway to legalization for unauthorized farmworkers and modernize the existing H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program.
TPS Negotiations Fail, Leaving Over 337,000 Beneficiaries in Limbo
After a year of unsuccessful negotiations in the case Ramos v. Nielsen, settlement talks between the Biden administration and attorneys for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders ended without resolution on October 25. The case 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.
After this request, negotiations with the Biden administration began in efforts to settle the case out of court. The administration redesignated TPS for Haiti and Sudan but has thus far refused to do so for Nepal, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Now, the 9th Circuit must decide whether to rehear the case. If it denies this request for rehearing by November 30, 2022, TPS for these 4 countries will expire on December 31, 2022, subjecting over 337,000 TPS holders, including those with U.S. citizen children, to potential deportation. If the court agrees to accept the case before November 30, TPS for these countries will be renewed for 9 months.
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.
Congressional Research Service (CRS); The Biden Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Priorities: Background and Legal Considerations; October 21, 2022
This CRS legal sidebar provides an overview of the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement priorities, as reflected in DHS’s new immigration enforcement guidelines, and the legal considerations that they raise.
Congressional Research Service (CRS); Ukrainian Eligibility for Selected Benefits Based on Immigration Status: In Brief; October 21, 2022
This CRS brief provides an overview of the eligibility for public benefit programs, work authorization, and path to LPR status for Ukrainian refugees, asylees, parolees, and TPS recipients.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
The fact sheet describes and visualizes the changing dynamics at the border — particularly concerning the increasing number of arriving Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Colombians. It also discusses the policy implications of these changes.
This explainer describes the elements, policies, likely impact, and some concerns related to the recent Venezuela Parole Program and Title 42 expansion to Venezuelans.
The bill consists of three key platforms: (1) It would create a pathway to legalization for current unauthorized agricultural workers, including an eventual option to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). (2) It would reform and modernize the existing H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program. And (3), it would require all agriculture employers to implement a reformed “E-Verify” program to ensure their workers are authorized.
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*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Arturo Castellanos-Canales, Senior 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.