BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023
The bill extends government funding through December 16. Concerning immigration provisions, the bill allocates $3 additional billion to support Operation Allies Welcome to help resettle Afghan refugees in the United States. In addition, the bill provides $1.7 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to support refugees, unaccompanied children, and other humanitarian entrants. Moreover, the bill also extends authorization for the same refugee benefits provided to Afghans granted parole through fiscal year 2022.
Sponsored by Representative Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) (31 cosponsors— 31 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
02/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Craig as Affordable Insulin Now Act. Later, the bill would become the vehicle for the continuing resolution.
02/25/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor.
03/31/2022 Passed the House by a 232 – 193 vote
09/29/2022 Passed the Senate with amendments by a 72-25 vote
09/30/2022 Passed the House of Representatives
09/30/2022 Signed by the President
Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act
The bill would prevent the detention and removal of immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos who entered the United States before January 1, 2008, and have continuously resided in the country since then. The bill would also grant employment authorization to the immigrants described above for a period of five years, renewable for any number of times.
Sponsored by Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-California) (18 cosponsors— 18 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
09/20/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Lowenthal
09/20/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Ending Catch and Release Act of 2022
Sponsored by Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) (13 cosponsors— 13 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
09/22/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Biggs
09/22/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Strengthening Entry Visa Enforcement and Restrictions (SEVER) Act of 2022
The bill would prevent Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi from entering the United States. This is a companion bill of H.R. 8869.
Sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (6 cosponsors— 6 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
09/14/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cruz
09/14/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Empowering States to Deport Illegal Immigrants Act
The bill would authorize states to enforce federal immigration laws, including detention and deportation of foreign nationals.
Sponsored by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) (0 cosponsors)
09/27/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Hawley
09/27/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929
The bill would update the registry provision by moving the eligibility cutoff date so that an immigrant may qualify if they have been in the U.S. for at least seven years. Registry is a provision of immigration law that allows individuals to apply for lawful permanent resident status provided they entered the United States before a particular date – the “registry date –” and have continuously resided in the United States. This is a companion bill of H.R. 8433.
Sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-California) (3 cosponsors— 3 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
09/28/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Padilla
09/28/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
A bill to provide benefits for noncitizen members of the Armed Forces
The bill would establish a program through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DOD) that would allow noncitizen service members to file for naturalization during basic training. The legislation would also allow noncitizen veterans who have been deported to apply for a green card if it is in the public interest and they have not been convicted of a serious crime.
Sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-California) (8 cosponsors— 7 Democrats, 1 Independent, 0 Republicans)
09/29/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Padilla
09/29/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
Congress Passes Funding Package, Provides Narrow Anomaly for Refugees and Evacuees
On September 30, bipartisan majorities of the House and Senate voted for a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown and extend existing funding levels through December 16. The bill included some additional funding or “anomalies” beyond the extension of FY 2022 levels, including $12.4 billion in military and diplomatic assistance for Ukraine. The bill also contains a few immigration-related additions. The bill allocates $3 billion to support Operation Allies Welcome, which helps vulnerable Afghans to resettle in the United States. The bill, however, did not include a path to permanent status to the over 70,000 Afghans evacuated to the U.S. on temporary parole following the fall of Kabul in August 2021. Parolees are granted two years of protection from deportation and work authorization but no clear path to permanent status. The spending bill did not include an adjustment provision despite a request from the administration.
The bill did extend the authorization of refugee benefits to Afghan parolees, and also provided an additional $1.7 billion to support anomalous increases for arriving unaccompanied children, refugees, and those entering via other humanitarian pathways.
President Biden Sets Refugee Resettlement Ceiling at 125,000 for Fiscal Year 2023
On September 27, President Biden signed the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2023, setting the refugee resettlement ceiling for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 at 125,000. The presidential determination was signed 19 days after President Biden submitted for consultation his refugee resettlement proposal to Congress on September 8.
The 125,000 refugee resettlement ceiling will be allocated by region. President Biden designated a cap of 40,000 refugees from Africa, 15,000 from the East Asian region, 15,000 from the European and Central Asian region, 15,000 from the Latin American and Caribbean region, 35,000 from the Near East and South Asian region, and 5,000 available spaces for reserve. The only variation between the proposal and the declaration is a 5,000 refugee cap increase for the European and Central Asian region and a 5,000 reduction of available spaces for reserve.
The 125,000 target is the same ceiling as the one set for FY 2022. However, the U.S. has only actually resettled 19,919 refugees so far this fiscal year as the administration continues to struggle to rebuild a program that was decimated under the Trump administration and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. is currently on track to resettle a total of only 21,730 refugees in FY 2022, not even 20% of the 125,000 ceiling.
In its report to Congress, the Biden administration also pledged to continue efforts to rebuild the resettlement program. It also noted the imminent launch “later in 2022” of a long-awaited private sponsorship program within the refugee resettlement system.
Biden Administration Announces Resumption of Immigrant Visa Services in Cuba
On September 21, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), announced that, for the first time since 2017, it will resume “full immigrant visa processing” in Cuba in January 2023. In pursuit of this goal, DOS will increase its personnel at the US Embassy in Havana to allow Cubans to interview directly within the country, rather than being required to travel to Guyana.
Since the embassy’s closure in 2017, obtaining a visa in Cuba has been an expensive and nearly impossible process that forced many to seek illegal methods of entry to the US. Over the last 11 months, a record 198,000 Cubans entered the country between ports of entry, and in August, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped 19,057 Cubans at the border.
The announcement comes at a critical time for Cuban migration, as the country is currently facing its worst economic crisis in the last 30 years and is recovering from the damage of Hurricane Ian.
Coupled with reinstating the Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP), the resumption of immigrant visas in Cuba will allow for higher efficiency and expanded coverage for the significantly increased number of Cubans seeking resettlement. Additionally, it serves as a corollary to the US’s longstanding commitment to legally receive a minimum of 20,000 Cubans per year.
Biden Administration Hosts Meeting to Launch Implementation Process of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection
On September 26, U.S. officials and representatives of 19 countries in the Western Hemisphere gathered at the White House as a follow-up to June’s Summit of the Americas. Signed by 21 nations at the summit, the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection calls for countries to address challenges related to increased migration in the Western Hemisphere through cooperation in key areas. Priorities include increasing opportunities for labor migration, improving legal pathways such as refugee resettlement and family reunification, supporting host countries with large migrant populations, and cracking down on human smuggling networks.
During the recent meeting, countries committed to follow through on a shared implementation plan in line with the principles of the Los Angeles Declaration. Country leads were identified for joint plans of action along thematic areas: promoting stability and assistance for displaced populations, legal pathways as an alternative to irregular migration, and humane border management. Following through on its commitment, the U.S. announced $376 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the Venezuela regional crisis and has worked to disrupt human smuggling networks; increase refugee resettlement from the region; expand the seasonal labor visa program for Central America and Mexico; relaunch the Cuban and Haitian Family Reunification Parole programs; and bolster support for countries hosting large migrant populations.
In addition to the United States, countries that have moved forward on commitments include Ecuador, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, and Canada. Ecuador launched a regularization program for Venezuelans in the country, and Belize did the same for Central American and Caribbean migrants and refugees. Meanwhile, Guatemala dismantled a deadly transnational human smuggling organization. Mexico has also expanded access to asylum and labor programs, and Canada announced new projects to increase support for displaced persons and their host countries. Further achievements and updates will be announced at an October 6 meeting of Foreign Ministers in Lima, Peru.
Biden Administration Extends and Redesignates TPS for Burma (Myanmar)
On September 27, the Biden Administration extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Burma. The 18-month extension will permit around 1,600 current Burmese TPS holders to retain their status through May 25, 2024. In addition, Burma’s redesignation is expected to benefit an estimated 2,290 additional Burmese individuals who have entered the United States since March 11, 2021. Moreover, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) automatically extended through November 25, 2023, the validity of employment authorization documents issued under the TPS designation for Burma.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the renewal of TPS for Burma was appropriate due to the “human rights violations and abuses, including arbitrary detentions and the unwarranted use of deadly force against unarmed individuals,” that have displaced over 1.3 million people, including 45,500 persons who have sought refuge outside Burma.
TPS is granted by DHS to eligible foreign-born individuals who are unable to return home safely due to violence or other circumstances in their home country.
USCIS Announces Automatic 24-Month Extension of Green Card Validity After Filing for Renewal
On September 28, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an automatic 24-month extension of Permanent Resident Cards – commonly known as Green Cards – for lawful permanent residents who properly file an application for renewal of an expired or expiring Green Card.
In the announcement, USCIS highlighted that receipt notices of renewal applications can be presented with an expired Green Card as evidence of continued status. According to the agency, this extension is expected to help applicants who experience longer processing times, because they will receive proof of lawful permanent resident status as they await their renewed Green Card.
In Response to Hurricane Ian, DHS Will Not Conduct Immigration Enforcement Activities at Areas Providing Emergency Response and Relief
On September 28, in preparation for Hurricane Ian – which left without power over 1.9 million people in Florida and devastated some areas in the state – the Department of Homeland Security announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would not conduct immigration enforcement activities at protected areas such as along evacuation routes; sites used for sheltering or the distribution of emergency supplies, food or water; or registration sites for disaster-related assistance or the reunification of families and loved ones.
In the statements, DHS announced that it had instructed ICE and CBP to provide emergency assistance to individuals regardless of their immigration status and help conduct search and rescue and public safety missions.
Federal Court Rules California’s Ban on Private ICE Detention Facilities is Unconstitutional
On September 26, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of California, holding that it cannot prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from operating private immigration detention facilities in the state. Governor Gavin Newsom signed this prohibition into law in 2019, prompting a suit from the federal government and GEO Group, a private detention facility operator.
Eight of the eleven judges on the 9th Circuit held that the California law is unconstitutional, relying on the U.S. Constitution’s “supremacy clause.” This clause prohibits state law from taking precedence over federal law in certain matters. As a result, the 9th Circuit argued that states cannot interfere with federal immigration operations, such as detention. ICE does not operate its own detention facilities – it only has 220 of its own detention beds in California – so it relies almost entirely on private contractors. The California law forced the agency to stop relying on private contractors or abandon detention altogether. “California cannot exert this level of control,” wrote Judge Jacqueline Nguyen for the majority. It is uncertain whether California will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); CBP Oversees Short-Term Custody Standards, but Border Patrol Could Better Monitor Care of At-Risk Individuals; September 28, 2022
This GAO report highlights that while CBP staff are required to conduct and document welfare checks every 15 minutes for individuals who are sick or injured, the agency does not have a mechanism to verify that staff have done so across field locations.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
The fact sheet explains what health care benefits undocumented immigrants are eligible for and how much federal and state governments spends on these benefits. The fact sheet highlights that undocumented immigrants — who have limited access to the U.S. healthcare system — consume only a small fraction of total health expenditures, contributing far more through federal, state, and local taxes.
This paper creates an actionable border security framework based on the best and most appropriate available metrics and data. It surveys previous and ongoing attempts to describe and quantify border security, and it proposes a series of policy recommendations to create a healthier dialogue around securing our border, including an expanded role for the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics and the creation and publication of new border metrics.
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.