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Legislative Bulletin — Thursday, August 10, 2023

We will publish our next bulletin on Thursday, August 24, 2023.



S. 2632

A bill to improve visa processing times

Sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) (1 cosponsor—1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

07/27/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Klobuchar

07/27/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 2705

State Executive Authority for Seasonal Occupations Needing Additional Labor (SEASONAL) Act

The bill would enable governors to petition the federal government for supplemental H-2B visas beyond the national cap of 66,000. Governors would have to certify that there is a persistent, unmet need for labor in their states and that supplemental H-2B visas will not displace domestic workers or negatively affect average wages in the state.

Sponsored by Senator Jon Thune (R-South Dakota) (3 cosponsors—1 Republican, 2 Democrats)

07/27/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Thune

07/27/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 2711

A bill to provide immigration status for certain battered spouses and children

Sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) (2 cosponsors— 2 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

07/27/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Klobuchar

07/27/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 5127

To reduce appointment wait times for certain nonimmigrant visas known as visitor visas

Sponsored by Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Florida) (24 cosponsors—17 Democrats, 7 Republicans)

08/01/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Salazar

08/01/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 5145

Working for Immigrant Safety and Empowerment (WISE) Act

The bill would ensure that immigrants have access to protections included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPA), and other federal and state laws. The bill would also ensure survivors pursuing relief are not detained or deported before their applications are fully adjudicated.

Sponsored by Representative Pramila Jayapal (R-Florida) (23 cosponsors—23 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

08/04/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Jayapal

08/04/2023 Referred to the House Committees on Ways and Means, Agriculture, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, and the Judiciary

H.R. 5166

To amend section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations, to clarify the powers of immigration officers at sensitive locations

Sponsored by Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) (13 cosponsors—13 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

08/08/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Salazar

08/08/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary


The U.S. Senate is on recess and will not be back in session until September 5.

The U.S. House of Representatives is on recess and will not be back in session until September 12.


There are no hearings scheduled for the next two weeks.



Migrant Encounters at Southern Border Increase Over 30% in July

On August 1, the Washington Post reported that border patrol encounters with migrants in July increased over 30%, according to preliminary data obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. According to the report, more than 130,000 migrants were apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border last month, up from 99,545 in June.

In addition, according to preliminary data obtained by NBC News, the number of migrant families with children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has nearly tripled in the past two months.

The number of July encounters, however, remained below last year’s statistics when border patrol agents apprehended almost 200,000 migrants in July, 2022.

Nevertheless, the uptick in July encounters is atypical for a month when due to high temperatures, crossings tend to decrease. Notably, the uptick in crossings was most pronounced in southern Arizona, where temperatures often reach 110 degrees. The 40,000 apprehensions made in the Tucson Sector marked the highest one-month total in 15 years.

US Resettles 6,468 Refugees in July Marking Fifth Consecutive Month Of Resettling Over 6,000 Refugees

The U.S. resettled 6,468 refugees in July. This is the fifth month in a row that the U.S. has resettled more than 6,000 refugees.

Ten months into fiscal year 2023, the U.S. has resettled 45,123 refugees. It is possible the U.S. could resettle over 60,000 refugees in FY 2023 as historically the last month or two of the fiscal year have seen the highest number of refugee arrivals. This would represent a major improvement in arrivals compared to Fiscal Years 2020, 2021 and 2022, when the U.S. only resettled, 11,840, 11,400, and 25,000 refugees, respectively.

However, to meet the annual refugee ceiling of 125,000 the U.S. would need to resettle 10,416 refugees every month for twelve consecutive months. The refugee pipeline needs to be enhanced to achieve over 10,000 refugee arrivals per month.

Biden Administration Announces Plan to Welcome Refugees From Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela Waiting in Mexico

On July 28, the Biden administration announced its commitment to accept refugee resettlement referrals from qualified individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela already in Mexico.

The announcement came after weeks of negotiations between the Mexican and American governments to expand access to safe, orderly, legal migration pathways.

The Biden administration did not provide additional details about the requirements or numbers of migrants expected to benefit from the announcement. The program, however, marks the first time the U.S. will be conducting refugee processing in Mexico on a large scale.

Biden Administration Expands Curfew Program as an Alternative to Detention

On August 3, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the expansion of a home-confinement-and-curfew pilot program as an alternative to the use of immigrant detention centers.

The program requires enrollees to remain in their homes from 11:00 pm until 5:00 am, with exceptions for night job schedules or extraordinary circumstances. Under this program, immigrants are subject to stricter monitoring than other alternative-to-detention (ATD) programs such as ankle bracelets and other traceable devices.

The program, which was operating in only four cities, grew to 13 locations. The additions are Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, New Orleans, and Houston. The number of cities is expected to reach 40 by the end of September.

Immigrant-Origin Students Make Up 31% of US Colleges

A recent report from the American Immigration Council and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration highlighted that 408,000 undocumented students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, comprising 1.9 percent of all college students in the country. The report notes that this estimate represents a 4.2% decrease from 2019, when 427,000 undocumented students were enrolled.

Notably, the report also estimates that immigrant-origin students make up 31% of all U.S. students in higher education at both public and private institutions. The report defines immigrant-origin students as first generation by being born abroad to non-citizen parents and second generation by being born in the U.S. with at least one immigrant parent.


Ninth Circuit Allows Biden Administration’s Asylum Restrictions to Remain in Place

On August 3, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to stay a July 25 court ruling that ordered the Biden administration to stop implementing the “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule.

The controversial rule renders migrants ineligible for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border unless they can meet limited exceptions, such as pre-scheduling an appointment via an official government app to enter the U.S. at a port of entry, or applying for and being denied protection elsewhere on their way here.

But these few exceptions for migrants to access the U.S.’s asylum system often carry significant barriers and risks, that for many will prove difficult if not impossible to overcome, undermining their long-established legal right to seek asylum.

The two judges, who voted to allow the asylum policy to temporarily proceed, did not explain their reasoning, referring only briefly to the court’s standards for stays pending appeal. The dissenting judge, on the other hand, argued that the rule in question looks like the Trump administration’s Port of Entry Rule and Transit Rule “got together, had a baby, and then dolled it up in a stylish modern outfit, complete with a phone app.”

State and Local

Texas Troopers Revive Controversial Separation of Migrant Families at the Border

On August 1, a Houston Chronicle report highlighted that officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have been detaining migrant fathers for minor trespassing charges in recent weeks, separating families.

The situation recalls the “zero tolerance” policy under the Trump administration. The zero tolerance policy — which was met with widespread criticism from members of Congress, faith groups, and the general public — resulted in the deliberate separation of at least 5,569 migrant children from their parents between 2017 and 2018, impacting over 1,500 families.

A DPS spokesman acknowledged that fathers traveling with their families had been arrested and highlighted as “a key difference from the Trump policy” that mothers have not been separated from their children. A previous DPS policy directed that families with minor children be kept together, and referred to U.S. Border Patrol.

The trespassing charges — not designed to arrest people for immigration purposes — are possible due to the collaboration between landowners along the Texas-Mexico border and DPS officials. According to a USA Today report, DPS has signed over 134 agreements – known as Criminal Trespassing affidavits – to allow Texas troopers to arrest immigrants on private, city, or state property.

However, many of these signatories have started to rescind those agreements. For instance, on August 1, the Eagle Pass City Council voted unanimously to rescind an affidavit that allowed DPS troopers to enforce criminal trespass laws at Shelby Park – a city-owned park – along the Rio Grande.

Illinois Allows Some Noncitizens to Serve as Police Officers

On August 4, Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-Illinois) signed the Illinois House Bill 3751, allowing certain noncitizens to apply for police officer jobs. The authorization, however, is limited to foreign nationals legally authorized to both work and carry a firearm in the country.

When signing the bill into law, Governor Pritzker noted that some noncitizens authorized to work in the U.S. can already serve in the military, making law enforcement work a natural extension. Illinois became the third state, along with California and Colorado, to allow noncitizens to serve as police officers.


Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG); Results of an Unannounced Inspection of ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia; July 27, 2023

This DHS-OIG report highlights that the Stewart Detention Center does not meet all the standards for special management units, custody classification, grievances, staff-detainee communication, and medical care, compromising the health, safety, and rights of detainees.

Congressional Research Service (CRS); Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure; July 28, 2023

This CRS report explains the elements and provisions of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED). TPS and DED are two forms of relief from removal for nationals of countries experiencing civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters.

Congressional Research Service (CRS); Immigration Judge Hiring and Projected Impact on the Immigration Courts Backlog; July 28, 2023

This CRS report provides an overview of the caseloads and case completions of the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). It also provides projections of the impact of different immigration judges hiring scenarios on the pending-cases backlog over the next 10 fiscal years.


Five Solutions to Reverse the Declining Popularity of the U.S. Among International Students

This paper delves into five policy solutions that would reverse declines in U.S. popularity as a destination for international students and solidify the leading position of the U.S. as a welcoming scholastic destination.

Explainer: The Replicability of the TN Visa to Tackle Labor Shortages

This explainer explores the history of the TN visa program and other similar visa categories, highlights its potential to alleviate America’s labor deficit, and suggests creating similar visas for nationals of allied countries of the United States.

Bill Summary: The Afghan Adjustment Act of 2023

The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) of 2023, S.2327/H.R.4627, is a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to permanent status to tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the U.S. following the fall of Kabul in August 2021.

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*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Arturo Castellanos-Canales, Policy and Advocacy Manager at the National Immigration Forum, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Arturo can be reached Thank you.

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