Legislative Bulletin — Thursday, May 26, 2022

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
GOVERNMENT REPORTS
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. 4216

North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022

Among many other provisions, the bill would require the Department of State to create a Resettlement Office For North Korean Refugees to facilitate the processing and relocation of North Koreans eligible for resettlement in the United States or South Korea.

Sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) (1 cosponsor—1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)

05/12/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Grassley

05/12/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 4224

Make Border Security a Priority Act of 2022

The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the level of spending appropriated to enhance security along the southern land border so that it is at least equivalent to the amount appropriated to the Secretary of Defense for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) (0 cosponsors)

05/16/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cassidy

05/16/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 7691

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 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

05/19/2022 Passed the Senate by a 86-11 vote.

05/21/2022 Signed into law by the U.S. President

H.R. 7741

To prevent the Federal Government from using taxpayer funds to distribute cellular devices to individuals who unlawfully cross the southern border

Sponsored by Representative Byron Donalds (R-Florida) (11 cosponsors— 11 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

05/12/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Donalds

05/12/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 7854

To authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to adjust the status of certain aliens who are nationals of Venezuela to that of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence

Sponsored by Representative Darren Soto (D-Florida) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)

05/19/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Soto

05/19/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session the week of Monday, May 30, 2022.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

There are no immigration-related hearings scheduled for the week of May 30, 2022.

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Legal

Court Rules Administration Failed to Follow Proper Procedure When Lifting Title 42 Border Policy

On May 20, a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place beyond May 23, the date on which the policy was set to expire. 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. Since its implementation two years ago, the rule has been used more than 1.8 million times to expel arriving migrants.

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 April 1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) order to lift Title 42 by May 23. The court ruled that the administration had violated procedural guidelines because the CDC did not provide a formal and public notice and comment period before issuing the order ending Title 42, even though Title 42 itself was implemented via an emergency rule that did not follow notice and comment procedure.

The Biden administration announced its intention to appeal the decision, arguing that the CDC’s decision to lift Title 42 was within the agency’s authority and adding that the policy “is no longer warranted in light of the current public-health circumstances.” The administration did not seek an emergency stay of the ruling, meaning Title 42 is likely to remain in place in place as the appeal process continues or until the administration remedies the court’s decision by pursuing a formal notice and comment period.

International organizations and immigration analysts have widely criticized the use of Title 42. They argue that expulsions under Title 42 fail to protect the fundamental human rights of migrants and undermine existing immigration law at the border. A recent Human Rights First report revealed that at least 9,886 migrants expelled at the U.S.-Mexico border under Title 42 had been victims of kidnapping, torture, rape, and other violent attacks.

Title 42 has also been subject to multiple legal challenges, resulting in a March 4 decision in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled the administration cannot expel migrant families under Title 42 without first allowing them to make claims for protection from persecution and torture. This ruling went into effect on May 23, requiring the CBP to conduct additional screenings of family units before expelling them under Title 42. The exact nature of these screenings is not yet clear. In April, before the ruling went into effect, 59% of arriving migrants and 81% of arriving family members were exempted from Title 42 and processed under traditional Title 8 removal proceedings.

CBP Agrees to Update Flores Settlement to Provide Humane Conditions of Detention to Immigrant Children

On May 23, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reached an agreement to update the longstanding Flores settlement agreement that has set detailed standards for the safe detention of immigrant children since 1997. For decades, the Flores settlement has allowed advocates and lawyers to inspect facilities housing migrant children, ensure officials are providing adequate care and services to minors in U.S. custody, and seek relief in federal court if they determine the government is violating the terms of the agreement.

However, in June 2019, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law petitioned the federal court overseeing compliance with the 1997 settlement to hold the Trump administration in contempt for detaining thousands of children in overcrowded and unsanitary cages after separating them from their parents in violation of the Flores Agreement.

The renewed settlement agreement is the result of two years of negotiation and it requires CBP to treat minors in custody with “dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.” It also requires CBP to guarantee that minors apprehended with an adult family member “shall remain with that family member” during their time in border patrol custody.

The agreement also mandates CBP to grant access to detained minors to showers, hygiene kits, age-appropriate meals, clothing, mattresses, and blankets. Moreover, the agreement orders the appointment of an independent medical expert who will have access to border patrol facilities in the Rio Grande and El Paso sectors to monitor compliance with the terms of the new agreement.

Federal

President Biden Signs Ukraine Aid Package Into Law

On May 21, President Biden signed into law the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, a law that provides nearly $40 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian aid to respond to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The law provides 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. Additionally, the law will 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 passage of the bill comes as the administration has swiftly got a private sponsorship-based parole program up and running to protect Ukrainians with ties to the U.S. As of May 19, this Uniting for Ukraine program has received 29,000 applications, reviewed 25,000, and approved 24,000. Many Ukrainians have already arrived, and according to an NBC News report, some of those sponsoring the parolees have struggled to manage all the necessary paperwork.

USCIS Announces Premium Processing for Certain Employment-Based Green Card Petitions

On May 24, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of premium processing for petitioners who have a pending green card petition under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications. Premium processing provides — for an additional fee — expedited processing for certain categories of applicants by guaranteeing some adjudicative action on the case within 15 to 45 calendar days.

The agency announced that petitioners who wish to request a premium processing upgrade must file a Request for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907). In the announcement, USCIS highlighted that the expansion of premium processing is part of the agency’s efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system.

State & Local

El Paso, Texas, Passes Emergency Ordinance Committing Public Resources to Migrant Humanitarian Relief Efforts

On May 23, the city of El Paso, Texas, passed an emergency ordinance committing public resources to migrant humanitarian relief efforts. The ordinance will allow the city to provide additional staffing to local migrant shelters and offer transportation services to migrants. Additionally, the ordinance will allow the city to provide COVID-19 testing as migrants make their way through El Paso. The city council said it would revisit the emergency ordinance in 30 days and depending on the migrant situation it will decide whether to extend the ordinance.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG), “ICE Did Not Follow Policies, Guidance, or Recommendations to Ensure Migrants Were Tested for COVID-19 before Transport on Domestic Commercial Flights,” May 18, 2022

This OIG report notes that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has failed to test immigrant adults, immigrant families, and noncitizen unaccompanied children for COVID-19 before transporting them on domestic commercial flights.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

42 Border Solutions That Aren’t Title 42

This resource provides 42 sustainable, effective border solutions that are not Tile 42. The 42 solutions are broken up into three categories — border processes, root causes, and border security.

Explainer: Uniting for Ukraine

This explainer highlights the elements of the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program which provide Ukrainian citizens who fleeing Russia’s aggression opportunities to come to the U.S. as parolees.

Explainer: Title 42 and What Comes Next at the Border

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.

* * *

*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 acastellanos@immigrationforum.org. Thank you.

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