BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
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. This is a companion bill of H.R. 9147.
Sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) (2 cosponsors—1 Democrat, 1 Republican)
11/14/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez
11/14/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
A bill to require the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify and conduct recurrent vetting of evacuees from Afghanistan found not to be properly vetted before entering the United States
Sponsored by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)
11/17/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Scott
11/17/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
A bill to provide greater scrutiny of visas for Chinese Communist Party members
The bill would ban the issuance of B-1 and B-2 nonimmigrant visas to members of the Chinese Communist Party. B-1 and B-2 visas allow foreign nationals to visit the United States for vacation and to perform non-official government business.
Sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) (3 cosponsors— 3 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
11/17/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Rubio
11/17/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act
The bill would guarantee legal counsel during removal proceedings for immigrant children, individuals with disabilities, victims of abuse, torture, and violence, and those living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Sponsored by Representative A. Donald McEachin (D-Virginia) (9 cosponsors—9 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
11/15/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative McEachin
11/15/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, November 28, 2022.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, November 29, through Friday, December 2, 2022.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
There are no immigration-related hearings scheduled for the week of Monday, November 28, 2022.
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
2022 Midterms Yield Divided Government as Leadership Conversations Continue in Both Chambers
On November 16, several news agencies confirmed that Republicans are set to control a narrow majority in the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. Democrats have retained narrow control of the Senate with either 50 or 51 seats, depending on the result of a run-off in Georgia scheduled for December 6.
The midterm results have also resulted in leadership shake-ups in both chambers. In the House, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) are each stepping down from their leadership positions in the Democratic party, with their replacements uncertain as of November 22. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-California) survived a challenge from his right flank and was nominated to be the GOP nominee for House Speaker by a vote of 188-31, but he will still require Republican consensus (218 total votes) in a January vote before the full House in order to serve as Speaker. In the Senate, Senator McConnell (R-Kentucky) survived a November 15 challenge from Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) and will again be Senate Majority Leader.
It is unclear what impact the elections and leadership changes will have on immigration issues. However, House Republicans have already signaled an intention to conduct significant additional oversight on border security, among other issues. Representative McCarthy has also pledged to bring border security legislation up in the first days of the new Congress, and expressed hesitation about combining border reforms with a permanent solution for Dreamers in a potential compromise deal.
For the rest of this Congress (the “lame duck” session), Senate Democrats are prioritizing protections for Dreamers. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) joined several Senate Democrats in a press conference on November 16 calling for Republicans to come to the table on a bipartisan solution and highlighting that a path to permanent status for Dreamers is a top priority for the end of the year. Veterans, business groups, and immigration advocates have also been calling on Congress to include the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act in an end-of-the-year spending package.
Border Encounters Remained High But Stable in October
On November 14, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that the agency encountered 230,678 migrants at the Southwest border during the month of October. This marks a slight 1% increase from September’s total of 227,547 encounters. Accounting for a high repeat crossing rate of 20%, unique border encounters in October stood at 185,527. The border data also 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. In October, 78,477 of all arrivals were immediately expelled under Title 42.
The high number of encounters in recent months has been driven by increasing migration from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Colombia. There were 89,004 total encounters from those four countries, up 181% from October 2021. The data revealed that arrivals from Venezuela — whose nationals are now subject to Title 42 — remained high at 22,044. That number, however, declined from September, when 33,804 Venezuelans were encountered. The data further shows that 5,855 (27%) Venezuelans were returned under Title 42 in October, including 1,349 migrants in family units.
Notably, encounters of Peruvian migrants at the border have steadily increased in the last year. There were 9,081 encounters of Peruvian migrants in October, up 786% from this time last year. Peruvian arrivals have been increasing fairly steadily since the spring.
Senate Committee Investigation Finds Evidence of Medical Abuses Toward Detained Women at Georgia ICE Facility
On November 16, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released the results of an 18-month investigation that revealed that the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia “performed unnecessary and unwanted medical procedures on women in custody.” The investigation was launched after a nurse from the detention center came forward as a whistleblower to denounce the facility’s gynecologist for performing unnecessary hysterectomies and other “excessive, invasive and often unnecessary gynecological procedures.”
The report further detailed that the women felt “confused, afraid, and violated after their treatments”, and that they were still in physical and emotional pain. The report also found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has no policies concerning immigrants’ consent for medical procedures.
Secretary Mayorkas Testifies Before House Homeland Security Committee
On November 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, where he addressed a range of global and national challenges, including migration. During the hearing, Secretary Mayorkas faced criticism from Republican lawmakers concerning the Department’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border and the increasing number of migrant encounters between ports of entry during the Biden Administration. The hearing was held a few weeks after CBP revealed that in Fiscal Year 2022, the total migrant border encounters reached a record 2.4 million encounters. This total does not represent a record number of overall border crossers, as CBP has improved significantly in recent years at apprehending those who attempt to cross the border without detection.
Secretary Mayorkas recognized the challenges posed by regional migration. However, he stressed that “the challenge that is not specific or exclusive to our southern border. This is a challenge that exists throughout the hemisphere.”
On November 22, during a press conference at El Paso, Texas, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) suggested his party might pursue the impeachment of Secreary Mayorkas if he does not resign from his position.
District Court Orders Biden Administration to Lift Title 42
On November 15, a U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the Biden administration to lift Title 42, 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. Over 1.8 million people have been expelled under Title 42 since the pandemic began.
The ruling — which was subsequently stayed until December 21 — described Title 42 as “arbitrary and capricious” and in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. The decision also highlighted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to properly explain the rationale for authorizing an unprecedented expulsion authority. The ruling noted that CDC’s authorization of Title 42 was an “extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of noncitizens seeking safe harbor.”
In reaction to the ruling and the stay until mid-December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) emphasized that “DHS will continue to process individuals in accordance with the CDC’s Title 42 public health order and expel single adults and family units encountered at the Southwest Border.” In addition, on November 17, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorkas said during a Senate Committee Hearing that the Department would look into existing alternative authorities to block Venezuelans from entering the country at the border.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit — spearheaded by ACLU — against the Trump administration in 2020 over Title 42 expulsions. After hitting an impasse in negotiations with the Biden administration, the plaintiffs went back to court in July 2021 to seek an immediate termination of the policy.
State & Local
Arizona Votes in Favor of Measure that Restores In-State Tuition for Dreamers
On November 8, Arizona voters narrowly passed Proposition 308, which allows in-state tuition at Arizona public colleges and universities to students who graduated from an Arizona public high school, regardless of immigration status. Proposition 308 — which passed with a 51.3% majority — reversed a 2006 measure that prohibited undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition rates and state-funded financial aid. Immigration advocacy groups celebrated the ballot result as a victory for Arizona’s Dreamers and called on Congress to pass a permanent, legislative solution to protect Dreamers nationwide.
Before the proposition passed, Arizona was one of three states — including Georgia and Indiana — that blocked undocumented students’ access to in-state tuition.
Nominations and Personnel
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus Resigns Under Pressure
On November 12, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus resigned after Biden administration officials asked him to step down from his role. Commissioner Magnus was asked to resign less than a year after taking the role, as he was confirmed by the Senate as CBP Commissioner on December 7, 2021. Among other duties, he was in charge of protecting U.S. borders and processing arriving migrants and asylum seekers.
Magnus had a 41-year career in public safety prior to serving as CBP Commissioner, including most recently serving as Chief of Police in Tucson, Arizona. He made reforming the culture within Border Patrol a chief priority during his tenure in charge of the agency.
In his resignation letter, Magnus thanked President Biden for the “tremendous opportunity” to serve in his administration. In response, President Biden issued a statement accepting Magnus’ resignation and thanking him for his service at CBP. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas also thanked Magnus for his service and appointed Troy Miller — a career CBP official who served in the job before Magnus’s confirmation — as acting CBP Commissioner.
Former Senator Chris Dodd Appointed as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas to Advance Commitments Adopted During Summit of the Americas
On November 18, former Senator Chris Dodd was appointed as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas to help the Biden administration advance the implementation of key initiatives announced in June 2022 at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The Summit of the Americas resulted in a unanimous, multilateral migration management agreement titled the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The Declaration is organized around four pillars: (1) stability and assistance for communities; (2) expansion of legal pathways; (3) humane migration management; and (4) coordinated emergency response.
Among the commitments reached during the Summit, the Biden administration promised to resettle 20,000 refugees from the Americas during Fiscal Years 2023 to 2024. The U.S. also pledged more than $314 million in new funding for humanitarian and development assistance for refugees and vulnerable migrants across the hemisphere. The Biden administration also announced the launch of a $65 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program to support U.S. farmers hiring agricultural workers under the H-2A temporary work visa program.
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); Southwest Border: Border Patrol’s Missing Migrant Program; November 15, 2022
This GAO report reveals that Border Patrol’s migrant death data is incomplete. The report also highlights that Border Patrol needs to develop a plan to effectively evaluate the Missing Migrant Program, designed to rescue migrants in distress and reduce migrant deaths along the southwest border. The report recognizes that while the Border Patrol has made improvements collecting and reporting data, the agency still needs to ensure that all sectors are collecting and recording available information uniformly.
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); China: Efforts Underway to Address Technology Transfer Risk at U.S. Universities, but ICE Could Improve Related Data; November 15, 2022
This GAO report reveals that a third of foreign graduate students studying STEM at U.S. universities are Chinese nationals—some with access to sensitive research. It also highlights that U.S. agencies have identified several factors indicating the types of students—such as being from a country of concern like China—who may pose a greater risk of transferring technology to foreign entities. The report notes that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) keeps a database related to these factors but hasn’t assessed if it needs updating to capture additional data related to these risks.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This resource provides 42 sustainable, effective border solutions that are not Title 42. The 42 solutions are broken up into three categories — border processes, root causes, and border security.
This explainer describes the elements, policies, likely impact, and some concerns surrounding 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.
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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.