Immigration News Weekly Update

Written by: Ailen Faiad
Last Updated by Ailen Faiad: December 5, 2022
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Contents

Federal judge blocks Title 42 rule

Last week, US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus submitted his resignation amid growing pressure from Deputy Commissioner Alejandro Mayorkas. The decision has raised concerns about how the agency will handle an influx of migrants seeking to enter the US under a system that is already stretched thin. Many worry that without Title 42, which provided additional protections for certain groups of immigrants, vulnerable populations such as unaccompanied minors may fall through the cracks. Only time will tell what the implications of this ruling will be for migrants at the border. 

Title 42 is a controversial immigration policy that had allowed the Trump administration to expel more than 1 million migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border. On Wednesday, however, a federal judge put this ruling on hold for five weeks while he considers whether to strike it down permanently. 

With the end of Title 42, all migrants arrested at the border are now being processed under immigration law. Thousands of migrants who have been sent back to Mexico are waiting along the border in shelters, raising concerns about what this will mean for limited resources and the high number of people trying to enter the country. 

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan expressed great reluctance in granting the Biden administration’s request for a stay of his ruling. The stay will remain in place until December 21, leaving the administration without one of its key tools for responding to the ongoing surge of migrants at the border. Many migrants arrive in search of asylum, and access to this protection could be restored if Title 42 is ultimately struck down. 

“With regard to whether defendants could have ‘ramped up vaccinations, outdoor processing, and all other available public health measures,’… the court finds the CDC failed to articulate a satisfactory explanation for why such measures were not feasible,” Sullivan wrote. 

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Citizens of many nations will get relief from US deportation until 2024

The United States has announced that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) until 2024 for citizens of Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Sudan, and Nepal.

Their legal status in the US was set to expire at the end of the year, but the Biden administration has decided to extend TPS for these groups for two more years. This decision will give them more time to prepare for their return home and will allow them to avoid being caught up in the deportation efforts that are currently underway in the US.

This move will also help protect Haitians, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Sudanese, and Nepalis from being deported en masse by providing them with some reassurance about their legal status in the country. Not all immigrants who lack legal status are eligible for TPS protection; only those from countries undergoing a humanitarian crisis or affected by natural disasters qualify.

The extension of TPS comes at a time when President Biden is taking steps to remove other groups of immigrants who live in the US illegally, often targeting those from countries that he has disparaged or deemed as dangerous.

TPS will be extended for two more years, but it is unclear what will happen after that point. There are currently nearly 300 000 people in the US under TPS status, and there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to stay beyond 2024.

The Biden administration’s decision to extend TPS for these groups shows concern for their well-being and acknowledges their contributions to American society over the years. It also demonstrates some level of compassion toward these immigrant communities and recognizes the challenges they face if forced to return home without a clear plan for reconstruction and renewed stability in their native lands. 

TPS allows people from these countries to legally remain in the US without fear of deportation and also provides them with work permits. The extension will affect approximately 392,000 people, including about 242,000 from El Salvador. 

There is currently much debate over the future of TPS in the US. Critics argue that it gives special treatment to certain groups of migrants and encourages illegal immigration, while supporters emphasize the humanitarian needs of TPS recipients and point out that the countries they come from continue to face serious challenges that make it unsafe for them to return. 

Arizona voters approve in-state tuition for undocumented students

With 51% of the vote, Arizona voters have approved a ballot measure that allows undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition. This victory is significant, as it will help advocates push for broader immigration reform at the federal level in the remaining weeks of this year. 

Under Proposition 308, noncitizen students in Arizona allow noncitizen students to receive the reduced tuition rates if they attended school in Arizona for at least two years and graduated from a public school, private school or home school in the state. 

In Congress, Democrats and some Republicans are working together to pass legislation that would provide relief for a number of different groups, including undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. Despite concerns among some GOP lawmakers about high rates of border crossings, advocates are hopeful that their recent success in Arizona will help build momentum for immigration reform at the federal level. 

Immigration has been a contentious issue in the United States for years, and is likely to remain one in the foreseeable future. While more federal reform is needed, supporters of Proposition 308 are celebrating what they see as an important victory for undocumented college students in Arizona. With this success under their belt, they are looking forward to pushing for broader immigration reform on the national level. 

“What this shows is that there is a broad bipartisan consensus for immigration solutions,” Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, told reporters on Monday. “It is time for Congress to act for Dreamers and farmworkers before the end of the year.” 

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U.S. Vows to Tackle Visa Delays as Frustrations Mount

A top State Department official pledged that wait times for tourist, student and work visas would shorten significantly in the next year.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Stufft, talked with reporters about the critical times people are waiting for visas approval:

“Visas are central for people to see their families, study in the United States and work legally here”

The U.S. has vowed to tackle the visa backlog and frustrations that have mounted as a result, amid concerns from businesses and foreign leaders about the impact on tourism and trade.

Ms. Stufft said the State Department is taking a number of steps to address these issues, including hiring more staff, using waivers for low-risk applicants, and exploring the possibility of renewing visas in the U.S., which was discontinued in 2004.

She added that nearly half of temporary visas are issued without an interview this year, which can help reduce processing times. While these measures should help alleviate some of the current problems with visa applications, it remains to be seen whether they will fully resolve the issue over time.​