Immigrations News Recap Week of 11/04

Written by: Ailen Faiad
Last Updated by Ailen Faiad: November 8, 2022
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1. U.S. Facilitates Permanent Residency for Low-Income Immigrants

After the strict immigration requirements imposed by the Donald Trump administration, the process will become easier, at least for low-income immigrants. The new regulation will go into effect this December 23, announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  

From that date on, the standards that establish when an immigrant is considered an economic burden for the country or a public charge will be analyzed.  

What does this measure consist of?

An immigrant who falls into the public charge classification would be disqualified from obtaining permanent residency.   

However, under new regulations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will only consider applicants for permanent residency as a public charge if “they are likely to be primarily dependent on the government for their livelihood at some point in time.”  

Trump's penalties

Trump’s regulation also considered income, age, medical conditions, and family size to determine whether they were likely to rely on these benefits in the future. While it was argued at the time that the rules promoted immigrants’ economic autonomy, there were complaints about how the policy negatively impacted thousands of immigrants hoping to become permanent residents.  

According to Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, this action “ensures fair and humane treatment for legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members”. He added, “Consistent with America’s core values, we will not penalize people because they access the health benefits and other complementary government services available to them.”  

Biden, helping immigrants

The move by Gov. Joe Biden’s administration seeks to curb the adverse effect that previous regulations had on immigrant households. Many refused to receive benefits for which they could qualify, for fear that they would later be ineligible for a Green Card 

Green Card

Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you will need to take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.  

In FY 2021 USCIS received an estimated 648,000 Green Card applications, according to government data. During the first half of FY 2022, the agency recorded 280,000 new applications. With the Biden administration’s new regulations, these numbers are expected to increase.  

How to apply for a green card?

Each category of green card has different steps and procedures to follow. In this USCIS page you will find in detail the procedures to follow, the required documentation and the step-by-step to apply 

2. Thousands of Venezuelans Rapidly legally enter the U.S.

For several months now, Venezuelan immigrants have been looking for ways to leave their country. The economic situation is increasingly difficult, and violence is relentless. Therefore, when they learned about the program (described by the authorities as a comprehensive effort) that allowed them to apply for asylum in the United States quickly, many decided to take advantage of it.   

Carlos Vecchio, representative in Washington DC of the Venezuelan interim government, led by opposition politician Juan Guaidó, favorably valued the special program for Venezuelan migration announced by the DHS and considered that it will help an “orderly” mobilization that will serve to save lives.   

What does the program consist of?

It offers a direct asylum application pathway to those who have close family members in the United States and demonstrate suffering due to the political and economic situation in Venezuela.  

To be eligible for this program, Venezuelans must meet the following requirements:  

Have a sponsor in the United States who will provide financial and other support.  

Pass rigorous biometric and biographic national security and public safety checks.  

Present certificates of immunization and other public health requirements (not yet detailed).  

Conversely, they are ineligible if:  

 Have been ordered removed from the U.S. within the previous five years.  

 If you have crossed without authorization between ports of entry after the date of the announcement.  

If they have entered Mexico or Panama irregularly after the date of the announcement; are a permanent resident or dual national of any country other than Venezuela; currently have refugee status in any country; or have not completed immunization and other public health requirements.  

The numbers

Today there is talk of a resounding success of the program: doors opened quickly to nearly 7,000 Venezuelans. The hope for a better life pushes them forward against all obstacles. U.S. sponsors applying to bring Venezuelans to the U.S. under a new program are receiving approvals within hours or a few days, a dizzying pace that could soon fill the available slots.  

However, penalties remain for those Venezuelans who attempt or succeed in crossing illegally. Still, this program is a ray of light in the midst of the crisis in Venezuela and the international community continues to look for ways to help and support those fleeing in search of a better future.  

Measures

U.S. President Joe Biden announced last month a two-pronged approach to deter illegal border crossings. Venezuelans caught crossing illegally are now deported back to Mexico under a pandemic-era order known as Title 42, while up to 24,000 Venezuelans will be able to enter legally through the program if they apply while abroad.  

Program Benefits

Venezuelans approved through the program, which is based on a similar initiative launched earlier this year for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, receive permission to reside in the United States for up to two years and may apply for work permits.