Remember that our first meeting of the year will be held via ZOOM, on Monday September 13, starting at 7:30pm.  Please email me any items you wish to have included in the Agenda.

Recent efforts to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals have stalled in the Senate. As a result, funding for legalization has been included in the text of an upcoming budget resolution..  Over 200 organizations signed on to a letter  urging Congress to support provisions in this FY2022 budget reconciliation package that establish a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and to oppose any harmful amendments to the package. You may wish to call on your members of Congress to support a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED holders, essential workers, and farm workers.

Politico reports that the Biden administration is broadening the opportunity for Afghans affiliated with the U.S. war effort, the U.S. government, or U.S. media organizations to permanently resettle in the United States. Unlike a parallel effort to evacuate and resettle endangered interpreters, these newly eligible Afghans must receive a referral from a current or former employer before DOS can begin processing their cases. And crucially, they are also responsible for getting themselves and their families out of Afghanistan and into a third country without any U.S. assistance.  SEE:  https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/02/biden-visa-program-afghan-interpreters-502085?utm_

            Politico has also reported that the Biden Administration has appointed a lawyer to help rescind Trump immigration policy.  Lucas Guttentag is a highly respected expert in Immigration Law and is presently a law professor at Stanford Law School and a lecturer at Yale Law School.  SEE:  https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/02/biden-immigration-lawyer-502190?utm 

            USCIS updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the determination of whether a child born outside the United States, including a child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), is considered born “in wedlock.” Guidance is effective August 5, 2021, and comments are due by September 7, 2021. CBS News reports that the new interpretation “is a victory for same-sex couples and other parents living overseas who use surrogates and [ART] procedures, including in-vitro fertilization.”

            At the moment there is at least an 18 week delay in receiving US Passports.  Expedited passports results in “only” a 12 week delay.  Most of the delay is due to the prior closure of the Passport production sites due to the Pandemic.  A person must appear in person at a US Post Office to file the application.  As a result of these extensive delays,  DOS is requesting comment on a proposed rule that would allow passport renewal applicants who are eligible to apply the additional option of applying online. [COMMENT:  If your passport will expire in the next five months, I suggest you consider applying so your passport will be available if you need it.]

The Hill is reporting that the Biden administration has proposed a rule that would streamline the asylum process in an effort to remove those fleeing persecution from an immigration court system backlog that can leave them in limbo for years on end. Under the current process, asylum seekers must undergo a credible fear interview with a USCIS officer, but even then, they must formally apply and await their fate in the immigration court system. If the proposal is finalized, USCIS officers could grant asylum, and any migrants who are denied could appeal the decision within the court system. Jennifer Whitlock, Policy Counsel with AILA, said “There is a world of difference between going through the asylum process at USCIS, where an officer is probably trained on trauma-informed questioning, versus going to court and having to face prosecutors challenging your statements and a judge that may feel like a second prosecutor.  SEE:  https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/568351-biden-administration-seeks-to-speed-review-of-asylum-cases?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=151053737&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_tCpPc7szx_ubH8g0M6mqIkWiNg9InBjREf8qVhdqufRoakjvllYguw07-CxcEKLQSj0RvY0Ca8tZUZD0GI9hN48O7DQ&utm_content=151053737&utm_source=hs_email

            Another victory for the good guys!  Attorney General Garland has vacated a prior decision of Atty Gen’l Barr that required the Board of Immigration Appeals to review every element that is required before a grant of Asylum can be granted, even if the parties did not contest those additional elements in the claim of appeal.  See the full story from Reuters SEE:  https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/ag-immigration-courts-dont-have-consider-uncontested-issues-2021-07-27/?utm

Parents of 337 migrant children separated at border under Trump still have not
CNN is reporting that attorneys are still trying to reach the parents of 337 migrant children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration, down from 368 in June, according to a federal court filing Wednesday. The filing from the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union is part of an ongoing effort to identify and reunite families three years after the so-called “zero tolerance” policy was created. Since June, the parents of 31 of those children whose whereabouts had been previously unknown have been found.  SEE: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/11/politics/separated-migrant-families/index.html?utm

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on state and local immigration enforcement on Aug 12th which deals with agreements between the federal and state governments known as 287(g) agreements. MA has outlawed those agreements. 

            On Aug 9th, the CRS has also released an updated, detailed Report on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) that has a lot of good background information about both these programs. SEE:  https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS20844.pdf

 NPR is reporting on the different ways that groups in the United States are assisting in resettling Afghan refugees. In this brief interview, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, speaks on the process of evacuating people from the country, where the refugees will be arriving, and what helps the process go more efficiently. AILA President Allen Orr responded to the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, noting that the “lives of countless Afghans depend on the U.S. government acting promptly to exercise humanitarian parole, resume and rapidly scale up special immigrant visa (SIV) and immigrant visa processing.”  SEE:  https://www.npr.org/2021/08/17/1028542826/head-of-immigration-and-refugee-service-talks-about-resettling-afghan-refugees?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=150742591&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-885U_o7LQswzi5RR5dA2ouPsgF_n7ZZUVhNjMKHRxmMmOyrv_65yj92KuRvME-TbZoN98tng9l0Q3OcAlVa4t69Q8hSA&utm_content=150742591&utm_source=hs_email

    CNN reports on Luis Grijalva, a 22-year-old runner and DACA recipient who will travel to Japan to represent Guatemala in the 5,000-meter race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He and his lawyer spent several weeks petitioning USCIS for advance parole to allow him to reenter the United States after traveling abroad. While he couldn’t represent the United States in the Olympics for several reasons, including his immigration status, Guatemala selected him for the country’s delegation. Grijalva said he was honored for the opportunity but didn’t know if there would be enough time to apply and receive an immigration permit to travel. Add your voice to the calls for Congress to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED holders, essential workers, and farm workers in the budget reconciliation process.

            The Associated Press reports the number of immigrants in ICE detention has more than doubled since the end of February, to nearly 27,000 as of July 22, according to ICE’s most recent data. That’s above the roughly 22,000 detained in July 2020 under then-President Trump, though it’s nowhere close to the record in August 2019, when the number of detainees exceeded 55,000. The rising number of detainees is a sore point for immigration advocates who hoped President Biden would reverse his predecessor’s hardline approach. Contact our Senators and Representatives to let them know your thoughts about significantly reducing the ICE detention budget and stop giving the administration a blank check to detain people and separate them from their loved ones, community, and counsel.  SEE:  https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-health-immigration-coronavirus-pandemic-4d7427ff67d586a77487b7efec58e74d?utm

VOA is reporting that people who generally support the administration’s approach to migration issues are frustrated by its failure to clearly articulate what is happening and how the administration is responding. The president and his advisers have offered sometimes contradictory assessments of the seriousness of a surge of migrants overwhelming border officials and have sent mixed messages to the migrants themselves about what will happen if they reach the United States. Allen Orr, AILA President, is quoted in the article calling expedited removals “a terrible practice that undermines due process and fairness.” He added, “AILA appreciates the administration’s other efforts to improve humanitarian protection, but this move is a far cry from the humane and fair policy he pledged.” SEE:  https://www.voanews.com/usa/immigration/biden-administration-struggles-find-coherent-message-us-mexico-border-critics-say?utm

 NPR is reporting that former detainees are speaking out about conditions in ICE facilities regarding COVID-19, as the Delta variant surges across the country. Reports state that COVID-19-positive detainees were kept together in one room, there was very little social distancing or mask wearing in facilities, and both sick and healthy people were mixed during transfers. Shortly after COVID-19 first hit the United States, ICE emptied its detention facilities to help slow the outbreak. But in the last year, amid a surge of migrants crossing the southern border, ICE has detained tens of thousands of migrants.  SEE:  https://www.npr.org/2021/08/13/1027095025/detainees-say-ice-exposes-them-to–covid-19?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=150094073&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_8U_I33AM-OFsvpIojXK7JFAZ0watvvn366_bZwSlPSd-9PA3lK28bHiJwSYOQWPFY4JloCF2KwKCiCqKvvoUg8V3kkw&utm_content=150094073&utm_source=hs_email

            Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico Asylum Policy Revived by Judge.  SEE: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-14/trump-s-stay-in-mexico-immgration-policy-revived-by-judge  Then see:  Roll Call is reporting that the Biden administration plans to challenge a federal judge’s ruling that the government reinstate a controversial Trump administration program that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for decisions in their U.S. immigration cases. The government filed notice Monday that it would appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit. The judge stayed his ruling for seven days to give the federal government a chance to appeal.

Stay safe

Gerry Rovner