TASK FORCE INFORMATION:>> NEXT Meeting will be held Monday, Dec 12th, starting at 7:45PM. I have a prior appointment that I cannot re-schedule.
>> FYI all our monthly Zoom meetings are recorded and made available on our website for a couple of months. In the future we will both record and summarize the meeting and enclose the summary in From the Chair. Thanks to Beverly for her note taking that is almost a verbatim transcript. A ZOOM invitation will be sent at the end of the week.
>> Good news from the MA election results: ICYMI: MIRA reports that Immigrant advocates in Bristol County are celebrating the defeat of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson by former state rep and Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux. Hodgson’s harsh treatment of prisoners and immigrant detainees, his enthusiastic (and state-funded) participation in 287(g) collaboration contracts with ICE, and his embrace of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda won condemnation as the “Arpaio of the East” after the infamous sheriff of Maricopa county, AZ. Cape Cod advocates are also cheering the election of Democrat Donna Buckley as the new Barnstable county sheriff. Both Heroux and Buckley oppose the use of their office and personnel for federal immigration enforcement, and Buckley has pledged to end Barnstable county’s 287(g) agreement with ICE, which would leave the MA Department of Corrections as the sole participant in the unpopular federal program.
>> “Yes on 4” passed the referendum, but now the work begins. Please read the attachment from the League of Women Voters as to what you can do.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NEWS
>> NBC News reports that the United States is planning to begin deporting undocumented Cuban migrants on flights back to Cuba “in the coming weeks.” These flights would be the first of their kind in recent memory as Cuba has recently refused to accept its own citizens back from the United States. Cuba is now agreeing to accept deportees under a deal reached between the two countries that will restart visa processing for Cubans seeking to enter the United States. For full report see: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/us-deport-cubans-plane-coming-weeks-rcna57341?utm_
>> USCIS announced that effective November 21, 2022, Ukrainian and Afghan parolees and their qualifying family members with certain classes of admission are considered employment-authorized incident to parole. In addition, USCIS announced the extension and expansion of fee exemptions and expedited processing for Afghan nationals through September 30, 2023.
>> On Nov 22, , U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it is extending and expanding previously announced filing fee exemptions and expedited application processing for certain Afghan nationals. These actions will help Afghan nationals resettle, and in many cases reunite with family, in the United States by enabling USCIS to process their requests for work authorization, long-term status, status for immediate relatives, and associated services more quickly.
>> USCIS made available an advance copy of a notice for the automatic extension of the validity of Temporary Protected Status-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal through June 30, 2024, from the current expiration date of December 31, 2022. See this article from Reuters for more information. AILA provides a client flyer with answers to questions about TPS.
For the Reuters article, SEE: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/us-extends-protected-status-mid-2024-six-nationalities-el-salvador-2022-11-10/?utm_2022&utm_ For the AILA flyer SEE: https://www.aila.org/advo-media/tools/psas/client-flyer-temporary-protected-status-questions?utm_
>> AILA reported that on November 29th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case U.S. v. Texas, a dispute over the Biden Administration’s authority to adopt and implement “immigration enforcement guidelines” (prosecutorial discretion). AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated, “It is clear after arguments that the state of Texas did not have standing to bring this lawsuit … AILA’s expectation is that common sense and justice will prevail and that the Supreme Court will firmly and clearly establish that the Biden Administration acted within its exclusive power to provide immigration enforcement guidance to its personnel. SEE related article from NPR at: https://www.npr.org/2022/11/29/1139531185/immigration-supreme-court-biden-trump-priorities-arguments?utm_
NATIONAL NEWS:>> CNN reports that Twitter employees who are relying on the company for work visas have been left in limbo after Elon Musk purchased the website and gave staff an ultimatum to commit to working “hardcore” or to leave. In FY2022, Twitter had nearly 300 people approved to work on H-1B visas, according to USCIS data. For full report see https://edition.cnn.com/2022/11/18/politics/twitter-layoffs-visas-h1b/index.html?utm_
>> Axios reports that the first bus carrying migrants from Texas to Pennsylvania arrived at 30th Street Station in the sanctuary city of Philadelphia on Wednesday morning. Under the controversial move to relocate undocumented migrants, thousands have already been transported from Texas to predominantly Democrat-run cities in other parts of the United States in a bid to test the cities’ social safety nets and challenge President Biden’s border policies. SEE: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/11/18/politics/twitter-layoffs-visas-h1b/index.html?utm_ Please also see the attachment below, from the American Immigration Council entitled, “The Publicity Stunts are Immoral”
>> WGN Chicago reports that 3,687 migrants have arrived in Chicago in the three months since Texas Governor Greg Abbott, upset over federal immigration policies, began the policy of bussing migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. While the attention has been on the bused migrants, local organizations have been accommodating migrants arriving on their own months before the crisis. SEE: https://wgntv.com/news/wgn-investigates/whats-next-for-the-migrants-who-were-bused-to-chicago/?utm_
>> CNN reports that Senate Democrats are racing against the clock to try to strike an agreement with Republicans to provide a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.The program, launched in 2012, allows undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to live and work in the United States. But its fate is uncertain amid ongoing litigation that threatens to end the policy. SEE: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2022/11/21/politics/daca-senate-dreamers-citizenship/index.html See ALSO report from MSNBC at https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/amp-video/mmvo154629701821
>> In-state tuition will be a long battle, but it can become law. If it can pass in AZ, why not in MA? SEE: : https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/11/arizona-immigration-tuition-students-proposition-308
LOCAL NEWS:>> MIRA’s take on the recent election: While last week’s election led to Democratic control of both the Massachusetts legislature and governor’s office, the national picture is much more complicated with some races not yet resolved. With few exceptions, the party in control of the White House has traditionally suffered major losses during a midterm election, leading many pundits to predict a “red wave” with Democrats losing the Senate and seeing double-digit losses in the House. However, for a number of reasons, this red wave never materialized.
In the Senate, Democrats have maintained at least 50 seats, meaning that they have a majority when including VP Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. The Georgia senate race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker remains undecided and will go to a runoff election on December 6th, meaning that Democrats have an opportunity to actually gain a seat in the chamber despite the expectations of a “red wave”. Of course, even with a win in Georgia, Democrats would still be far from the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, meaning we have little expectation to see movement on important legislation such as immigration reform or the DREAM Act.
The story in the House is a little more mixed with many seats still waiting to be determined. As of Thursday morning, Republicans have control of the chamber with 7 races remaining to be determined. While Republicans will control the chamber next session, their victory will be far from the massive pick-ups that were predicted. It does mean however that the GOP will control the agenda in the House, and Republican leadership has already promised a number of investigations into the Biden Administration, which could include hearings on the few pro-immigrant moves we have seen from the administration.
With the House and Senate split, MIRA will be focused on the potential for solutions at the state level to fix many of the problems our communities face. The victory of the Yes on 4 campaign demonstrates that Massachusetts voters will support pro immigrant policy change. And we are not alone. Arizona voters also weighed in on an immigrant issue, passing proposition 308 which granted undocumented students the ability to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. Arizona is now the 23rd state to approve tuition equity.
While we are unlikely to see broad immigration reforms in the coming years, the increasing support from voters for commonsense reforms, and the opportunity to pass meaningful policy change for immigrant communities at the state level will keep MIRA Coalition moving forward. Certainly, the victory of the Yes on 4 campaign, along with the election of Maura Healey, opens up renewed hope to push more pro-immigrant policy change at the State House and with the new administration.
>> On Tuesday Dec 6th, at 10:00PM, Channel 2 will air a show entitled “Whistleblower”. I have not yet seen the show, but it deals with a whistleblower risking deportation in a federal labor case of undocumented workers fighting against exploitation and for witness protections. Also a family’s struggles to reunite after being separated at the border. Should be an interesting show.
>> MIRA is looking for its next Citizenship Community Outreach Associate to work with MIRA’s citizenship team to increase the visibility and presence of MIRA’s citizenship application assistance program.
I hope you all had a wonderful and FULL filling Thanksgiving.