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IMMIGRATION POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Immigration Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with illegal and legal immigration, refugee resettlement and sanctuary cities. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Border Patrol, and state and city government policies that respond to federal policies.

Latest Immigration Posts

 

Our Migrant Workforce: Who Are They? How Did They Get Here?

Brief #121—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Migrant workers support the US economy providing American industries like agriculture and technology the critical labor force they need to prosper. In 2019, more than 900,000 temporary foreign workers visas were granted, compared to only 400,000 in 1994.  During lockdown measures in 2020, Trump suspended all temporary work visas to ensure public health safety.

The first migrant labor program came during WWI due to severe labor shortages and drew in agricultural laborers primarily from Mexico. In 1952, lawmakers attempted to regulate and consolidate temporary visa regulations into a comprehensive Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which introduced the H2 visa (the precursor to the H1B). There are currently 4 types of H-visas for temporary workers (with the 4th being for spouses and unmarried children of H-visa recipients).  See below for an explanation of the different H type visas that that are used by migrant workers.

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Southern Border Mass Migration at Highest Level in Decades

Brief #120—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
In March 2021, CBP apprehended at least 170,000 migrants at the US Southwest Border – the highest in 15 years and a 70% increase from February 2021. Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children were taken into custody after crossing the border – including at port entries – quadrupling figures for the same month in 2020. Many are meeting relatives in the US and/or they are economic migrants looking for work.

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Immigration Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration

Brief #119—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Thus far, 2021 and the Biden Administration have seen a major increase in unaccompanied migrant children crossing the US Southern Border – more than tripled. In the first 3 months of 2021, 4,500 unaccompanied minors were held by CBP and over 9,000 by the Department of Health and Human Services. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas refers to the phenomena as a challenge – as it is not a new phenomenon or crisis – but rather a pattern. During this fragile transition of power – particularly in the immigration sector – there are a few ways the Biden Administration can seek to strengthen the American immigration system, while dismantling the xenophobic Trump-era policies and still remain realistic in scope.

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A Surge of Unaccompanied Children at the US Southern Border

Brief #117—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
The US is seeing a record-breaking influx of children held in government facilities after crossing the southern border. The amount of unaccompanied children crossing the border has increased 63% so far in 2021 and border facilities are over capacity due to COVID-19 social distance restrictions in addition to the sheer number of children needing accommodations. The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is currently holding more than 13,000 unaccompanied children in custody. The children’s ages range from toddlers (usually with an older sibling) to teens. Those under 18 are being allowed to enter the US while their claims are processed.

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Biden Pledges to Admit 125,000 Asylum Seekers Annually

Brief #116—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
The Biden Administration has pledged to increase the annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000 and has already begun efforts to undo the effects of the Trump era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy that left up to 20,000 in Mexican tent camps while they await their judicial proceedings in the US. Biden plans to enact this new process of bringing asylum seekers, particularly with active Migrant Protection Protocol (Remain in Mexico) cases in phases. Eligible migrants are to be registered and tested for COVID-19 before entering the US at three ports of entry. About 300 migrants may be admitted daily before the need to expand to other ports of entry.

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Biden Administration Seeks to Curb Unnecessary Arrests and Deportations

Brief #115—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
This week, the Biden Administration issued new guidelines for ICE in attempts to curb arrests and deportations. Anyone unlawfully in the US is still subject to arrest, but ICE will no longer deport immigrants for crimes such as DUIs, simple assault, fraud, tax crimes, solicitation, money laundering and fraud, and charges without convictions. Biden announced he aims to focus more on national security threats and individuals with aggravated felony charges and/or convictions.

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Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies

Brief #114—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Earlier this week, President Biden signed three Executive Orders to begin the lengthy process of undoing Trump-era immigration policies that have stained American foreign policy and international perception. The Senate had just confirmed Alejandro N. Mayorka as Secretary of Homeland Security – in which all but seven Republican voted no, which accurately depicts the divisions in the US government about American attitudes towards foreigners. Mayorka will be the first Latino-American of his position.

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Biden’s Administration Proposes Sweeping New Immigration Law and  Ends Separation of Children from Their Parents

Brief #114—Immigration
By Linda F. Hersey
The zero-tolerance program that defined the Trump Administration’s policy on immigration – separating hundreds of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border – is officially over.

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson sent a letter  to all U.S. attorneys that rescinds the order, effectively erasing the policy that allowed for federally prosecuting undocumented parents and separating them from their children.

Although immigrants can still be deported if they do not have documents or protections to stay in the U.S., they typically are not charged in federal court and separated from their children. The Wilkinson letter – first reported by NBC News — encourages prosecutors to “use discretion” in prosecuting minor border offenses.

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Biden’s First Few Days in Office Address Immigration: Border Wall Funding Ceases and DACA is Reinstated

Brief #109—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Within President Biden’s first few days in office, he has signed two Executive Orders to begin mitigating and reversing the Trump Administration’s efforts to drastically alter immigration policies. First, Biden ended the national emergency declaration that effectively diverted $10 billion from the Defense Department towards Trump’s border wall. The proclamation also asserts that federal agencies must curate a plan of action within 60 days to redirect border wall funds.

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