Articles Posted in Politics

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Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, President Biden is considering the rollout of a set of new executive actions aimed at curbing illegal migration at the U.S. southern border and measures that would create new obstacles for asylum applicants. Individuals speaking on condition of anonymity have said these policies could come as soon as March 7th as part of President Biden’s State of the Union speech.

According to reports by insiders of the Biden administration, the proposals under discussion would use a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to stop migrants from requesting asylum at U.S. ports of entry once a certain number of illegal crossings has been reached.

While the exact details of the executive order are still unclear, the proposal would likely carve out several exceptions for unaccompanied minors and those who meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. A similar proposal was previously discussed in the U.S. Senate as part of a border deal earlier this month.

To further appease conservative voters, the Biden administration is also considering implementing policies that would make it harder for migrants to pass the initial screening of the asylum interview process. Under these proposals, the administration would elevate the “credible fear standard” of the asylum process, thereby narrowing the pool of applicants eligible to seek asylum. Those who cannot meet the elevated standard, would be swiftly deported.

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Source: Flickr: Molly Adams, LA March for Immigrant Rights 

In a stunning turn of events, a federal judge on Wednesday declared the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal in a new court ruling.

The decision comes after a five-year long court battle which has left the future of Dreamers hanging in the balance.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the District Court of Houston rejected the Biden administration’s efforts to save the DACA program, arguing that former President Barack Obama did not have the authority to create the program in 2012 by executive authority.

In his ruling, Judge Hanen stopped short of terminating the program which will mean that current DACA recipients can retain their DACA benefits and apply for renewals with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, initial first-time applications for DACA will remain prohibited.

In 2021, the Biden administration sought to defend the legality of DACA by issuing a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register to preserve and fortify the program. This came after Judge Hanen issued a prior ruling arguing that the government failed to abide by the public notice and comment procedure required by the Administrative Procedures Act before. This prompted Texas along with eight other states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Mississippi) to sue the federal government bringing the case before Judge Hanen yet again.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s efforts to appease the Judge did not work. Ultimately the Judge indicated that only Congress could enact legislation to protect Dreamers, and passing such a program was not under the authority of the President.

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50091854772_d0d3b61325_bMexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is set to visit the White House next month to discuss immigration and make a push for additional U.S. commitments to help curb rates of illegal immigration.

It has been rumored that during his visit, the Biden administration will announce an offer of 300,000 temporary work visas up for grabs for Mexican nationals and Central Americans.

Mexico’s Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez confirmed these reports in a business meeting explaining that the U.S. government has agreed to split the number of visas proportionally to both Mexican and Central Americans, in an effort to ease the migration challenges of both countries.

According to Lopez, “The American government agreed to issue, initially, 300,000 temporary work visas; 150,000 will be for Mexicans or for foreigners who are currently in Mexico waiting for the possibility to migrate north.” The Biden administration is expected to announce these measures during President Obrador’s visit in July.

“It’s a high price, in terms of social costs, for our country to be a crossing point for migrants and every day we’re talking with the American government to try to generate (better) conditions,” Lopez said in remarks during a business meeting in Tijuana, Mexico.

While the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico did not return requests for comment, it will be interesting to see how these developments will play out in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, tensions grew between President Obrador and the Biden administration over the U.S. government’s decision to exclude Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela from attending the Summit of the Americas due to human rights violations. Following the news, President Obrador declined to attend the Summit, and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard took his place.

President Obrador’s visit will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, prompting a renewed debate over U.S. immigration policy.

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We kick off the start of a brand-new week with some interesting revelations. On April 28, 2022, President Biden issued a letter proposing a new immigration measure that, if passed, could offer highly educated Russian nationals a pathway to permanent residency.

What is it all about?


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has left scientists and engineers seeking stable ground, with many young STEM talent looking to its European neighbors for employment opportunities.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the Biden administration called for a measure to be approved as part of requested legislation for emergency supplemental funding to Ukraine.

Biden’s proposals seek amendment of Section 203(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2)) effectively welcoming Russian STEM talent to the United States.


What does the measure propose?


By amending Section 203(b)(2), the U.S. government would essentially eliminate the need for Russian nationals, with a master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM field, to obtain an employment sponsor (job offer from a U.S. employer) and eliminate placement in the green card backlogs.

Under Biden’s proposal, adjudication of visas for such individuals would occur within just 90 days if possible, taking into account the need for security assessments. The proposed measure would end after four years (unless extended by Congress).

The measure has been proposed to ensure retention of talented Russian scientists and engineers. Interestingly, the letter highlights that the prospects of obtaining H-1B visa status for this group are lowered considering the numerical limits, and record H-1B registrations that far outweigh the number of available visas. In fiscal year 2023, USCIS announced that it received 483,927 H-1B registrations, a 57% increase over the last year. Only 127,600 registrations were selected to meet the H-1B quota (or 26% of total registrations).


Legislative Text


The legislative text of the provision reads as follows:

“IN GENERAL.— Section 203(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(D) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the requirements of subparagraph (A) that an alien’s services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business be sought by an employer in the United States shall not apply to aliens (and the parents, spouses, and children of such aliens if accompanying or following to join) who—

“(i) are citizens of Russia;

(ii) have earned a masters or doctoral degree in the United States or an equivalent foreign degree in a field involving science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, including but not limited to degrees relevant to the following fields: Advanced Computing, Advanced Engineering Materials, Advanced Gas Turbine Engine Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing, Advanced and Networked Sensing and Signature Management, Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies, Advanced Particle Detector Instrumentation Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems and Robotics, Biotechnologies, Communication and Networking Technologies, Cybersecurity, Directed Energy, Financial Technologies, Human-Machine Interfaces, Hypersonics, Advanced Missile Propulsion Technologies, Networked Sensors and Sensing, Quantum Information Technologies, Renewable Energy Generation and Storage, Semiconductors and Microelectronics, Space Technologies and Systems; and “(iii) are seeking admission to engage in work in the United States in an endeavor related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.”

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