This Week in Immigration - American Immigration Council

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Updated: 57 min 35 sec ago

How the Biden Administration Is Responding to Unaccompanied Children, Families, and Adults at the Border

April 8, 2021 - 18:49

Only days after President Biden took office, some people were already declaring that the border was in a state of crisis. But recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal that the truth is more complicated. The Biden administration is dealing with two very different phenomena at the border right now. One is driving […]

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Yes, All Immigrants Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccine—Even Those Who Are Undocumented

April 7, 2021 - 16:49

Since the start of the pandemic, many immigrants have been left out of federal COVID-19 relief packages. Both undocumented immigrants and some people in mixed-status households have been excluded from stimulus checks, rent assistance, and other financial aid. This has left some questioning whether they qualify for the most important relief yet: the COVID-19 vaccine. […]

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Arizona ICE Detention Center Violated COVID-19 Safety Protocols by Refusing to Provide Masks or Enforce Social Distancing

April 6, 2021 - 18:22

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers—which often suffer from cramped conditions and poor access to medical care—are highly conducive to the spread of COVID-19. But ICE officials at one detention center in Arizona made the situation exponentially worse by failing to implement social distancing measures, provide face masks, or implement other basic COVID-19 […]

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Immigration Policies Based on Deterrence Don’t Work

April 2, 2021 - 17:45

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these calls must grapple with one simple fact: immigration enforcement through deterrence doesn’t work. If we want to keep people from making the dangerous […]

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Republicans Introduced 11 New Anti-Immigration Bills. Here’s What’s at Stake If They Pass.

April 1, 2021 - 17:24

A group of Republican lawmakers recently introduced a slew of anti-immigration bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. The bills primarily target people’s rights to seek asylum in the United States, as well as re-up a laundry list of anti-immigration initiatives from the Trump administration. These measures are the latest response to the arrival […]

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Ban on J-1 Exchange and Other Employment-Based Visas Set to Expire

March 30, 2021 - 16:59

A ban blocking certain employment-based visas implemented and extended by former President Trump is set to expire on March 31. The ban has likely prevented hundreds of thousands of people from participating in the American economy. In June 2020, the Trump administration blocked the entry of noncitizens on certain employment-based non-immigrant visas, using the COVID-19 […]

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How Many ICE-Related COVID-19 Deaths Have Gone Unreported?

March 26, 2021 - 18:50

After almost two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, Martin Vargas Arellano was released to a hospital on March 5. ICE did not notify his family or attorney. Three days later, he died alone from complications of COVID-19. His death leads to questions about how many other people have died soon after […]

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Biden Begins to Restore Temporary Protected Status. Which Countries Could Get TPS Next?

March 25, 2021 - 12:45

By the end of the Trump presidency, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was all but destroyed. The former administration had attempted to end crucial protections for the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people who benefited from the status. Now, just a short time into the Biden administration, those protections are being restored or extended. Foreign nationals […]

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What’s Not Being Said About the Border

March 23, 2021 - 18:55

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border—including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody—has captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks. Much of the conversation has focused on a supposed “surge” in arrivals under the Biden administration, but the current increase began well before President Biden took office and mirrors similar trends from […]

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USCIS Begins to Reverse Course on H-1B Petitions

March 19, 2021 - 19:03

Employers and workers are starting to see a shift from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on unlawful restrictions of the H-1B specialty occupation visa category. Over the past nine months, USCIS rescinded three policy memoranda after federal courts found the agency’s positions to be contrary to the law and regulations. Two were rescinded in […]

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The Environmental and Cultural Risks of Resuming Border Wall Construction

March 19, 2021 - 14:26

A pause on border wall construction is set to expire on March 20, without an indication of what will happen next. President Biden signed a proclamation ordering the 60-day pause on his first day in office. Any future construction would compound the cultural and environmental damage that has already been done across multiple administrations. Biden […]

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The House Passes Historic Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act

March 18, 2021 - 19:51

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two immigration bills on March 18, signaling that Congress might finally enact major immigration reform for the first time in over three decades. These bills—the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act—both offer pathways to U.S. citizenship for many immigrants with longstanding ties to the United […]

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Why We Must Improve Immigration Agency Transparency – And How to Do It

March 15, 2021 - 16:41

The Biden administration must improve transparency in the U.S. immigration system. Such efforts go hand in hand with strengthening democratic institutions. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), any person has the right to access any non-exempt federal government record. FOIA is a critical tool for holding the government accountable. But it is not a […]

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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Immigration: One Year Later

March 11, 2021 - 18:29

It’s been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic first affected immigration on a global scale. The impact has been swift, devastating, and long-lasting. On March 11, 2020, former President Trump issued a proclamation announcing travel restrictions on two dozen European countries. It was one of the first major signs from the U.S. government that the […]

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ICE’s New Case Review Process Lets Immigrants Appeal Detention and Deportation

March 9, 2021 - 18:59

The Biden administration announced new “enforcement priorities” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 18. The priorities were an initial step away from the Trump administration’s enforcement strategy that made every undocumented immigrant a target for deportation. But issuing priorities is one thing; meaningful implementation is another. With over 13,000 people in detention and […]

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What You Need to Know about Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela

March 9, 2021 - 18:37

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 8 that Venezuelan nationals present in the United States would be eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The TPS designation provides immigration status to many Venezuelans for the next 18 months. At least 200,000 Venezuelans are expected to be eligible. TPS was created by […]

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How the Biden Administration Should Respond to the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children

March 9, 2021 - 15:02

Since 2013, the government has struggled to respond to increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. After disastrous Trump administration policies left unaccompanied children detained at the border for weeks at a time, the Biden administration is facing its own challenges to accommodate an increasingly large number of arrivals at the southern […]

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The Supreme Court Makes It Harder for Immigrants to Fight Deportation

March 5, 2021 - 17:42

The U.S. Supreme Court published a new decision on March 4 that will make it harder—if not impossible—for many longtime immigrants to fight deportation. The case, Pereida v. Wilkson, abandons decades of Supreme Court precedent on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Undocumented immigrants and other noncitizens who are deportable may still be eligible for […]

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Trump’s Citizenship Test Scrapped by USCIS Over Politicization and Complexity Concerns

March 4, 2021 - 19:02

Individuals hoping to become a naturalized American citizen will take a different civics test beginning this week, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reverts back to a previous version of the test. USCIS has scrapped a 2020 version of the U.S. citizenship test implemented during the final months of the Trump administration. The test […]

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New Data Shows the Landscape of Community Support Services to Replace Immigration Detention

March 2, 2021 - 19:08

The U.S. government has long relied on a punitive and outdated detention system to keep immigrants in its custody. Even when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places people on alternatives to detention, those alternatives are run by for-profit corporations and involve intrusive surveillance through devices like ankle monitors. New data released this week by […]

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