By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Aug. 27, 2021: In the past week alone, so much has happened on the US immigration front, its hard for even the most ardent follower of the issue to keep track. Here are five news headlines you should know of.
1: Remain In Mexico Fight
The Supreme Court on August 24th ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the Trump-era Remain-in-Mexico policy. It marks the latest legal defeat for the administration on immigration.
In a 6-3 decision, the court denied a request to stop a federal court ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols – which has become known as “Remain-in-Mexico” – a major 2019 border security program that kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited their hearings.
The Biden administration said Tuesday it would appeal the ruling, but also comply with the order.
2: Detainee COVID-19 Cases Spike
The number of immigrant detainees in US ICE custody continues to spike. There are now over 25,000 cases as of August 20th, with over 1,100 in isolation and being monitored the agency’s data shows. So far, 9 immigrants have died from the virus while in ICE custody. The majority of the deaths – 4 – occurred at the Stewart Detention Center in Atlanta, GA. That detention center also has 924 cases of the virus. The highest number of COVID-19 cases or 1,346 is, however, reported at South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
3: Another TPS Expansion For Haitians?
Members of Congress, Haitian Americans and immigrant advocacy groups are calling on the Biden administration to further expand Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status designation after the major earthquake of August 14, 2021 claimed over 2,000 lives in Haiti’s southwestern peninsula.
They also want the administration to stop deporting Haitian immigrants from the U.S. to Haiti. US Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, already expanded Haiti’s designation on August 3rd in response to President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination. That new expansion also now includes Haitians who were residing in the U.S. as of July 29. The new designation keeps TPS for Haitians, which was first introduced in 2010, in place until February 3, 2023.
4: Racist And Unconstitutional?
A federal judge in Nevada has ruled that a nearly 70-year-old section of the US immigration law, that makes it a felony to reenter the country after being deported, is unconstitutional.
Judge Miranda Du issued an order on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, dismissing a case against Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez, who was indicted last summer for being in the U.S. in spite of being deported in 1999 and 2012. She wrote that the law was enacted with discriminatory intent against Latinos and therefore violates the Equal Protection Clause. The order notes that the law has a disparate impact on Latinos, noting that 87 percent of people apprehended at the border in 2010 were of Mexican descent. “The government’s alternative arguments – that a nondiscriminatory motive was “plain” or that subsequent amendments somehow imply the racial taint was cleansed – are not supported by caselaw nor borne out by the evidentiary record,” Judge Du wrote.
5: No Blank Space Rejection Policy
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached a settlement agreement in the case of Vangala et al. v. USCIS et al. The agreement allows certain individuals to receive updated receipt dates for resubmitted immigration benefit applications or petitions originally rejected under the former “No Blank Space” rejection policy. Under this former policy, USCIS rejected filings with any blank fields or spaces.
On July 20, 2021, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Oakland Division, granted final approval of the settlement agreement. This agreement is specific to the “No Blank Space” rejection policy that was applied to three forms:
Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal;
Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status; and
Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient (PDF, 628.59 KB).
Individuals whose forms were rejected under the former policy may resubmit their request on or before July 20, 2022, to obtain an updated receipt reflecting the date their rejected request was originally filed.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow