This Week In Immigration – Week of August 1-7, 2021

This Week In Immigration


Biden taps lawyer to help rescind Trump immigration policy

The Biden administration has hired a former Obama official to help take apart the restrictive immigration policies developed under former President Donald Trump. Lucas Guttentag will serve as senior counselor on immigration policy and report to the Department of Justice’s Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. He served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser on immigration policy, including as senior counselor to the secretary of Homeland Security.

Texas county judge aims to dispel misconception between DHS-released migrants, those in U.S. ‘illegally’

Hidalgo County, Texas, Judge Richard Cortez says he hopes to set the record straight between who is “legally” allowed to be in the country, and who is here illegally. Cortez describes the “legal immigrants” as the vulnerable migrant families with tender-age children under 6 who since early February have been released by DHS agents with a Notice to Appear or documents indicating future U.S. immigration court hearings or information on how they must report to an agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in their final destination. They are seeking asylum due to fears of persecution, gangs, or other issues in their home countries. The “illegal immigrants,” he says, are the single adults who are coming for economic reasons and who do not qualify for asylum as long as Title 42 travel restrictions remain. 


Illinois to end immigrant detention with new bill

Illinois Gov. JB. Pritzker signed legislation to increase protections for immigrants and end local partnerships with federal immigration enforcement authorities. Illinois is now the second state in the nation to have such a requirement. The legislation prohibits state or local governments from signing contracts with the federal government to detain immigrants; places limitations on local enforcement of discriminatory practices by prohibiting officials from inquiring about the citizenship or immigration status of an individual in custody unless they are presented with a federal criminal warrant; authorizes the Attorney General to conduct investigations into violation of the Illinois TRUST Act. The new law will effectively close immigrant detention centers in Illinois by 2022.


Immigrant Activists Say ICE Is Purposely Targeting Them- According to a report prepared by The University of Washington School of Law, immigration officials are engaged in “a sustained campaign of ICE surveillance and repression against advocacy groups and activists.” The report is based on interviews, court filings, and documents showing a range of allegations from around the country — Texas, Washington, Vermont, North Carolina, and Illinois — where advocates, including Maru Mora-Villalpando and Claudia Munoz, say they’ve been intimidated, spied on, and even deported for their activism. ICE denies retaliating against anyone. The agency says it is simply enforcing immigration law against people who are living in the country illegally.

Answer Line: Visa process creates waiting list for immigration

Becoming a naturalized U.S. through family relations is a lengthy process and applicants usually spend many years waiting for their cases to be processed. Much of its time is tied to the process of awaiting visas for people to come to the U.S. The priority for immigration visas issuance is the following: 1 – Unmarried Children of U.S. Citizens; 2 – Spouses and Children of U.S. Citizens and Unmarried Children of Permanent Residents; 3 – Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents; 4 – Married Children of U.S. Citizens; 5 – Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens. It can take 6 to 7 years for the parents, spouse, or minor children of U.S. citizens to become citizens; for adult children and siblings of citizens, it can take 12 to 28 years. If the applicant’s relative is a lawful permanent resident in the U.S., it can take 11 to 20 years to become a citizen.

Research: Why Immigrants Are More Likely to Become Entrepreneurs

In the United States, where 13.7% of the population is foreign-born, immigrants represent 20.2% of the self-employed workforce and 25% of startup founders. According to a 2018 study by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrants founded or cofounded 55% of the United States’ billion-dollar companies. Many researchers have been puzzled by these disproportionate numbers. One possible explanation for immigrant entrepreneurship could be so-called personality-based self-selection. Many immigrants represent a specific category of highly risk-tolerant people, whose decisions to emigrate voluntarily and to start a company are both associated with high levels of risk. Immigrants encounter significant additional risks, from unemployment or underemployment to xenophobia and psychological trauma.

Federal judge blocks Texas immigrant stop order from taking effect

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott and prohibited the state of Texas from allowing troopers to stop vehicles suspected of carrying illegal immigrants on the grounds they might be spreading COVID-19. The judge also found that the order “causes irreparable injury to the United States and to individuals the United States is charged with protecting, jeopardizing the health and safety of non-citizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.” Pro-immigration and civil rights activists had also argued the order invited racial profiling by members of law enforcement.


EAGLE Act offers rare opportunity for bipartisan immigration reform

Introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, and John Curtis, the Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act aims to reform employment-based green cards, the H-1B visa program, and family-sponsored visas. The bill aims to make it harder for fraud to occur, by requiring all H-1B job postings to be listed on the Department of Labor’s website for 30 days and prohibiting an employer from employing more than 50% of its workforce through the H-1B program. Additionally, the EAGLE Act would adjust wage requirements for H-1B jobs to reflect variations in cost of living throughout the United States.

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