Weekly Immigration News: A Collaborative Effort

As talk of immigration reform circles Washington DC, many tech giants, religious groups, advocacy organizations, and even conservatives, push the Biden administration and congressional leadership towards greater efforts for change.

  • In a letter to congressional leaders, a group of business, religious, and conservative groups have called Congress to support immigration reform as a way to prevent further “[strain] on [the United States’] immigration and humanitarian services.”  The letter and the movement for changes to the immigration system were spearheaded by the George W. Bush Institute, and backs many of the Democratic efforts to give Dreamers, or DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiaries, a citizenship pathway, also supporting Biden’s moves to address the “root causes of migration.”
  • Today, President Biden is slated to meet six Dreamers at the Oval Office in the White House. This comes as the Biden administration announced its support for immigration reform, with Biden stating that lawmakers should aim to “end [their] exhausting war over immigration,” in an address to a joint Congressional session. Those who will meet Biden include essential workers: Maria Praeli who works at an immigration advocacy group, FWD.us, Esmeralda Tovar-Mora who is studying for a nursing degree, Astou Thiane who is part of Teach for America, Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn who was a plaintiff in a case that caused the Supreme Court case to rule in favor of upholding DACA protections, Leydy Rangel who works for United Farm Workers, and Karen Reyes, who is a deaf education specialist. It will be the second known assembly of Dreamers in the President’s Oval Office.
  • On Friday, around 30 technology companies and groups filed a legal brief defending H-4 EAD, an Obama-era rule that allows the spouses of H1-B-holding, high-skill immigrants to have work authorization in the United States. The collective mass of organizations, including but not limited to Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, call themselves Save Jobs USA, and state that repealing H-4 EAD would “be utterly destructive for the families impacted.” The rule has already survived a Trump administration repeal in 2017, but it is yet unclear if it will continue into the future.
  • The Biden administration has also announced that it will bring back the International Entrepreneur Rule, an Obama-era program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to live in the US as long as they own a minimum of ten percent of a start-up and have a minimum of $250,000 from investors. This policy, suspended by the Trump presidency, allows for “parole benefits,” and is heavily supported by the technology sector of the United States.
  • Although the number of US-Mexico border apprehensions rose slightly in April with 62.5 percent of those encountered being expelled, the number of unaccompanied minors dropped from March’s record high, according to data published by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) this past week. This comes as the Biden administration works to reunite separated migrant families and decrease the time spent by these children in CBP custody.
  • Finally, this past Tuesday, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era decision, announcing that undocumented college students, including Dreamers, refugees, undocumented immigrants, and asylum seekers, will be eligible for federal COVID-19 aid. Although this shift comes with new rules set by the Department of Education and will only be for those non-citizens who have been enrolled at a United States’ institution since March 13, 2020, the availability of financial assistance under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund will allow many immigrants to continue to pursue degrees throughout the continuing pandemic. Additionally, Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary, stated that his department would be allocating 36 billion dollars to more than 5,000 colleges and universities in order for schools to give students direct aid.

Photo Credit: brionv

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