Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup, where every month we will summarize and provide links to the latest stories impacting U.S. immigration.
Below is the July 2022 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
Appeals court hears arguments over GOP-leaning states’ suit to end DACA
A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard oral arguments earlier this month from both sides in a case seeking to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Texas, joined by eight other Republican-leaning states, argues that DACA was enacted without going through proper legal and administrative procedures, including public notice and comment periods,” according to a story published by NPR. “Additionally, the states argue that they are harmed financially by allowing immigrants to remain in the country illegally.”
The NPR story continues: “The U.S. Justice Department defended the program, allied with the state of New Jersey, advocacy organizations such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and a coalition of dozens of powerful corporations — including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — which argue that DACA recipients are ‘employees, consumers and job creators.’”
DACA offers temporary protection to almost 700,000 people. Recipients can also receive work authorization in the United States; enroll at colleges and universities; and obtain a driver’s license.
The program was initially implemented by former President Barack Obama via executive action about 10 years ago.
Proposed STEM immigration reforms dead in Senate
This story by Bloomberg News details the removal of some key immigration provisions in the Senate version of a pending U.S. “competition” bill.
The immigration measures were included when the bill passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
“The House version (of the bill) included a provision to give noncitizens with advanced science, technology, engineering, and math degrees a quicker path to a green card in the U.S.,” The Bloomberg story read. “But negotiations on the broad legislation stalled amid partisan battles, and Senate leaders this week circulated a smaller draft bill focused on the cornerstone of the competition package: domestic semiconductor production.”
The story continued: “That leaves other measures, including the STEM immigration proposal, lacking a clear path to becoming law. An effort to attach a similar STEM provision to the House’s annual defense policy bill failed last week, and supporters acknowledged they had few remaining options.”
He’s self-deporting after ‘aging out’ of his parents’ visa. Will Congress help other immigrants stay?
This article from the L.A. Times details the story of 24-year-old Laurens Van Beek, who left the United States after aging out of lawful status under his parents’ visas.
Van Beek came to the United States as a child but was forced to leave after no longer having a path to maintain legal immigration status.
“Van Beek grew up in Iowa but was born in the Netherlands. His parents, who own a small jewelry shop, have renewable work visas,” the story read. “But as of his 21st birthday, just before his senior year at the University of Iowa, he no longer qualified as their dependent.”
The story continued: “Van Beek got an international student visa and extended it for three years of postgraduate training. Now 24, he’s a software developer who works in DNA synthesis, but when that clock ran out, so did his ability to legally stay in the U.S. He returned to the Netherlands.”
The story estimates there are about 250,000 people in a similar situation to Van Beek, with thousands of others already “aging out.” This group has received the title “documented Dreamers,” and a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Deborah K. Ross (D-N.C.) to offer them legal protections as well as a pathway to citizenship.
“The need to retain people who were trained and educated in the U.S., combined with unity among various immigrant groups, could be the key to reform,” Ross said, according to the LA Times. The Times added that the “bill probably could pass the House but faces a more difficult battle in the Senate, where immigration legislation lacks public support from enough lawmakers to reach the 60-vote threshold for passage.”
Tens of thousands of Afghans applying for U.S. visas still face major delays
This story from CNN details the struggles some individuals from Afghanistan are experiencing while trying to obtain visas to the United States.
“The Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) program for Afghan nationals has been plagued with management problems and low annual caps for years leading up to the withdrawal by U.S. forces,” the CNN story read. “It’s often a cumbersome and meticulous process and can take years to complete.”
A senior administration official told CNN that “there are tens of thousands of Afghans who have applied for Special Immigrant Visas whose applications are still being processed nearly a year after the … U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The official told CNN that these visa applications will “now be entirely overseen by the State Department.”
“The official said SIV processing is moving faster than before, noting that the State Department has surged resources to handle the processing,” CNN reported in the story. “Senior administration officials also announced they are eliminating one of two forms for most new applicants — a change in process that they say ‘will shave about a month off of the adjudication time.’”
The story continued: “Removing this form means that the processing will all be done by the State Department, and no longer through USCIS. However, it will still be a very rigorous process.”