It’s almost the end of the year, but there seems to be no slowdown on the immigration news scene. Here are five top stories you may have missed in just the past few days.

1: U.S. immigrant population drops for first time in 10 years

Axios is reporting that the population of foreign-born citizens and residents in the U.S. has dropped for the first time in over a decade, based on their analysis of new experimental U.S. Census Bureau data.

AXIOS analyzed new data from the American Community Survey (ACS) which revealed the smallest decade gain in the foreign-born population since the 1960s, at 3.6 million. In comparison, the immigrant population grew by 8.8 million during the 2000s.

2: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

The Joe Biden administration has reportedly begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the U.S. through the humanitarian parole process, Axios also reported. This comes after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started issuing the humanitarian parole denials, according to multiple immigration attorneys and advocates the news site spoke with. Two administration officials told Axios the program was never intended as a workaround to the established refugee resettlement program or Operation Allies Welcome, which has brought roughly 75,000 vulnerable Afghans to the U.S.—and counting. It’s intended only for people in extreme circumstances who are not included in the operation and are unable to wait for refugee resettlement.

3: Remain in Mexico program for migrants ‘places them in danger’

Yahoo news is reporting that immigration advocates and attorneys are voicing frustration with the Biden administration over its court-ordered reimplementation of the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, saying the enforcement and expansion of a program the administration opposed in court shows the White House isn’t fighting as aggressively as it could and the policy places migrants in danger.

“The MPP program is something that the Biden administration promised to end during the elections. If we quote what the Biden administration or what [Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro] Mayorkas said about MPP—‘we’re all on the same page that this is a horrible program and it causes so much harm to our community,’” Dulce Garcia, an immigration attorney in San Diego and executive director for Border Angels, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization, was quoted as saying. MPP refers to “Migrant Protection Protocols,” the formal name of the program. Nearly 70,000 asylum-seekers across the southern border are subject to the policy. Migrants began being returned to Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, on Monday, Dec. 6. The policy will eventually expand to seven other locations, including San Diego and Calexico, Calif., Nogales, Ariz., and several Texas border cities including Brownsville and Eagle Pass.

4: DeSantis wants $8m to remove ‘unauthorized aliens’ from Florida

Florida’s Donald Trump wannabe, Ron DeSantis, is proposing $8 million in his new state budget to create a new program that would allow his government to contract with private companies to transport “unauthorized aliens” out of Florida, the Miami Herald reports. The proposed program, which the governor wants to pay for with interest accrued from federal funds, and a “series” of incoming legislative bills that he says will fight “back against the Biden border crisis,” are the latest battle lines drawn by a governor who appears to be drumming up a potential challenge against President Joe Biden in 2024.

5: Legal immigrants have one less hurdle to getting a green card 

The Miami Herald is reporting this story, which is at least a good news item this holiday season. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has, the paper reported, updated a key requirement to obtain permanent residence or a green card in the United States effective Dec. 9. The agency issued a policy alert temporarily waiving a hurdle in the obligatory—and sometimes feared—medical and vaccination examination for immigration purposes, which makes sure there are no health issues that would deem the applicant inadmissible to the United States. The medical examination is a key requirement for all legal immigrants filing for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The results are submitted to USCIS through Form I-693. During the Trump administration, the agency instituted a rule stating that a Form I-693 is valid only when a civil surgeon signs it no more than 60 days before the date an applicant files the application for the underlying immigration benefit. 

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.

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