Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

A lot happens in a week, especially in the news cycle, which was taken over last week by Hurricane Ian. As such, several immigration news stories got ignored or pushed to the back burner. Here are five you should know about:

1: 16 immigrants lost at sea in Florida 

While Florida says 46 people are now dead from Hurricane Ian, that tally does not include the 16 migrants feared dead and lost at sea. A boat carrying 27 Cuban migrants sank off the coast of Florida as Hurricane Ian slammed into the state on Wednesday, Sept. 28. As of Sept. 30, the U.S. Coast Guard said only two bodies were found and the 16 remain missing or lost. The boat capsized on the 28th but four of the people on board swam to Stock Island, just east of Key West, the U.S. Border Patrol said. On Thursday, Sept. 29 the Coast Guard said a total of nine people had been safely located and rescued.

2: Refugee admissions target

As U.S. authorities made more than 2 million immigration arrests along the southern border during the past 11 months, marking the first-time annual enforcement statistics have exceeded that threshold, President Joe Biden on Sept. 28 formally kept the nation’s cap on refugee admissions at 125,000 for the 2023 budget year. This came despite pressure from refugee advocates to raise it even higher to meet the need after falling far short of that target this year.

In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 203,598 migrants crossing from Mexico, the latest figures show, putting authorities on pace to tally more than 2.3 million arrests during the government’s 2022 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. The total, which includes some people apprehended more than once, far exceeds last year’s record of more than 1.7 million arrests.

3: AOC rips New York mayor’s tent city plan 

New York Congresswoman, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), has slammed New York Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to set up a migrant tent camp in her district, and claimed there must be a “better solution.”

The progressive congresswoman, who has been at odds with the more moderate mayor for months, chided him in a brief interview with the Daily News on the steps of City Hall after a press conference with Adams on a different issue.

“I think we can find a better solution here,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked about the tent complexes being built in the Bronx’s Orchard Beach parking lot to house more than 1,000 Latino migrants. She also said she is in talks with other lawmakers to “see if there are additional federal funds” that could help the city house migrants.

Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy defended the tent plans when asked for a response to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments.

“No location is perfect, but we are confident in this decision,” he said. “And we are pleased that so many local elected officials recognize that we are in an emergency and are willing to work with us towards a successful rollout.” 

The Adams administration is using the tent camp to ease pressure on the city’s housing system, which has been overwhelmed by an influx of more than 10,000 migrants who have traveled from Mexico to the United States in hopes of asylum.

Advocates for the homeless have raised concerns about whether the tents will comply with local housing rights law, which requires the city to provide shelter to anyone who needs it, as well as certain basic amenities such as lockers, mail and laundry access.

4: U.S. Cuban Family Reunification Parole program

As U.S. border officials report high numbers of Cuban migrants hoping to enter the country at the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told VOA that more than 10,000 people are in the pipeline of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program. New invitations have not been issued since September 2016. While some migrants have the option to be sponsored by family members, others choose often dangerous paths to reach the United States. 

5: Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929

Senators Dick Durbin and Alex Padilla have introduced a new bill entitled the Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, that would update the existing registry date to enable an estimated 8 million immigrants to apply for permanent residence if they have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least seven years. Applicants would have to be of good moral character but could apply even if they are unable to. This initiative could change U.S. immigration law significantly if it ever becomes a reality and is capable of helping millions of immigrants. 

It is the first registry change proposed since 1986. In order to be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the current registry date, you have to show physical presence in the United States for more than 50 years. The new bill that seeks to update the registry criteria is cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ben Ray Luján and companion legislation was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren back in July of this year.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.

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