Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

Get ready for a new U.S. immigration program under the Biden administration as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency said it saw 216,162 individuals trying to enter the U.S. on its southwest land border in December 2022—an 11% increase from the month before. Here are the top immigration news items making headlines recently.

1: Welcome Corps program is here

The Biden administration has announced the launch of a new immigration program: the Welcome Corps. The program, according to the U.S. State Department, is meant to complement the traditional U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by permitting Americans to join with others, in minimum groups of five, to apply to sponsor a new refugee. 

As part of this process, such a group will have to raise $2,750 per refugee, pass background checks and create a support plan. The State Department aims to line up 10,000 Americans who can help 5,000 refugees during the first year of the program. The new initiative will roll out in two phases. Logon to https://welcomecorps.org/ to sign up as a sponsor.

2: More than 20,000 immigrants in detention

The latest Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) data showed that as of January 15, 2023, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) held 20,892 immigrants in ICE detention. TRAC data also pointed out that 11,710 migrants out of the 20,892—or over 56%—in detention have no criminal record. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations. 

Most of the detainees—10,174—are in Texas. The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2023, averaging 1,477 per day, followed by the state of Louisiana with 4,833, Georgia with 1,824 and California with 1,773.

3: Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to become new immigrant relief center

New York City is set to open a new relief center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to provide temporary respite to the continued influx of asylum-seekers entering the city, officials say.

The new site is scheduled to serve approximately 1,000 asylum-seekers, specifically single adult men, who will be moved from another humanitarian relief center. It will also serve newly arriving single men, the mayor’s office said. The cruise terminal site will be the fifth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center to open in the city to manage the arrival of immigrants, who have been bused in from other parts of the country in recent months. The center is expected to be in operation until the spring, when the terminal reopens to the public for cruise season. 

“With more than 41,000 asylum-seekers arriving in New York City since last spring and nearly 28,000 asylum-seekers currently in our care, our city is at its breaking point,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Adams said: “This 

is a national problem and our national government, Congress and the White House must do a long-term comprehensive immigration policy. But the White House must deal with the immediate emergency we have now … And quite frankly, migrants shouldn’t be used as political pawns.”

4: Premium processing expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140 petitions

The UCSIS is implementing the final phase of the premium processing expansion for Form I-140 or Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications.
Petitioners who wish to request premium processing must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. Beginning January 30, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for all pending E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions and all initial E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions.

5: DHS changes strengthen efforts to hold unscrupulous employers accountable 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that non-citizen workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, the violation of labor rights can now access a streamlined deferred action request process. Deferred action protects non-citizen workers from threats of immigration-related retaliation from exploitive employers. Workers will be able to visit DHS.gov for additional information in English and Spanish, and to submit requests.

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

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