Immigration again looks set to take center stage in next year’s general elections as the GOP plows ahead with hard-nosed plans going nowhere and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, along with NYC lawmakers, takes a jab at the Joe Biden administration on asylum seekers as May 11 approaches—the day Title 42 is expected to be lifted. Here are some of the top immigration news items for this week.
1: Immigration Still Top of Agenda for 2024.
What else is new? As another silly season comes around, immigration is still the issue at the top of the agenda, according to most polls. And as usual, politicians on both sides of the aisle are continuing to present their plans on the hot button issue. House Republicans released sweeping immigration legislation last week that would tighten asylum eligibility, expand migrant family detention, and crack down on the employment of undocumented workers.
The 137-page proposed bill represents the legislative response to high levels of migration on the U.S.-Mexico border from House Republicans, who have made border security a focal point of their new majority. But it’s highly unlikely to make it into law.
On the left, New York City’s Democratic Mayor Eric Adams and other New York City officials demanded that the White House back New York with concrete plans to support asylum seekers in the coming months in what is the most sternly worded rebuke of the federal government yet.
“Our national government has abandoned this city,” Adams said at a press conference on Wednesday, April 19, at City Hall. “Everything we fought for is in jeopardy if we don’t get this right.”
Adams is calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for migrants coming from Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Sudan, South Sudan, and Cameroon; expand access to humanitarian parole for newly arriving asylum seekers and asylum seekers already in the United States; and increase the number of and reassign existing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to reduce application processing times. He said all of these actions can immediately be taken by the executive branch of the federal government and without legislation being passed by Republican leaders in Congress who refuse to offer any support for the ongoing crisis.
Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke also weighed in, saying: “Given the partisan climate created by Republicans, it’s time the administration takes the necessary steps to expedite work authorization for asylum seekers.”
No word from the White House or Vice President and Immigration Czar Kamala Harris on the criticism, but Harris was in Miami on April 21 to talk about climate change.
Fifty-eight percent of voters in seven key Electoral College battleground states disapprove of how the president is handling immigration, compared with 32 percent who approve, according to a new swing-state poll from Global Strategy Group, first shared with POLITICO. A majority of voters surveyed—52 percent—believe Biden is ignoring problems at the border, while 50 percent said the president is ignoring the situation of undocumented immigrants.
2: Immigration Scam Post
Scams continue to be an issue globally, including when it comes to U.S. immigration. A Facebook post shared in Ethiopia recently was one such scam. It falsely claimed the United States is offering free travel opportunities to 2 million Africans. The post includes a link that purportedly leads to an application to register for the green card lottery. However, the U.S. embassy confirmed that the post was a scam. Moreover, the link leads to a job search application unrelated to U.S. visas.
The post in Afaan Oromoo translates to: “Our people who are interested in travelling to America without any expense, please download an application that leads to travel opportunities that America provides to two million Africans and register by fulfilling the DV requirements.”
DV refers to the U.S. Diversity Visa program or Green Card Lottery, which grants U.S. visas to 55,000 foreigners every year who are picked through a machine lottery system.
3: ICE Continues Focus on Removing Criminal Immigrants
The Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) element of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is continuing its focus on removing immigrants who are a criminal threat to Americans. Last week, ICE removed an unlawfully present Nicaraguan wanted in El Salvador for arms trafficking. Maximino Pichardo, a 37-year-old citizen of Nicaragua, was flown by an ICE Air operations charter flight from Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, Louisiana, to Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua, Nicaragua, and transferred to local law enforcement authorities.
Officials also flew Eduardo Rocha Dos Santos, 41, a citizen of Brazil who was wanted for attempted murder there, from Massachusetts to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he was turned over to the proper authorities.
4: Green Card Freeze for International Nurses
The American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment responded today to the State Department’s May Visa Bulletin, indicating a catastrophic green card freeze for international nurses. This statutory throttling of international healthcare talent comes as hospitals struggle to staff bedsides in the pandemic’s wake, the organization said in a statement.
The freeze means that only nurses with green card petitions filed earlier than June 2022 may proceed with their green card interviews. All other international nurses’ green card petitions are halted.
“One in six registered nurses practicing medicine today in the United States is an immigrant. American hospitals, particularly those serving rural populations, would have collapsed long ago without the contributions of international nurses,” said AAIHR President Patty Jeffrey, R.N. Legal experts anticipate that the Department’s 10-month timeline will increase dramatically, probably meaning nurses who petition this summer will not be able to enter the U.S. until 2025 at the earliest. The immigration quota has not changed since 1990.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.