By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. July 14, 2023: Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of immigration news can be challenging. To help you stay informed, here are five essential headlines from the past week you should know. Stay up to date with the latest developments and important stories in the world of immigration.
1: Biden Administration Vs. Death Santis
As Florida Governor Ron Death Santis runs around playing God, the Biden administration thinks it has a leg to stand on when it comes to Ron’s legal challenge to federal immigration policies.
U.S. Department of Justice attorneys last week filed a 41-page brief that focused, in part, on a June 23rd Supreme Court decision that tossed out a challenge by Texas and Louisiana to immigration policies. The Supreme Court said Texas and Louisiana did not have legal standing – a key initial test that must be met in lawsuits.
Last week’s brief said the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should similarly find that Florida does not have standing to challenge policies that Ron and state Attorney General Ashley Moody claim have led to migrants improperly being released from detention. The legal challenge comes as Florida’s draconian immigration law became effective on July 1st – that will undoubtedly exacerbate the state’s labor shortage while doing nothing to fix the plight of illegal immigration.
2: That Florida License Ban
Florida’s new immigration law, meanwhile, also bans driver’s licenses of immigrants living in the US without permanent residency status. Ron Death Santis announced last week that licenses from Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont are now no longer valid in Florida.
Death Santis, along with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, created the list of invalid licenses as part of the newly implemented Senate Bill 1718, which includes five states.
3: New US Route To Migration
The Biden administration says it will soon open a new immigration program to allow some Central Americans and Colombians to enter the U.S. legally.
The Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), initiative, formally starts on July 10th, and will allow eligible migrants from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to fly to the U.S. and gain government work permits if they have relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal residents and have filed visa applications on their behalf.
To qualify for the program, migrants must have U.S. ties. The process starts with U.S. citizens or permanent residents filing immigrant visa requests on behalf of relatives from these four countries. Qualifying family members include adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens and children and spouses of permanent residents.
4: Dutch Government Collapses Over Immigration Policy
The Dutch government collapsed on Friday, July 7th, after failing to reach a deal on restricting immigration. This will now trigger new elections in the fall.
The crisis was triggered by a push by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party to limit the flow of asylum seekers to the Netherlands, which two of his four-party government coalition refused to support. Tensions came to a head when Rutte demanded support for a proposal to limit entrance of children of war refugees who are already in the Netherlands and to make families wait at least two years before they can be united.
This latest proposal went too far for the small Christian Union and liberal D66, causing a stalemate. Rutte’s coalition will, however, stay on as a caretaker government until a new administration is formed after new elections, a process which in the fractured Dutch political landscape usually takes months.
5: USCIS Updates
The U.S. citizenship test is being updated. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes that the new test adds a speaking section to assess English skills. An officer would show photos of ordinary scenarios – like daily activities, weather or food – and ask the applicant to verbally describe the photos.
The naturalization test is one of the final steps toward citizenship — a monthslong process that requires legal permanent residency for years before applying. Some immigrants and advocates worry the changes will hurt test-takers with lower levels of English proficiency.
USCIS has also launched a new self-service tool allowing benefit requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives, to reschedule most biometric services appointments before the date of the appointment. With this new tool, those individuals who have or create a USCIS online account can reschedule most requests for biometric services appointments without having to call the Contact Center. The new tool, however, cannot be used to reschedule an appointment that already has been rescheduled two or more times, is within 12 hours, or that has already passed.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News. She can be reached at fe*****@ca*****.com