By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Weds. Dec. 7, 2022: In case you missed it, here is a recap of some of the immigration-related news around the U.S. this past week.
1: New Bipartisan Immigration Bill
A bipartisan Senate duo is circulating an immigration proposal that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 2 million Dreamers who arrived in the US as children, surge resources to the border, and extend a pandemic-related restriction on asylum.
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., have reportedly drafted a framework that would create a pathway to citizenship for roughly 2 million undocumented immigrants and increase funding for border security.
If the drafted framework is made official, it would be the first piece of significant legislation put forth by members of both parties since the 2013 “Gang of Eight” that was a bipartisan Senate bill that would have created a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.
2: More US Citizens
USCIS says its welcomed more than 1 million new U.S. citizens in FY 2022. This represents a 62 percent reduction in the net backlog of naturalization applications (Form N-400) from the end of FY 2021 to FY 2022, and the highest number of naturalized citizens in almost 15 years, the agency said in a report today. Meanwhile, USCIS says with the Department of State’s cooperation, it issued all available employment-based immigrant visas in FY 2022 or 275,111. That is double the pre-pandemic number.
3: ICE Accidentally Releases Thousands Of Immigrants Personal Info. On Line
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) is in hot water again after it accidentally posted the names, birthdates, nationalities and detention locations of more than 6,000 immigrants who claimed to be fleeing torture and persecution to its website on Nov. 28th.
The unprecedented data dump could expose the immigrants — all of whom are currently in ICE custody — to retaliation from the very individuals, gangs and governments they fled, attorneys for people who have sought protection in the U.S. said. The personal information of people seeking asylum and other protections is supposed to be kept confidential; a federal regulation generally forbids its disclosurewithout sign-off by top officials in the Department of Homeland Security. ICE officials say they are investigating the incident and will notify the affected immigrants about the disclosure of their information. The agency also has said it will not deport immigrants whose information it mistakenly posted until it is determined whether the disclosure affects their cases.
4: Martha’s Vineyard Immigrants Add Plane Company, High-Level Florida Officials To Lawsuit
Attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights, (LCR), have filed an amended complaint in the federal class action challenging the scheme perpetrated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses.
Since the filing of the original complaint, LCR has been joined by the Boston-based firm Foley Hoag LLP, which is providing representation pro bono in this litigation.
In addition to adding new factual allegations and claims under federal and state law, the amended complaint adds as Defendants the plane company that flew the migrants (Vertol Systems Company, Inc.) its CEO, Florida’s “Public Safety Czar,” Governor DeSantis’s Chief of Staff, and Perla Huerta, who spearheaded the deceptive recruitment of immigrants.
The amended complaint also outlines a web of involvement from Vertol Systems Company, Inc., the politically connected plane company that chartered the Martha’s Vineyard flights, and the infamous “Perla,” now identified as Perla Huerta. To date, Vertol has received over $1.5 million from the State of Florida for the scheme.
5: First Black Democratic House Leader Acknowledges Caribbean American Great
The US’ first black Democratic House Leader, Brooklyn-born Hakeem Jeffries, began his first public speech by thanking a Caribbean American lawmaker, on whose shoulders he said he stands.
Jeffries paid tribute to Shirley Chisholm, who was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados, on what would have been her 98th birthday, Nov. 30th.
“Growing up in that Crown Heights neighborhood, the first Member of Congress I was ever aware of was the Honorable Shirley Chisholm and I eventually was able to be elected to represent many neighborhoods in Brooklyn that she formerly represented,” Jeffries said. “I stand on the shoulders of people like Shirley Chisholm and so many others as we work to advance the ball for everyday Americans and get stuff done, because that’s what Democrats do.” He also pledged to continue to work to fight for all Americans, especially immigrants.
Of course, beyond the rhetoric, it’s unclear exactly what Jeffries will be able to accomplish in a Congress that will be controlled by Republicans come January, who have made a point of insisting they will be going after making it harder for immigrants seeking to enter the US.
6: Kingdom of Eswatini Added To US H-2A and H-2B visa program
The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, has now been added among the nations the US deems now eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year.
The Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), recently announced The Kingdom of Eswatini among the lists of eligible countries in the Federal Register on November 10, 2022. Each country’s designation is valid from November 10, 2022, until November 9, 2023.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.