Awareness - April 4, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - April 4, 2022

The CDC announced that Title 42 will end by May 23rd

Two years after the controversial policy was implemented, Title 42 has been set to end by May 23, 2022. Title 42 was put in place early in the pandemic, and there have long been calls for the policy to end as vaccines have become more readily accessible and other restrictions have eased across the country. 

Reports in recent weeks indicate that the Biden administration has been considering the implications of discontinuing the use of this policy. As the CDC made the termination announcement last week, the administration shared other measures being put into place to prepare for expected increases of arrivals at the southern border. DHS released a fact sheet on Thursday detailing their strategy to deploy greater resources and to deliver a “more efficient and fair immigration process.” Additionally, a new asylum rule was posted on the Federal Register with the intention of expediting asylum processing, and a new vaccination policy was announced for undocumented migrants who are apprehended without proof of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Shortly after the announcement on Friday, the attorneys general from Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri filed a lawsuit to block the policy’s termination. In their lawsuit, the attorneys claim that Title 42 is “the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.”

It’s important to note that the Title 42 policy is found under public health regulations rather than immigration statutes, and is implemented or terminated at the discretion of the Center for Disease Control. The lawsuit does not reference a need for relief from the termination due to public health reasons, but out of concern for an expected increase in border crossings. It is also of note that reports of a “border crisis” were inflamed last spring as well, at a time when Title 42 was not only fully in place, but a much higher percentage of those apprehended at the border were expelled under the policy than they have been in recent months. Despite calls to keep Title 42 in place to deter spikes in migration, the policy is not meant to be an immigration deterrent, and it has not effectively been one over the course of its use. 

Biden admin announces additional visas for seasonal workers as well as measures to cut USCIS backlogs

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor announced on Thursday that they will be issuing a joint temporary rule to add 35,000 H-2B visas for temporary workers to be made available during the second half of FY2022. This will include 23,500 visas for returning workers who received H-2B status in the last 3 years, and the remaining 11,500 visas will be reserved for workers from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Last week the Biden administration on Tuesday also announced measures to reduce the growing backlog of applications at USCIS. These measures include an expansion of the number of applicants who can pay a fee to expedite processing, a new rule proposal to extend the time period given for automatic work authorization extensions when applicants file for renewals, and increases to staffing and resources to process applications more efficiently and reduce wait times.

The White House published their proposed budget for FY2023

The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023 was published by the White House, and includes many noteworthy immigration provisions. The plan includes increased funding for USCIS and EOIR while the funding for ICE remained at similar levels to FY2022. The budget also called for $6.3 billion in funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to support the resettlement of 125,000 refugees - the same refugee ceiling effective this fiscal year. The proposal requests funding for a 25,000 bed capacity for CBP, which is a decrease from the current year’s 34,000 beds.  

Some of the specific amounts requested include:

  • $15.3 billion for CBP
  • $8.1 billion for ICE
  • $765 million for USCIS
  • $1.4 billion for EOIR
  • $309 million for new border security technology