Appeals Court declines to delay the cancellation of Title 42
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a request by 19 Republican state officials to suspend a ruling that requires the government to stop expelling migrants under Title 42. Title 42 is a public health policy that allows U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to deny entry to individuals in order to “prevent [the] spread of communicable diseases” and was not meant to be a policy related to immigration. It has been utilized by both the Trump and Biden administrations to quickly expel migrants without offering them the chance to seek humanitarian protection as allowed by U.S. law. Under Title 42, the CBP has expelled migrants 2.5 million times since its implementation in March 2020.
The Biden administration has been preparing for the end of Title 42 by putting together a detailed plan that includes increasing resources to the border and to nonprofit organizations who provide aid to migrants at the border while also increasing processing efficiency. It also includes imposing consequences for unlawful entry, targeting transnational criminal organizations and coordinating efforts with international partners.
Bipartisan effort to reform immigration and border policies before end of year fails to gain enough traction
Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona (an independent who had been a Democrat until last week) and Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina had been working together on a bill framework to address a variety of immigration and border topics. Sinema and Tillis were not able to garner enough Senate support for the bipartisan deal in the time left in the lame duck session of Congress to ensure the 60 needed votes, however it is reported that they have finalized the framework and plan to continue working on it in the next Congress.
Afghan Adjustment Act still in limbo as Congress continues to work on an omnibus spending bill before end of session
President Biden signed a short term bill on Friday, extending funding for the government for one week while lawmakers continue to negotiate an expansive omnibus spending bill which would finance the federal government in fiscal year 2023. This short term bill, called a continuing resolution, was passed by the House on Wednesday and by the Senate on Thursday. An omnibus bill is a package of a large number of bills put together to be passed by lawmakers at one time. Bipartisan support is critical in the Democratic majority Senate because they do not have the 60 votes needed to pass the bill themselves. Members of Congress expect to be able to pass the spending bill before Christmas, with the Senate scheduled to vote on it on December 22. If it passes the House of Representatives will vote on the 23rd.
Advocates of the Afghan Adjustment Act believe that the best opportunity for the bill to pass is for it to be included in this omnibus package. A majority of Americans believe that the U.S. should help Afghan evacuees and support such efforts to do so. The bill currently has 5 Democrat and 5 Republican Senate co-sponsors. It needs to have 5 more Republican co-sponsors in order to get the 60 votes needed for it to pass. If the AAA is not included in the spending bill, it is unlikely that it will come to a vote under the new Congress beginning in January 2023, which would leave the many Afghan evacuees who arrived to the U.S. under temporary humanitarian parole without a way to remain in the country permanently when their two-year parole period expires.
Note: There will be no publication of the Awareness blog next week. Our next publication will be on January 3, 2023. Thank you for reading!