Awareness - December 21, 2023 - We Welcome

Awareness - December 21, 2023

Texas governor signed law allowing police to arrest migrants who cross into the U.S. without authorization

On Monday Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that makes it a state crime to enter into the U.S. between ports of entry, giving police authority to arrest migrants who do so and local judges authority to order migrants be returned to Mexico. Several entities have already filed a lawsuit against the state stating that the law is unconstitutional because Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws.

“If states begin to start doing this or think that they can enact their own immigration policies, it's completely unworkable. You would end up with 50 different state policies on top of federal and it would drive uncertainty and chaos, and create lots and lots of negative effects,” said Jennie Murray, president and CEO of National Immigration Forum.

Congress session ends with no deal on foreign aid package or border policy

The Senate continued its session this week even as the House of Representatives ended its session last week for the holiday break in order to continue negotiations on a federal aid package that would provide funding for Ukraine and Israel as well as border security restrictions. However they were unable to reach a deal with the Biden administration before the end of the session and will continue discussions in January. 

Policies being negotiated include returning migrants to Mexico without asylum screenings, restrictions to Temporary Protected Status and ending temporary protections for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, and mandatory detention. Human rights groups are speaking out against such policies. "The border is not a bargaining chip,” said Ricky Garza, Border Policy Counsel for the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “Congress and the White House must respect the human right to seek asylum and refuse to negotiate away the rights of border communities for military aid. Anything less is unconscionable.”

New program allows private sponsor groups to identify specific refugees to sponsor for resettlement

The Biden administration announced a new phase of the Welcome Corps initiative that will allow Americans to sponsor a refugee or refugee family that they know to resettle in their communities. This program will allow groups of 5 or more American citizens or permanent residents to identify a person or family to sponsor if they meet certain eligibility criteria. To learn more about the Welcome Corps check out the information on their website. If you do not currently know a refugee or refugee family but are interested in learning more about the sponsorship program, you can request more information on our website and our Welcome Corps coach will connect with you!