The last of the Afghan evacuees have been relocated from US military bases
As of Saturday, the last of the Afghan evacuees staying on military bases had all been relocated to homes in over 200 communities across the United States. 76,000 Afghans have been settled in the last 6 months as part of this operation with 40% of the evacuees being children. About half of the evacuees - 35,128 - were resettled in just 8 states, according to data from CBS News. The states receiving the highest number of Afghans are Texas, California, Virginia, Washington, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, and Arizona. There are still 2,800 Afghans housed in bases in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Around half of those evacuated do not have a pathway to legal status because they entered on humanitarian parole, which is only a temporary protection. Those who applied for humanitarian parole after the evacuation have largely been denied with latest figures showing a 90% denial rate for those whose paperwork has been processed. Around 40,000 are still waiting on a response.
Supreme Court agreed to hear MPP arguments in April
The “Migrant Protection Protocols,” also known as MPP or the “Remain in Mexico” program, was implemented by President Trump to require migrants to await the results of their immigration hearings in Mexico. President Biden has long criticized the program, and began taking steps to roll it back upon taking office. In April, the administration was sued by the attorney generals of Texas and Missouri, who claimed that ending the program was detrimental to their states.
In August 2021, a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of the states. He ruled that the Biden administration’s dismantling of MPP was illegal, and that the program must resume. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the earlier ruling and the Supreme Court declined to intervene. In December, the Biden administration requested that the Supreme Court expedite a hearing in the lawsuit due to disruptions caused by the court-ordered resumption of the program, and on Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in April. In the meantime, the Biden administration must continue to abide by the rulings from the lower courts and make a “good faith effort” to continue MPP. Under the restart of the program, officials have returned 572 migrants to Mexico since December.
Border encounters dropped by 14% in January
CBP released their border encounter data on Friday, which showed that the total number of encounters dropped by 14%, and reached the lowest total number of encounters since February 2021. The number of repeat crossings continue to be high (26%) and elevate the number of encounters, as indicated by the disparity between the encounters (153,941) and the unique individuals encountered (111,437). The number of unique encounters has consistently been about 70-75% of the total apprehensions since last July when those numbers began to be published. 51% of January encounters resulted in Title 42 expulsions.
Chart from Adam Isacson of WOLA.org. Accessed on Twitter on February 21, 2022.