Biden Admin asked the Supreme Court to intervene in MPP ruling by lower court
Last week the Justice Department filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the lawsuit that led to a lower court ruling that the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) be reimplemented. They requested that the Supreme Court review the decision of the lower courts and hear arguments in April, stating that “the lower courts have commanded DHS to implement and enforce the short-lived and controversial MPP program in perpetuity.”
After a failed attempt to appeal the August ruling, the Biden administration began a new version of MPP in early December. Since then, there have been over 200 migrants returned to Mexico from the El Paso port of entry. So far they have all been adult men and most were from Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba.
The state of West Virginia sued the Biden Administration in December, claiming that their reimplementation of MPP “includes too many exceptions for vulnerable migrants.”
Humanitarian parole denials leave few options available for Afghans still in need of evacuation
Many Afghans applying for humanitarian parole have begun to receive denial letters. An AP News report on December 30 showed that USCIS has denied around 470 applications and conditionally approved around 140 out of the 35,000 applications submitted since the evacuation. In a typical year, USCIS receives around 2,000 applications for humanitarian parole, and they approve an average of 500.
As more denials are expected, some immigration attorneys have abandoned the humanitarian parole applications altogether as USCIS continues to emphasize their view of the refugee resettlement process as the “typical pathway” for people seeking to flee Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reported in mid-December that around 62,000 Afghans are still in need of evacuation.
2021 saw a record number of unaccompanied children in HHS custody
According to reports from CBS News, HHS housed 122,000 unaccompanied migrant children in fiscal year 2021, a record high. While the number of unaccompanied children in custody decreased over the summer, increasing arrivals saw approximately 14,000 children sheltered in HHS facilities in November. As of 12/23 there were just under 12,000 unaccompanied children in HHS custody (the high in April ‘21 was 22,500).
The states with the most placements included Texas, Florida, California, and New York - there were 45,000 children housed just in these states. Over 107,000 unaccompanied children were released to sponsors in FY2021.
All but three of the emergency intake shelters that began cropping up this spring have been closed, but the government has been making plans to open “influx facilities” in Greensboro, NC and Glorieta, NM if the need for more temporary shelter arises.