Afghan Adjustment Act not included in omnibus spending bill passed at end of 2022
The omnibus spending bill passed the Senate on December 23 to continue funding the government, but without including the Afghan Adjustment Act. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley was among a number of Republican Senators who opposed the bill at the committee level so it was not introduced for a vote on the Senate floor. Senator Grassley has concerns regarding security issues in the original screening of evacuees. However, the act would require all evacuees applying for adjusted status to undergo additional screening, which includes in-person interviews. Supporters of the legislation plan to introduce the bill again in the 118th Congress. Due to the time needed to work out guidelines and vetting processes, it is vital that a vote on the act take place before spring because the legal status of evacuees expires in August.
Supreme Court keeps Title 42 in place indefinitely
The Supreme Court granted a request from 19 Republican-led states to delay the end of Title 42, which was set to expire on December 21 as the result of a lower court order that found the policy unlawful. The Supreme Court will now hear arguments on whether it should allow these states to defend the legality of the policy during its February 2023 session, which means that Title 42 will likely remain in effect for several months pending the Court’s review.
Immigrants from Cuba released from detention after release of their private information
Approximately 26 Cuban immigrants who were scheduled to be deported were instead released or scheduled for release from a Florida detention center for migrants last Thursday after Immigration and Customs Enforcement had accidentally posted their private information online in November. Some have been given a one-year parole while others were put under supervision orders and are required to check in with immigration authorities.
Biden Administration proposes higher fees for work-based immigrant visas
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposal of higher fees for work-based visa applications and other immigration programs, stating that it would boost the agency’s fee revenue by almost $2 billion. In addition to higher fees for work-based visa applications, green card application fees would also increase.
“This proposed rule allows USCIS to more fully recover operating costs for the first time in six years and will support the Administration’s effort to rebuild the legal immigration system,” noted USCIS Director Ur Jaddou. The proposal would keep the application fees for citizenship and immigrant benefits at, or close to, the same levels.
The new fee structure would allow for the hiring of nearly 8,000 employees for quicker processing of applications as well as to address the growing backlog of these visa applications. The USCIS has historically raised fee structures every two years, but the current fees have been in place since 2016.