Awareness - July 19 2021 - We Welcome Refugees

Awareness - July 19 2021

Judge Hanen ruled that the DACA program is illegal

On Friday July 16, Judge Hanen issued a ruling stating that DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - is an illegal program. Judge Hanen ruled that the program violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and he prohibits DHS from approving new applications. The number of first-time applications waiting for approvals was over 80,000 at the end of June. 

At this time, the ruling does not revoke authorization to those currently in the program, and DHS is allowed to approve renewals for current DACA holders. However, this latest decision shows the precarious nature of the DACA program, which had almost 650,000 recipients as of July 2020. DACA recipients will continue to live with uncertainty about their status until a legislative path to citizenship is created. Currently, there are two bills in Congress that could offer a pathway if passed - the Dream Act and the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. Senate Democrats have also included provisions in the latest budget reconciliation bill which would include a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as well as some other undocumented immigrants.

AG Garland issued a ruling that restores the ability for immigration judges to use administrative closure to prioritize cases and pause deportations at their discretion

Administrative closure allows judges to determine which cases are not a high priority and to “pause” them. While this does not permanently close a case, it allows the judges to prioritize cases that are more urgent, and in many cases it could allow an applicant to pursue legal status while the case is paused. Administrative closure was a longstanding practice in immigration court until a ruling by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2018 declared that immigration judges did not have the authority to close cases in this manner. This decision was reversed last week by Attorney General Merrick Garland, which will give immigration judges more discretion in managing their caseloads.

CBP released numbers of southwest border apprehensions showing a 5% increase since May

CBP announced 188,829 total apprehensions in June, which is a 5% increase over those in May. However, they offered more details than usual as they further explained that the number of individuals apprehended was 123,838, and that 34% of encounters were with those with at least one other border crossing attempt in the last 12 months. These high rates of recidivism have been common in recent months due to rapid expulsions under Title 42 creating an environment where individuals are crossing many times. While 34% is in line with the rates of repeat crossers in recent months, it is much higher than the average of 14% from 2014-2019.

Most of those apprehended along the southwest border continue to be single adults with 117,602  adults comprising 62% of the total apprehensions. 82% of single adults were expelled. The number of family unit members increased by 25% to 55,805 and the number of unaccompanied children increased by 8% to 15,253. Most of these children (80%) are from Northern Triangle countries. The number of children from this region increased by 14% compared to May.

This chart from Adam Isacson of WOLA shows that although the number of encounters is higher than it has been for years, the number of individual migrants being encountered is actually lower this year than it was in 2019. Accessed on 7/17/21 on Twitter.