Awareness - July 25, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - July 25, 2022

SCOTUS denies the Biden admin’s request for pause on lower court’s ruling on ICE enforcement priorities

Last week, the Supreme Court rejected a request from the Biden administration to place a pause on a lower court ruling that blocked DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ memo on immigration enforcement priorities. 

Last year, DHS Secretary Mayorkas issued a memo instructing ICE to prioritize enforcement actions to focus on those who were deemed a threat to national security or public health or who crossed the border after November 2020. Several states sued to block the enforcement of this memo on the grounds that it was too restrictive, placed an undue burden on individual agents, and that it didn’t “deter illegal immigration.” This June, a Texas judge ruled that the enforcement priorities were unlawful and blocked their use, a decision that was upheld by the 5th Circuit Appeals Court. The Biden administration then appealed to the Supreme Court to stay the lower court’s decision, which would have allowed them to continue their enforcement policies until the full merits of the case could be heard. 

This latest decision from SCOTUS denies that request, but the court has agreed to hear oral arguments of the case during its December session. In the meantime, ICE is not allowed to use the guidance from the Mayorkas memo. The San Diego Union-Tribune shares how this lack of guidance has already contributed to greater confusion around ICE deportations, and how those who typically would be at low risk for deportation – such as those who have no criminal record, have been in the US for many years, or have dependant children who are US citizens – are now at greater risk of removal. 

More migrant deaths over the weekend as people continue to seek safety through dangerous means

A concerning trend of increasing migrant deaths this year continued over the weekend as news broke of more lives lost at sea. At least 17 Haitians were killed when their boat capsized near the Bahamas, and 25 were rescued alive. The boat was reportedly thought to have at least 60 passengers when it departed Nassau, so more passengers are presumed to be missing.

Additionally, 5 people were found dead during a rescue mission off the coast of Italy where hundreds of migrants were found on a fishing boat adrift at sea. It is unclear at this point what caused their deaths; the Italian Coast Guard reported that they were able to rescue 674 others from the boat, and other charities reported the rescue of at least 500 more, some of which were reportedly in the sea at the time of their rescue. The Italian Coast Guard reported that this is just one of many rescues in recent days, as arrivals in Italy have significantly increased this year. The UN refugee agency has reported 1,234 people dead or missing at sea so far this year. 

New ID card announced for migrants

The Biden administration announced a new centralized way for immigrants to access their information and check in with authorities throughout their legal process. This will include a new photo ID card, a “Secure Docket Card,” which will contain their personal details as well as a QR code to access a portal that contains their immigration information. While the specifics are still being finalized, DHS plans to have a pilot of the card later this year.