Awareness - July 26 2021 - We Welcome Refugees

Awareness - July 26 2021

The House of Representatives passed the ALLIES Act of 2021 in support of Afghan allies

The ALLIES Act of 2021 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, and would add another 8,000 visas for Afghan allies in the SIV program. The bill would also expedite the visa process by reducing some paperwork requirements, and expand access to those who worked for NGOs and to family members of applicants who died before completing the process.

The Biden administration also announced plans to bring 2,500 SIV applicants to Virginia and agreements were also made with Qatar and Kuwait to allow Afghan allies to relocate to their countries temporarily while they await processing.

DHS extended travel restrictions at ports of entry for another month

As COVID-19 cases have increased nationwide in recent weeks, DHS announced that they would be extending the travel restrictions on both the northern and southern borders through August 21st. These restrictions bar all “non-essential” travel at land borders, but do not apply to returning U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Many expected these restrictions to be lifted this month, and that the Biden administration would simultaneously move forward with plans to discontinue expulsions of migrant families using Title 42. However, it’s now being reported that the Biden admin “is rethinking” that plan. As border restrictions remain in place, it’s unclear when the administration may begin to pull back use of Title 42. Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have been turned away at the border since the policy went into effect in March 2020. 

TPS for Somalia was extended and redesignated

On July 19th, Secretary Mayorkas announced the extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status to those from Somalia, extending protection from deportation “due to ongoing conflict and a worsening humanitarian crisis.” Somalia has faced decades of instability due to armed conflicts, and COVID-19 has only worsened humanitarian and safety concerns in the country. The extension will allow TPS holders to retain their status through March 17, 2023.

New arrivals of unaccompanied migrant children reached a daily average of over 500 for the first time since March

While the average daily number of children apprehended by CBP has remained consistently under 500 since March, this increased to an average of 547 per day in the week of July 18-22. As of 7/21, there were 15,962 total children in custody with 1,684 held in CBP facilities and 14,278 held in facilities run by HHS.

While the number of children entering CBP custody has increased, the number of children released from HHS to sponsors has kept pace fairly well and has prevented the overall number of children in custody from trending upward. The week also saw the closing of the emergency intake shelter at the Long Beach Convention Center, as over 1,500 children housed there have been reunited with their family members or sponsors.

Charts from Adam Isacson of WOLA.