Awareness - May 16, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - May 16, 2022

House passed $40 billion in additional funding for Ukraine

Last Tuesday the House of Representatives passed a $40 billion bill providing additional assistance to Ukraine. This includes $900 million in assistance for Ukrainian refugees and parolees in the United States, and $350 million to provide humanitarian aid to those who are displaced in Ukraine and surrounding nations.

Despite considerable advocacy and a request from the White House to include an Afghan Adjustment Act as part of this bill, the final version did not include any provisions to support Afghan parolees who arrived in the United States last year. The bill is now headed to the Senate. 

Reports from DHS on Thursday indicated that 19,000 applications have been submitted in the new Uniting for Ukraine program, and 6,000 of those have been approved for travel.

At least 11 migrants were killed when their boat capsized near Puerto Rico

Last week a boat of Haitian and Dominican migrants capsized near Puerto Rico. Officials estimated that as many as 60 individuals could have been on the vessel, but only 38 were rescued while at least 11 were killed in the accident. As of Friday, rescuers were still searching for possible survivors.  

This incident highlights the increase in attempts to reach the U.S. by boat in recent months. The Coast Guard has reported that they are on pace to encounter about 15 times as many Haitian migrants at sea than in fiscal year 2020. 

Supreme Court ruling limits the ability of federal courts to review findings by immigration judges

On Monday the Supreme Court issued a decision on Patel V. Garland that could have significant impacts on the appeals of immigration court decisions. The case in question is one of Pankajkumar Patel, who made the mistake of checking “yes” under the US Citizenship box on his Georgia driver’s license application in 2008. At the time of the error, Patel had been in the country since 1992 and was petitioning to adjust his status to lawful permanent resident; his application was still pending. Despite his defense that he checked the citizen box by mistake, and that he had no reason to deliberately lie on the form due to a Georgia law that allowed him to get a license without citizenship, the immigration judge in his case determined that this error made him “inadmissible,” and he was not eligible for relief from deportation.

Patel appealed this decision up to the Supreme Court, which has determined in a 5-4 ruling that “federal courts lack jurisdiction to review facts found as part of discretionary-relief proceedings.” Justice Gorsuch joined the 3 liberal justices in voting against this decision, and he wrote in his dissent that the decision would have “dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants.”  He went on to write, “Today, the Court holds that a federal bureaucracy can make an obvious factual error, one that will result in an individual's removal from this county, and nothing can be done about it.”