TPS extended for 337,000 people
The Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to 337,000 individuals from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras through summer 2024 two weeks after court negotiations between the administration and attorneys for TPS holders broke down.
The Trump administration attempted to end TPS for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from a number of countries but the action had been blocked in federal courts as a result of lawsuits that stated that it lacked proper justification. The Biden administration promised to prevent deporting TPS holders to “unsafe” countries and entered into court negotiations to try to settle the lawsuits. On October 26, attorneys for TPS holders announced that they were unable to reach a settlement agreement.
Ahilan Arulanantham, one of the attorneys representing the TPS holders, noted that the extension is an “interim” solution and called on President Biden to create a new TPS program for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras as he previously had done for Haiti and Sudan.
Urgent need for a permanent solution for our Afghan allies
Tens of thousands of people who came to the U.S. from Afghanistan in August 2021 after the United States’ withdrawal from the country and subsequent fall of Kabul are facing deportation back to Afghanistan in the coming months unless Congress passes the Afghan Adjustment Act soon. In order to protect them and get them out of Afghanistan quickly, they were evacuated under humanitarian parole. This expedited the process but left approximately 80,000 Afghans without access to resettlement services, documentation to work or attend school, and options to remain permanently in the U.S.
The AAA was introduced to Congress in August 2022 by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and there continues to have bipartisan support by members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In addition, there is precedent for such an act because Congress has passed similar legislation following other U.S.-involved conflicts or humanitarian crises.
Rye Barcott, a Marine Corps veteran and co-founder of the veterans group With Honor Action, summarized the importance of passing the AAA, “[p]eople can’t imagine that we’re going to take all these Afghans, who we evacuated at great risk and expense, and put them on planes back to Afghanistan. But if Congress doesn’t act, that’s exactly what could happen.”
Migrant tent camps and continuing family separations highlight the need for real border solutions
Mexican police violently evicted Venezuelan migrants from their camp along the Rio Grande near Juaréz on Sunday morning. Police entered the camps wearing riot gears where scuffles ensued and tents were burned in protest, as police and government workers removed the camps. The camps had formed in October after the U.S. began expelling Venezuelans under a Title 42 expansion. Migrants stayed in tents hoping to be allowed to seek asylum in the U.S.
Family separations continue to happen at the border even though President Biden promised to end such separations that had happened on a larger scale during the Trump presidency. According to The Texas Observer, from the beginning of the Biden administration until August 2022, approximately 372 more families have been separated. President Biden also promised reparations for families who were separated under the previous administration, but has yet to provide compensation to those affected.
Migrants camping at the border and continued family separations accentuate the current lack of clear policies surrounding current border processes. Matthew Soerens of World Relief writes that the U.S. needs real solutions this year to address the chaos and provide a clear path forward. The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act would do just that. It was introduced on April 22, 2021 and would allow the U.S. to respond more effectively to migrants arriving at the border, providing the necessary resources and personnel for border and asylum application processing, better detention conditions, and improved access to legal services.