Immigration reform critical to national workforce
The U.S is facing a labor shortage the likes of which is forecasted to create a “catastrophe” for the economy. U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh notes that the current way in which Congress is approaching immigration reform is one of the greatest challenges the nation faces in its approach to labor reform. The agriculture industry in particular is facing a grave deficit of farm workers which poses a threat to food security in the U.S. Farm owners are asking the Senate to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, passed twice by the House of Representatives. This act would create a pathway to permanent residency for current unauthorized agricultural workers, reform the current H2A temporary visa program for farmworkers, and would require that all farm owners who employ immigrant laborers implement an updated “E-verify” program to ensure their employees are authorized to work in the U.S.
In order to address the continuing acute labor shortage in the nation, "We need a bipartisan fix here," Walsh said. "I'll tell you right now if we don't solve immigration ... we're talking about worrying about recessions, we're talking about inflation. I think we're going to have a bigger catastrophe if we don't get more workers into our society and we do that by immigration."
Biden administration weighs options as it predicts a surge of Haitian migrants to the U.S.
The Biden administration is expecting a marked increase in the number of migrants from Haiti arriving by sea due to a recent surge in violence in the country. Violent gangs seeking to overthrow the Haitian government have blocked the fuel supply, but as soon as they release their hold on the supply, Haitians will be able to buy gas to fuel boats to make their journey over the Caribbean Sea. The administration is considering holding Haitian migrants in a third country or potentially expanding the capacity of a facility currently used to house migrants at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to hold those picked up by the Coast Guard.
Refugee arrival numbers fall in the first month of FY 2023
On November 3, the State Department released its October refugee resettlement data, showing that the administration resettled 2,153 refugees in the first month of the fiscal year, a decrease of 61% from the 5,546 refugees resettled in September. Assistant Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the National Immigration Forum Danilo Zak notes, “With the first month of the fiscal year in the books, we're on track to resettle a total of 25,836 refugees in FY 2023 — about the same as last year and not even close to the ceiling President Biden set at 125,000 in September.”
Update on Venezuelan sponsorship program
Sponsor applications to bring Venezuelans to the U.S. are being approved quickly since the new parole program was implemented on October 18. As of November 3, Over 6,800 Venezuelans have been given permission to arrive legally in the U.S. However, along with needing to have a sponsor, they must arrive by air, have a valid Venezuelan passport, and meet a series of other requirements to be eligible. In addition, the Biden administration has capped the number of Venezuelans who can enter the U.S. under this program at 24,000.