These changes would force current DACA recipients into a costly year-to-year renewal cycle, and the memo further hints at a future rescission of DACA altogether — underscoring the urgent need for congressional action to protect Dreamers.
Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of Noorani’s Notes. Have a story you’d like us to include? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLOSE TO COLLAPSE – Refugee resettlement in the U.S. is “close to collapse” thanks to targeted destruction by the Trump administration, writer and activist Jessica Goudeau writes in an opinion piece for The New York Times. “[T]he Trump administration has used every tool in its arsenal to slow or stop [refugee] resettlement: bureaucratic, rhetorical, political, and financial. In other areas where it has tried to limit immigration … the administration met at least some opposition and limitations. But when it comes to resettlement, it has been extraordinarily successful.” While more than 1 million displaced people are eligible for refugee resettlement in 2021, the administration has committed to accepting just 18,000 this fiscal year. “The loss of this program would have major ramifications for America’s international relationships, not to mention the thousands of people seeking refuge,” Goudeau warns. “If the nation’s reckoning with race is a mirror into its ideals on justice and equality, then refugee resettlement is the testing ground for our ideals.”
EXCUSE – Critics say the Trump administration is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to push an unprecedented number of immigration policies blocking legal entry into the country, Candice Norwood reports for PBS Newshour. The actions have created “hurdles for many non-citizens and confusion for those who do not know whether they will be affected,” according to Jennifer Minear, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association: “There’s a lot of gray area. I don’t think the administration really has a sense of the full ramifications of the actions that they’re taking. But they do them anyway, and then we had just a big mess as a result.” The Forum’s policy team has been keeping a running list of immigration-related actions the administration has taken during the pandemic, which you can view here.
BACKFILLS – Senate Republicans’ proposed $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package would restore funding for defense projects previously canceled to help pay for President Trump’s border wall, Erica Werner and Karoun Demirjian report for The Washington Post. “Projects involving Navy aircraft and ships and Air Force planes that the Trump administration canceled this year so the money could pay for the wall have reappeared in the GOP package, introduced Monday. The programs are part of $30 billion in defense spending in the GOP plan to which Democrats are objecting.” Meanwhile, as the Forum points out, the Republicans’ bill is missing key provisions to adequately support immigrants disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
$3 BILLION – The Senate Republicans’ stimulus proposal also allocates $3 billion to fund U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), both of which have struggled to collect fees in the wake of pandemic-related immigration restrictions issued by the Trump administration, reports Camila DeChalus for Roll Call. “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would get a $1.2 billion loan from the Treasury Department to satisfy an emergency funding request it made to Congress in May. The fee-funded agency said without help, it would be forced to furlough about 13,400 employees, or roughly two-thirds of its staff.” Important detail: The budget proposal would allow USCIS to charge applicants a surcharge to help the agency repay the loan. Immigrants and their employers shouldn't have to suffer because of the challenges USCIS is experiencing amid the pandemic.
LIMBO – Muslim Uighur refugees from China have been stuck in “immigration limbo” in the U.S., with some waiting years because of the USCIS backlog, report James T. Areddy and Michelle Hackman for The Wall Street Journal. “China’s treatment of Uighurs exploded into the American consciousness around two years ago with reports that China was rounding up around a million Uighurs in what appeared to be concentration camps in the western region of Xinjiang,” per the story. “Roughly around the same time, changes in U.S. asylum policies slowed down process for many of those claiming risk in their home countries.” Lawyers told the Journal that Uighurs previously had an “astonishingly high approval rate” for asylum in the U.S., but changes under the Trump administration have pushed many applicants to the back of the line.
Thanks for reading,