Biden administration fires most Homeland Security Advisory Council members (The Washington Post) – Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas fired more than 30 members of the department’s independent advisory council on Friday, a purge that included several allies of former president Donald Trump and veteran officials who served under both parties.
Former Department of Homeland Security officials and advisory board members who worked under Democratic and Republican administrations said they could not remember so many members being dismissed at once, as the general practice of past administrations was to allow appointees to serve out their terms before replacing them.
DHS officials said Mayorkas would conduct an assessment of the council and reconstitute it with bipartisan members who better reflect the diversity of the United States and the people DHS serves. Mayorkas said he plans to retain Chairman William Bratton, the former police commissioner in New York and police chief in Los Angeles, and Vice Chair Karen P. Tandy, a retired administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. William H. Webster, former director of the FBI and the CIA, will remain the council’s chair emeritus. Everyone else has been dismissed.
More migrant families make it into United States, but thousands are still being expelled (The Washington Post) – Nearly 60 percent of the 19,246 “family units” — which typically include at least one parent and one child — taken into custody at the southwestern border last month were allowed to stay in the United States to await an immigration hearing, the latest Customs and Border Protection figures show, compared with 38 percent of the families that arrived in January.
Biden administration officials warned that they are continuing to expel thousands of migrants — including families — to nations such as Haiti and Mexico under Title 42, a public health order the Trump administration issued in March 2020, ostensibly to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, though many considered it another way for President Donald Trump to impose his anti-immigration agenda. The Biden administration has kept the order in place, although it is under increasing pressure to drop it and reverse the expulsions.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified for more than four hours Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee and declined to call the situation at the border a “crisis.” He said the influx is part of a recurring trend that responds to conditions in migrants’ home countries.
Boston immigrant-owned businesses reflect loss amid COVID-19, policy makers provide fundings (Daily Free Press) – The now year-long battle against COVID-19 forces individuals, institutions and businesses alike to wrestle economic burdens, and immigrant owned-businesses have faced disproportionate difficulties. In Massachusetts, one in five members of the labor force are foreign-born, according to the American Immigration Council.
Vishal Thapar — co-founder of Boston Chai Party, a Dorchester company that sells freshly ground chai masala and fair trade black tea leaves — said the business lost its largest client and about 55 percent of their revenue at the start of the pandemic. From April to June of last year, the company did not receive any orders. Boston Chai Party applied for a $2,500 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, he said, which “immensely” helped them afford rent for the kitchen and facilities. But if he hadn’t had the support of his full-time job, he said he’d be in a very different position.
Natalia Urtubey, the director of small business at Boston’s Office of Economic Development, said small businesses globally have been “deeply impacted by COVID-19.” She added that Boston is well-positioned in having a “robust immigrant advancement team.” She said the Mayor’s Office has worked to offer interpretation services and workshops, as well as ensure there is equal access to funding and programs.
House Democrats introduce bill providing citizenship to Dreamers (The Hill) – House lawmakers on Wednesday formally introduced legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. as children ahead of House Democrats’ plan to hold an “immigration week” later this month. The American Dream and Promise Act – reintroduced by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard, Nydia Velazquez and Yvette D. Clarke – would allow the young people known as “Dreamers,” as well as others given temporary status when fleeing unrest in their home country, to apply for citizenship.
The legislation provides a path to citizenship for 2.5 million people, including those given Temporary Protected Status, some who came to the U.S. as early as the 1990s. It also would apply to those granted a Deferred Enforcement Departure, which allows people to remain in the U.S. beyond their initial authorization due to conditions in their home country.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Wednesday that the House would consider a number of immigration bills the week of March 15. The American Dream and Promise Act is among those sources say will be considered, along with another bill that would provide a path to citizenship for migrant farmworkers.