High Court Ruling Gives Immigrants Facing Deportation Hope (U.S. News) – In accordance with the recent Supreme Court ruling, Niz-Chavez vs. Garland, immigrants have been given hope in having their deportation cancelled due to the deprivation of court proceeding notices. Many can now have their immigration cases reconsidered.
Immigration supporters have protested the workings of the deportation notification process. According to Jeremy McKinney, a president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, the court has had to be reminded several times over the years to notify a person and tell them where to appear. Although it could be months before we can see the impact of this decision, it gives light to the tons of cases that were undeservingly disregarded.
Lawmakers have long considered driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Will this be the year the bill passes? (Boston Globe) – Approximately 100 lawmakers have signed bills in support of giving undocumented immigrants the ability to acquire a driver’s license. As a result, Massachusetts would be the 17th state to grant driving privileges, not only improving road safety, but also providing an official form of identification along with being able to drive legally.
The bills would prevent the Registry of Motor Vehicles from asking a license applicant about their immigration status. Around 43,000 to 78,000 undocumented people would get licensed within the three years since the law’s passing. According to Representative Christine P. Barber, a Somerville Democrat who introduced it in the House, 2021 would be the most momentous year yet, having more support from the Legislature than they have ever had.
Biden Seeks Extra $400 A Year In Pell Grants For College And To Expand Aid To Dreamers (CNBC) –
Starting July 1st, students whose families demonstrate significant financial need can receive up to $6,495 in grants for the upcoming award year, according to the Department of Education. President Biden proposed to Congress to extend these grants to undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. This proposal could be seen as a monumental step towards increasing access to higher education for Dreamers, who often present significant financial need.
Unlike student loans, pell grants do not need to be repaid, thus promoting the shrinking of racial gaps in the education system and lowering financial barriers for low- and middle-income students. As stated by Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, if the proposal is to be adopted by Congress, Biden’s budget would yield the most sizable annual increase to the federal grants since 2009.
Mass. Urged To Join Neighbors On Immigrant Tuition Rate Bill (WBUR News) –
For many years, lawmakers have pushed to make in-state public college tuition rates accessible to undocumented immigrants. Legislation before the Higher Education Committee would expand in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants who reside in Massachusetts and attend its high schools and help students secure a well-grounded financial footing and lessen declining enrollment.
Prominent figures in the state’s higher education system have strongly supported implementing an act that can afford financial relief and an opportunity for tuition equality. This could go a long way in eliminating the consequences of unauthorized student youth challenges faced daily.
According to Amy Grunder, director of legislative affairs for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, 21 states have already implemented similar policies. In 2018, with 13,000 undocumented children enrolled in public schools in Massachusetts, none of them could attend any college with in-state tuition rates under the current law.
While many have been outspoken on national immigration issues, Beacon Hill legislative leaders have commonly veered away from bills backed by immigration reform activists.
Supporters of those proposals expressed hope earlier this year that Speaker Ronald Mariano could produce results, though so far, none of the bills have advanced beyond the committee stage.
Six Theories On When The U.S./U.K. Travel Ban Will Be Lifted (Forbes) –
President Biden is currently on his first trip overseas since taking office, visiting the U.K. and Europe to attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall, attend a NATO ministerial in Brussels, and meet with Russian President Putin in Geneva. While many families and loved ones were hoping this would be the occasion for announcing a lift of the travel ban between the United States and the United Kingdom and Europe, the White House confirmed earlier this week that those people will have to wait a little longer. Instead, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned the White House is launching working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to discuss a safe reopening of borders. While these efforts have been applauded by airlines, representatives have emphasized the urgency of the matter, and expressed the hope that these working groups will act quickly.
Currently, travelers from China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, European Schengen Zone, Brazil, South Africa and India are all prohibited from entering the United States. Especially in the United Kingdom and European Union, frustration about the travel bans has been growing, considering their successful vaccination programs and rapid reduction of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, the travel ban is still in place after almost 15 months.
While it is no secret that the travel ban has tremendous economic consequences, especially in the aviation and tourism sector, “the ban has also been particularly harsh for non-immigrant visa holders in the U.S. They cannot travel back to their home countries because chances are high they will not be allowed back into the U.S. after having visited the U.K. or Schengen Zone.” While multiple European countries have been making exceptions for American travelers if they can prove they have loved ones or family in Europe, and the United Kingdom is welcoming American travelers after a 10-day quarantine, there is simply no option for travelers from these countries to enter the United States, resulting in separated families and loved ones for over a year.
While President Biden is on his first overseas trip to the United Kingdom and Europe since taking office, many are waiting for positive news about the possibility of reuniting with families and loved ones, sooner rather than later.
To lead ICE, Biden picks Texas sheriff who criticized Trump’s immigration policies (The Washington Post) – President Biden has nominated a critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The White House announced that Biden’s pick for ICE director is Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a veteran law enforcement officer who transformed the sheriff’s office in the Houston metropolitan area from one of the agency’s staunchest allies into a reluctant partner.
Gonzalez withdrew his department from a voluntary federal program that for years helped to detain and deport immigrants, and has expressed concern that involving local law enforcement in civil deportation efforts “silences witnesses & victims” by making immigrants afraid to report crimes. Gonzalez’s position mirrors the Biden administration’s new policy to limit ICE arrests to recent border crossers or people who are threats to national security or convicted of aggravated felonies.
Biden seeks funding to probe white supremacist beliefs at immigration agencies (Reuters) – President Joe Biden called for funding to investigate complaints of white supremacist beliefs at U.S. immigration enforcement agencies in his first budget request to Congress on Friday, but officials offered no explanation for what prompted his request.
The Biden administration is asking Congress to increase the funding level for workforce oversight offices within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to $470 million, a 22% increase over the current level, for the fiscal year that begins in October.
The additional funding would ensure that workforce complaints – “including those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs” – are investigated quickly, according to a summary of Biden’s budget proposal.
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.