DACA Update: In November, a myriad of advocates took to the phones, Facebook, and Twitter to contact members of Congress in support of DACA. Scheduled to expire in March, the legislative branch has not yet come up with a solution for recipients and does not seem in a rush to do so. While there is real bipartisan support for equitable relief, politics complicate things. A (still pending) lawsuit was filed in California attempting to prevent the cancellation of the program. Meanwhile, some 34 Republicans urged Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to put a permanent solution for DACA on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives before the end of 2017.
Entrepreneur Parole Provisions Moving Forward: Late in President Obama’s term, a USCIS final rule was published permitting “parole” for certain entrepreneurs who displayed a strong financial backing. This meant that qualifying individuals and their dependents could remain in the United States past their period of authorized stay if they qualified or could be “paroled” in. The current Administration delayed implementation of the rule, prompting a lawsuit. On December 1, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found the Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and ordered the parole program to move forward.
Report Questions Seriousness of Border Wall Plan: The ranking member on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, Claire McCaskill (D-MO), issued a report evaluating DHS’s progress in taking “all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border.” Namely, the report sought to evaluate how the Administration would use eminent domain to secure the private land running against the border and how much that would add to an estimated $70 billion price tag. The report looked at previous fencing projects on the border invoking eminent domain, most recently in 2009 where the government paid $78 million to purchase selected borderlands, and will likely end up paying an additional $21 million to settle cases that are still ongoing almost a decade later. However, DHS could offer no estimates by way of land parcels identified or costs associated with the current directive, which indicates that the Administration has not genuinely considered challenges inherent in the very first step in constructing a wall on the Southern border.
Limited Visa Service Resumes in Turkey: The U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced that it had received high-level assurances from Turkish officials that no employees of the U.S. mission in Turkey were under investigation and would not be detained or harassed. As a result, the mission has resumed limited visa services in Turkey.
CW-1 Visas Being Phased Out: The temporary program that allows for special visas to be issued to those working in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory in the Pacific used for military and research purposes, will end on December 31, 2019. Annual numbers of CW-1 visas issued are being steadily reduced to zero.
First-Time Illegal Border Crossers Face Criminal Charges: CBP is presenting undocumented border crossers to the U.S. Attorney’s office for criminal prosecution of first-time illegal border crossers apprehended in Nogales, Arizona. In October 2017, more than 200 people arrested in the Nogales corridor were found to be subject to prosecution.
Immigrants’ Rights Groups Demand Investigation into ICE Raids that Targeted Sponsors of Unaccompanied Children: Eight immigrant rights organizations filed a complaint with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of Inspector General on behalf of some 400 people swept up this summer in an ICE operation that used unaccompanied immigrant children who were trying to reunite with their families to identify and target their relatives who live in the United States.
Lawsuit filed by Passengers Made to Present ID to CPB to Exit Plane: Several passengers who were aboard a domestic flight in February 2017 where CBP made all passengers present identification before exiting the plane filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s action as an illegal search and seizure.