Immigration News Articles on Key Issues, December 2022




Venezuelan Migration To The U.S. Border Decreased In October, But Overall Migrant Arrivals Remained High

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, November 14, 2022 


  • Border Patrol recorded 204,273 apprehensions of migrants who entered the U.S. illegally, a slight decrease from Sept., while the Office of Field Operations, another CBP agency, processed 26,405 migrants at official ports of entry, where the Biden administration has been admitting certain asylum-seekers. Venezuelan migrants were processed 22,044 times in Oct., a 35% decrease from the record high of 33,804 reported the previous month. The drop comes after the U.S. on Oct. 12 began expelling Venezuelans to Mexico under a public health order known as Title 42. The Biden administration also launched a program to allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the U.S. legally if they have U.S.-based financial sponsors. But the drop in Venezuelan migration was offset by the arrival of 28,848 Cubans and 20,917 Nicaraguans, a monthly record for the latter nationality. Mexico has generally not allowed the U.S. to expel Cubans or Nicaraguans to its territory, prompting U.S. officials to allow most of them to seek asylum inside the country, since Cuba and Nicaragua do not accept regular U.S. expulsion flights. The U.S. carried out over 78,000 migrant expulsions in Oct. — including 5,855 expulsions of Venezuelans. Those expelled under Title 42 are barred from seeking asylum, which U.S. law allows migrants to request if they are on U.S. soil, regardless of whether they entered the country unlawfully.



Trump-Era Title 42 Reversal: What To Expect In Texas After Reversal Of Trump’s Border Biggest Policy

By Elizabeth Trovall, Houston Chronicle, November 17, 2022


  • Unless a last-ditch effort by Texas and 14 other states succeeds, the Biden administration has less than a month to restore asylum policies at the U.S.-Mexico border after a federal judge invalidated the Trump-era Title 42 public health policy, enacted in 2020, that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants arriving at the southern border under the guise that it would simply help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision could end up making border enforcement harsher for some migrants without valid asylum claims, though it received overwhelming praise from immigration attorneys and advocates in Texas. Texas stands to be the state most affected by the overturning of one of the Trump administration’s most consequential border policies, considering it shares the largest area of the southwest border with Mexico, has the largest number of ICE detention centers and Border Patrol stations. And some of its cities are top destinations for immigrants from the Northern Triangle, Mexico and Venezuela, who have been subject to Title 42 expulsions. 


  • Earlier this week, Texas joined a coalition of conservative-leaning states to file what’s known as a motion to intervene — meaning they want to become part of the legal proceedings surrounding the public health rule referred to as Title 42. They argued that states such as Texas that border Mexico as well as other states away from the border will face more immigration if use of Title 42 ends. The legal filings lay out a timeline to argue the matter further. Currently, the administration has a court-ordered deadline of Dec. 21 to end enforcement of Title 42. While some may perceive the return to the pre-Trump asylum system to mean more relaxed border enforcement, immigration experts said that doing away with Title 42 expulsions may actually bring harsher consequences for migrants without valid asylum claims, including increased time in detention and having an official deportation on their record. “Most of the people that are being expelled under Title 42 are likely to be subject to an expedited removal hearing,” said Doris Meissner, former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and fellow at the nonpartisan think tank Migration Policy Institute. “If those expedited hearings go into place immediately when Title 42 is lifted, it’ll be very clear very quickly that this is not a new opportunity,” said Meissner, who said that at first glance, it could be easy for a potential migrant to perceive the end of Title 42 as a chance to get into the United States. She added that many of the people arriving recently with valid asylum claims were likely getting allowed into the U.S. through government exemptions. Senior U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is based in Washington, D.C., found the government’s suspension of asylum laws under CDC health code “arbitrary and capricious.” He granted the government five weeks to transition out of Title 42 and into pre-COVID-19 asylum laws, setting a deadline of Dec. 21. Title 42 used the federal health code as a rationale to bypass the mandated asylum process, which typically involves screenings or “credible fear interviews.” Under status quo border policies, applicants whom judges said did not have valid asylum claims were subject to “expedited removal” from the country, a deportation process that went on a person’s permanent record, sometimes carried criminal charges and prohibited future entry into the U.S. either permanently or temporarily. Between the two administrations some 2.4 million migrant encounters were subject to Title 42 expulsions since March 2020, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. 



A Trump Judge Seized Control Of ICE, And The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether To Stop Him

By Ian Millhiser, VOX, November 27, 2022


  • In July, a Trump appointee to a federal court in Texas effectively seized control of parts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency that enforces immigration laws within US borders. Although Judge Drew Tipton’s opinion in United States v. Texas contains a simply astonishing array of legal and factual errors, the Supreme Court has thus far tolerated Tipton’s overreach and permitted his order to remain in effect. Nearly five months later, the Supreme Court will give the Texas case a full hearing on Tuesday. And there’s a good chance that even this Court, where Republican appointees control two-thirds of the seats, will reverse Tipton’s decision — his opinion is that bad. 


  • The case involves a memo that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas issued in September 2021, instructing ICE agents to prioritize undocumented immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security and thus threaten America’s well-being” when making arrests or otherwise enforcing immigration law. A federal statute explicitly states that the homeland security secretary “shall be responsible” for “establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities,” and the department issued similar memos setting enforcement priorities in 2005, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2017. Nevertheless, attorneys general of Texas and Louisiana asked Tipton to invalidate Mayorkas’s memo. And Tipton defied the statute permitting Mayorkas to set enforcement priorities — and a whole host of other, well-established legal principles — and declared Mayorkas’s enforcement priorities invalid. This is not the first time that Tipton relied on highly dubious legal reasoning to sabotage the Biden administration’s immigration policies. 


  • In July, shortly after Tipton handed down his decision, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to halt Tipton’s order while this case was still pending, but the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny that request — with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett crossing over to vote with the Court’s three liberal justices. That means that, even if the Court does ultimately reject Tipton’s reasoning, his erroneous order will have been in effect for months by the time the Supreme Court strikes it down. And for that entire time, Mayorkas will have been prevented from exercising his statutory authority over ICE. As a threshold matter, it’s important to understand why Mayorkas must have authority to set enforcement priorities for ICE. 



Supreme Court Considers Challenge To Biden Policy Curbing Immigration Arrests

By Jess Bravin and Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2022 


  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 29, began hearing arguments on the executive branch’s power to set priorities in enforcing immigration law, in a case that also tests the legal standing of states to bring their policy differences with Washington to court. Last year, Texas and Louisiana sued to invalidate enforcement guidelines, issued by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, that prioritize the deportation of those immigrants illegally in the country who pose an imminent threat to national security or public safety. That approach replaced Trump-era policies that sought to have immigration officers remove any noncitizen present illegally. The September 2021 guidelines target terrorists and others considered national-security threats and people convicted of serious crimes. They also put a priority on deporting those who entered the U.S. unlawfully since November 2020.  Mr. Mayorkas said the guidelines were needed because the Department of Homeland Security lacked the resources to apprehend and deport the more than 11 million noncitizens unlawfully in the U.S. 


  • The Biden administration has argued that since Congress has never authorized enough funding to detain every immigrant in the country illegally, Congress intends the government to use discretion in whom it pursues. It also says Congress has required DHS to lay out its priorities for immigration enforcement. Several states sued, arguing that federal law gave the Department of Homeland Security no discretion to relax enforcement against any category of noncitizens.  In its Supreme Court brief, the Biden administration not only defends the guidelines but argues that lower courts have gone too far to countenance litigation from state attorneys general opposed to federal policy. In the case filed by Texas and Louisiana, a federal district judge in Corpus Christi, Texas, blocked the guidelines, and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, declined to reinstate them while DHS appealed. 


  • In July, the Supreme Court voted to 5-4 to keep the guidelines on hold but agreed to expedite a decision on the case. In a separate case filed by a different group of states, the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, sided with Mr. Mayorkas, saying the enforcement guidelines fell within the department’s discretion. To file suit, a party normally must show it has been injured by a challenged action. Texas argues that the presence of unauthorized immigrants within its borders imposes costs on state taxpayers for law enforcement, public education and other services. The Justice Department disputes that such costs have anything to do with the policy at issue. In any case, the department says, such costs wouldn’t be a direct enough injury to get into court. Texas says suing the federal government may be the only way it can protect itself. 






City Provides Update On Asylum Seekers Traveling To Philadelphia From Texas

By the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of the Mayor, November 15, 2022


  • The City of Philadelphia announced an update on asylum seekers and their travel to Philadelphia. It had been relayed to City officials that a bus of roughly 30 asylum seekers was expected to travel from Del Rio, Texas to Philadelphia. This information was confirmed late on Tuesday, November 15 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. 



City Provides Update On Second Bus Of Asylum Seekers’ Arrival In Philadelphia From Texas

By the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of the Mayor, November 21, 2022


  • On Monday, November 21, the City reported that 46 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 29 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.



City Provides Update On Third And Fourth Buses Of Asylum Seekers’ Arrival In Philadelphia From Texas 

By the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of the Mayor, November 25, 2022

  • On Friday, November 25, the City reported that approximately 71 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 49 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.



City Provides Update On Fifth Bus Of Asylum Seekers’ Arrival In Philadelphia From Texas

By the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of the Mayor, November 30, 2022


  • On Wednesday, November 30, the City reported that approximately 49 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 43 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.



City Provides Update on Sixth Bus of Asylum Seekers’ Arrival in Philadelphia from Texas

By the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of the Mayor, December 5, 2022


  • On Monday, December 5, the City reported that 53 asylum seekers traveled from Texas to Philadelphia via bus. Upon arrival at 30th Street Station, 33 of them were transported to the City’s welcoming facility on E. Luzerne Street in North Philadelphia. Many of them are from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, and have been fully screened by Customs and Border Patrol before arriving in Philadelphia.



Gov. Greg Abbott Expands Texas’ Migrant Busing Plan To Philadelphia

By James Barragán, Texas Tribune, November 16, 2022


  • As of November 15, Texas had bused 13,200 migrants to Chicago [1,200], New York [3,700] and Washington, D.C. [8,300]. The Texas Division of Emergency Management, which manages the busing program, has spent $26 million since the program began in April, the agency’s chief, Nim Kidd, told lawmakers.





Texas Joins States Seeking Court Order To Continue Title 42 Illegal Immigrant Expulsions

By Hayden Sparks, The Texan, November 23, 2022


  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined 14 other states seeking a court order requiring the continued enforcement of Title 42. The states in question are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In court documents, the litigants referenced the federal government’s prior defense of the Title 42 order, and accused the Biden administration of disregarding the correct process for setting new policies. On November 15, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the Biden administration to end the Title 42 order by December 21. Previously, federal Judge Robert Summerhays in Louisiana prevented the federal government from discontinuing the policy after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its rescission earlier this year.



In Immigration Centers, Justice Is Denied

By Kate Melloy Goettel and Alexandra Miller, Dallas Morning News, October 28, 2022


  • Across the country, the federal government is illegally preventing lawyers for immigrant detainees from effectively communicating with their clients, particularly in geographically isolated detention centers. Together with the ACLU and partners, we have filed a lawsuit in federal court against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating detainees’ legal rights at facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona. For thousands of immigrants each year, this life-or-death decision as to whether they are sent back to a country where they fear persecution or are torn away from their family and community comes down to whether they have an attorney to represent them. Immigrants in detention facilities are more than 10 ½ times more likely to succeed in their cases if they are able to find a lawyer to represent them. 


  • Yet our government has made it all but impossible for immigrants in detention to communicate with their lawyer — if they manage to obtain one in the first place. We place our immigration detention facilities almost uniformly in rural areas far from lawyers, family members, translators, social workers and others who could offer assistance. Unlike in criminal proceedings, immigrants are not provided an attorney — they must hire and pay for one, or find a pro bono attorney or organization to represent them. Detained immigrants must do that from inside a facility. As our new lawsuit details, in many facilities, it’s virtually impossible for immigrants to seek representation or for attorneys to gain adequate access to their clients to provide competent counsel. Despite the requirements of the U.S. Constitution and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own standards, some immigration detention facilities lack any private meeting spaces for attorneys to meet with their clients. When lawyers can visit their clients, they often have to do so in public areas in front of guards and other inmates. Lawyers can’t use their laptops to take notes, or draft or edit client declarations. There are no interpreters provided, and in some instances, the restrictions to entry are so cumbersome that lawyers cannot realistically bring their own interpreter into detention facilities. Cellphones are not allowed so lawyers cannot call an interpreter to facilitate. Video conferencing — which has become ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic — is unavailable inside immigration detention facilities. Phone access is restricted. In at least 58 immigration detention facilities there is no way for lawyers to schedule calls with their clients, so they must leave a message and wait for a monitored return call at the immigrant’s expense. Making calls that require an interpreter to be on the line are particularly difficult to coordinate in immigration detention. Some facilities limit calls with attorneys to as little as 10 minutes, and the only available phones are often next to the guard’s desk in a loud public area with no possibility of confidentiality. 


  • The consequences are real — migrants who need to share the details of the persecution they endured before coming to the United States are reticent to share those personal and traumatic details. The U.S. Constitution protects the rights of people in immigration detention to retain, consult with and access counsel. The Department of Homeland Security only does minimal oversight of these facilities and recently admitted it doesn’t track how many facilities fail to meet its own low standards for attorney-client communication, much less the heightened requirements of the Constitution. These failures cost lives and divide families as people with meritorious claims are denied relief. Many of these people are fleeing some of the worst violence in the world and will be sent back to life-threatening situations.





Abbott's Border Crackdown Rife With Court Chaos, Blown Deadlines

By Neena Satija and Jasper Scherer, Houston Chronicle, November 3, 2022


  • More than $4 billion in taxpayer money has been pumped into the initiative known as Operation Lone Star, with state leaders borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s beleaguered prison system and other agencies in the name of border security. But Operation Lone Star also is sweeping up hundreds of low-income people who are U.S. citizens into a court system that does not have the resources to handle them — causing such severe procedural delays that one Republican judge recently agreed to let numerous felony defendants out of jail on cashless or low-cash bail. 


  • Much of the turmoil is happening in Kinney County, a conservative, rural community near Del Rio that has served as the epicenter of Abbott’s border initiative. Similar problems arose there last fall, when a flood of arrests of undocumented migrants for misdemeanor criminal trespass quickly overwhelmed the court system in the tiny county of 3,700 people. In a little over a year, state troopers have made more than 21,000 arrests linked to the operation, though some of those have included crimes with no connection to the border. 


  • More recently, authorities have shifted their focus to catching people transporting migrants in their cars and charging them with felonies such as human smuggling. Those more complex cases are also overwhelming the courts in Kinney County, according to interviews with defense attorneys, a review of the limited court documents that are available and legislative hearings. “The prosecutor can’t prosecute, the defense attorney can’t defend and these people are stuck in prison,” said Mary Pietrazek, who has represented more than 70 people arrested in human smuggling cases through the border initiative. The government is paying her and hundreds of other lawyers across the state to represent those arrested under Operation Lone Star because they can’t afford their own attorneys. The true scope of the chaos that Operation Lone Star has wreaked on border-area courts is difficult to assess because court documents are not easily available and the courtrooms are in remote border locations far from any major city. With counties unequipped to process the “catch-and-jail” arrests, Texas officials have spent millions of dollars cobbling together a patchwork system of courts and jails devoted to the task, including converting two state prisons into overflow facilities for the handful of counties participating in the operation.



Texas Guard To Send Tank-Like Military Vehicles To The Border

By Davis Winkie, Military Times, and William Melhado, The Texas Tribune, November 22, 2022


  • Days after Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a legally dubious invocation of the “invasion clause” of the U.S. and Texas constitutions over the high number of migrant encounters at the Texas-Mexico border, his border mission is set to include armored personnel carriers designed to carry troops into battle alongside tanks, according to a planning document obtained by Army Times and The Texas Tribune. 


  • The order issued by Texas Military Department officials to the headquarters overseeing Operation Lone Star reveals that the National Guard will soon deploy 10 M113 armored personnel carrier vehicles to the border. According to the order, around 50 soldiers will be trained to operate the vehicles, and state officials will identify 10 positions to station them along the border. The Texas Military Department said in a written statement that in addition to the 10 armored vehicles, the Texas National Guard is increasing “aircraft flights and security efforts” on the border. Armored personnel carriers like the M113 are designed to carry infantry troops across modern battlefields alongside tanks. They can be equipped with a range of weapons: heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, antitank missiles or even large cannons similar to those mounted on tanks. It’s not clear what weapons, if any, will be on the Texas Guard’s M113s at the border. Such vehicles are by definition bulletproof and can withstand small explosions. In the civilian world, lighter, wheeled armored personnel carriers are sometimes used to carry police SWAT teams. It’s not clear why the Texas Military Department plans to deploy the vehicles to the border. Since Operation Lone Star began, the agency has not publicly acknowledged any incidents in which the protection provided by the more nimble Humvee vehicles deployed there was inadequate. Since Operation Lone Star began, the number of migrants apprehended along the Texas-Mexico border has increased despite the expenditure of $4 billion and the involuntary deployment of up to 6,500 Texas Military Department troops.



Editorial: An Open Letter To Operation Lone Star Troops

By the Express-News Editorial Board, November 28, 2022


  • To troops deployed for Operation Lone Star: We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving despite being away from your families and homes. With any luck, you had time to enjoy a good meal, some camaraderie and relaxation — better yet, some time off. We’ve heard how more than 5,000 of you are stationed along the southern border with Mexico. From time to time, we see images of you standing near a Humvee and looking toward the river, but we don’t know much more than that, and we’re interested in what you are doing. Then there is the $4 billion — and rising — cost of deploying thousands of troops to the border. As taxpayers, we deserve to know what our money is going toward. Unfortunately, the state rarely gives the media access to the people or mission. We read about armored personnel carriers, increased aircraft flights, gunboats, border walls, and how the National Guard will “repel and turn back immigrants trying to cross the border illegally.”



Feds Often Hand Migrants Over To State Police Rather Than Process Immigration Claims, Complaint Says

By Jolie Mccullough, Texas Tribune, December 2, 2022


  • Many of the thousands of migrants arrested on trespassing charges under Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security operation have been locked up in Texas prisons only after U.S. Border Patrol agents handed them over to state police, according to a new complaint to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At least once, Texas Department of Public Safety officers never even saw the arrested migrants on the scene of the alleged trespassing, instead picking them up from federal agents at a gas station and taking them to jail, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas reported Friday in its letter to federal officials. The ACLU of Texas argued that federal government officials should not be assisting Texas’ controversial “arrest-and-jail” approach by sending migrants off to face state charges instead of processing their immigration cases. The complaint stems from an analysis of police reports on more than 350 trespassing arrests made this summer under Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. A quarter of those arrests were made with Border Patrol involvement, the civil rights organization said, with federal agents providing surveillance information to state police or both agencies working side by side and divvying up migrants for arrest or immigration processing based largely on their gender. Dozens of migrants in the sample analysis were apprehended by Border Patrol agents who turned them over to DPS. In its complaint, the ACLU of Texas called for DHS to investigate and halt Border Patrol’s involvement in what it calls “unlawful, discriminatory, and anti-immigrant” trespassing arrests. The organization’s attorneys argued federal agents don’t have the right to help arrest migrants on state charges, nor prioritize them for state arrest over immigration processing. State police have made more than 5,600 migrant trespassing arrests, according to DPS.



A Growing Number Of Texas Rural Counties Are Declaring Local Immigration “Disasters”

By Pooja Salhotra, Texas Tribune, December 1, 2022


  • More than 500 miles separate Hopkins County from the Texas-Mexico border. The distance did not stop the county commissioners from declaring a “local state of disaster” caused by an “invasion” of immigrants. Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom signed the resolution in mid-November at a county commissioner’s meeting in Sulphur Springs, 90 miles northeast of Dallas. Hopkins County is the latest to speak out about the situation at the border. 


  • Kinney County, a border county tucked between the cities of Del Rio and Eagle Pass, was the first to declare a state of disaster, in April 2021, because of the “thousands of illegal aliens invading” Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott followed issuing his own broader disaster declaration the next month, which gave him the authority to use emergency powers usually reserved for natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods. That declaration helped Abbott funnel billions of dollars into his border initiative, Operation Lone Star. Since then, at least 33 counties — including many small, rural counties — have adopted resolutions about border crossings, according to The Center Square, a nonprofit news organization that produces “free-market focused content.” 


  • Texas counties have increasingly adopted largely symbolic resolutions, declaring themselves, for example, “sanctuaries” for the unborn or for the Second Amendment. The disaster resolutions stand apart, however, because if worded correctly, they could open the county to new funding from the state. A local disaster declaration enables a county to apply for funding through the Operation Lone Star grant program, which provides money to support law enforcement for those counties. Abbott announced the $100 million program in September 2021 and allocated another $30 million this July. Most counties have not gone as far as Hopkins County in declaring a local disaster. Instead they have expressed support for Operation Lone Star and for a federal border solution. Since Operation Lone Star launched, Knight said his county of 98,000 people has lost six of its 12 Department of Public Safety officers because they are deployed at the border to help Border Patrol. He said the loss in personnel puts more strain on the county’s law enforcement.




Biden Admin Deploys Air Marshals To Border To Help With Migrants

By Matthew Medsger, Boston Herald, November 23, 2022


  • The Biden Administration has quietly ordered Federal Air Marshals to begin  mandatory deployments to the southern border to help with a surge in migrant encounters just as the holiday air travel season begins. “As part of a DHS wide effort, (LE/FAMS) has been called upon to redeploy Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) to the Southwest Border,” Tirrell Stevenson, Executive Assistant Administrator and Director of the Transportation Security Administration’s Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service wrote to Air Marshals in a November 14 email shared with the Herald. According to Stevenson’s email, it may be “operationally necessary” to assign deployments to Air Marshals from “all field offices and Headquarters assignments” despite a history of some Marshals voluntarily assisting Border Patrol agents. Air Marshals have begun to deploy to the border on a mandatory schedule of 21 day waves, with the second such wave starting on November 16 and running through December 7, information shared with the Herald showed.



Texas Challenge To Biden Deportation Policy Goes To Supreme Court

By Benjamin Wermund, Washington Bureau, November 29, 2022


  • Texas’ increasing use of the courts to stymie presidential power drew intense questioning on Tuesday [November 29] from Supreme Court justices weighing the state’s challenge to President Joe Biden’s immigration enforcement priorities. The case is a significant test of the president’s power to set immigration policy, and a ruling for Texas would mark a major departure from how the courts have long handled the issue. For years, presidents have set priorities for which immigrants their administrations would detain and deport. But Texas has already succeeded in stopping that for the first time after a district judge threw out the Biden priorities this summer. 


  • On Tuesday, justices questioned whether a ruling for Texas in the case would go even further and open the door for states to grind virtually any federal policy to a halt by arguing the policy costs them money — even if it’s just $1 — and filing their challenges with lower court judges sympathetic to their cause.  The case at hand centers on the Biden administration’s attempt to narrow targets for arrest and deportation to those immigrants seen as a threat to national security or public safety, a significant shift from the Trump administration’s more sweeping approach, which directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to consider virtually anyone in the country illegally to be a priority. Texas and Louisiana sued, arguing in part that the narrower scope would drive up costs for law enforcement, education and health. They say the law requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrest more people who are in the country illegally than just those the Biden administration wants to prioritize. “The law that the Biden administration is trying to ignore is crystal clear: Certain illegal aliens that have committed crimes must be detained and cannot be allowed to roam freely in our communities,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Keeping our citizens safe is one of the most fundamental duties of government, perhaps even the most fundamental. The Biden administration has tried to ignore that duty, but we’re fighting every single day to remind them.” 


  • A federal judge in Corpus Christi blocked the Biden policy last summer and the Supreme Court declined at the time to toss out the judge’s ruling, with justices voting 5-4 to leave it in place until it could consider the case during its fall term. Now the high court is weighing whether the states have standing to sue, if Biden’s approach flouts immigration law and whether the administration followed the necessary process to change it, and whether the lower court judge overstepped by vacating the administration’s priorities.



Biden Administration Considers Migrant Restrictions Similar To Trump Policies

By Eileen Sullivan and Michael D. Shear, New York Times, December 1, 2022


  • The Biden administration is considering substantial new limits on the number of migrants who could apply for asylum in the United States, according to people familiar with the proposal, which would expand restrictions similar to those first put in place along the border by former President Donald J. Trump. The plan is one of several being debated by President Biden’s top aides as the country confronts a high number of illegal crossings at the border. It would prohibit migrants who are fleeing persecution from seeking refuge in the United States unless they were first denied safe harbor by another country, like Mexico. People familiar with the discussions said the new policy, if adopted, could go into effect as soon as this month, just as the government stops using a public health rule [Title 42] that was put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A federal judge has ordered the administration to stop using the health rule on Dec. 21. White House officials declined to comment specifically on the possibility of broad new restrictions on asylum. 



DOJ Tried To Hide Report Warning That Private Border Wall In Texas Could Collapse

By Perla Trevizo and Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica, December 2, 2022


  • A private border wall built along the Rio Grande in South Texas could collapse during extreme flooding, according to a federally commissioned inspection report that the government sought to keep secret for more than a year. The 404-page report, produced by the global engineering firm Arcadis, confirms previous reporting from ProPublica and The Texas Tribune. It also shows for the first time that the federal government independently found structural problems with the border fencing before reaching a settlement agreement with the builder, Fisher Industries, in May. Under the agreement, which ended a nearly three-year legal battle between the International Boundary and Water Commission and Fisher Industries, the company must inspect the fence quarterly, remove bollards and maintain a gate that would allow for the release of floodwaters. It must also keep a $3 million bond, a type of insurance, to cover any expenses in case the structure fails. Engineering and hydrology experts told the news organizations the bond is inadequate to cover the kind of catastrophic failure described by Arcadis and raised concerns that the federal government’s decision to settle the case cuts against the report’s findings. The company modeled different scenarios using the extreme weather conditions caused by Hurricane Beulah, a 1967 storm that dumped about 30 inches of rain in some areas of the border region and caused the banks of the Rio Grande to overflow. The modeling showed that the fence “would effectively slide and/or overturn” during major flooding, and that it starts to become unstable during much smaller and more frequent floods. According to the report, the fencing doesn’t meet basic international building code and industry standards and has a foundation far shallower than border barriers built by the federal government.



U.S. Broadens Immigration Program For Haitian Migrants, Citing Humanitarian Crisis

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, December 5, 2022


  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would allow tens of thousands of additional Haitians to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by moving up the program's cut-off date. Previously, only Haitians who had arrived in the U.S. before July 29, 2021 were eligible for TPS, but the new designation will allow those living in the country as of Nov. 6 of this year to apply for the program. DHS also announced Monday that the U.S. would push back the expiration date for the Haiti TPS program from Feb. 4, 2023 to Aug. 3, 2024. Created by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a designation given by federal officials that provides deportation protections and work permits to immigrants from countries experiencing armed conflict, environmental disasters and other humanitarian emergencies. The program does not offer permanent legal status. There are currently 101,000 Haitians in the U.S. enrolled in the TPS program, according to DHS statistics. The government is also reviewing 53,000 pending TPS applications from Haitians. The program's new cut-off date is expected to make another 110,000 Haitians eligible for TPS, the DHS data show.



Congress Working To Strike Last-Minute Immigration Deals

By Marianna Sotomayor, Liz Goodwin, Maria Sacchettiand Camila DeChalus, Washington Post, December 5, 2022 


  • Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) and Thom Tillis (North Carolina) have outlined a potential immigration proposal that would provide a path to legalization for 2 million undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as “dreamers,” in exchange for at least $25 billion in increased funding for the Border Patrol and border security. The bipartisan framework, which is in flux, would also extend Title 42 for at least a year until new “regional processing centers” provided for in the bill could be built, according to a Senate aide. The Trump administration instituted Title 42 during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the immediate expulsion of migrants was necessary because of the public health crisis. Meanwhile, Sens. Michael F. Bennet (Colorado) and Mike Crapo (Idaho) are negotiating on a narrower bill based on a House-passed measure that provided a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented farmworkers. The senators have not yet reached a deal but are hoping to get to one before the end of the session this month, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation candidly. The last-minute push comes as Congress faces the end of another term without addressing an immigration overhaul and as the United States braces for the end of mass expulsions on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the possibility that a federal judge will wind down an Obama-era program that shields dreamers from being deported.



Texas Drops Another Bus Full Of Migrants At VP Kamala Harris’ House

By Todd J. Gillman, Dallas Morning News, December 7, 2022


  • A bus from Texas dropped about 30 Nicaraguan migrants outside Vice President Kamala Harris’s official residence early Wednesday, December 7 — at least the fifth time Gov. Greg Abbott has used the Naval Observatory as a bus depot. Texas began sending migrants from border cities to the nation’s capital in April, hoping to pressure the Biden administration by drawing attention to record levels of migration in the past year. Texas has since sent more than 8,400 migrants to the nation’s capital. In mid-September, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arranged for two planes to fly 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., an upscale resort island. On Nov. 15, Abbott announced the first Texas bus to Philadelphia. The city of El Paso, a Democratic enclave, sent scores of buses carrying more than 10,000 migrants to New York City and at least 3,200 to Chicago between August and October to ease overcrowding in local shelters. New York Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency as the city scrounged for space at homeless shelters and hotels and opened a tent encampment. El Paso halted its buses after the Biden administration changed its policies to allow for quick deportation of migrants from Venezuela.



Some 1,500 Migrants Crossed Rio Grande Into El Paso On Sunday - Witness

By Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters, December 12, 2022


  • About 1,500 people crossed the Rio Grande overnight from Mexico into El Paso, Texas, a Reuters witness said on Monday, December 12, amid an increase in migrant arrivals in the area ahead of the expiry of a pandemic-era order [Title 42] that blocks them at the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Sunday, December 11, encountered about 2,400 migrants attempting to enter the El Paso Sector, according to a website maintained by the city of El Paso. That stretches for 268 miles (431 km) and includes part of the border in Texas and the entire border with the state of New Mexico. CBP has not yet published its own statistics for November but September and October saw a sharp rise in migrant encounters in El Paso from a year ago. 



Mass Migrant Crossing Floods Texas Border Facilities

By Simon Romero, J. David Goodman and Eileen Sullivan, New York Times, December 12, 2022


  • After nightfall on Sunday, December 11, hundreds of migrants stepped across the Rio Grande and into El Paso, a caravan of people mainly from Nicaragua whose crossing was among the largest in recent years along the West Texas border. Their arrival en masse into the United States surprised even those in El Paso, which has in recent months found itself overwhelmed by a steady stream of many migrants from Central and South America, more than 50,000 people in October alone. Because of strained diplomatic relations with the authoritarian regime in Nicaragua, the United States is limited in its ability to expel Nicaraguans under Title 42 public health authority and cannot repatriate the country’s citizens. And so far, Mexico has not agreed to accept them if they are expelled from the United States. 


  • Over the weekend, a huge number of people arrived in El Paso, roughly 2,000 each day, according to officials. The group of about 800 to 1,000 people that crossed on Sunday night [December 11] appeared to have been the largest. It was the second time in recent months that large migrant crossings threatened to overwhelm the resources of the impoverished border town and the federal immigration authorities who are already strained by what has been a steady arrival of migrants throughout the year. 


  • More than 5,000 migrants were in the Border Patrol’s central processing center on Monday, December 12, according to El Paso officials. Last week, El Paso saw nearly 7,000 migrants released from federal immigration custody, a weekly total that surpassed even those seen during the surge of Venezuelan arrivals this year. The government in Chihuahua had bused a caravan of about 1,100 migrants into Juárez on Sunday afternoon [December 11], Santiago González Reyes, the head of the human rights offices in Ciudad Juárez, said. The buses, about 19 of them, were paid for by the Mexican government, he said, which had reasoned that the migrants would have walked north anyway and provided a police escort to keep them safe. Until recently, El Paso had been paying to bus migrants out of the city to destinations in the north and east. By September, the number of crossings in the city had been as high as 2,000 a day on some days, mostly by Venezuelans. Local officials halted their busing program — which took nearly 14,000 people out of the city, including 10,000 to New York — in October after the Biden administration changed its policy and began applying the Title 42 health order to the large number of Venezuelans who were then arriving at the border, most of whom had previously been allowed to stay and pursue asylum claims.



Arizona Gov. Ducey Pushes On With Shipping Container Border Wall As Term Ends

By Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, December 13, 2022 


  • Doug Ducey, Arizona’s outgoing governor, has been overseeing an operation to stack thousands of shipping containers across valued conservation land along the state’s southern border, creating a makeshift wall to keep migrants out. Ducey, who is set to leave office in early January due to term limits, says the barrier — which runs through the Coronado National Forest, which is protected federal land, and the Huachuca Mountains and San Rafael Valley — is necessary. The wall, estimated to be 3,000 containers long, is expected to eventually span 10 miles and cost some $95 million, the Associated Press reported. The federal government has said the construction is unlawful and ordered state officials to halt it, and activists have warned of humanitarian and environmental concerns. The latest criticism came from Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway, who warned over the weekend that anyone found to be helping to build the wall in his county will be arrested. “The area where they’re placing the containers is entirely on federal land, on national forest land,” Hathaway said told Fox10 Phoenix Saturday. “It’s not state land, it’s not private land, and the federal government has said this is illegal activity. Contractors had been working since August to stack containers along the border, the result of an executive order signed by Ducey that month, instructing Arizona’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to “close the gaps in Arizona’s southern border wall, regardless of location.



Biden Admin May Cut Number Of Migrants Eligible For Asylum At Border, But Open New Paths For Others

By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, NBC News, December 13, 2022


  • The Biden administration is solidifying plans to slash the number of migrants who would qualify for asylum at the southern border while opening up new, narrow pathways for some would-be migrants to apply while still in their home countries, four sources familiar with the plan said. Among the proposals under strong consideration are new programs for Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans to apply for humanitarian parole from their home countries, three U.S. officials said. The pathways for those migrants would be similar to a program launched this fall that admitted 24,000 Venezuelans who could prove they would be sponsored in the U.S. while denying entry to the vast majority of Venezuelans arriving at the border. The Department of Homeland Security is also planning new training for asylum officers who interview migrants crossing the border, the three officials said. They would be instructed to let migrants enter the U.S. to pursue protections if they qualify under the international Convention Against Torture, a much higher bar than previously required for asylum. Those who cannot prove they’re likely to face torture if returned to their home countries would have to show they first sought and were denied asylum in a country they passed through on their way to the U.S. border, four sources familiar with the planning say. That model, first reported to be under consideration by The New York Times, is commonly called a “transit ban” and was first put into practice in 2019 by former President Trump’s hard-line immigration adviser Stephen Miller. 



Title 42 Ending: DHS Chief Says White House Exploring 'Host' Of Solutions To Prevent Border Crisis

By Lauren Villagran, El Paso Times, December 13, 2022


  • The Biden administration is exploring "a whole host of things" to prevent a humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when Title 42 expulsions expire next week [December 21], the Homeland Security chief said. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration is in ongoing discussions with the Mexican government, which has played an outsized role in recent years in every U.S. program to limit or redirect migrants' access to the U.S.-Mexico border. He declined to provide specifics, citing sensitive bilateral talks. The Biden administration has leaned heavily on Title 42 to manage the flow of millions of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border by quickly expelling people to Mexico or countries of origin, including asylum seekers. Title 42 is a public health order that allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants to Mexico or back to their home countries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities. The policy was created under the Trump administration and was issued by the CDC in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. A federal judge in November said the pandemic-era rule violated U.S. asylum law and had to be lifted by Dec. 21. Mayorkas said the Biden administration is exploring expansion of a program that allowed Ukrainian and later Venezuelan asylum seekers to apply for entry to the U.S. by air via Mexico City. He also said the administration is working with Mexico to ensure that the surge of migrants bused to Juárez over the weekend doesn't happen again. Since October, the county has received nearly 19,000 migrants released by Border Patrol to pursue asylum or other status in the country and provided them with logistical and other assistance.



El Paso Receives Thousands Of Migrants Before Title 42 Ends

By Joel Rose and Angela Kocherga, NPR, December 13, 2022


  • Federal authorities in El Paso are busy processing thousands of migrants who've crossed the border from Mexico in recent days. Shelters in the city are overflowing, and some people are being released onto the street. It could be a preview of what's to come border-wide when pandemic restrictions are set to end next week [December 21].



19 GOP-Led States Ask Appeals Court To Delay End Of Title 42 Border Restrictions

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, December 13, 2022 


  • Nineteen states filed an emergency legal request late Monday, December 12, to try to delay the termination of pandemic-related restrictions that have allowed U.S. border authorities to swiftly turn away certain migrants on public health grounds. A coalition of attorneys general asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to suspend a lower court order that found the border restrictions, known as Title 42, to be unlawful. Unless it is paused, the lower court ruling will require border officials to halt the migrant expulsions on Dec. 21. Lawyers representing the states argued that Title 42's cancellation would fuel an "enormous disaster" along the U.S.-Mexico border, where federal officials intercepted migrants more than 2.3 million times in fiscal year 2022, a record high. The states asked the appeals court to issue a decision before Friday evening. That timeframe was supported by the Biden administration and the American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully challenged the legality of Title 42 at the lower court level. If the appeals court denies their request, the states argued, it should issue a 7-day administrative suspension of the ruling that declared Title 42 illegal so they can ask the Supreme Court to intervene. The states that joined the request were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.



First On CNN: Biden Administration To Pilot New Portions Of Citizenship Test Next Year

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, December 14, 2022


  • The Biden administration plans to conduct a trial for portions of the naturalization exam, which immigrants must pass to become US citizens, next year, to try to make the test more accessible, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will announce. The naturalization exam is a crucial step to an immigrant’s path toward US citizenship, potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of immigrants who seek citizenship annually. 


  • President Joe Biden signed an executive order at the start of his administration that included a directive to review the English and civics tests for naturalization.  The trial will include changes to the English-speaking component of the test, which is not standardized, and the civics component following a review by USCIS subject matter experts, according to the agency. The two other parts of the exam – reading and writing – are already standardized and will remain unchanged. “One thing we heard a lot – and agreed with – is we need a standardized speaking portion to the same extent we standardized reading and writing,” a USCIS official told CNN, noting that otherwise that part of the exam can be subjective and vary depending on the interviewing officer. The hope, the official added, is to encourage a conversation that reflects what people are likely to talk about when gauging their English-speaking skills. 


  • The trial civics portion is expected to be redesigned in a multiple-choice format, instead of it being fill in the blank. Currently, applicants study 100 civics test items and are required to answer six of 10 civics questions correctly to pass. US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the test, will run a trial for a five-month period in 2023 with about 1,500 participants enrolled in citizenship class who have volunteered to take the pilot exam. Their scores on the pilot will not affect their naturalization. The upcoming trial will be published in the Federal Register to explain the methodology and open it up to comment from stakeholders. In fiscal year 2022, USCIS naturalized more than 1 million new US citizens, marking the highest number of naturalizations in roughly 15 years.



San Antonio Plans To Keep Migrant Center Open As Numbers ‘Continue To Increase’

By Andrea Drusch, San Antonio Report, December 15, 2022


  • The City of San Antonio will maintain a migrant resource center in the coming year — and potentially much longer — as South Texas communities gear up for more asylum-seekers passing through the city with the end of a policy that has prevented many from entering the country. A copy of the city’s lease for the center, obtained by the San Antonio Report, indicates the agreement runs 10 years, expiring in June 2032. The city estimates it has assisted more than 300,000 migrants since January 2021. City Manager Erik Walsh told City Council on Thursday that roughly 35,000 migrants had come through the center in November alone. That’s up from about 17,000 in October. City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Thursday allowing San Antonio to accept roughly $3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Board Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) as reimbursement for feeding, transporting and sheltering migrants in the first quarter of 2023. A copy of the city’s lease with KEM Texas Ltd. indicates the city pays a base rent of roughly $82,000 per month, plus additional rent of $31,000 per month for operating expenses. The city had previously authorized asking the federal government for reimbursement of up to $12.7 million for the entirety of 2021 and 2022. It received $2.7 million from the FEMA grant for expenses between January 2021 and June 2022 the first half of the year, according to city staff. It requested $5.8 million for the months of July through September, but that reimbursement has not yet been approved. It will also request money to cover the months of October through December.



U.S. Appeals Court Ruling Means Border Expulsions On Track To End Dec. 21

By Maria Sacchetti and Arelis R. Hernández, Washington Post, December 16, 2022 


  • A federal appeals court on Friday, December 16, cleared the way for the Biden administration to end a covid-related policy that allows officials to expel migrants from U.S. borders, rejecting a push by Republican officials to keep enforcing the removals. The decision means the policy known as Title 42 started by the Trump administration, will end Dec. 21, unless the Supreme Court intervenes. The GOP officials had signaled in court records that they would appeal to the Supreme Court. A three-judge panel in the District of Columbia denied a motion officials had filed seeking an emergency stay of the Biden administration’s plans to end Title 42. The states sought to intervene in a lawsuit filed on behalf of migrant families seeking to end the expulsions. The states had appealed after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan struck down Title 42 in mid-November, saying the ban had little proven benefit to public health, and set the Dec. 21 deadline for the administration to end it. Officials from 19 states including Texas, Arizona, and Alaska had asked the court to approve an emergency order stopping the administration’s plans to fully reopen the borders. Officials said a large increase of migrants on the border would burden states with the costs of providing services such as health care to the newcomers.