President Biden signed the infrastructure bill, which is definitely a good thing—repair roads and bridges, clean up contaminated water systems, extend internet access, create jobs, etc. You might be wondering what that has to do with immigration.
If any immigration legislation is going to pass this year, it will be as part of the next Big Thing: the Build Back Better bill, also known as the budget reconciliation bill. Democratic leadership says the House will vote on that bill this week. And the Senate? “By Christmas,” is the current prediction.
At present, the Big Thing includes a completely inadequate but better-than-nothing provision granting a temporary five-year parole to unauthorized immigrants who have been in the United States since 2011 or longer. (That’s about two-thirds of all unauthorized immigrants.) The parole would protect from deportation and allow work permits. It would be renewable for a second five-year term, but would not provide any path to permanent legal residence or citizenship.
Advocates still insist that the bill must include provisions for green cards for unauthorized immigrants. Pessimists warn that all immigration provisions could be stripped from the bill. Vox says, “So why is this latest round of immigration reform proposals probably doomed? Two reasons: because of the structure of the Senate and because, on immigration, identity issues have replaced policy.”
And in other news
Congratulations to Sahan Journal, Minnesota’s leading immigrant news voice.
(Sahan Journal) “Sahan Journal is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge to help launch a new initiative called Citizen Lab, a community listening project in Minnesota….
“Citizen Lab will be a new series of joint, open-to-the-public editorial meetings, where Latino, Hmong and Somali community members in Minnesota can speak directly to editors at Sahan Journal, La Raza 95.7z FM, 3HmongTV, and Somali TV Minnesota….
“All four newsrooms will work together to report and produce weekly stories in multiple formats and languages, exploring subjects that come directly from conversations with community members.”
Boston, with the country’s third-highest concentration of Haitian nationals, now sees a new population of Haitian immigrants arriving, and in need of services.
(Boston Globe) “‘We have done 500 Haitian family intakes, which translates into 1,600 Haitian individuals, since the week after the events at Del Rio,’ said Geralde Gabeau, executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute in Mattapan. Gabeau has had to triple her organization’s staff to about 45 employees in order to properly handle the demand for services, which includes everything from finding clothes and housing for recent arrivals to connecting them with legal assistance….
“Here’s the important thing to remember: The recent wave of Haitian nationals entered the country with the permission of the federal government. ‘They did not sneak in through the border,’ according to Deirdre Giblin, an attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. However, their legal status remains in limbo.
“Giblin said these migrants were quickly processed at the border and told to show up at the local US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office once they reached their final destination inside the country. ‘It’s why the local ICE office in Burlington was so crowded in October,’ Giblin said. All of a sudden, migrants were showing up; they wanted to move forward with their asylum cases or any other petition that would allow them to normalize their legal status here and, ultimately, obtain a work permit.”
NOTE: No Immigration News tomorrow.