Immigration News: January 19, 2022

Tonight’s big story is the Senate Republicans blocking the voting rights bill. They won’t even allow full debate on the bill, much less a vote. Today, Roll Call reported that immigration advocate are united in a strategy of “disregarding” the parliamentarian’s ruling on inclusion of immigration in the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. That seems a pointless unity: the Republicans will block any immigration legislation, just as they are blocking any voting rights legislation.

Senator Cory Booker: “I know this is not 1965. And that’s what makes me so outraged. It is 2022 and they are blatantly removing more polling places from the counties where Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented.”

(I’ve written in another blog about why the voting rights bill is so important and why the filibuster should go.)

In today’s two-hour press conference, the second of Biden’s term, immigration was not on the agenda. Among the many reviews of Biden’s first year in immigration policies and action published over the past few weeks:

WOLA’s analysis of the Biden administration’s first year policies and actions related to Latin America includes a review–and a stinging indictment–of migration policies, actions, and inactions.

[Washington Office on Latin America] “In the face of this wave of migration, and despite their initial pronouncements, the administration has not implemented major policy changes. In spite of rising arrivals even prior to Biden taking office, the administration has been slow to build the infrastructure needed to process this increase in a humane fashion. Instead, it has kept in place most of what came before.

“After a year, with some key exceptions, the “enforcement first” approach that Donald Trump inherited and escalated predominates along the U.S.-Mexico border. This is true even for vulnerable, protection-seeking families and children….

“Despite promises to investigate the abuses against Haitian migrants, the investigations’ pace has been slow—another sign that the administration has yet to make a dent in U.S. border law enforcement agencies’ culture of tolerating and normalizing cruel behavior. New revelations about this abusive organizational culture’s pervasiveness emerged this past year. Investigators found that a secretive Customs and Border Protection (CBP) counter-terror unit had launched investigations against many Americans, including journalists, with no imaginable ties to terrorism. Another secretive Border Patrol unit was found to be carrying out parallel “cover-up” investigations of use-of-force incidents, with the sole purpose of gathering information to exonerate accused agents.”

The immigration court backlog continued to grow last year, reaching 1.6 million cases: that’s millions of individuals and families stuck in a no-way-out line that just keeps getting longer.

[CNN] “‘The immigration courts are in crisis and the time for small measures is over. The immigration court backlog can only be fixed by removing the immigration courts from the U.S. Department of Justice and creating an independent immigration court,’ said Mimi Tsankov, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, in a statement.

“‘DOJ has prioritized its law enforcement functions over the immigration courts. The result is bad management, under-budgeting, and a gigantic and growing case backlog,’ she added.

“Cases have been piling on faster than judges can keep up, resulting in the largest increase on record last quarter. From October to December 2021, the immigration backlog increased by almost 140,000 cases, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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