1.1 Immigration Policy – Immigrant and Refugee Families, 2nd Ed. (2022)

Immigration Policy

Purposes of Immigration Policy

There are five primary purposes of immigration policy (US English Foundation, 2016; Fix & Passel, 1994).

  1. Social: Unify citizens and legal residents with their families.
  2. Economic: Increase productivity and standard of living.
  3. Cultural: Encourage diversity, increasing pluralism and a variety of skills.
  4. Moral: Promote and protect human rights, largely through protecting those feeling persecution.
  5. Security: Control undocumented immigration and protect national security.

Tug-of-War in Immigration Policy

There are many ideological differences among the stakeholders in immigration policy, and many different priorities. In order to meet the purposes listed above, policy-makers must balance the following goals against one another.

Provide refuge to all versus recruit the best. Some stakeholders desire to provide refuge for the displaced (Permanently stamped on the Statue of Liberty are the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”). These stakeholders seek to welcome all who are separated from their families or face economic, political, or safety concerns in their current locations. Others aim to recruit those best qualified to add to the economy.

Meet labor force needs versus protect current citizen employment. Immigrant workers are expected to make up 30-50% of the growth in the United States labor force in the coming decades (Lowell, Gelatt, & Batalova, 2006). In general, immigrants provide needed employment and do not impact the wages of the current workforce. However, there are situations (i.e., during economic downturns) where immigration can threaten the current work force’s conditions or wages.

Enforce policy versus minimize regulatory burden and intrusion on privacy. In order to enforce immigration policy away from the border, the government must access residents’ documents. However, this threatens citizens’ privacy. When employers are required to access these documents, it also increases regulatory burden for the employers.

BBC World Service – Border fence – CC BY-NC 2.0.

(Video) Why Do People Migrate?! (Push & Pull Factors: AP Human Geo)

Key Stakeholders in Policy

There are many groups who are deeply invested in immigration and immigrant policy; their fortunes rise or fall with the policies set. These groups are called “stakeholders.” Key stakeholders in immigration and immigrant policy in the United States include the federal government, state governments, voluntary agencies, employers, families, current workers, local communities, states, and the nation as a whole.

Families. As we described in the introduction, one of the most common motivations for immigration is to provide a better quality of life for one’s family, either by sending money to family in another country or by bringing family to the United States (Solheim, Rojas-Garcia, Olson, & Zuiker, 2012). Immigration policy impacts these families’ abilities to migrate to access safer living conditions and seek economic stability. Further, immigration policy impacts a family’s opportunity for reunification. Reunification means that immigrants with legal status in the United States can apply for visas to bring family members to join them. Approximately two-thirds of the immigrants in the United States were sponsored by family members who migrated first and became permanent residents (Kandel, 2014).

“My goals are to offer my family a decent life and economic stability, to guarantee them a future without serious problems, with a house, a means of transport… things that sometimes you can’t achieve in Mexico. Our goal must be for our family’s welfare, as much for my family here as for my family back there” – Mexican Immigrant, Solheim et al., 2012 p. 247.

Federal government. The federal government is currently solely responsible for the creation of immigration policies (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2004). In the past, each state determined its own immigration policy according to the Articles of Confederation because it was unclear whether the United States Constitution gave the federal government power to regulate immigration (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2011). A series of Supreme Court cases beginning in the 1850s upheld the federal government’s right to create immigration policies, arguing that the federal government must have the power to exclude non-citizens to protect the national public interest (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2004). The Supreme Court has determined that the power to admit and to remove immigrants to the United States belongs solely to the federal government (using as precedents the uniform rule of Naturalization, Article 1.8.4, and the commerce clause, Article 1.8.3). In fact, there is no area where the legislative power of Congress is more complete (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2004).

(Video) Social work with immigrants and refugees

Immigration responsibilities were originally housed in the Treasury Department and the Department of Labor, due to its connection to foreign commerce. In the 1940s, the immigration office (now called the “INS”) was moved to the United States Department of Justice due to its connection to protecting national public interest (USCIS, 2010). The federal departments and agencies that implement immigration laws and policies have changed significantly since the terrorist attacks of 2001. In 2001, the United States Commission on National Security created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which absorbed and assumed the duties of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).

Three key agencies within DHS enforce immigration and immigrant policy (see Figure 1):

  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): USCIS provides immigration services, including processing immigrant visa requests, naturalization petitions, and asylum/refugee requests. Its offices are divided into four national regions: (1) Burlington, Vermont (Northeast); (2) Dallas, Texas (Central); (3) Laguna Niguel, California (West); and (4) Orlando, Florida (Southeast). The director of USCIS reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. It is important to note that immigration officers, who traditionally hold law degrees, have broad discretion in deciding whether an application is complete and accurate (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2011).
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): ICE is primarily tasked with enforcing immigration laws once immigrants are inside the United States’ ICE is responsible for identifying and fixing problems in the nation’s security. This is accomplished through five operational divisions: (1) immigration investigations; (2) detention and removal; (3) Federal Protective Service; (4) international affairs; and (5) intelligence.
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP): USCBP includes the Border Patrol, which is responsible for identifying and preventing undocumented aliens, terrorists, and weapons from entering the country. In addition to these responsibilities, USCBP is responsible for regulating customs and international trade to intercept drugs, illicit currency, fraudulent documents or products with intellectual property rights violations, and materials for quarantine.

Figure 1: Federal Immigration Organizations

State governments. Although states have no power to create immigration policy, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA, 1996) enabled the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with states to implement the administration and enforcement of federal immigration laws. States are also responsible for policy regarding immigrant and refugee integration. There is wide variation in how states pursue integration. Not all policies are welcoming. For example, several have passed legislation that limits access of public services to undocumented immigrants (e.g., Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah). In contrast, states such as Minnesota, have sought to expand immigrant access to public services. These drastically different approaches have promoted consideration of this critical important task at the federal level. In late 2014, President Obama formed the “White House Task Force on New Americans” whose primary purpose is to “create welcoming communities and fully integrating immigrants and refugees” (White House, 2014). This is the first time in United States history that the executive branch of the government has undertaken such an effort.

(Video) Difference between Refugee, Migrant, Asylum seeker, Internally displaced

Employers. Employers have high stakes in policy that impact immigration, particularly as it impacts their available labor force. United States employers who recruit highly skilled workers from abroad typically sponsor their employees for permanent residence. Other employers who need a large labor force, particularly for low-skill work, often look to immigrants to fill positions.

Employers are also impacted by requirements to monitor the immigrant status of employees. Following the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, it became illegal to knowingly employ undocumented immigrants. Many employers are now required by state law or federal contract to use the e-verify program to confirm that prospective employees are not undocumented immigrants. Such requirements aim to reduce incentives for undocumented immigration, but also pose burdens of liability and reduced labor availability for employers. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (2015) and the American Farm Bureau Federation oppose measures that could constrict immigration such as the E-Verify program, stating that it could have a detrimental impact on the country’s agriculture.

Migrant worker.

Bread for the World – Migrant Worker and Cucumbers, Blackwater, VA – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

(Video) Thousands of migrant and refugee children are missing in Europe

Current workforce. Overall, research demonstrates that immigration increases wages for United States-born workers (Ottaviano & Peri, 2008; Ottaviano & Peri, 2012; Cortes, 2008; Peri, 2010). Estimated increases in wages from immigration range from .1 to .6% (Borjas & Katz, 2007; Ottaviano & Peri, 2008; Shierholz, 2010). However, these wage increases are not unilaterally and consistently distributed across time, skill and education levels of workers. Some researchers have found that low-education workers have experienced wage decreases due to immigration, as large as 4.8% (Borjas & Katz, 2007). However, other researchers have found that among those without a high school diploma, wages decreased by approximately 1% in the short run (Shierholz, 2010; Ottaviano & Peri, 2012) but were increased slightly in the long run (Ottaviano & Peri, 2012).

Immigration generally does not decrease job opportunities for United States-born workers, and may slightly increase them (Peri, 2010). However, during economic downturns when job growth is slowed, immigration may have short-term negative effects on job availability and wages for the current workforce (Peri, 2010). Immigrants create growth in community businesses (see Textbox 1, “Did you know”). It is nonetheless important to emphasize that the fear of non-citizens taking away employment opportunities from citizens is a primary driver for immigration laws (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2011).

Communities. United States communities must provide education and health care regardless of immigration status (i.e., Plyer v. Doe, 1982). In areas with rapidly increasing numbers of immigrant workers and their families, this can tax local communities that are already overburdened (Meissner, Meyers, Papademetriou & Fix, 2006). The Congressional Budget Office found that most state and local governments provide services to unauthorized immigrants that cost more than those immigrants generate in taxes (2007). However, studies have found that immigrants may also infuse new growth in communities and sustain current levels of living for residents (Meissner, Meyers, Papademetriou & Fix, 2006).

Country. Immigrants provide many benefits at a national level. Overall, immigrants create more jobs than they fill, both through demand for goods and service and entrepreneurship. Foreign labor allows growth in the labor force and sustained standard of living (Meissner, Meyers, Papademetriou & Fix, 2006). Even though immigrants cost more in services than they provide in taxes at a state and local governments level, immigrants pay far more in taxes than they cost in services at a national level. In particular, immigrants (both documented and undocumented) contribute billions more to Medicare through payroll taxes than they use in medical services (Zallman, Woolhandler, Himmelstein, Bor & McCormick, 2013). Additionally, many undocumented immigrants obtain social security cards that are not in their name and thereby contribute to social security, from which they will not be authorized to benefit. The Social security administration estimates that $12 billion dollars were paid into social security in 2010 alone (Goss et al., 2013).

Textbox 1

Did you know?
While immigrants make up 16% of the labor force, they make up 18% of the business owners
Between 2000 and 2013, immigrants accounted for nearly half of overall growth of business ownership in the United States (Fiscal Policy insitute, 2015).

For an overview of all immigration policies and their historical context, please see Appendices 1-4 (The History of Documented Immigration Policy 1850s-1920s, 1920s-1950s, 1950s to Present, and the History of Undocumented Immigration Policy, respectively).. 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act or Immigration and Nationality Act and 1978 Amendments.. The Dream Act, first introduced in 2001, would allow for conditional permanent residency to immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors and have long-standing United States residency.. Many children travel to the United States without documents to be with their families, and then spend most of their lives in the United States.. This allowed undocumented immigrants present in the United Sttes to adjust their status to permanent resident, if they had family or employers to sponsor them (US English Foundation, 2016).. This act created Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), greatly enhancing immigration enforcement.. Visas are available for family members of current permanent residents, and there are no quotas on family reunification visas (See Textbox 2, “Process for Becoming a Citizen) .. If a family wants to immigrate to the United States but does not have a family member who is a current permanent resident or a sponsoring employer, options for documented immigration are very limited.. The first step of documented immigration is obtaining an immigrant visa.. A citizen or lawful permanent resident in the United States can file an immigrant visa petition for their immediate family members in other countries.. Petitions are filed chronologically, and each prospective immigrant is given a “priority date.” The prospective immigrant must then wait until there is an available visa, based on their priority date.. Once all of these steps are complete, the prospective immigrant received an immigrant visa.. A lawful permanent resident is entitled to many of the supports of legal residents, including free public education, authorization to work in the United States, and travel documents to leave and return to the United States (Refugee Council USA, 2019).

Family scientists have tremendous potential to contribute to the knowledge base about immigrant and refugee communities and to develop/adapt culturally and contextually relevant family theories, research methodologies, and clinical and psychoeducational interventions that fit their family needs.. Enrolled students, developing family scholars with an interest in immigrant and refugee displacement and resettlement processes, included family therapists currently working with immigrant and refugee families and emerging family scientists conducting research on the experiences of immigrant and refugee families.. Our search identified several books that documented individual or group experiences of immigrant groups (such as Immigrant America: A Portrait ), or that guided clinical practice with immigrants (such as Culturally Competent Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families and Social Work, Immigration and Asylum ), but very few books addressed how families were faring in the process.. With my background in couple and family therapy and orientation to systemic and cultural lenses, I am invested in working with immigrant and refugee families to interrupt the deleterious effects of posttraumatic stress symptoms on child and family outcomes, while emphasizing coping and resilience across the lifespan.. Chapter 1, Immigration Policy: Barriers and Opportunities for Families , describes the United States policies that determine who enters the country and how those immigrants are integrated, and then explores the impact of those policies on families.. Chapter 5, Mental Health in Immigrant and Refugee Families , describes mental health challenges frequently shared by immigrant and refugee families, including loss, traumatic stress and PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

At the start of the fall 2020 academic semester, the total number of international students enrolled in U.S. schools, including those physically present in the United States and studying online from abroad, decreased by 16 percent from the previous year.. Using data from the Institute of International Education (IIE) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, this Spotlight examines characteristics of international students who were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in SY 2019-20, focusing on the population’s size, geographic distribution, top institutions, countries of origin, levels and fields of study, economic impact, and transition into the U.S. labor market.. Beginning with just 26,000 international students in the 1949-50 school year, the number of students neared 1.1 million in 2019-20. International students also increased as a share of all students enrolled in U.S. higher education: from 1 percent in 1949–50 to nearly 6 percent in 2019-20.. Source : Institute of International Education (IIE), "Enrollment Trends: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. Figure 2. International Students in the United States by Type of Enrollment and Program Participation, SY 2009-10 to 2019-20. Sources: IIE, "Enrollment Trends: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report”; IIE, “New International Student Enrollment: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. In the 2019-20 school year, 268,000 new international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions.. Sources: IIE, Open Doors: Report on International Educational Exchange, 2020 Fast Facts (Washington, DC: IIE, 2020), available online ; U.S. Census Bureau, “2019 American Community Survey—Advanced Search,” accessed December 15, 2020, available online .. Source: IIE, “Leading Host Institutions: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. Source: IIE, “All Places of Origin: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. Source: IIE, “Fields of Study: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. Source: IIE, “Academic Level: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report,” accessed January 11, 2021, available online .. ICE Agrees to Rescind Policy Barring Foreign Students from Online Study in the U.S. National Public Radio , July 14, 2020.

From 1980 to 2019, the Indian immigrant population in the United States increased 13-fold (see Figure 1).. Indian Immigrant Population in the United States, 1980-2019. Sources: Data from U.S. Census Bureau 2010 and 2019 American Community Surveys (ACS), and Campbell J. Gibson and Kay Jung, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000" (Working Paper no.. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau (the most recent 2019 American Community Survey [ACS] as well as pooled 2014-18 ACS data), the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics , and the World Bank, this Spotlight provides information on the Indian immigrant population in the United States, focusing on its size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.. The largest share of Indians, approximately 41 percent, arrived in 2010 or later, as compared to just 25 percent of the overall foreign-born population (see Figure 6).. In FY 2018, 59 percent of the 59,821 Indians who received a green card did so as either immediate relatives or other family members of U.S. citizens, while 38 percent received a green card through employment-based channels, at a rate almost three times higher than for all new LPRs (13 percent) (see Figure 7).. The Indian diaspora in the United States is comprised of approximately 4.8 million individuals who were either born in India or reported Indian ancestry or race, according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 ACS.

Humanitarian protection, whether for refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons (IDPs), represents a key policy area for many major immigrant-receiving countries as well as nations bordering locations where war, political upheaval, or natural disaster have disrupted daily life.. This statistics-rich article draws on the most current data sources to offer a primer on international migration, highlighting its types, the size of the migrant population and growth over time, and major sending and receiving countries and regions.. Beyond looking at labor and humanitarian migrants and international students, the article examines remittances and more.. The sluggishness of an overwhelmed U.S. immigration system and long lead times for refugee resettlement pushed government officials to use ad hoc pathways for Afghans and Ukrainians to enter the United States, with a two-year parole status given to most.. This article examines the use of parole, the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program, and how the use of ad hoc statuses could evolve for future crises.. Beyond slowing global mobility dramatically, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a major drop in asylum claims around the world, with the 1.1 million people seeking asylum in 2020 representing a 45 percent decline from the year before.. This article examines the challenges to asylum processing during the pandemic, particularly for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.. A recent uptick in the number of unauthorized migrants attempting to reach the United States by sea has been largely overshadowed by tensions on the southwest border but serves as an echo of eras past.. This statistics-rich article draws on the most current data sources to offer a primer on international migration, highlighting its types, the size of the migrant population and growth over time, and major sending and receiving countries and regions.. Beyond looking at labor and humanitarian migrants and international students, the article examines remittances and more.. The sluggishness of an overwhelmed U.S. immigration system and long lead times for refugee resettlement pushed government officials to use ad hoc pathways for Afghans and Ukrainians to enter the United States, with a two-year parole status given to most.. This article examines the use of parole, the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program, and how the use of ad hoc statuses could evolve for future crises.

1(3), 55; Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), art.. States have an obligation to provide access to existing health care services that are reasonably available when lack of access to that health care could expose an individual or community to a risk that can result in loss of life.. All persons, including migrants, refugees, and other displaced persons, are guaranteed free movement within States.. Such restrictions may be justifiable if strictly necessary for the protection of the health of those residing there or the community at large (provided that adequate health measures and services are provided to persons within such camps, collective shelters, and settlements).. 12(2); Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement arts.. Such information should include the nature and level of the health threat, measures to mitigate risks, how to access health care, and ongoing response efforts (including restrictions on movement and other rights).. International human rights law requires States to ensure that the best interests of the child is a primary consideration in all actions concerning children.

For a nation of immigrants and immigration, the United States adjusts its immigration policies only rarely, largely because the politics surrounding immigration can be deeply divisive.. The impetus for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) has returned to the congressional stage, with bipartisan groups in the House and Senate engaged in significant negotiations to craft legislation that would increase enforcement at the nation's borders and interiors, legalize the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants, and provide legal avenues for employers in the United States to access future workers they need.. This country profile examines key legislative events that form the history of the U.S. immigration system, the size and attributes of the immigrant population in the country, the characteristics of legal and illegal immigration streams, U.S. policies for refugees and asylum seekers, immigrant integration efforts, postrecession immigration trends, immigration enforcement, immigration policies during President Obama's administration, and prospects for reform legislation.. Sanctions against employers who knowingly hired unauthorized workers, including fines and criminal penalties intended to reduce hiring of unauthorized immigrants; Increased border enforcement designed to prevent the entry of future unauthorized immigrants; and Legalization that granted legal status to unauthorized immigrants who had lived in the United States for at least five years (with a more lenient measure for agricultural workers) in an effort to "wipe the slate clean" of illegal immigration for the future.. Four years later, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990 to revamp the legal immigration system and admit a greater share of highly-skilled and educated immigrants.. As a result, illegal immigration grew dramatically and began to be experienced not only in the six traditional immigration destination states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and California, but also in many other areas across the southeast, midwest, and mountain states that had not had experience with large-scale immigration for up to a century.. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) bolstered immigration enforcement, increased penalties for immigration-related crimes, provided for expedited removal of inadmissible noncitizens, barred unlawfully present immigrants from re-entry for long periods of time, and set income requirements for immigrants' family sponsors at 125 percent of the federal poverty level.. The guiding principles, and different ways to immigrate to the United States were largely established by the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and take place through three primary immigration streams.. Category NameCompositionAnnual CapFAMILY CHANNELImmediate Relatives of U.S. CitizensSpouses and minor children (under 21) of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 or olderNo numerical limit1 st PreferenceUnmarried adult sons and daughters (21 and over) of U.S. citizens23,4002A PreferenceSpouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents114,200* shared between the 2A and 2B categories2B PreferenceUnmarried adult sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents3 rd PreferenceMarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens23,4004 th PreferenceSiblings of U.S. citizens who are 21 and older65,000EMPLOYMENT CHANNEL**1 st PreferenceForeign nationals of "extraordinary ability;" outstanding professors and researchers; multinational executives and managers40,0402 nd PreferenceForeign nationals who hold advanced degrees or demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business40,0403 rd Preference"Skilled workers" (foreign nationals capable of performing skilled labor, requiring at least two years of experience); "professional workers" (foreign nationals who hold at least a baccalaureate degree); and "other workers" (foreign nationals capable of performing unskilled labor)40,040; but no more than 10,000 visas are available for the subcategory of "other workers" ++ 4 th Preference"Special Immigrants," including Afghan/Iraqi translators, international organization employees, and religious workers9,9405 th PreferenceImmigrant investors9,940* At least 77 percent of the total visas available to the 2nd Family Preference (2A and 2B) must be allocated within the 2A category.. Under the Immigration Act of 1990, 55,000 applicants from countries that are underrepresented in U.S. immigration streams are granted immigrant visas each year (5,000 are reserved for applicants under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act [NACARA] of 1997).. The numbers of unauthorized immigrants who were not eligible for IRCA's legalization but remained in the United States, in addition to immigration spurred by rapid job creation in the 1990s and early 2000s, combined with powerful push factors in Mexico, have caused the unauthorized population to grow by 300,000 to 500,000 per year between 1990 and 2006.. Unlike other traditional immigration countries, such as Canada and Australia, for example, the United States does not have a federally-driven immigrant integration policies or an agency responsible for making sure immigrants effectively become part of U.S. society.. As illegal immigration intensified during recent decades, immigration enforcement has been the dominant focus of the federal government's response to immigration for at least 25 years.

In this regard, immigration policies form an integral part of homeland security, as scrutiny of entrants into the United States, have to be made with reference to homeland security act of 2002.. Immigration Policy comes from two words, immigration and policy.. Immigration policy in the United States has undergone several changes over the years to enable it serve its citizens better.. Immigration policy also promotes diversity by enabling admission of people from countries with very low rates of immigrants through a program dubbed “diversity program”.. All these goals of immigration policies are established to enable both temporary and permanent admissions to the United States.. Evolution of immigration policies began in 1790 when the Congress allowed people born outside the United States to become its citizens.. Those found guilty of violating immigration policies may be deported to their countries of origin with subsequent bans that may include life bans to enter the United States.. Naturalization of immigrants into the United States citizens must also follow the immigration policies to be effected successfully (The Congress of the United States, 2006, p. 1-19).. A Series on Immigration: Immigration Policy in the United States.

Is it possible for immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States?. Asylum helps just a tiny sliver of the total population of immigrants who receive legal permission to live in the United States.. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that was created in 2012 to safeguard and support a certain category of undocumented youth, or “Dreamers.” Under DACA, eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children receive: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit.. If you recently arrived in the country and think you may have an upcoming court hearing but haven’t received any information about it, you can find out by calling a hotline run by the immigration court system, 1(800)898-7180.. The term, “sanctuary school” refers to a wide range of policies aimed at making campuses welcoming to students and family members who are undocumented immigrants.. Regardless of whether or not a school designates itself as a “sanctuary,” all K-12 schools in the United States are prohibited from treating students differently based on immigration status.. But some schools choose to do more to make their schools welcoming to immigrants.. Refuse to share student information with federal immigration authorities except in very narrow circumstances Restrict immigration agents’ access to campuses Prohibit campus security from collaborating with federal immigration authorities for the purposes of enforcement Provide resources and information to immigrant students and their families. Create a sanctuary policy for your school Create a club to support newcomers Volunteer with an organization that supports immigrant and refugee families Write an op-ed sharing your immigration story or your views and beliefs about immigration issues Contact your representatives and tell them you care about laws and policies that support immigrants in our schools, city, and state When you turn eighteen, if you are a citizen, vote for legislation and representatives that support immigrants Speak up if you see bullying or hateful behavior directed towards immigrants

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the United States settled only 11,814 refugees—the fewest in any year since the creation of the U.S. refugee program.. 35.2 percent (or 4,160) of all refugee arrivals came from Africa—compared to 31,624 in FY 2016 (the last year of the Obama administration).. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conducts an initial screening to determine if an individual seeking refugee status qualifies as a refugee under international law and then identifies an appropriate “durable solution” for that individual: voluntary repatriation, local integration, or resettlement.. Individuals identified as refugees in need of resettlement are referred to one of nine U.S. Department of State Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs) around the world where they are screened to ensure they meet U.S.-designated processing priorities.. Officers from USCIS conduct interviews to confirm that the individual qualifies for resettlement under a designated refugee processing priority, meets the international definition of a refugee, is not firmly resettled in a third country, and is otherwise admissible to the United States under U.S. law.. The Trump administration continued to lower the admissions ceiling in subsequent years, decreasing it to 45,000 in FY 2018 (with fewer than 50 percent admitted); 30,000 in FY 2019; and 18,000 in FY 2020 (with fewer than 12,000 admitted).. The Trump administration set the FY 2021 refugee admissions ceiling at 15,000.

Children who arrive in the United States alone or who are required to appear in immigration court on their own often are referred to as unaccompanied children or unaccompanied minors.. “Unaccompanied alien child” (UAC) is a technical term defined by law as a child who “(A) has no lawful immigration stat­us in the United States; (B) has not attained 18 years of age; and (C) with respect to whom—(i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or (ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.” Due to their vulnerability, these young migrants receive certain protections under U.S. law.. The vast majority of unaccompanied children and families arriving at the southwest border come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, although unaccompanied children may arrive from any country.. Over the past few years, increasing numbers of children and families have been fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—a region of Central America known as the “Northern Triangle.” According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection ( CBP ), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, CBP encountered 67,339 unaccompanied children.. In a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) survey of 404 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, 48 percent of the children “shared experiences of how they had been personally affected by the…violence in the region by organized armed criminal actors, including drug cartels and gangs or by State actors.” Furthermore, the violence frequently targets youth.. According to UNHCR’s survey of 404 unaccompanied children from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, 58 percent “were forcibly displaced because they suffered or faced harms that indicated a potential or actual need for international protection.” Notably, of those surveyed, UNHCR thought 72 percent of the children from El Salvador, 57 percent from Honduras, and 38 percent from Guatemala could merit protection.. While children from non-contiguous countries are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for trafficking screening, and placed into formal immigration court removal proceedings, Mexican and Canadian children are screened by CBP for trafficking and, if no signs of trafficking or fear of persecution are reported, may be summarily returned home pursuant to negotiated repatriation agreements.. A report by the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown Law School found that while “Mexican officials are supposed to screen unaccompanied children for international protection needs, they often fail to meet this responsibility.” The report also found that the detention conditions deterred children from accessing the asylum process and that the Mexican government is failing to consistently inform children of their rights or screen them for international protection eligibility.. The program is intended “to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States.” The new program allows parents from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are lawfully present in the United States to submit an application to have their children join them in the United States if they qualify for refugee status or humanitarian parole.. Under the policy, the immigration courts are to prioritize the following cases: (1) unaccompanied children who recently crossed the southwest border; (2) families who recently crossed the border and are held in detention; (3) families who recently crossed the border but are on “alternatives to detention” and (4) other detained cases.. Immigration courts prioritized cases of recent border crossers who are unaccompanied children, families in detention, and families on alternatives to detention.. HHS : $80 million increase to care for unaccompanied children State : $260 million to implement a “prevention and response strategy” in Central America DOJ-EOIR : $35 million increase for immigration courts Education : $14 million to assist state and local educational agencies experiencing increases in immigrant youth.. For example, the House’s 2014 “Secure the Southwest Border Act” would have amended the TVPRA to (1) treat children from non-contiguous countries similarly to Mexican and Canadian children, but (2) strike the current requirement that the child be able to make an “independent decision to withdraw the child’s application for admission” before proceeding with voluntary return; (3) require those children who may have been trafficked or fear return [or require the remaining children] to appear before an immigration judge for a hearing within 14 days of screening; and (4) impose mandatory detention until that hearing.. Bipartisan immigration reform legislation which passed the Senate in 2013 (S. 744) would have required the Border Patrol, in making repatriation decisions, to give “due consideration” to the best interests of a child, “family unity,” and “humanitarian concerns.” Amendment 1340 to S. 744, which was not voted on as part of a compromise, would have made the best interests of a child the “primary consideration” in all federal decisions involving unaccompanied immigrant children.


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