July 2022, Volume 28, Number 3
DHS: CBP, ICE, USCIS
CBP. Title 42, a public health measure that allowed the CBP to return two million unauthorized foreigners to Mexico to prevent the spread of covid in the two years between March 2020 and May 2022, did not end May 23, 2022 because a federal judge issued an injunction to keep Title 42 in place. The judge agreed with states that DHS did not follow correct administrative procedures for ending Title 42 and that states would be harmed by more unauthorized migrants.
Ending Title 42 is expected to increase the number of migrants encountered by CBP agents. CBP encountered over 200,000 migrants a month in spring 2022, about 8,000 a day, and expected migrant encounters to increase to up to 18,000 a day when Title 42 ends because of the large numbers of migrants waiting in Mexican border towns.
Some 1.7 million unauthorized foreigners were encountered just inside the US border in FY21, and over 1.5 million in the eight months of FY22. Border Patrol agents arrested a record 222,650 unauthorized foreigners in May 2022.
A quarter of those arrested had been caught before, so there were 178,000 unique individuals arrested. Almost 70 percent were solo adults, and Mexicans were the largest single nationality. About 100,000 of those arrested in May 2022 were expelled under Title 42.
The US Supreme Court in June 2022 ruled 5-4 that the Biden Administration can end the Migrant Protection Protocols or Remain in Mexico policy that required some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their hearings. States suing to continue the MPP argued that immigration law requires DHS to detain unauthorized migrants or have them wait in Mexico unless they are eligible for parole into the US.
The states argued that DHS was abusing its parole authority by not detaining or requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, while the USSC said that the law says that DHS may return migrants. The USSC said that “the larger policy story behind this case is the multi-decade inability of the political branches to provide DHS with sufficient facilities to detain noncitizens who seek to enter the United States pending their immigration proceedings.”
About 44,000 unauthorized foreigners who were encountered each month by CBP since Biden took office were allowed to enter the US; another 100,000 a month were expelled under Title 42. Those who enter the US often apply for asylum and join the queue of 1.7 million cases pending in immigration court.
DHS in June 2022 began to allow unauthorized foreigners who are subject to expedited removal and express a fear of returning to their home countries to be interviewed by a USCIS asylum officer. Normally, asylum officers decide whether the asylum seeker has a credible fear of returning to their home country.
Under the Asylum Officer Rule, asylum officers will make final decisions on applicant asylum claims, so that those who are rejected can be removed after an immigration judge confirms the asylum officer decision and issues a deportation order. The result may be more asylum seekers in the US. Between FY08 and FY19, over 80 percent of foreigners who claimed fear passed the credible fear test, but less than 15 percent were eventually granted asylum by an immigration judge.
Most foreigners who pass the credible fear test are released into the US, which is one reason why the Trump Administration implemented the remain in Mexico program for asylum applicants. There are over 400,000 pending asylum applications. Migrant advocates say that the new asylum officers plan does not give applicants time to make their case, while restrictionists want all asylum decisions made by immigration judges.
There have been surges of migrants from particular countries. CBP encountered over 32,000 Cubans just inside US borders in March 2022 and is on track to encounter over 150,000 Cubans in FY22. Cubans can enter Nicaragua without visas, after which they travel to the US border, enter the US, and apply for asylum.
ICE. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency enforces immigration laws inside the US, including monitoring asylum seekers who are not detained. In an April 2022 court filing, ICE said it expects to monitor 600,000 foreigners who are in alternatives to detention by the end of 2022, meaning they would be monitored by ankle bracelet or smartphone rather than being detained.
Over 50 migrants died in June 2022 near San Antonio after a tractor trailer truck that was cloned or made to look like a regular freight truck with over 100 migrants was abandoned near I-35. Three people were arrested; the driver said he did not know that the AC unit in the trailer had stopped working. Most of those who died were from Mexico and Central America. President Biden promised to go after human smugglers, while Republicans criticized Biden for “inviting” unauthorized migrants.
Critics allege that the US is aggressively deporting Haitians, including 4,000 on 36 flights to Haiti in May 2022. Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans cannot easily be returned to their countries of origin, while Haitians can be returned. The US provides money to the International Organization for Migration that is given to returning Haitians to restart their lives. Many Haitians are waiting in Mexico for Title 42 to be lifted so that they can apply for asylum in the US.
The USSC in June 2022 ruled that unauthorized foreigners who have expressed a credible fear of persecution at home and are detained are not entitled to a hearing every six months to determine if they should be freed, nor can they band together in a class action to seek class relief.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris county (Houston) withdrew from consideration as ICE director in June 2022. ICE did not have a permanent director under President Trump.
USCIS. President Obama created The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in June 2012 as a bridge to expected Congressional action to legalize most of the 11 million unauthorized foreigners in the US. However, a 2013 Senate-approved comprehensive immigration bill that included DACA was not enacted.
Some 800,000 unauthorized foreigners who arrived in the US before age 2016 and graduated from US high schools registered for DACA, which provides them with renewable residence and work visas and, in most states, driver’s licenses and financial aid for public colleges. New applications were halted by the Trump administration in September 2017, and an estimated 100,000 unauthorized youth a year who would be eligible have accumulated since.
A group of 11 persons, including six Filipinos who lived in Los Angeles, were arrested in April 2022 and charged with arranging sham marriages with US citizens that allowed 400 foreigners to receive immigrant visas. Foreigners paid up to $30,000 for the marriage arrangements, sometimes claiming that their spouse was abusive in order to explain why their spouse was not present at their immigration hearing.
An April 2022 Gallup poll found that 78 percent of US adults support allowing 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into the US. By contrast, 37 percent approved admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2015.