Americas

Americas

How the Asylum Backlog Affects Torture Survivors and What the Biden Administration Can Do to Fix It

One of the most pernicious aspects of the changes to the asylum processes promulgated under the Trump administration is substituting the first-in, first-out (FIFO) policy for the last-in, first-out (LIFO) one. Individuals who had already been waiting for years for an asylum interview have to wait even longer. Until they obtain asylum, individuals cannot petition for visas for their immediate relatives who are often still facing danger. In many ways, this is the “other family separation” crisis, but it remains unseen by most policy makers and the general public.

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Mapping Key Determinants of Immigrants’ Health in Brooklyn and Queens

This study maps the determinants of immigrant health in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. In doing so, it seeks to enable healthcare providers, government agencies, and non-profit immigrant-serving entities – including faith-based entities – to identify gaps in their services to immigrant populations, and to help meet the need – healthcare and other – of diverse immigrant communities at heightened risk of adverse health outcomes.

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How President Biden Can Make His Commitment to Refugees a Reality

In an Executive Order signed on February 3, 2021, President Joe Biden promised a thorough review of the US refugee admissions program as well as the Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) under which Afghans and Iraqis endangered by their association with the US government are admitted. He also announced that the United States will resettle 125,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2022 and consult with Congress to increase this year’s admissions quota as a down payment. These promises offer hope to thousands of refugees who have been awaiting resettlement, often for years and still more often in precarious settings. Fulfilling this promise will not come easily, however. The new administration has scant time to rebuild a program that the Trump administration sought to destroy.

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Protected: President Biden’s Executive Actions on Immigration

On his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a number of orders, proclamations, and directives that reversed harmful policies enacted by the Trump administration and sought to put the US immigration system on a far different course. These executive actions:

  • Ended the discriminatory travel bans;
  • Sought to revise US immigration enforcement priorities
  • Protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients;
  • Temporarily halted construction of the US-Mexico Border Wall;
  • Ensured that all US-residents, including undocumented immigrants, are counted in the 2020 Census; and
  • Reinstated Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.

President Biden also sent the US Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress. If passed by the Senate and House, this bill would represent the most sweeping immigration reform legislation in decades and lead to the largest legalization program in US history, larger than the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Biden’s administrative actions will reshape the US immigration system and federal agencies after four years of aggressive actions to restrict immigration.

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President Biden’s Executive Actions on Immigration

On his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a number of orders, proclamations, and directives that reversed harmful policies enacted by the Trump administration and sought to put the US immigration system on a far different course. These executive actions:

  • Ended the discriminatory travel bans;
  • Sought to revise US immigration enforcement priorities
  • Protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients;
  • Temporarily halted construction of the US-Mexico Border Wall;
  • Ensured that all US-residents, including undocumented immigrants, are counted in the 2020 Census; and
  • Reinstated Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.

President Biden also sent the US Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress. If passed by the Senate and House, this bill would represent the most sweeping immigration reform legislation in decades and lead to the largest legalization program in US history, larger than the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Biden’s administrative actions will reshape the US immigration system and federal agencies after four years of aggressive actions to restrict immigration.

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The Household Financial Losses Triggered by an Immigration Arrest, and How State and Local Government Can Most Effectively Protect Their Constituents

Through a survey of 125 long-term resident households in Pima County, Arizona, this study finds that an immigration arrest costs each household an average of more than $24,000. These costs accumulate through the value of assets seized and not recovered, out-of-pocket costs for hiring an attorney, immigration bond, and other expenses involved in supporting an immediate family member as they navigate the immigration court system. But they also include lost income due to disruptions to employment resulting from the arrest, and a physical inability to work while in detention, appearing in court, and immediately following deportation. In this article, we discuss how, when measured at the scale of the household, these financial costs fail to discriminate according to immigration or citizenship status, and accumulate to affect issues of poverty, education, housing security, health and development, and generational wealth inequality — all matters of sustained interest to state and local government. In the second half of the article, we draw on our research findings to evaluate various policies that states, counties, and municipalities can implement to mitigate these financial burdens while promoting the overall well-being of their constituents. Policies considered include:

  • The “Immigrant Welcoming City” paradigm
  • The limitation of routine cooperation and custody transfer between local and federal law enforcement
  • Expanding access to permissible forms of identification
  • Universal representation for immigration defendants
  • The cultivation of community bond funds
  • The promotion of worker-owned cooperatives

Although these kinds of state or local initiatives cannot replace meaningful federal action on immigration reform, they can do much to provide relief and promote economic security for established immigrant and mixed-status families living in the United States, while contributing to overall community well-being and economic vitality.

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Dominican University, a private Catholic university located in River Forest, Illinois, has been operating since 1901 with an eye toward educating poor and marginalized students, including immigrant students, in the Midwest. Founded by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in Wisconsin and later moved to Illinois, the school has an enrollment of about 3,000 students—a small college—but its influence reaches far beyond its campus 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.

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CMSOnAir | Leading a Sanctuary Campus through Multiple Pandemics

Dominican University is unique among Catholic colleges for its commitment to immigrants. About 10 percent of the students at Dominican University are undocumented or have temporary legal status, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. This episode features an interview with Donna Carroll, president of Dominican University. She reflects on the challenges facing undocumented college students, including: lack of federal financial aid funding, the difficulty of career planning, and integrating into campus life. She also talks about the leadership of undocumented and “DACAmented” students and why the university adopted a Sanctuary Campus Covenant in 2017. Carroll describes the university’s efforts to support immigrant students during the “triple pandemics” of COVID-19, racism, and economic injustice — all of which have been exacerbated by restrictionist immigration policies.

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DATA TOOL | Mapping Key Determinants of Immigrants’ Health in New York City

This data tool serves as a complement to CMS’s report, “Mapping Key Determinants of Immigrants’ Health in Brooklyn and Queens.” It is intended to allow healthcare providers, government agencies, and non-profit immigrant-serving entities, including faith-based organizations, to identify and potentially meet gaps in services to immigrant populations, particularly healthcare, housing, legal, educational, work-related, and other services.

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