Texas Governor Buses Migrants to NYC, Intensifying Political Feud
Texas Governor Greg Abbott started busing migrants from the southern border to New York City late last week, intensifying the political showdown with New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Abbott, a Republican, has bussed thousands of asylum-seekers to East Coast cities since April in protest of President Biden’s border policies.
He and Adams have engaged in a public battle over social media in recent weeks. Adams has called the policy a political stunt and accused Abbott of “using innocent people as political pawns to manufacture a crisis.”
“This is horrific when you think about what the governor is doing,” Adams said Sunday while greeting migrants at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Adams says the city’s homeless shelters are overwhelmed with asylum-seekers and are at full capacity. City officials say there is currently a 1% vacancy rate at shelters and plans are underway to make 11 emergency hotel rooms available. Adams has called for federal assistance to help New York City cope with the influx of migrants.
New York City officials say despite the challenges, they will welcome the migrants to the city.
“Governor Greg Abbott is continuing to play with the lives of human beings. We think this is cruel, it’s disgusting and it’s pure cowardice,” said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Senate Democrats Withstand Anti-Immigration Moves by GOP
Senate Democrats stood their ground over the weekend to stop anti-immigration amendments offered by Republicans to the climate and health care bill Democrats are moving through the budget reconciliation process.
The bill began the “vote-a-rama” on Saturday night, a step of the budget reconciliation process during which senators can offer a virtually unlimited number of amendments to the bill.
Republican senators offered several anti-immigrant amendments to the bill to try to force Democrats in vulnerable races to take votes on controversial immigration proposals.
One such amendment would have extended the Title 42 southern border policy which prevents migrants from seeking asylum. Republicans, however, were unable to attract any Democratic votes, which helped allow the final package to retain the support of progressive Democrats, who just last week had sworn to vote against the bill if Republican “poison pill” immigration amendments were added during the vote-a-rama.
Democrats also withstood amendments that would have provided $440 million in funding to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), given hiring priority to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) over the Internal Revenue Service, and provided half a billion dollars towards building a southern border wall.
The bill, officially called the Inflation Reduction Act, will tackle climate change by investing in domestic energy production and manufacturing, pay down the national deficit by about $300 billion, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030.
Bipartisan Bill Offers Green Card Hope for Afghan Refugees
This week, six U.S. senators introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghan refugees with temporary status in the U.S. to apply for lawful permanent residence and pursue a path to U.S. citizenship.
Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, the U.S. has admitted over 76,000 Afghan evacuees into the country, and tens of thousands remain stuck in limbo as they await visas. Afghans that have arrived in the U.S. face uncertainty when it comes to remaining in the country permanently. “Currently, Afghans who were admitted on temporary humanitarian status can only gain permanent legal status through the asylum system or Special Immigrant Visa process (SIV), which both face severe backlogs and long processing times,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the bill’s authors.
In addition to providing a pathway to permanent residence for Afghans currently in the U.S., the Afghan Adjustment Act would go further to “improve and expand the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process” by broadening the program’s eligibility to include groups and individuals that worked alongside American military forces and government personnel. If passed in the Senate, the bill would also establish a task force to provide continued support to Afghans still outside of the U.S. who are eligible for SIV status.
Investigation Exposes Secret History and Intent of the U.S. Government’s Family Separation Policy
A new report shows that during the year and a half that the Trump administration separated thousands of children from their parents, though they claimed the separations were merely the unfortunate side effect of prosecuting migrants who tried to cross the border illegally with their children, that separating families was the original intention of these efforts.
Investigative journalist Caitlin Dickerson reveals that despite the Trump administration’s false claim that there was no family separation policy, one had been operating in secret since spring 2017. They formally announced the policy in April 2018, nearly a year after it had begun.
The administration then declared that taking children from their parents was not the goal of the policy, but an unfortunate result of prosecuting parents who crossed the border illegally.
Evidence shows however that this is patently untrue: Separating children was the goal. In fact, officials in the Trump administration worked to keep families apart for longer after they were separated.
How Immigration Could Solve Inflation and the Labor Shortage
Labor shortages have stretched businesses thin across industries in the U.S. for at least the past year, and by July there were 10.7 million open jobs in the U.S., with an unemployment number of only 5.7 million — a shortfall of nearly 2-to-1. This means that even if every American in the workforce went back to work today, there would still be approximately 5 million open jobs.
Goldman Sachs said that to get inflation down to 2%, the gap between open jobs and people looking for work would need to shrink by about 2.5 million.
One simple solution? Increased immigration.
The U.S. government issued about 1.2 million fewer visas from March 2020 through July 2021 to adult immigrants, refugees, and temporary foreign workers, compared to the period of March 2018 to July 2019. By the end of 2021 there were about 2 million fewer working-age immigrants living in the United States than there would have been if the pre-pandemic immigration trend had continued unchanged.
Because of the high number of open jobs compared to available workers, increasing the number of immigrant workers in the U.S. would ease labor shortages without taking jobs from Americans. This would help cool inflation and potentially stave off a recession.
September 2022 Visa Bulletin Released
The U.S. Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for September 2022. There was no change in wait times for family-based categories.
Employment-based categories also saw very little change.
For September, family-based applicants must use the “Dates for Filing” (available on the State Department’s websitev). Employment-based visa applicants must use the “Final Action Dates” chart, as must applicants filing from outside the United States.