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Boundless Immigration News Weekly Recap Archive: Dec. 3, 2021

Dec 3, 2021

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U.S. responds to Omicron variant with border closures for some travelers

The United States on Monday imposed travel bans on South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, following the discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 by South African researchers last week.

President Joe Biden said Monday that additional travel bans were unlikely, and that though the restrictions cannot stop Omicron, it will buy researchers time to better understand the new variant.

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U.S. issues new testing requirements for travelers entering the country

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new Covid-19 testing requirements on Thursday for travelers entering the United States in an effort to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant, which has been detected in at least 23 countries so far.

Beginning December 6, all travelers entering the country, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, will need to show proof of a negative Covid test taken within one day of departure, even if they are fully vaccinated.

Senators Present Immigration Parole Provisions to Parliamentarian

Democrats presented their “Plan C” to include temporary immigration protections in the Build Back Better bill to the Senate parliamentarian on Wednesday, in a third attempt to include immigration reform provisions in the budget reconciliation process.

The parliamentarian will decide whether the immigration provisions, which Senate Republicans oppose, can be included in the budget bill under Senate rules. It is unclear when the parliamentarian will issue her ruling, but the Senate Majority Leader wants the bill to come to a vote by December 25.

Government to restart ‘Remain in Mexico’ program under court order

The Biden administration announced that it will restart the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy as soon as December 6 due to a federal court order.

The administration has tried to strike down the policy multiple times, suspending it at the beginning of President Biden’s term in January before formally terminating it in June. However, the states of Texas and Missouri sued the government in April to keep the program in place, and in August a federal judge in Texas ordered “Remain in Mexico” be reinstated. The administration has appealed the order.

Some U.S. states dropping “alien” when referring to immigrants

A growing number of states are replacing the use of “alien” and “illegal alien” in state laws with other terms such as “noncitizen” or “immigrant.” Immigration advocates have called these labels “dehumanizing” and harmful to immigrants.

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, more than a dozen states still use the terms “alien” and “illegal” when referring to immigrants in state statutes.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration removed “alien” from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy manual.

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