Green Card Recapture Approved by House
This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a measure to recapture unused immigrant visas stuck in the backlog since 1992. The plan would allocate the unused green cards to immigrants stuck in years-long visa backlogs.
Each year, a certain number of family and employment based green cards are approved by Congress, but in the last few years (and decades) hundreds of thousands of those approved visas have gone unused. The measure would also open up visas for immigrants who weren’t allowed in the country during the Trump Administration’s travel bans.
Biden’s Nominee To Head ICE Withdraws
Ed Gonzalez, President Biden’s pick to head up ICE withdrew himself from consideration this week amid allegations of domestic violence. In a letter to the president, Ed Gonzalez said he needed to prioritize his current duties as Sheriff of Harris County, Texas, and that he’d withdrawn “in the best interest of the nation.” Gonzalez and his wife have denied the allegations, ICE has not had a permanent director since the Obama administration.
Biden Administration Suspends Limits on ICE Arrests
In June, a federal judge ruled a Biden Administration policy that limited arrests of undocumented immigrants to only those who were considered a threat to public safety or national security. This week, the White House suspended the policy to comply with the court ruling. The DHS said it “strongly disagrees” with the court decision, which offers no clear guidance on who they can, and cannot deport.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the policy last year, arguing that being in the country illegally should not be the sole basis for arrest. The DHS says it will appeal the ruling.
DHS Provides $20M in Grants to Citizenship Prep Programs
DHS said this week it’s offering up to $20 million in grants to help green card holders prep for the citizenship test. The test has two parts: verbal English skills and civics knowledge.
The grant, which doubled from last year will go to public and nonprofit organizations to help people prepare via English proficiency support and U.S. history courses.
USCIS said the grant program hopes to support immigrants in underserved communities to access the resources they need to naturalize.
The deadline to apply for funding is August 5 and DHS will announce award recipients in September 2022.
USCIS Celebrates Independence Day
USCIS announced it’s celebrating the 4th of July by welcoming more than 6,600 new citizens in 140 naturalization ceremonies in the first week of the month. Each year, USCIS commemorates the Declaration of Independence with special Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies nationwide. This year, they’re encouraging participants to share their naturalization stories on their social media accounts using the hashtag #NewUScitizen.