LGBTQ Refugees Fleeing Ukraine Fear Violence and Persecution
LGBTQ individuals in Ukraine have faced unique challenges since the war began, which the United Nations estimates has caused over 6 million people to flee Ukraine since it began when Russia invaded on February 24. An additional 8 million people are estimated by the U.N. to be displaced inside Ukraine itself.
Whether they have managed to flee the country or remain internally displaced, LGBTQ individuals are more likely to face persecution and violence by security forces. LGBTQ refugees are also more likely to be arbitrarily detained and denied safe housing and health services.
Since the conflict broke out, many transgender women have been unable to leave Ukraine due to the country’s conscription laws; individuals whose government IDs still indicate their gender as male are required to stay and serve in the military.
Those who have been able to escape the country have mostly settled in neighboring Poland and Hungary — countries known for passage of anti-gay legislation. As Russia’s invasion continues, LGBTQ Ukrainians may continue to face danger discrimination in their own country and the countries in which they seek refuge.
Most Undocumented High School Graduates Are Now Ineligible for DACA
A new report from FWD.us finds that around 100,000 undocumented young people will graduate from high school in 2022, with only about 25% of those students eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program because they entered the U.S. after the required arrival date of June 15, 2007.
For the first time since the program was created on June 15, 2012, the overwhelming majority of the country’s undocumented high school graduates will be ineligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program because they entered the U.S. after the required arrival date of June 15, 2007.
According to the report, around 100,000 undocumented young people will graduate from high school in 2022, with an additional 600,000 students currently enrolled in grades K-12 across the U.S. FWD.us estimates that at least 100,000 undocumented students will graduate each year from U.S. high schools for at least the next three years.
U.S. Citizenship Applicants Sue Government Over Processing Delays
A group of immigrants is suing the U.S. government over delays in processing their citizenship applications. The 13 plaintiffs filed a suit against the federal government on Wednesday for what they call unreasonable delays after submitting their naturalization applications in spring 2020.
The suit, filed by the American Immigration Council on behalf of the immigrants, names U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as the National Archives and Records Administration, which operates underground storage facilities housing immigration paperwork. These mile-long caves beneath Kansas City largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures meant that thousands of U.S. immigration applications were left languishing underground. Without those papers detailing an applicant’s immigration history, USCIS is unable to approve citizenship applications, leaving scores of immigrants stuck in limbo.
In March, the National Archives fully reopened its underground storage facilities, according to the Wall Street Journal, and there are now 87,500 pending requests for immigration papers, down from 350,000 in January.
Yet USCIS still isn’t prioritizing citizenship applications over other immigration requests, which could mean thousands of would-be citizens won’t be able to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
“We’re concerned that if they’re not proactive and don’t focus on naturalization applications, they have a risk of harm that no one else does,” Leslie Dellon, staff attorney at the American Immigration Council, told the Wall Street Journal.
White House Issues Proclamation on National Immigrant Heritage Month
The Biden administration marked the beginning of National Immigrant Heritage Month this year with a Proclamation honoring “the contributions of immigrants to our great Nation and celebrat[ing] their profound impact.”
The proclamation acknowledges the ongoing contributions immigrants make to the United States, from leadership in science, technology, and immigration, to serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While acknowledging the new customs and perspectives immigrants bring and the positive impact that has on American innovation, the administration also noted the fact that immigrants often face discrimination, xenophobia, and violence.
“Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America but do not understand America. To confront the dangerous ideology of hate requires caring about all people — including our Nation’s immigrants.
ICE Extends COVID-19 Guidance for Nonimmigrant Students for the 2022-23 Academic Year
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, announced May 31 that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s reissued guidance for the 2022-2023 academic year will apply only to nonimmigrant students who were already actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and have continuously maintained their nonimmigrant status.
The original announcement extending the COVID-19 guidance was issued on April 18, and allowed schools and students to use distance and online learning beyond what ICE usually allows for F and M students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden Set to Make Historic Refugee Deal with Spain
The Biden administration is expected to announce a deal with Spain for that country to resettle refugees from the Western Hemisphere for the first time in history, according to reporting by Axios.
The talks are taking place at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, and would potentially see Spain resettle a modest but “symbolically important” number of refugees, while also agreeing to accept up to triple the current number of temporary workers from Central America through an employment-based migration program.
Canada is also expected to significantly expand its refugee commitment, as well as a recruitment program to bring Haitians into the country for work.