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Positive immigration policy changes

Three recent policy changes will have a positive impact for immigrants:

Refugee cap increase: The Biden Administration has increased the number of refugees who will be welcomed into the U.S. from a historically low cap of 15,000, during the last Administration, to 62,500.  While the cap of 62,500 is still modest given the number of migrants worldwide who are seeking refugee status, it represents a step in the right direction.  A New York Times article provides details.

New rules about ICE actions in or near courthouses: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a directive replacing the last Administration’s rules about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity in or near courthouses.

Acknowledging that ICE actions in or near courthouses discourages immigrants from coming to courthouses, Secretary Mayorkas noted that:

“Ensuring that individuals have access to the courts advances the fair administration of justice, promotes safety for crime victims, and helps to guarantee equal protection under the law.  The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.”

A civil immigration enforcement action may be taken in or near a courthouse only in certain limited instances, including the following:

– it involves a national security matter

– there is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person

– it involves hot pursuit of an individual who poses a threat to public safety

– there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to a criminal case. The interim guidance also makes clear that civil immigration enforcement is permitted against public safety threats in the absence of hot pursuit where necessary and with prior approval.

Expanded biometrics rule withdrawn:  The last administration’s proposal to expand the collection of biometrics has been withdrawn consistent with the Biden Administration’s Executive Order Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.