On Wednesday, June 16th, Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed the Trump-era decision which prevented people from seeking asylum due to credible fear of domestic abuse or mass violence. This decision reinstitutes gang violence and domestic abuse survivors as a special social group which allows them to seek asylum in the U.S. This will affect thousands of migrants, as many domestic abuse and gang violence survivors have immigrated to the U.S. since 2013 and many of those cases are still being adjudicated.
The Biden administration announced major expansions to the Central American Minors program, which would allow Central American children to be reunited with family members already living in the U.S. This could mean that tens of thousands of Honduran, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran children would be able to legally immigrate to the U.S. This decision will expand both the cases of children who are allowed to seek entry, as well as the categories of adults who can petition for children to join them.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration along Texas’ border with Mexico in response to the ongoing migration surge, authorizing all available state resources to assist state and local law enforcement in border security processes. Abbott is a harsh critic of the Biden administration’s approach to border policy.
In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a law used by California’s 9th Circuit Court, which assumes credibility for immigrants seeking asylum, cannot be reconciled with Congressional law. The 9th Circuit Court had previously operated under the assumption that, unless there was explicit evidence refuting an applicant’s credibility, asylum seekers were telling the truth. But, under federal law, immigration judges have the power to weigh in on conflicting accounts and decide whether an applicant is entitled to asylum. This is the second time in two weeks that the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a decision made by the 9th Circuit Court on an issue relating to immigration law.
The U.S. formally terminates the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico”, or MPP, policy. The program had been on a ‘pause’ since near the beginning of Biden’s presidency, and has now been formally put to rest because of its inability to “adequately or sustainably enhance border management,” according to a DHS memo. Title 42 still remains in place.
The Biden administration is considering a policy change that would allow some immigrants with humanitarian exceptions to await court hearings in the U.S. The change would allow Mexican organizations to identify especially vulnerable migrants and share their data with CBP, speeding up the screening process.
The Biden administration announced Operation Sentinel to disrupt transnational criminal organizations and human smugglers through targeted economic sanctions and involvement from partner countries.
Senators Cornyn, Sinema, and Cuellar introduced The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, which increases CBP involvement in the asylum process and is intended to streamline and speed up processing at the border.
A federal judge ruled that the Biden administration has the right to seize 6.5 acres of privately-owned land along the Rio Grande under eminent domain due to the government’s “urgency of possession”.
President Biden is planning to nominate Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead CBP, according to a White House announcement. Magnus was reportedly selected for his efforts on police reform and for his understanding of the separation between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement.
The Biden administration’s discretionary funding request for 2022 declined all border wall funding and rescinded unused funds that had previously been marked for construction. The request also asks for $4.3 billion for ORR and $861 million for root causes in the Northern Triangle region.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas told ICE employees that border wall construction may restart to plug gaps in the current barrier.
The Biden administration has placed close to 30,000 radio ads across Latin America urging migrants not to make the journey to the U.S.-Mexico border. The advertisements have reached at least 7 million listeners to date.
The 60 day moratorium on border wall construction passed by the Biden administration expired on March 21, and some court cases are still proceeding.
Reps. John Katko and Henry Cuellar have introduced a bipartisan “border surge” bill that would establish a $1 billion fund for DHS to pull from when it is determined that the border is in crisis.
A US delegation of high-level officials met with the Mexican government to discuss migration and enforcement issues as well as addressing root causes in Central America.
The Biden administration announced that VP Kamala Harris will take the lead on immigration issues at the southern border. Her main focus will be working to slow the flow of irregular migration and to improve relationships with Mexico and Northern Triangle countries.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement has directed shelters to expedite the release of some unaccompanied minors with parents or legal guardians in the U.S. to reduce strained capacity at shelters.
The Biden administration has announced that it will supply Mexico with excess doses of the Covid vaccine as Mexico is helping stem migration flows through their country.
The U.S will be more aggressive in its messaging telling migrants not to come to the United States, according to a top US official. The message had been “don’t come now” but appears to be shifting to “don’t come”.