March has begun and the McEntee Law team is preparing for the H1-B visa lottery. It is our busiest time of year, but we are still watching the news closely and are excited to bring you the 3rd edition of our Weekly News Review. This week, we saw statements from the Biden administration on reuniting families as well as the need for undocumented immigrants to be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We learned more about the possible need to break up the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 into multiple pieces of legislation. We are also excited to highlight an extremely enlightening op-ed from Ed Morales on the use of the word ‘alien’ in immigration rhetoric.
Want to learn more about the H-1B visa lottery? Fiona McEntee, Managing Partner, will be discussing the H1-B process during this month’s edition of ‘First Fridays with Fiona’, and Alex George, Associate Attorney, will also be hosting an H-1B FAQ on Facebook Live!
1. Finding Bipartisan Compromise for the Citizenship Act of 2021 — Saturday, February 27th
On Saturday, CNBC reported that immigration advocates and experts do not expect the comprehensive immigration bill to pass in Congress, but there are possible priority areas that could garner bipartisan compromise. Democrats currently hold a thin majority in both the House and Senate, which makes bipartisan support even more crucial for future immigration reform. The following priorities are possible areas of bipartisan compromise:
Establishing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients
Reforming the agricultural worker program and establishing green card eligibility for farmworkers
Expanded employment-based immigration
It will be essential for immigration advocates to continue to push for immigration reform. We understand passing legislation is a lengthy and complicated process, but it is our job as advocates to ensure immigration remains top of mind for politicians. We at Mcentee Law, understand the importance of using our platform to share the stories of immigrants and continue to demonstrate the need for inclusive immigration policy in the United States.
Want to learn more about the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021? Read our summary here.
2. Undocumented Immigrants Need Access to the Covid-19 Vaccine — Saturday, February 27th
On Friday, President Joe Biden gave an interview on Univision during his visit to a vaccination site in Texas. During this interview, he stressed the importance of undocumented immigrants having access to the COVID-19 vaccine without being targeted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Healthcare is a basic human right and it gives us hope that the Biden administration is beginning to address the intersection of public health and immigration.
“DHS is committed to ensuring that every individual who needs a vaccine can get one, regardless of their immigration status.” -Statement from DHS in February
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced separated families will have the option to reunite and remain in the U.S. or their countries of origin. If families choose to reunite in the U.S., Mayorkas is hoping to further “explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States and to address the family needs.” It was not clear if tolerance to remain in the U.S. would also be provided to those who have already reunited with their children. During the press conference, he also announced the selection of Michelle Brané as the executive director of task force to reunite separated migrant families.
The separation of thousands of migrant families during the Trump administration was cruel and a horrific misuse of power driven by xenophobia. Immigration advocates have pushed for restitution, including “a permanent pathway to citizenship, care and resources”, for families separated. We will need to wait and see what actions the Biden administration plans to take to reunify families, as well as address the immense trauma these children and parents have experienced.
4. Op-Ed: “Biden is right about ‘aliens’“ — Tuesday, March 2nd
On Tuesday, Ed Morales, journalist and lecturer at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, further discussed the use of the word ‘alien’ in immigration rhetoric and Biden’s plan to remove this term from all official documents. He described the history of the word alien and the problems that have been created for immigrants due to the use of this exclusionary and dehumanizing term. Morales does a wonderful job of sharing a historical and cultural perspective on immigration rhetoric and the challenges ahead for possible immigration reform.
“It’s also a reflection of the difficult task the Biden administration faces: appearing to be serious on protecting the border while at the same time restoring some humanity to immigration enforcement policy, a challenge Barack Obama’s administration struggled with. Dispensing with the use of the terms “alien” and “illegal” could go a long way to lessening harm to those who are judged as “not American” because of their racial appearance.” -Ed Morales, CNN Opinion
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s ‘News Review’ from McEntee Law! Want daily immigration news updates? Follow us on Twitter.