This week, we read about high bail bonds for immigrant cases, a new Supreme Court decision regarding a Trump-era immigration policy, and how and where Afghan refugees are being resettled.
The bond cost to release immigrants from immigration detention is extremely high and unaffordable for many.
This is one of the many Trump-era policies that the Biden administration could easily change. Recent data shows that immigration bond costs have not gone down since Biden took office.
The two biggest factors that are considered in determination of the bond amount are flight risk and if the person is considered a danger to the public. Bond amounts also vary depending on the court and judges as well as the location. Advocates say a major issue with bond amounts is inconsistency across the country.
Some immigrants are using third-party bond agents because they have no other choice financially. This leads to added costs and requires the foreign nationals to wear an ankle monitor.
Advocates such as Jennaya Dunlap say that fixing this issue could be simple. Dunlap says the Biden administration can issue an executive order to require ICE to set bonds at a minimum rate. Though, many say that they believe this issue is not even on Biden’s radar.
“Our goal is not to make the system work a little bit differently, by ending bond or capping bond amounts – our goal is to chip away at the system until it does not exist,” said advocate Elizabeth Nguyen, who coordinates immigration bonds for the National Bail Fund Network.
The Taliban takeover and urgent evacuations of Afghanistan citizens have brought about questions on what the U.S. is doing to help.
People from both sides of the political spectrum are hoping that the U.S. will support Afghans that helped U.S. forces during the 20-year war.
The administration’s plan to evacuate allies out of Afghanistan is complicated. President Biden has said that he aims to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by August 31st. This quick turnaround makes the evacuation goal difficult. Many are wondering how many at-risk Afghans the U.S. will be able to evacuate by then.
Certain Afghans may be eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). SIVs allow applicants to receive permanent residency. The SIV program currently has an option for translators/interpreters that helped during the war. There’s also an option for former U.S. government employees who meet certain qualifications. To read more about the requirements, head here.
Afghans may also be eligible for a new refugee category. Immigration advocates are urging lawmakers to speed up this process by using “humanitarian parole.” This parole would allow certain Afghans to enter the country without a visa.
A notable drawback to the SIV program is that the process is slow-moving. USCIS is experiencing significant delays due to increased immigration needs and pandemic-related backlogs.
Afghans who resettle into the U.S. and are approved under these programs can receive certain government benefits.
A new Supreme Court decision has led to confusion about reinstating a Trump-era immigration policy.
The policy, titled, “Remain in Mexico” was rescinded shortly after President Biden entered office.
The Supreme Court decision suggests that rescission of the policy was a legal violation, but it remains unclear what kind of violation it is exactly.
The decision also requires the administration to revisit a sensitive negotiation with Mexico.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy required asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to stay in Mexico until they had a hearing for their claim. The policy has not been in use since March of 2020. However, a Trump-appointed federal judge, (Matthew Kacsmaryk) ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy.
Kacsmaryk argued that a 1996 law required the policy to be in place. Many noted that this logic doesn’t make sense because the policy wasn’t even created until 2019. This logic would mean that the U.S. was in violation of the law for over 20 years.
The Supreme Court decision affirming Kacsmaryk’s order is confusing. What remains unclear is whether the administration needs to explain why they rescinded the policy or make an effort to reinstate the policy.
Another factor that complicates the decision is Mexico. When the original policy was introduced, the U.S. secured Mexico’s approval. However, it is unlikely that Mexico will be willing to agree to reinstate the policy once more.