This week, we read about Dreamers still hopeful for immigration reform, the updated ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and how Democrats are attempting to save immigration reform in the new spending bill.

‘Dreamers’ to keep pushing for citizenship in 2022 

Undocumented youth remain hopeful that the Build Back Better plan will include legal status options for immigrants. They’re also campaigning for more pro-immigrant political candidates in the midterm election. 

The Build Back Better bill includes plans for up to 7 million immigrants to gain legal status. Additionally, the plan allows for “Dreamers” (undocumented youth) to qualify for five-year work permits, rather than two.   

“Nobody deserves to live two-years at a time or court case to court case. We cannot live in fear of deportation. It’s about our humanity and our dignity,” Juliana Macedo Do Nascimento, senior policy manager for United We Dream.  

The Build Back Better plan still has not passed. It was interrupted in December. It requires 100% of the Democrats to support it, and Sen. Joe Manchin rejected it. Also, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that immigration could not be included in the bill.  

Immigrant rights advocates want the White House to disregard the ruling, noting that Senate Democrats have the power to pass a pathway to citizenship.   

Macedo, from United We Dream, also argued that the DACA program has proved how far Dreamers can go “even with limitations.” 

 

Biden administration reimposes ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy 

The Biden administration is planning on re-implementing the ‘Remain in Mexico’ or ‘MPP’ policy.   

The controversial policy has been criticized for preventing asylum seekers from entering the United States until their case is reviewed by USCIS. This policy leaves asylum seekers in makeshift border camps for extended periods of time.  

Biden’s administration is now working to improve access to legal services for asylum seekers at the border. They are also giving out “self-help materials” to immigrants with more information on the asylum process. U.S. humanitarian workers are also working to improve conditions at these shelters, adding access to transportation services and WiFi. 

The Biden administration recently submitted a request to end MPP, though this same appeal was previously rejected in lower courts. An administration official reported that the program is costing “tens of millions of dollars.” 

 

Democrats Seek to Salvage Paths for Immigrants in Imperiled Bill 

Democrats are still trying to pass immigration reform in their tax and social spending bill. They have faced many obstacles in keeping the immigration measures in the bill, but they have not given up yet. 

In December, the Senate Parliamentarian rejected the bill because it violated necessary rules for budget reconciliation. Additionally, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) rejected the bill, and all Democrats must support it in order for it to pass.  

Democrats are still weighing options on how to pass immigration provisions. One option is to disregard the parliamentarian’s rejection and move forward with the immigration measures.  

Many senators and key lawmakers are continuing to fight for immigration reform using ‘any and all options.’ Alternative solutions come with their own set of risks. Any proposal would require all Democrats’ support and be approved by the parliamentarian. The Senate continues to weigh all options to include immigration reform in the bill. 

 “We’re all committed to fighting to get immigration reform included, and we’re not going to stop pushing for that. The House-passed provisions of immigration reform are still where we are, being thoughtful and moving forward and continuing to show we can work together to get it done.” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M).

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