This week, we read about a Plan B for a new immigration plan, an update to the travel ban, and about the mistreatment of Haitian migrants at the U.S. Southern border.

Democrats look for Plan B after blow on immigration 

Democrats are having to look to ‘Plan B’ after a proposal that would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants was denied.  

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough denied the possibility of giving citizenship to nearly 8 million immigrants. MacDonough determined the bill did not meet Senate guidelines. 

MacDonough’s decision makes it difficult to get this new legislation approved easily. However, Democrats are confident their backup pitches will be able to convince MacDonough.  

Another method of legalization would be requiring a registry date for undocumented immigrants. This would make it easier to track past unauthorized entries.  

 “I personally prefer trying to get the parliamentarian to agree to a registry date change because we’re not changing the law, which was the essence of her argument that I read in her opinion,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, (D-N.J.) 

The registry approach has limitations, though. It would group immigrants based on when they entered the U.S. instead of the category of immigrants they are in, (i.e. DACA, green card holders, etc.) 

Another option for implementing legalization would be changing the Immigration and Nationality Act. This would give family members the chance to file immigrant petitions for their relatives.  

Although the initial plan did not go through due to MacDonough’s decision, activists were still encouraged by Senate democrats. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have said this is not the end for the immigration debate. 

US easing COVID-19 restrictions for foreign nationals flying to the U.S. 

This Monday, (Sept. 20th), the Biden administration made updates to the ongoing travel bans. The update allows foreign nationals to travel in and out of the country as long as they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID test. This change will take effect in early November. 

This decision will allow many people to be reunited with family abroad. It will also allow those with work permits in the U.S. to get back to their jobs. Many have said lifting the restrictions is long overdue. The travel bans have caused great frustration for many, including amongst European allies. 

The travel ban was affecting the following countries: United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil and South Africa. These restrictions were put into place during President Trump’s term and were increased by President Biden. 

“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said. 

 The decision has also received praise from airlines and business groups who have lost revenue due to the bans.  

 “Science tells us that vaccinations coupled with testing is the safest way to re-open travel, and we are optimistic this important decision will allow for the continued economic recovery both in the U.S. and abroad and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months,” said Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant. 

To read more about the update to the travel ban, head to our blog post here

White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants 

The White House is facing criticism for its handling of the influx of Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border. This criticism comes after images of Border Patrol agents on horseback with whips went viral.  

The images show agents moving their horses to forcibly remove migrants trying to cross the border. These images have received criticism from many Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who called on the administration to address the situation. 

 “The policies that are being enacted now — and the horrible treatment of these innocent people who have come to the border — must stop immediately,” said Chuck Schumer.  

Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy, is being used to justify the deportation of Haitian migrants. Many of them have gathered and set up camps surrounding the small city of Del Rio, Texas. The policy was put in place to limit transmission of COVID-19. 

While a federal judge ruled the regulation improper, the Biden administration appealed the decision. Many have argued this goes against the many promises the Biden administration has made to treat migrants with respect.  

NAACP President Derrick Johnson asked for a meeting with President Biden. He called the treatment of Haitian migrants, “utterly sickening.”  

 “The humanitarian crisis happening under this administration on the southern border disgustingly mirrors some of the darkest moments in America’s history,” he said in a statement. 

Homeland security chief Alejandro Mayorkas said the images of the border patrol officers “horrified him.” President Biden and Vice President Harris have also said they are troubled by the images and are working to get the situation under control. Many Democrats have called on the administration to take immediate action, but so far, no changes have been made.  

On the flip side, the Republican party continues to criticize President Biden’s approach to the border protection, advocating for more strict policies.  

McEntee Law Group hopes to see immediate action taken place and firmly believes that seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. We hope the administration will work swiftly to end deportations to Haiti and treat all migrants with basic human respect.  

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