White House Immigration Update

by Cozen O'Connor
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[author: Jenna Stras Baranko]

On August 5th, the White House released a comprehensive update on President Obama’s efforts relating to immigration these past few months, including traveling to Texas in July to meet with local officials, faith leaders, and Governor Rick Perry in response to the growing humanitarian crisis occurring in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  The update also details the first-ever White House National Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration held on July 16th, which gathered policymakers and practitioners from around the world to discuss successful integration initiatives and programs for immigrants and refugees, as well as President Obama’s continued press in early August for Congress to pass his emergency supplemental appropriations request that asks for $3.7 billion in order to comprehensively address the urgent humanitarian situation at the Southwest border.

For full details on the Administration’s immigration efforts, please see the White House updates and blog highlights below.

Administration Updates

Administration’s Government-Wide Response to Influx of Central American Migrants at the Southwest Border
On August 1, the President delivered remarks in response to Congress’s failure to pass legislation that would effectively and efficiently address the situation at the border. He stressed that their inaction will delay efforts to address the root causes of increased child migration, impede the government’s ability to accelerate the processing of and repatriation of recent migrants, and potentially increase the cost of addressing this problem in the long-term. That same day, the White House provided a detailed Press Release highlighting the Administration’s ongoing efforts to support a unified federal government response to the influx of unaccompanied children.

White House Press Secretary Released Statement on H.R. 5230
On July 31, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released a statement in response to the House passage of H.R. 5230, which restricts the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to focus resources on key enforcement priorities like public safety and border security and undermines the Agency’s ability to secure the border. Read the full statement here.

Administration Released Statement of Opposition to H.R. 5230
On July 30, the White House released a Statement of Administration Policy expressing strong opposition to the passage of H.R. 5230, a bill on supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. The statement describes the bill as “patchwork legislation that will only put more arbitrary and unrealistic demands on an already broken system.” The Administration believes the bill could create backlogs that shift resources away from public safety goals and fails to provide adequate resources that respond to the current emergency. Read the entire statement here.

President Obama Met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
On July 16, the President and Vice President met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The President heard from members of the Caucus about ideas for actions to improve our immigration system. The President reaffirmed that his is focused on fixing as much of our broken immigration system as he can within the confines of the law, and has asked Secretary Johnson and the Attorney General to conduct a thorough review that produces recommendations before the end of the summer. For the entire readout, click here.

Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director
On July 9, Leon Rodriguez was sworn in as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), making him the fourth Director of the world’s largest immigration service. Rodriguez, born in Brooklyn, and raised in Miami, comes to USCIS with a broad legal background and will lead the nearly 18,000 employee agency charged with administering the nation’s immigration and naturalization system. “This is both an exciting and challenging time for USCIS,” Rodriguez said. Read more here.

New Fraud Schemes Targeting Families of Unaccompanied Children
The Federal Bureau of Investigation-San Antonio Division, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection-South Texas Campaign seek to warn the public about new fraud schemes that attempt to exploit and prey on relatives of the recent influx of unaccompanied children entering the United States. The perpetrators of these schemes have demanded payments from family members, claiming the monetary payments will cover processing and travel expenses needed to allow the children to be reunited with their families. Read more here.

USCIS Naturalized Nearly 9,000 New Citizens During Independence Day Celebrations
USCIS celebrated the nation’s 238th birthday by welcoming approximately 9,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 100 naturalization ceremonies across the country from June 30 to July 4. Citizenship candidates took the Oath of Allegiance during numerous ceremonies across the country, including Nevada’s Las Vegas City Hall, Old Salem Museum and Gardens in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California. This year’s celebration also featured special naturalization ceremonies at sites integral to America’s history, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota. To learn more about the celebrations, click here.

USCIS Released First Report on Demographic Characteristics of DACA Requestors
DHS/USCIS published Characteristics of Individuals Requesting and Approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a report on the demographic characteristics of people who requested DACA from August 2012 to September 2013 and were approved by January 2014. The report presented data disaggregated by sex, age group, country of birth, marital status, and geographic location at the time of filing. Read the full report here. And to learn more about how to request DACA, click here. 

Blog Highlights

Strengthening Communities Through Immigrant Refugee and Integration By Felicia Escobar | June 19, 2014

On July 16, I welcomed over 170 policymakers, practitioners, faith leaders, elected officials, researchers, and business representatives to the first-ever White House National Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration. These leaders traveled from every corner of the United States to share best practices on successful initiatives that cities and counties are deploying across the country. Participants brainstormed new strategies to enhance local, regional and national programs that ensure immigrants are fully participating in and contributing to American society. Read more here.

The President Discusses the Humanitarian Situation at the Southwest Border By David Hudson | July 10, 2014

After meeting with local officials, faith leaders, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Obama delivered a statement on the humanitarian situation at the border. He first described two of the crucial components of this ongoing crisis. First, the surge of unaccompanied children, and children with adults, is occurring in one concentrated sector at the border — the Rio Grande Valley. Second, many of these children and their parents are not looking to evade law enforcement; rather, they are being apprehended in large numbers. In his remarks, the President reiterated the steps that his Administration is taking to ensure that sufficient resources are being provided to this region of the border. To watch the President’s speech, click here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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