Immigration Policy Alerts

COVID-Related Travel Ban Lifts Nov. 8

The Biden White House has announced plans to lift the COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers for air travel and land borders beginning on November 8th. This marks a change in the travel bans that have applied to travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Brazil, India, Iran, the Schengen Area, and South Africa.

While official guidelines have yet to be announced, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that only vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization will be accepted for air travel (the same is expected at land borders).

Biden Ends Workplace Raids

Last week the Biden administration announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will stop conducting work-site raids – mass arrests of undocumented workers during enforcement operations at U.S. businesses – in a pivot from Trump-era policies.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issued a statement saying that enforcement efforts would instead focus on “unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”

This is welcome news to immigration advocates and signals deporting undocumented workers is no longer a White House priority.

Biden to Reinstate “Remain-in-Mexico”

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) colloquially known as “Remain-in-Mexico”, was implemented by former President Trump in 2019. MPP requires nationals of countries other than Mexico arriving in the United States by land from Mexico to be returned to Mexico while their U.S. removal proceedings are pending.

President Biden announced his intention to end MPP on his first day in office, calling it “inhumane,” and on June 1, 2021, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo explaining how DHS would end the MPP policy entirely. 

However, the states of Texas and Missouri sued the Biden administration to reinstate the policy. In August, a federal judge in Texas issued a stay, ordering the Biden administration to reinstate the policy. The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene, but the Justices upheld the lower court’s stay.

While the Biden Administration has said that it will comply with the Court’s order to restore MPP “in good faith”, it has also said that it needs to negotiate with the government of Mexico in order to implement the program anew. Meanwhile, DHS has appealed the injunction currently in place, and is working on a memo that will withstand legal challenge. | 301.917.6900 (Silver Spring) | 240.403.0913 (Bethesda)

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