Category Archives: DACA

Dreams of Inclusion

Dreams of Inclusion

Inaction by Congress Costs DACA Recipients the Ability to Participate Fully in a Democracy They Help Make Flourish

Sydney Clark
June 11, 2024

Ivonne Ramirez speaks about her experiences as a child immigrant and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participant during Mass at Mary Mother of the Church Parish in St. Louis. Photo: Sid Hastings

Ivonne Ramirez was 8 when her family migrated to the U.S. from Mexico City. They arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, where her father and a sibling had been living for about a year.

“It took seven days to get to St. Louis,” Ramirez says. “I was mostly walking to cross the border. It took a lot out of me.” Her father, a police officer, left Mexico due to safety concerns after raiding a money-laundering operation inside a bar. He was only able to bring one of his children. Ramirez journeyed with her mother and three other siblings.

“I was sleep-deprived, and people kept telling me, ‘If you keep going, you’re gonna see your dad’,” she says. “Not seeing my father for a year felt like a lifetime.”

A few years after the family reunited, Ramirez became eligible for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which began in 2012 as an executive action by President Barack Obama. This year marks a decade for Ramirez as a recipient.

She and her family still resides in St. Louis. She works full-time doing quality control for a medical equipment company. On weekends, she serves as a catechist at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson, Missouri. “It feels like home. I’ve been here for most of my life,” Ramirez says.

Shut Out

While DACA has allowed Ramirez to attend school and get a driver’s license and a work permit, the realities of being a recipient remain at the forefront. She is one of roughly 580,000 active DACA recipients.

“Our permits and status allow us to be here for two years, and then we have to renew six months before,” she says. “This year, I’m OK, but next year, I have to start thinking about sending all the paperwork and the fee, which is $495. How will I get that extra income to pay for that?”

Recipients are ineligible to vote in federal elections, and Ramirez’s voting rights are nonexistent. Some states and municipalities allow noncitizens to vote in local elections like city councils, mayoral and school boards. Missouri is not one of them.

“If you pay your taxes, contribute to society, and show that you’re a model citizen, I don’t see why the efforts to put something permanent for [us] aren’t there,” Ramirez says.

In 2022, NETWORK honored Ramirez as one the organizations’ inaugural “Social Poets,” young justice-seekers whose lives and work define the challenges and possibilities of the coming decades. Unfortunately, permanent legal status for undocumented people in the U.S. remains an unaddressed challenge.

Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, deputy directory of federal advocacy at United We Dream and a DACA recipient. Photo: Diana Alvarez

At its height, DACA had around 840,000 recipients, says Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, deputy director of federal advocacy at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country. A DACA recipient herself, she was 14 when her family migrated to the U.S. from Brazil. Macedo do Nascimento calls DACA the largest “victory of the immigration movement in decades.”

The program, however, has faced ongoing legal battles since its origin, leaving recipients in constant limbo.

“Many don’t know how much danger the policy is in,” Macedo do Nascimento says. The latest challenge happened on Sept. 13 of last year, when Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled again that DACA is unlawful. Now, DACA will likely revisit the Supreme Court in 2025.

Although Hanen blocked new program applications, he left DACA unchanged for existing recipients during the anticipated appeals process. Recipients can continue to renew and apply for Advance Parole, which allows certain immigrants to leave the U.S. and return lawfully, said Macedo do Nascimento.

Bruna Bouhid, senior communications and political director at United We Dream, at a UWD Congress in Miami. Photo: United We Dream

“You feel like you’re on a roller coaster,” says Bruna Bouhid, senior communications and political director at United We Dream. “You never know if this will be your last chance to apply or if, in a year or six months, you will lose all those things you had planned for or worked hard to get.”

Bouhid, who became a recipient at 20, says the legal fights reveal that DACA will “not be our saving grace. We need something permanent. We need citizenship.”

Government Inaction

“It’s really up to Congress to find and support the solution,” says Christian Penichet-Paul, assistant vice president of policy and advocacy at the National Immigration Forum. “It’s the only branch of government that can ensure DACA recipients and other young DREAMers can stay in America long term and potentially become lawful permanent residents.”

Penichet-Paul says distrust among both parties and lack of courage helped derail legislative action and execution. He also predicts immigration reform talks in Congress will not advance during this election year.

“Democracy is such a precious thing, and it can take a long time to come up with a compromise,” Penichet-Paul says. “Sometimes, getting to the right place requires multiple little steps.”

As to when a policy window might open up, he notes, “It’s always said that Congress works best on a deadline. Unfortunately, that might be the next Supreme Court decision.”

Penichet-Paul stresses that there is bipartisan agreement and existing text that can serve as the bill that “finally provides permanence for young DREAMers who’ve been in America since they were little kids.”

One option could be a new version of the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, first introduced in 2001. A version introduced last year by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would permit noncitizens brought to the U.S. as children to earn permanent residence aft¬er meeting specific education or work requirements. Durbin and Graham introduced similar legislation in the last three sessions of Congress.

Ivonne Ramirez speaks to parishioners at Mary Mother of the Church Parish in St. Louis. Ramirez, one of NETWORK’s “Social Poets,” has been a DACA recipient for the past decade. Photo: Sid Hastings

Additionally, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2023, which would tackle the sources of migration, reform the visa system, and “responsibly manage the southern border.”

“We can have a pragmatic system, looking at who needs and wants to migrate, but let’s create a system that is fair and humane for everyone,” Bouhid says.

Ramirez admits that she’s “a little scared” for the looming 2024 election but encourages those eligible in her community to vote.

“A lot of Americans know at least one, if not many, DACA recipients and immigrants,” she says. “If you get to know them and understand why they came to the U.S., you would happily vote in honor of them.”

Ramirez says her Catholic faith inspires her to be vocal about the challenges immigrants face.

“I never want to stop talking about us and why we need to become citizens,” she says.

Penichet-Paul says immigrants have grown up as “American as any U.S. citizen in many ways” and take civic participation and community service seriously.

“Immigrants are often some of our strongest allies in maintaining democracy and the institutions that allow our democracy to prosper,” Penichet-Paul adds. “Democracy can coexist with DACA and immigration. They’re about good governance and ensuring that people can reach their full potential, nothing more, nothing less.”

Sydney Clark is a New Orleans native and multimedia producer based in Washington, D.C.

This story was published in the Quarter 2 2024 issue of Connection.

DACA is Under Immediate Threat

DACA is Under Immediate Threat

JoAnn Goedert, Ignatian Volunteer Corp Member
October 12, 2023, Updated
Previous posts appeared on June 15, 2023, January 23, 2023 and October 27, 2022

In JoAnn Goedert’s latest DACA update, she shares that once again, the DACA program has received a disheartening blow from Judge Andrew Hanen in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas. The policy under which Dreamers have built homes, attended schools, and raised children remains on course to be struck down. And once again, U.S. policy fails to match the welcoming tradition of which our country aspires. 

As I’ve previously shared, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has faced threats and an uncertain future because of anti-immigrant politicians and judges for nearly a decade. On September 13, DACA endured yet another blow to its survival when Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is unlawful. The judge’s decision in Texas v. U.S., et al, is the latest step in a long-standing court battle waged by a group of Republican state attorneys general against DACA. 

If you’ll recall from my January 23, 2023 update below, in 2021, Judge Hanen allied with anti-immigrant officials and ruled DACA unlawful. His order barred the approval of new DACA applications, but it included a stay allowing current participants to remain in the DACA program. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Hanen’s reasoning and returned the case to him for further proceedings.  

Judge Hanen’s latest order is not surprising. It means that thousands of Dreamers who should have become eligible for DACA since 2021 are still shut out, and those previously approved can remain in the program. But sadly, they are forced to live under a continuing cloud of uncertainty–building lives that could be dismantled if a future ruling guts DACA and finds they must return to their country of origin. NETWORK believes the Administration will  appeal this disappointing ruling, but it is unlikely that the Fifth Circuit will reverse its position. The case will then be appealed and moved to the Supreme Court.

Most experts believe that the Fifth Circuit will continue to grant DACA protections to current participants as the current case winds through the Supreme Court appeals process. Considering that this process always takes many months to reach resolution, it is possible that the Supreme Court may not rule on DACA’s legality until the end of 2024 and, perhaps, not until 2025.

Meanwhile, there is some hope that the Administration will attempt to provide partial safeguards for Dreamers. NETWORK hopes that the threats posed by the latest court action will move Congress to finally protect DACA with decisive legislation.

Be assured that NETWORK will continue its efforts to promote positive immigration reform that offers permanent protection for our young immigrant Dreamers. We will keep you up to date on future developments in the DACA litigation and any responses to it by the White House and Congress.

In  JoAnn Goedert’s most recent DACA update, we learn that  Judge Andrew Hanen’s final order on the policy under which Dreamers have built homes, attended schools, and raised children is imminent. 

June 15, 2023

There may soon be a decision in the court case brought against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). In previous updates (see below), NETWORK has shared why DACA is under threat and the progress of Texas v. U.S., et al., the continuing court battle waged by a group of Republican state attorneys general to have DACA declared unlawful. On June 1, Judge Andrew Hanen held another hearing. The judge’s final order could come any day—or it could take months. The timing is entirely up to his discretion.

In 2021, Judge Hanen issued his first ruling in this case and agreed with these anti-immigrant officials that DACA is unlawful. His order barred the approval of any new DACA applications but included a stay that allowed current participants to remain in the DACA. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Hanen’s reasoning, returned the case to him for further proceedings, and continued to stay the enforcement of the decision against current DACA participants.  The Fifth Circuit’s actions resulted in last week’s hearing and will end with a final order by Judge Hanen.

For now, the status of the DACA program is unchanged, with no new approvals permitted and current DACA participants able to continue to benefit from it. Unfortunately, most legal immigration experts and advocates expect that Judge Hanen will once again declare DACA unlawful when he issues his next decision. Assuming that disappointing outcome, DACA will surely remain closed to new applicants and the government will appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Since the Fifth Circuit has already taken the position that DACA is likely unlawful, it is sadly likely that the Administration’s appeal of a negative decision by Judge Hanen will be unsuccessful, and that the case will then be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Judge Hanen is expected to continue to allow current DACA participants to continue in the program while the appeal process takes place. Otherwise, the Administration will rapidly seek a continuation of the current stay that protects their participation, and experts believe that the Fifth Circuit will allow it. If the Fifth Circuit were to change its position, the Administration would likely seek an immediate continuation of the stay in the Supreme Court. Few expect the courts to end DACA protections for current participants for at least as long as the current case is winding through the appeals process.

An appeal through both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court almost always takes many months to be resolved. Thus, it is possible that the Supreme Court would not rule on the legality of the DACA program until well into 2024 and, perhaps, until 2025. Meanwhile, there is some hope that the Administration will attempt to provide alternative, partial safeguards for Dreamers, and that there may be renewed interest in Congress to finally protect them with legislation.

Be assured that NETWORK will continue its efforts to promote positive immigration reform that offers permanent protection for our young immigrant Dreamers. And, we will alert justice-seekers and supports of developments in the DACA court case–  and any potential responses to it by the White House and Congress.

Updated on January 23, 2023 

Previously, JoAnn Goedert shared that DACA was under immediate threat. Sadly, the message in this update remains the same — the policy under which Dreamers have built homes, attended schools, and raised children remains on course to be struck down.

Whether Dreamers are teachers, landscape artists, or doctors, they are integral members of families, churches, and communities. Some people with political and judicial power fail to see their humanity, but we know they are our siblings in God’s beloved community and should not suffer as pawns in court proceedings. 

As JoAnn writes, “Once Judge Hanen issues his final decision, the case almost certainly will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court.” As people of faith, we must be vigilant in our efforts to protect DACA. Working together, we can overcome the forces who want to remove our neighbors and family members from our country.

NETWORK will let you know when there is action you can take. For now, read on for JoAnn’s update and scroll further for her original blog. 

Texas v. U.S., et al.: In response to Texas v. U.S., a lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality by a group of Republican state attorneys general, Judge Andrew Hanen in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas ruled in 2021 that DACA is unlawful. He held that DHS failed to follow required regulatory process when it established DACA and that the agency did not have the power to create the program without Congressional legislation. The judge issued an order barring DHS from approving any new DACA applications but he allowed current participants to retain protection under DACA for now. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Hanen’s reasoning and returned the case to him for further proceedings.

In October 2022, Judge Hanen held a hearing where he stated that he would likely decide to end DACA in the near future. His ultimate decision has been delayed, however, to give the parties an opportunity to file additional briefs in the case. At this time, we don’t expect movement until mid-Spring. DACA is under immediate threat and daily life for DACA recipients remains in jeopardy.

What Happens Next: In the October hearing, Judge Hanen reiterated that current DACA participants can continue in the program and apply for renewals, but that DHS cannot accept any new DACA applications. This means that current DACA holders still have all of the program’s protections. Once Judge Hanen issues his final decision, the case almost certainly will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court. This process will likely extend into 2024, and it is hoped that, at least, the courts will allow the program to continue for current DACA participants during this time. Meanwhile, we know the Biden Administration is exploring alternative protections for Dreamers in preparation for negative court actions.

Congress’ Failure: As in earlier Congresses, legislation was introduced in 2021 to give DACA recipients permanent U.S. residency status. There was some hope, too, that Congress would act to ensure the program’s future during the final weeks of 2022. But once again, legislative efforts failed. There is little optimism that the program will fare better in the 118th Congress. Given the worrying signs from both the courts and Congress, we must all heed the warning of DACA advocates at United We Dream: “DACA is dying.”

October 27, 2022

10 Years of DACA: After repeated efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system failed—for lack of adequate Republican support—President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. DACA has provided children brought to this country in violation of established federal immigration law protection from deportation, employment authorization, and access to Social Security and Medicare benefits.  It has been a lifeline to young immigrants, also known as Dreamers, who came to the U.S. as children with undocumented status. While 800,000 participants have been able to build a life in this country under the program, DACA is under immediate threat, its future is in jeopardy.

The Trump Administration’s Attack on DACA: In 2017, the Trump administration cruelly attempted to rescind DACA, but the Supreme Court ruled that the rescission did not comply with the federal Administrative Procedures Act and narrowly upheld the program’s continuation. DACA has endured with support from the Biden Administration which recently issued proposed regulations–scheduled to take effect on October 31–under the APA to continue DACA permanently.   

The Current Threat to DACA in the Courts: Nonetheless, a group of Republican state attorneys general filed yet another challenge to DACA in a federal district court in Texas. In July 2021, Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is unlawful on the grounds that DHS did not follow proper APA procedures when it established the program, and that the agency lacked the authority to establish the program without Congressional authorization. The judge issued an injunction barring DHS from approving new DACA applications, but allowed current participants to continue in the program.

On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, known for its conservatism, upheld Judge Hanen’s decision. However, with the DHS’s new DACA regulations set to kick in on October 31, the Court of Appeals remanded the case to Judge Hanen for further consideration. 

What Happens Next:  In a hearing last week, Judge Hanen indicated that, despite the new regulations, he will very likely decide to end DACA in the near future. His final decision has not been issued yet, so current DACA participants can continue in the program and apply for renewals.  However, there is little reason for optimism.  As DACA advocates at United We Dream have warned, “DACA is dying.”

Judge Hanen’s signal makes it clear that DACA is under immediate threat. It is crucial that the Biden administration and Congress act to ensure the program’s future with immediate legislation. Congress will return shortly after the Midterm elections. Faith communities, and all people of good will, must advocate for DACA legislation this year to provide permanent protection for our nation’s Dreamers.

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM, speaks at a reparations vigil in Cleveland in June 2022.

The Welcoming Call

The Welcoming Call 

Solidarity with Migrant People is Intrinsic to the Vocation of Catholic Sisters

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM
August 1, 2023
Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM, pictured with Eilis, amember of the Congolese community in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM, pictured with Eilis, a member of the Congolese community in Cleveland, Ohio.

For generations, Catholic Sisters in the U.S. have served alongside immigrant communities. Time and again, we have responded to the call to open our homes and hearts to meet the needs of families seeking asylum or newly arrived refugees. Our sisters and our communities have sponsored refugees, opened service agencies, taught English as a second language (ESL), served along the border, accompanied individuals and families, represented them in court, and advocated for just immigration policies. In so many ways, we have lived the call in Scripture to welcome the stranger and love our neighbor as ourselves.  

My own story of ministry is a part of this multi-generational call. In 2010, I began my own journey working with the Somali refugee community in St. Cloud, Minn. In subsequent years, I ministered alongside people from Bhutan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, and so many other countries. I learned about the asylum system in Immokalee, Fla. and witnessed the conditions that force a person to flee their homeland in Haiti or Guatemala. My own community, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, remains connected through the sponsorship of Mary’s House in Cleveland. This work connects me with generations of sisters who have felt this call.  

Ministering alongside asylum seekers, refugees, DACA recipients, and other immigrants has shifted the way many of us Sisters understand immigration policy. We can no longer distance ourselves from the dangerous anti-immigrant rhetoric that has energized lawmakers to pass legislation to shut down and militarize the border, expand Title 42, deport asylum seekers from Haiti, or create an app that only recognizes white faces. 

These horrible policies impact the people who are a part of my extended community. They affect our neighbors. They affect members of our own family. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for Congress to fix the broken immigration system; we must do our part to ensure that a just and equitable immigration system remains at the forefront of our representatives’ minds.  

It was this sense of urgency that drove over 100 sisters and associates and their sponsored ministries to Washington DC in December 2021 to march for, pray for, and call for the end of Title 42. At that event, Sisters shared stories of ministering at the border, in Florida with the Haitian community, and in cities across the country. We shared a common understanding that our lives are forever changed by time spent ministering in El Salvador, Honduras, and many other countries. 

We shared with each other our own experiences of accompanying a family seeking asylum, only to watch helplessly as they were turned away by Border Patrol, or telling an individual that, according to current policy, they do not have a valid asylum claim even though a return to their home country would most certainly result in death. We also shared about moments of community — of shared meals of pupusas or beans and rice that made the Body of Christ a tangible offering that widened our understanding of community. All of these moments further strengthened our deeply held belief that the country’s immigration system needs an overhaul. 

As women religious, our individual community’s charism informs how we respond to the call to minister alongside our country’s diverse immigrant communities and advocate for justice. While our ministerial actions might vary, we all believe that all people, no matter their country of origin, economic status, family composition, gender or sexual orientation, or reason for migrating, deserve the opportunity to apply for asylum.  

This is the foundation of our belief as Christians: that all people reflect the Imago Dei — the image of the loving God who created them. Therefore, we will continue to call on our elected officials to stop playing politics with the lives of our immigrant siblings and create an immigration system that works for all people. 

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM is NETWORK’s Education and Organizing Specialist and a co-host of the podcast Just Politics, produced in collaboration between NETWORK and U.S. Catholic magazine.  

This column was published in the Quarter 3 2023 issue of Connection. 
Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations

2023 Immigration Policy Update

Ronnate Asirwatham, Government Relations Director
February 9, 2023

The 118th Congress has been sworn in and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (CA-22), who presides over the House with a slim four-person majority, has completed his House Chair and Committee assignments. While there is a shift in power in Washington D.C., this immigration policy update will show that when it comes to immigration policy in 2023, things are much the same.

We all want to live in safe communities with our families and friends, and our faith compels us to help our neighbors when they are in distress. Recent activity and policy proposals from Congress and the Administration will lead to harm for our siblings fleeing violence in their communities (and hoping for a chance to thrive in the U.S.) as well as people without legal status. In this blog, I will look at immigration policy activity in Congress, the Administration, and give you next steps.  

A Win for Immigration Activists and Just and Humane Policy 

This year, the House led off with a bill aimed at discouraging people from certain countries from seeking asylum in our country. Republican Congressman Chip Roy (TX-21) sponsored H.R.29, The Border Safety and Security Act as the first of ten pieces of legislation to go to the floor. H.R.29 would effectively seal the southern border to all asylum seekers.  

Due to the slim majority in the House, this bill, that is an affront to our sacred call to welcome the stranger, would have will most likely passed in the House, but Democratic control of the Senate made it highly unlikely that it would pass in that chamber. 

Immigration advocates knew that H.R.29 would set the stage for attacks on immigration – especially those thinly veiled with racism, like this one. Faith-based and secular immigration advocates aggressively lobbied against Roy’s bill. Several letters were sent to Congress noting that this bill would kill the right to seek asylum at our southern border and breach U.S. and international law, including letters signed by:   

  • 300 immigrant advocacy organizations (including NETWORK)   
  • Faith-based organizations (including NETWORK)
  • Bishop Mark Seitz, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration Committee, a ministry started 100 years ago, which got the attention of several members of the House Republican Caucus. 

Justice-seekers united to stand up to power guided by the knowledge that a fair asylum process can only be built on just and humane policies. A significant number of Republican legislators signaled that they would not support H.R.29, and realizing that there were not enough votes to pass the bill, House Leadership pulled the harmful legislation from the floor,  

This was a huge victory for people seeking asylum and activists who support their freedom to seek asylum under U.S. law. And for NETWORK advocates, and all concerned with the common good, this win is evidence that when we work together to protect vulnerable people seeking a better life, we can defeat harmful, racist policy proposals. 

Interestingly enough, after the failure to pass H.R.29, some House Republicans tempered their anti-immigration rhetoric. Even Rep. Chip Roy took a pause. In public remarks he said, “Nobody is against asylum.” Friends, we cannot rest on our laurels. This is a momentous but, temporary, victory.

H.R.29 is not dead, it has limped off to the House Homeland Security Committee, where amendments can be made. As part of the legislative process, if it passes out of committee, we can see it again (that is, it receives enough yes votes in the smaller group that it is passed along for a full chamber vote). And NETWORK, and our coalition partners, will be ready to act against it if it returns to harm our siblings in the borderlands. 

Impeachment Talk for Secretary Mayorkas 

The Republican-led House has vowed to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. As a first step, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing called “Biden’s Border Crisis – Part I” on February 1st and the House Oversight Committee also held a hearing the first week of February. The purpose of these hearings is to gather evidence to impeach Secretary Mayorkas.  

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are working to stop President Biden from enacting rules banning asylum and an expanded Title 42 policy. More on that below. 

The Administration

On January 5, President Biden announced four policies that affect persons seeking safety in our country: 

  1. A parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans that sets up a series of ‘hoops to jump through’ for nationals from these countries – to find safety in our country’s borders. If they have a passport, can pay for their own ticket to the U.S., have not crossed into Panama or Mexico without papers, and fulfill eligibility criteria (including having a sponsor who can support them financially for two years), they may be granted a U.S. visa. It’s more of a lottery than a legitimate program, since the total number of visas granted across all nationalities is capped at 30,000 per month. 
  2. Expanded Title 42 expulsion policy to include Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.
  3. Increased use of a Customs and Border Protections app (called CBP One) for asylum seekers waiting at the border to get an appointment at the port of entry. This is for land border crossers only.  
  4. A proposed update to the asylum ban similar to a Trump-era policy. The new rule prevents people from presenting their case for asylum if they enter between ports of entry at the southern border, and if they do not seek asylum in a third country that they have crossed through, to reach the United States. When President Trump issued a similar rule, it was deemed illegal in court because under U.S. law, anyone can ask for asylum regardless of how they enter the country. They are not guaranteed asylum but are guaranteed a right to seek asylum. It is appalling that President Biden is seeking to re-instate this ban that destroys due process at our southern border. Congressional Democrats are in opposition and are trying to discourage President Biden from officially proposing the rule. 

NETWORK opposes these proposals.

The expansion of Title 42 expulsion policy keeps vulnerable people in dangerous conditions as they wait to plead their case for immigration status. And attaching Title 42 to narrow parole programs that favor immigrants with the most resources does not support fair American values, and it fails to protect those most in need.  

The CBP One app favors asylum seekers with a phone and a data connection. The majority of people fleeing their homes and communities don’t have the means for such a luxury. And the app is fundamentally racist. It has consistently not recognized the faces of Haitian and other Black migrants, because it does not allow them to take their photographs. Effectively, racism in the technology has meant that a majority of Black migrants do not get CBP appointments.  

What’s Happening in the Courts? 

On March 1, the Supreme Court will hear (and hopefully decide) if states have the right to intervene at this late stage in the Title 42 case that has been working its way through lower courts. If they rule yes – the case will continue if they rule no it will be the end of Title 42 in April.  

There also might have DACA ruling that might come down. Read JoAnn’s blog for the present state of DACA in the courts (as of February 3, 2023) DACA is Under Immediate Threat from my NETWORK colleague, JoAnn Goedert. 

What’s Next for NETWORK? 

The Government Relations team is focused on the Biden proposals mentioned above, and I spend considerable time tracking committee action, keeping an eye out for bills in the making. This work to defend our freedom and justice is not ours alone. We are in coalition with secular and religious groups, and we follow the lead of Pope Francis. 

“Through his deeds and messages, the pope has placed the issue of migration—and the human rights of persons forced to migrate—at the center of his papacy.” America Magazine 

And, of course, NETWORK will call upon you for your advocacy to help us stop harmful bills and polices that violate the dignity of people seeking a life where they can work to pay their bills and raise their children in peace. We will also ask for your help to promote policies restore the right to seek asylum at the border.  

Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations

Major Developments in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Program — December 2022

Major Developments in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Program -- December 2022

JoAnn Goedert, Government Relations Special Contributor
December 13, 2022
Major Developments in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Program

For immigrants from countries beset by violence, natural disasters and other turmoil, TPS provides protection from deportation and other benefits–at least temporarily. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that over 504,170 immigrants from 15 countries have or are eligible for TPS in the U.S. The program has been much in the news lately and, in recent weeks, the news has been good.

What is Temporary Protected Status? 

DHS grants TPS to immigrants in the U.S. from countries that it identifies as unsafe due to political unrest, natural disasters, and other hazardous conditions. Immigrants with TPS can remain in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation and can work and travel regardless of their immigration status, even if they were otherwise here without lawful authorization.  Typically, DHS grants TPS for 18-month periods that are often extended, and it applies it to immigrants already in the U.S. at the time of their home country’s TPS designation. TPS is not a direct path to permanent residency or citizenship, but it temporarily provides solid protection from deportation and a means of employment for hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients.

TPS Re-Designation for Haiti

On December 5, DHS announced the TPS re-designation of Haiti, a country struggling with government upheaval, widespread gang violence, the aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes and, now, a cholera outbreak. The TPS status of approximately 100,000 Haitian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in recent years was scheduled to expire on February 3, 2022 unless the Biden Administration took action. With the new re-designation, Haitian nationals who arrived in the U.S. by November 6, 2022 will be eligible for TPS through August 3, 2024.

The Biden Administration’s TPS Expansion

The Biden Administration’s expansion of the use of TPS was especially welcome, and a departure from Trump Administration efforts to dismantle the program (which were impeded by court action). The Biden Administration tried to legislate permanent protections for TPS recipients, but that failed when Republican Senators refused to consider immigration reform.

The Biden Administration has extended prior TPS protections for immigrants from South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria. It also added eight new countries—and more than 175,000 newly eligible immigrants–to the TPS list, including Venezuela, Myanmar, Somalia, and Yemen in 2021, and Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ukraine, and Ethiopia earlier in 2022.

A Crisis Averted

On October 25, a threat to long-standing protections for TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal abruptly surfaced, resulting from the revival of a 2018 court challenge to Trump Administration efforts to dismantle TPS. While immigration advocates initially succeeded in federal district court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision and held that Trump’s actions were lawful. When the Biden Administration took over in 2021, the parties entered into many months of settlement negotiations that stayed further court action. But those talks broke down in late October with no settlement, leaving the future of nearly 370,000 immigrants whose TPS was scheduled to terminate on December 31, 2022 at serious risk.

On November 11, that crisis was averted when DHS announced an 18-month extension—to June 31, 2024 for existing TPS recipients from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal who were subject to the December 31 deadline. This extension was an act of simple humanity, especially since most of the individuals caught up in the court case have been in the United States for decades. NETWORK joined with the TPS-DED Administrative Advocacy Coalition, a coalition of over 100 representatives of faith-based and secular organizations, in urging the Administration to take quick action to announce a prompt TPS extension.  (  To the great relief of the faith community and all people of good will, that call was answered.

The Future of TPS

At this time, more than 500,000 immigrants in the U.S. are secure in their TPS protection, but TPS remains only a temporary benefit, and any future extensions or expansions of the program will be decided by whoever is in the White House. NETWORK will monitor future developments in the TPS program and continue to advocate for TPS holders and all of our immigrant neighbors.

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Welcome Their Neighbor

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Welcome Their Neighbor

Sr. Eilis McCulloh, HM
December 12, 2022


The story is familiar. Mary and Joseph. No room at the inn. Giving birth in a barn. As Christians, spend this season commemorating their flight to Egypt where Mary gives birth to the Messiah.

Today, a “flight into the desert” evokes something different. We see and hear about families who must make the decision to leave everything they have and know in order to escape violence, crushing poverty, and other threats to their very existence. They courageously decide to make the perilous journey north. Their journey takes them north to the United States Southern Border where, instead of being welcomed with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they are questioned by border police, detained in freezing detention centers, and bussed (against their will) to northern cities as punishment.

But, aren’t migrants today’s version of the Holy Family? Both flee with the hope of safety and an opportunity for their children to flourish. Instead, the United States, the richest country in their world, punishes migrants at every turn by invoking punitive immigrantion polices and refusing to act on legislation that could transform the lives of our immigrant neighbors living in the United States.

Yes, Advent is a time of waiting, but it is also a time of welcoming and a time of change. In 2013, Pope Francis said, “Migrants and refugees are. Or pawns on the chessboard of humanity.” Our immigrant neighbors have waited far too long and have been used as scapegoats in political play. Now is the time to create a pathway to citizenship to the more than 689,000 individuals who have DACA.

¡Que Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.

Call to Action:

It is beyond time for just and humane immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship through federal legislation. Join NETWORK Lobby in calling for Congress to act NOW!

Denying undocumented communities a pathway to citizenship holds us back from having a thriving society where everyone is valued. There is no doubt the contributions of immigrant youth, farmworkers, DACA and TPS holders are essential for our communities and our country.

Tell Congress to act now to pass a pathway to citizenship!