Category Archives: Immigration

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.  

DACA is Under Immediate Threat

DACA is Under Immediate Threat

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

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.

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!

On Immigration, Be Angry For the Right Reasons

Sadly, U.S. Immigration Policy Has No Shortage of Outrages

Ronnate Asirwatham
September 15, 2022

Tune in any news outlet with a right-wing editorial slant, and it won’t be long before you encounter stories, narratives being pushed, of activities at the U.S.-Mexico border intended to frighten or enrage you, the viewer. This could be how drug seizures are depicted as if the government is somehow not doing its job, or it could be the dehumanizing portrayal of men and women seeking asylum in this country as some kind of threat to the safety of people living in the United States.

The racism, xenophobia, and fear-mongering wrapped up in these narratives are a gross misuse of the responsibilities held by the media. Their job is to inform, not to poison people’s minds with distortions and misinformation. But what’s also really tragic here is that, when it comes to immigration and issues at the border, there are plenty of issues that are worthy of our rage! But that rage is misplaced time and again, as a result of campaigns based on fear, not compassion.

The real issues worth being mad about are the result of a very deep hole the U.S. has dug in recent decades through both inaction on immigration policy and direct action, most notably by the previous presidential administration, to make life somehow even more hellish for some of the most marginalized people in the world — those who’ve fled their homes and countries in hopes of finding peace and security in a new land.

An especially egregious example of this was the previous administration’s March 2020 move to invoke Title 42 of the U.S. Code to prohibit entry of asylum seekers, using the possible spread of COVID-19 as the excuse. This order has been misused for over two years to illegally block migrants at the border, even though public health experts repeatedly declared the order has no true medical basis or justification. Title 42 has resulted in over 1.6 million expulsions of asylum seekers back to harm and over 10,000 incidents of kidnapping, torture, rape, and other violent attacks against migrant people.

No court in the United States has yet said the policy itself is legal, as legal challenges so far have only upheld it from the standpoint of administrative practice and capacity. The Immigration and Nationality Act says that seeking asylum is legal no matter how you cross the border.

As Joan F. Neal, NETWORK’s deputy executive director and chief equity officer, has noted: “Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. The continuation of unjust, immoral Title 42 expulsions dishonors the God-given dignity of migrants and violates the internationally-recognized right to seek asylum. We must restore asylum at our southern border.

Delays by the current administration in rescinding this policy prompted more than 80 Catholic Sisters from across the U.S. to come to Washington last December. Carrying signs and praying, they marched past the White House, demanding an end to this racist policy. When President Biden finally moved to rescind Title 42 expulsions this spring, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the administration’s action.

The inability to rise above our dysfunctional immigration policies is also worth people’s anger. Administration after administration, Congress after Congress, has failed to pass meaningful immigration reform, despite the fact that they have the power to bring millions out of the shadows and into the recognition of their dignity as citizens. Bishops and popes have called for these very policies — whether some version of the DREAM Act for people who entered the U.S. as children or comprehensive reform that provides a path to full inclusion and participation in society for everyone. Rather than recognizing the power they have to affect transformation of so many people’s lives, our leaders have squandered this opportunity, instead allowing our politics and society to indulge the lies of racism and white supremacy.

Christians should allow their hearts to be broken open by the plights of the people who think that, for all its flaws, the U.S. is still somewhere they want to make a home. We could build something beautiful, an inclusive future for our immigrant neighbors in this country, in which everyone’s contributions are valued and rewarded — if we just let the right things make us angry.

Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations

The Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations (And Makes an Improvement)

Biden Administration Restored Pre-Trump Era Public Charge Regulations

On Friday, September 9, 2022, The Biden Administration restored pre-Trump era public charge regulations when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final public charge regulation that provides critical protections to secure immigrant families’ access to health and social services. This is a welcome update to the policy shift (flagged in March 2021) made to public charge regulations instituted in 2019 under the Trump administration

“The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. (DHS)

The Trump administration upended public charge rules that had existed for 20 years prior to their one term in office. Their changes were not consistent with Catholic Social Justice or NETWORK’s Build Anew Agenda, That administration considered noncash public benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, or housing assistance, in applications for green cards or temporary visas. immigrant persons, families, and children.

The Biden administration’s reversal not only restores the policy to the pre-Trump era, it also includes an improvement sought by more than 1,000 organizations coordinated by the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition (PIF): DHS will not consider use of health care, nutrition, or housing programs when making immigration decisions. NETWORK Lobby is in the PIF coalition.

Reacting to the publication of the final public charge regulation, PIF issued the following statement:

“The final Biden public charge regulation is a major win for immigrant families. We know that anti-immigrant politicians will attack this reform through partisan litigation, but there are solid grounds for a court to uphold the rule. The new rule clarifies what is and is not considered in a public charge determination, providing assurances that eligible immigrant families can use health care, nutrition, and housing programs without public charge concerns.

“The more than 600 members of the PIF coalition are emboldened in our broader fight to repeal provisions in immigration law that are racist and discriminate against low-income people of color. Congress must strike public charge from the law and eliminate other barriers to the health and social services safety net. We will continue to push our leaders for action.” (PIF director, Adriana Cadena)

Note: This DHS decision was met with broad support by House Leadership. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) applauded the Biden Administration’s final rule restoring longstanding policy on the treatment of noncitizens seeking government assistance.

Additional background

The Trump-era regulations had a chilling effect on immigrants, causing many fearful to reach out for public assistance. An Urban Institute study examined immigrant families living with children under the age of 19 under the Trump policy in a Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey. The study found a significant preference to avoid health and social services benefits in order not to jeopardize their immigration application. This, of course, compromised their safety and well-being (and that of their children)–especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One in 5 adults in immigrant families with children (20.0 percent) and almost 3 in 10 of those in low-income immigrant families with children (28.8 percent) reported that they or a family member avoided one or more noncash public benefits or other help with basic needs in 2020 because of concerns about green card status or other immigration-related reasons. (Urban Institute)

Learn more with these resources:

Sign-on to Help Protect Asylum Seekers

Encourage Senators Booker and Menendez to Continue Advocating for Asylum Seekers!

Dear Senator Booker and Senator Menendez,

Thank you for supporting a just and humane immigration system. We, people of faith living in New Jersey, support your efforts to ensure the Senate and the Biden administration restore the asylum process.

Your work to protect asylum is important to us because as people of faith, we value the inherent human dignity of each person and recognize their right to seek asylum.

The upcoming congressional work period will be pivotal for immigration. As Congress creates next year’s federal budget, we urge you to continue working to ensure that Congressional leadership does not allow the continuation of Title 42 expulsions to be codified into law. We also ask that you urge your colleagues working on bipartisan immigration reform to support policies that are just and refuse to divide up or preference immigrant communities.

Thank you for your commitment to advancing the common good. Together, we can build a nation that lives up to our values.

In Solidarity,

New Jersey Residents – Add Your Name

A Decade of DACA: Haziel’s Story

A Decade of DACA: Haziel’s Story

Haziel A.
June 15, 2022

At the age of three, I arrived in the United States with my aunt, grandparents, and older sister from La Paz, Bolivia. It was 2001 and my parents were not able to come with us due to a restriction in visa approvals after the 9/11 attacks, and their visas were denied for the next four years. I recall moments when I missed my parents and did not understand why we had to be apart. I eventually grew accustomed to not having my parents around.

Although I do not remember my parents outwardly telling me that I was undocumented, there were three instances when I realized that I was, in fact, undocumented and felt the repercussions of being undocumented. The first time was when I wanted to go on class trips in elementary school outside of the country and could not. The second time was when I saw my older sister, who is also undocumented, struggle to get through high school and college. The third one was when my father was detained by ICE at a traffic stop as he was coming home from work one night and taken to Farmville Detention Center. In 2012, I was 14 and Obama took executive action and announced that DACA would be enacted in Washington, D.C. I remember watching the announcement on TV feeling a sense of relief that I would not have to endure the struggles that my sister, my dad, and the community around me did.

Fast forward a decade to today, I recently graduated college from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems. I have also gotten my driver’s license and have been able to apply and accept work in my field and moving constantly toward my dream job. While DACA has been able to secure me during my upbringing, the future of DACA is still and always will be at stake due to the fact that it is not a permanent protection. There are many things that I wish I had known growing up, one of them being that the looming uncertainty I have felt my entire life was caused by the fact that even when there was a “solution” presented by the government, it was never a permanent one. My dream for the future of this country is to repair and rebuild from the ground up as a collective to bring about real solutions in our flawed systems that do not feel like just Band-Aids. I believe that my family and our communities deserve to contribute and exist peacefully as we have always done even in the midst of all the disruption and chaos. Although DACA has given me many opportunities that I will forever be grateful for, for many, it is also a gatekeeping Band-Aid solution and a constant reminder to 825,000 of us that our undocumented communities are not wanted. It is ultimately a temporary solution to an even greater problem that this country needs to fully address.

Name abbreviated for anonymity. 

A Decade of DACA: Cecilia’s Story

A Decade of DACA: Cecilia’s Story

Cecilia Y.
June 14, 2022

As a child, we don’t see the world as it is. A child’s worries are not always the same as an adult’s. For some children, their worries may be getting a new toy, wondering what they’ll have for lunch, or even with whom they will play. For other children, their worries are wondering what their parents look like, where and with whom they sleep that night, or even worrying about their safety, security, shelter, and food. As a six-year-old, I had the same worries as the latter. I immigrated from El Salvador to live with my parents in the U.S. at this age. I left behind my family and friends I grew up with.

My parents were immigrants themselves, and we were constantly worried that if anything happened, anyone of us could be deported back to El Salvador. My parents worked jobs such as being a construction worker, doing house cleaning, and being a restaurant worker. All this was done so that in the future, I could receive the education they could not achieve.

Coming to the U.S. was a difficult transition. I went to public school, where I learned how to speak English and helped others from other Spanish-speaking countries learn English, too. My joy in helping others began in elementary school and continues growing. I dreamed of helping others and supporting their dreams. I wanted to go to college so that I could obtain a degree that would allow me to be a teacher to teach, support, and care for children. Being a DACA recipient has made all of this possible.

In high school, I was afraid I wouldn’t go to college because I would have to pay out-of-state tuition, but DACA made it possible for me to search for organizations that support Dreamers in their educational journey. I was able to go to college and pay in-state tuition. During my time in college, I was financially helping my family. DACA allowed me to work at a part-time job. Now that I have graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education, I can work at a school and help and support students in their learning and social development.

Until this day, I continue to worry about what will happen if my DACA is rejected. I worry that I will no longer be able to impact many students’ lives. I worry that I will be deported back to El Salvador even after I have made a life here in the U.S. I worry about the lives of those children who will lose their families and homes because they will no longer be able to work in their everyday jobs. My dream for the future of our country is to take that worry away from all those children and their families. Permanent protection for Dreamers will ensure they continue to make an impact in others’ lives, and it will provide protection for their families and for generations to come.

Name abbreviated for anonymity. 

Hundreds of Miles of Wall and Two Years of Title 42 Later: Are We Any Better Off?

Hundreds of Miles of Wall and Two Years of Title 42 Later: Are We Any Better Off?

Julia Morris
May 9, 2022

“Title 42 is a policy failure plain and simple. It does nothing to stop COVID from being spread and by circumventing immigration law it actually goes against the principles on which our country was founded.
Ending it was the right decision”
– Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7)

A Trump appointed federal judge ordered a two week hold on the phasing out of the Title 42 expulsion policy, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s ability to restore asylum on May 23.

As Pope Francis said, “[T]housands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation … Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’” (Papal address to the United States Congress, 9/24/15.)

Faith and secular border reception agencies are ready to receive asylum seekers and hope that Congress and the Administration will treat them as partners in this journey so that they can provide the best service to our siblings at the border. Rather than fall victim to anti-immigrant rhetoric, we have an opportunity now to live up to our values and show compassion.

Title 42 is a death sentence for these vulnerable asylum seekers. At its core, Title 42 is an obscure public health law weaponized advance cruel, xenophobic immigration policies under the guise of public health.

We know how to curb COVID-19: vaccines, masking, and social distancing. A xenophobic and selective ban on individuals and families fleeing harm only undermines public trust in federal institutions like the CDC.

We can protect public safety without turning away vulnerable families coming to this country for a better life.

Join NETWORK activists in restoring the right to asylum, email Congress now!