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Brief Update on Latest Developments in Immigration



• ICE to Test New Smart Watch Device to Monitor Migrants

ICE has introduced a smartwatch-like device to track migrants released from federal immigration custody.

The wrist device uses GPS technology to keep track of migrants enrolled in the Biden administration’s Alternatives to Detention program, which monitors migrants who don’t pose a safety or national security risk.

• Delayed Visa Processing Endangers Immigrant Crime Victims
A massive backlog of U visa applications has left many immigrant crime victims in an uncertain and precarious situation. U visas are designed to provide protection and support to immigrants who have been victims of crime and are willing to assist U.S. law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. However, the current processing time for U visas can take several years, leaving applicants in a state of uncertainty and without access to essential services like healthcare and employment. This delay is causing significant hardship for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

• GOP Unveils Ambitious New Plan for Immigration Reform

The proposed immigration bill by House Republicans has sparked controversy and criticism, with many advocacy groups and lawmakers opposing the measures outlined in the bill. The tightening of restrictions on asylum seekers, expansion of family detention, and increased penalties for visa overstays have been deemed as inhumane and contrary to the values of the country.

Critics argue that the bill goes against the long-standing tradition of offering refuge to those fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries. The expansion of family detention is also seen as a step backwards, as it has been widely criticized for its negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of children and families.

Additionally, the increased penalties for visa overstays are viewed as a heavy-handed approach that fails to address the root causes of why people overstay their visas, such as lack of legal avenues for immigration and lack of job opportunities in their home countries.

Given the Democratic control of the Senate, the likelihood of the bill passing in its current form is low. However, the release of the bill highlights the ongoing debate and division over immigration policy in the United States.

• Advocacy Groups Issue Travel Warnings For Florida

Two advocacy groups issued travel advisories warning LGBTQ people and immigrants about the risks of traveling to Florida in light of recent “hateful laws” targeting these groups.

The Florida Immigration Coalition said on Wednesday that travel to the state should be taken with “extreme caution as it can be unsafe for people of color, individuals who speak with an accent, and international travelers.”

• ICE Collects Information from Abortion Providers and Educational Institutions

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using 1509 custom summonses in a manner that experts believe may be illegal, as reported by WIRED. The agency has issued these subpoenas more than 170,000 times between 2016 and mid-2022, primarily to investigate customs violations. However, the WIRED investigation found that ICE has also used these subpoenas to obtain information that is not related to customs fraud. This includes information from a youth soccer league, a major abortion provider, and an elementary school.

USCIS Creates First-Ever Virtual Service Center

USCIS has opened a virtual service center to process requests for humanitarian immigration relief, including visas for victims of domestic violence and crimes, in an effort to reduce backlogs and improve processing times.

The new center is USCIS’ sixth service center and its first all-virtual one. In an interview, the agency’s director, Ur Jaddou, called it an “important milestone.”

• DHS Implements Policy Allowing Use of Self-Identified Gender on Immigration Forms
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy update on Friday, allowing immigrant visa applicants to self-identify their gender on forms, regardless of any discrepancy with their supporting documents. The agency stated that proof of gender identity will not be required unless the applicant is submitting Form N-565, which is used to apply for a replacement naturalization certificate or citizenship document.

• USCIS Lifts 60-Day Restriction on Medical Exam Form Submission

The 60-day rule is no longer applicable for physician signatures on Form I-693, the immigration medical exam results form, for green card applicants who file after March 31, 2023. Applicants can now submit the form up to two years after the civil surgeon signs it.

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