• DHS designates Ethiopia for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security has announced the designation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Those who are already residing in the U.S. as of Oct. 20, 2022 will be eligible for TPS. Due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ethiopia, DHS has decided to designate Ethiopians for TPS. This is Ethiopia’s first designation for TPS. A country may be designated for TPS when the conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory categories for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions on how to apply for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document.

  • Migrant survivors of Texas shooting detained by ICE. About three weeks ago, two brothers in west Texas allegedly opened fire on a group of migrants, killing one person and wounding another. At least seven other migrants that were at the scene are now being held in detention facilities. The shooters, Michael and Mark Sheppard both worked in law enforcement and were initially released on half a million dollars bail after being held in prison for manslaughter charges. The case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, part of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Six of the surviving migrants are being held at the El Paso Processing Center, an ICE detention facility while another is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and will likely be sent to the West Texas Detention Facility.

  • Form N-648. USCIS has published Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability, to be used for those applying for U.S. citizenship and need to request an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization due to physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. This form may be submitted with the completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, or separately at a later date. A medical professional should complete your Form N-648 no more than 180 days before you file your naturalization application.

  • Venezuelans stuck south of U.S. border. In Mexico, there have been many Venezuelan migrants stuck along the U.S.-Mexico border, creating makeshift camps and marching below an international bridge with signs that read “S.O.S. HELP.” The Biden administration has released a new policy, which expels Venezuelans under Title 42 and only allows Venezuelans to enter the U.S. through a new sponsorship program. This new program has caused many to be sent back to Mexico. The Biden administration explained the goal of this policy change was to “enhance the security” at the border “by reducing irregular migration of Venezuelan nationals.” Many immigrant advocates and rights groups criticized this change, arguing that it has illegally stripped people of a right to claim asylum and an inhumane response to a crisis.

  • Migrant facility opens on Randall’s Island. New York City has been handling an increase in migrants that have been bussed to the city from border states. To manage the influx of migrants, the city has officially opened a new 84,000-square-foot emergency shelter on Manhattan’s Randall’s Island. The facility has 6.2 acres of dormitories, dining areas, recreation centers, and isolation centers for those that have COVID-19 or other communicable diseases. The center can house about 500 single male adults but the capacity can be increased if necessary. Case workers and other additional resources will be available to help the migrants with the next steps of their immigration cases.

  • Texas sheriffs ask the Supreme Court to hear immigration case. A group of seven Texas sheriffs asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement methods. The group bypassed the lower courts by citing a ruling that only the high court can issue injunctions for immigration enforcement policies. The lawsuit was originally filed in October 2021 in the Southern District of Texas Galveston Division. The lawsuit is seeking the court to force the Biden administration to end immigration enforcement changes made after Donald Trump left office. The sheriffs are also seeking an injunction to allow for the immediate detention of all migrants who cross the border without legal documents.

  • USCIS extends COVID-19-related flexibilities. USCIS is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through Jan. 24, 2023. This extension is aimed to help applicants, petitioners, and requesters. Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in specific requests or notices listed by the agency, if the request or notice was issued between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 24, 2023. This includes, Requests for Evidence; Continuations to Request Evidence; Notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind; Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers; Notices of Intent to withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5.

  • Migrants sent to places where no help waits. There have been recent reports of Border Patrol agents sending migrants to locations where offices do not exist or where the offices have no notice of the migrant arrivals. Many of the offices often do not have space to house the migrants but because the addresses of the offices appear on migrants’ paperwork, important notices may later be sent there. Some of the addresses on documents list administrative offices of Catholic Charities in New York and San Antonio; a church in El Paso, Texas; a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City; and a private home in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

By Hannah Wylesol
Immigration Law Analyst at Docketwise

Posted in: Immigration