Editor’s note: Here’s a look at immigration-related news around the United States this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email VOA’s immigration team: [email protected]
Nonimmigrant visa backlog is falling, PM’s official says
The Biden administration has reduced wait times worldwide for nonimmigrant visa interviews, an official said Thursday. But the progress is disputed by an immigration policy analyst who follows the issue closely. VOA immigration correspondent Aline Barros reports from Washington.
Judge postpones end of asylum restrictions until end of December
A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Biden administration a five-week delay to end far-reaching asylum restrictions, writing in capital letters that he was doing so “WITH GREAT reluctance,” the Associated Press reports.
International students return to US since pandemic decline
International students are returning to the United States after a significant drop during the pandemic, according to Open Doors’ 2022 Report on International Educational Exchange (IEE). VOA immigration correspondent Aline Barros reports from Washington.
Cuba agrees to accept US deportation flights as border crossings increase
Cuba has agreed for the first time since the pandemic to accept U.S. deportation flights of Cubans trapped at the U.S.-Mexico border, three U.S. officials told Reuters, giving U.S. authorities a new but limited tool to deter record numbers of Cuban border crossers, Reuters reports .
Report: The head of the US border agency is being forced out
The head of US Customs and Border Protection is being forced out of his job as head of the nation’s largest law enforcement agency as agents encounter a record number of migrants entering the United States from Mexico, according to two people familiar with the matter, The Associated Press reports .
US extends protected status until mid-2024 for 6 nationalities
The United States has notified El Salvador that the temporary protected status of its citizens and that of five other countries will be extended until June 30, 2024, El Salvador’s ambassador to the United States, Milena Mayorga, said Thursday. The other countries are Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras and Nepal, according to a document filed Thursday by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The move means their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will not expire on December 31, 2022, as previously planned, Reuters reports.
Afghan Americans vote with an eye on Afghan refugee issues
Some Afghan Americans living in northern Virginia said they were determined to vote in the midterm elections and that U.S. foreign policy toward Afghanistan and immigration are most important to them. Matiullah Abid Noor and Shahnaz Nafees have the story. Roshan Noorzai contributed to this report.
Meta layoffs deepen Silicon Valley’s job losses
Widespread downsizing in the U.S. tech industry has thrown thousands of Silicon Valley workers out of work, a trend that was sharply amplified on Wednesday by Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, which announced it would eliminate 13% of its workforce, equivalent to more than 11,000 jobs.
Immigration around the world
Being black in Tunisia
Growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Tunis, Zied Rouine didn’t think much about his skin color. Not when kids insulted him at school, or when his soccer teammates nicknamed him Pele after Brazil’s dark-skinned soccer legend. His athletic ability and the strong protection of his lighter brother from pursuers were tickets to acceptance. It wasn’t until years later, while attending an international forum on discrimination, that Rouine realized something was wrong. Lisa Bryant reports for VOA from Paris.
England, France join forces to stem the flow of migrants across the English Channel
Britain and France have joined forces to slow the flow of migrants crossing the English Channel to England. Under the new deal, Britain is set to pay France $75 million to bolster security that would prevent migrants and asylum seekers from navigating small vessels from France across the dangerous waterway, VOA News reports.
After spat with Italy, France welcomes migrant ship
France has resolved a days-long row with Italy’s right-wing government by agreeing to take on a ship carrying more than 200 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. The Ocean Viking is due to dock in the southern French port of Toulon on Friday – but relations with Rome remain bitter. For the 234 migrants aboard the Ocean Viking, France’s agreement to take them in was the end of a long odyssey. Lisa Bryant reports for VOA from Paris.
German aid group: 89 migrants are allowed to disembark in Italy
A German humanitarian group said its ship docked in southern Italy early Tuesday and disembarked 89 people rescued at sea, ending a migrant rescue saga while others continue under Italy’s new hard-right government. Mission Lifeline posted videos on social media of the 25-meter cargo ship Rise Above docking in Reggio Calabria and said “the odyssey with 89 passengers and nine crew members on board appears to be over.” In a subsequent post, it said all 89 were allowed to disembark, reports The Associated Press.
— US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in November that it is accepting certain affirmative asylum applications online. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of this form by mail.
— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released updated figures showing a record number of migrant encounters at the US border with Mexico. “The total number of unique encounters at the southwest border in October 2022 was 185,527, a 1.5% increase over the previous month, driven by increased numbers of asylum seekers fleeing authoritarian regimes in Cuba and Nicaragua,” according to CBP’s latest announcement.