October 6, 2021

Biden administration sets new record low for amount of resettled refugees

The Biden administration set a new record low for the number of refugees resettled after promising to revitalize a process largely halted under the Trump administration.

According to the State Department, the Biden administration resettled 11,411 refugees by the close of the fiscal year, which ended Friday. The White House failed to meet the previous low of 11,814 under former President Trump.

“The administration didn’t do a good enough job investing in rebuilding the overseas and domestic infrastructure that is our capacity to welcome, and they didn’t prioritize the improvements we’ve been recommending in order to strengthen the program and increase the number of arrivals,” said Meredith Owen, director of policy and advocacy for Church World Service.

The Biden administration and refugee advocates assigned blame to Trump’s time in office.

“We are saddened but unsurprised by the record-low admission figures for this fiscal year,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “It speaks to the lasting damage of the Trump administration’s four-year assault on the refugee program.”

Biden informed Congressthat he wants the refugee cap to be 125,000 for the coming fiscal year, though he has yet to go through the proper channels to make it official.


Biden resettles fewer refugees than Trump in new record low

September 11, 2021

Democrats lobby for 8 million green cards

Democrats made their case to the Senate parliamentarian on Friday for their plan to provide permanent legal status to 8 million immigrants, including Dreamers, temporary protected status holders, and essential workers.

After President Biden’s immigration reform plan stalled, Democrats aim to go it alone by including their more modest plan in a $3.5 trillion bill they hope to pass soon.

They’ll first need to convince the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough. Though she’s a little-known nonpartisan figure, MacDonough has thrown out key priorities for both parties in budget reconciliation measures in recent years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently acknowledged during a virtual town hall that there are questions about what “will survive the parliamentarian in the Senate.”

“We are limited in what the parliamentarian in the Senate will allow,” she said. “and that is most unfortunate.”


Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards

September 2, 2021

America takes the second-most migrants in the world

The United States is the country that takes in the second-highest amount of migrants.

In 2018, the US took in 1,096,611 migrants into the country, which was actually a 3 percent decrease from the previous year.

The US received over 250,000 applications from asylum-seekers in 2018 — which was also down from the year prior. The rate was 23 percent higher in 2017.

Germany took the number one spot, having accepted 1,383,580 new migrants in 2018.


10 Countries That Take the Most Migrants

July 16, 2021

Republicans and Democrats clash over push for amnesty for millions of unauthorized immigrants in $3.5T budget proposal

Happy Friday Americans,

Republicans are sounding the alarm over an addition to the $3.5 trillion budget proposal that includes a “pathway to citizenship” for those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, those under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), essential workers, and farmworkers. “Granting amnesty, citizenship, voting rights, and welfare for millions of illegal aliens is not just a simple ‘budget’ item,” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said. It is unclear how many undocumented immigrants would receive citizenship or what the specific requirements would be. The budget reconciliation bill requires 51 votes, meaning that Democrats are potentially able to pass the measure without bipartisan support.

A record number of Americans died of a drug overdose last year. Over 93,000 — nearly a 30% increase from 2019, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase was driven by the prevalence of fentanyl in addition to pandemic-related stressors and problems accessing care, officials said. The data is still provisional, as states are still reporting their numbers to the CDC. Ten states are predicted to have at least a 40% rise in drug overdose deaths from the previous year: Vermont, Kentucky, South Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana, California, Tennessee, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Virginia. “If current trends continue, illicit drugs will soon kill more Americans every day than COVID-19,” NPR’s Brian Mann said.

In California, lawmakers approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the US with no restrictions on how it’s spent: $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care. The measure passed unanimously, marking bipartisan support for an idea that is gaining momentum nationwide. “If you look at the stats for our foster youth, they are devastating,” Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk said. “We should be doing all we can to lift these young people up.” Guaranteed income programs were briefly seen in the US during the 1960s and 1970s, but they have recently been making a resurgence. Programs have been announced in New Orleans; Oakland, California; Tacoma, Washington; Gainesville, Florida; and Los Angeles.

You may want to check your cabinets. Johnson & Johnson is recalling five of its sunscreen products after low levels of the carcinogen benzene were found. A report released in May by independent laboratory Valisure found that “27% of samples … contained detectable benzene and some batches contained up to three times the conditionally restricted FDA concentration limit of 2 parts per million.” Benzene can cause cells to stop working and result in a loss of white blood cells. Long-term exposure can lead to excessive bleeding or Leukemia. The affected products include four Neutrogena sprays — Beach Defense, CoolDry Sport, Invisible Daily Defense, and UltraSheer – and Aveeno’s Protect + Refresh sunscreen. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products,” the company said in a statement.

The Biden administration is launching an effort to relocate thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators who worked for the US throughout its decades-long military campaign in Afghanistan and are now in fear for their safety. “At President Biden’s direction, the United States is launching Operation Allies Refuge to support relocation flights for interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who have supported the United States and our partners in Afghanistan and are in the SIV application pipeline,” a senior administration official said. “Our message to those women and men is clear: There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us,” President Joe Biden said.

Lastly, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer — the oldest member of the high court — has responded to months of calls for him to retire while Democrats still control the Senate. In a CNN interview published Thursday, Breyer said that he had not decided when he would step down. Progressives have been calling for Breyer to resign, but when asked what factors he would consider for his potential retirement, the 82-year-old said there were two. “Primarily, of course, health. Second, the court,” he said.

Be well,

Fraser Dixon


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