Attorney general reverses anti-asylum policies
Attorney General Merrick Garland has reversed Trump-era policy that decimated asylum protections for those fleeing gender-based and gang violence and persecution against families. These new decisions reopen a pathway to safety for survivors. We applaud the Biden administration and hope this is the first step toward fully restoring and expanding asylum protections in the United States.
New policy makes survivors of serious crimes eligible for work permit while U visa case is pending
The U visa was created to provide lawful status to immigrant crime victims who provide assistance to law enforcement. There is currently a years-long backlog for survivors of serious crimes for their cases to even be placed on a waitlist. While individuals are stuck in this backlog, they have no way of lawfully working. This puts them at risk for abusive or exploitative situations due to their personal and economic vulnerability.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in June that U visa applicants who present a so-called “bona fide case,” or a case that is made in good faith, will be eligible for a work permit. This will impact numerous ILAP clients who are struggling to survive while they await adjudication of their cases. This is a life-saving action by the Biden administration that will also make our communities safer for everyone.
Haiti designated for Temporary Protected Status (TSP)
The Biden administration announced it is granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 100,000 Haitians in the United States. TPS is a temporary status granted to individuals from certain countries that the government has designated as being unsafe for return. Haiti was originally designated for TPS following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, and protections were extended several times, until the Trump administration attempted to end them in 2017. This move by the Biden administration is significant because it will apply to all eligible Haitian people residing in the U.S. before May 21, 2021.
TPS for Haitians is critical to keeping families together and safe. It will offer relief to countless families in Maine who are integral to our communities. Eligible Mainers will be able to obtain work permits and live in Maine without the fear of deportation.
ILAP congratulates and thanks Black immigrant leaders and community members who have fought to make this happen, including incredible work by organizations like the UndocuBlack Network and Haitian Bridge Alliance.
We demand that Congress act now to provide a pathway to permanent status for TPS recipients. We also urge the Biden administration to designate TPS for people from other countries in need of protection in the U.S., and to end the use of Title 42, which is separating thousands of families.
Senator Angus King: (202) 224-5344
The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) is Maine’s only statewide immigration legal services organization. Check out our website for more information: www.ilapmaine.org
Julia Brown is ILAP’s Advocacy and Outreach Director. She works to improve laws and policies impacting Maine’s immigrant communities and coordinates communications and outreach on immigration laws and legal rights.