Immigration Policy Updates

The Immigration Response Team tracks immigration policy changes and how they would impact the University of Minnesota.

 

November 23, 2021: December 20 Deadline Approaching for Liberians to Submit Permanent Residency Applications

Liberians wishing to apply to become permanent residents under the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Program have until December 20 to file their application. The deadline was set as part of the implementation of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act passed in 2019, a measure that stated Liberian nationals who had been continuously physically present in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014, (along with their spouses and dependents) would be eligible for permanent residence.

Minnesota is home to the largest Liberian community in the U.S., and the agreement was widely celebrated by the families and individuals who have been living under the uncertainty of Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Please review our website for a list of campus-specific resources if you want assistance with filing your application.

November 19, 2021: House Budget Reconciliation Bill Includes Access to Federal Financial Aid for DACA/TPS Recipients

Immigrant advocates are continuing to call for congressional action on immigration. One of the key items for higher education institutions included in the budget reconciliation bill passed by the House on Friday is an expansion of federal financial aid eligibility to include individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The proposal would open up eligibility to Pell Grants along with federal loans and Federal Work-Study programs. Currently, while graduates of Minnesota schools have access to state- and institutional-based financial aid under the Minnesota Dream Act, they are unable to access federal financial aid. The proposal is supported by organizations like the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, TheDream.US, and UnidosUS.

The House's legislation also extends protections from deportation, creates additional opportunities for work permits, and creates a mechanism to recapture unused visas. The Senate is expected to consider the bill soon although it is not certain that the immigration items will be included.

Support for Afghan and Haitian Refugees

Updated: We have posted a webpage with Resources to Support for Afghan Refugees.

Afghanistan and Haiti have both been in the news in recent weeks, as many citizens of these countries have been forced to leave their homes to seek safety elsewhere. The University of Minnesota is home to students, faculty, staff, and other community members from these countries, and there is much we can do to learn about what they’re going through and how to support them here in Minnesota. 

We have received questions about what individuals and the University/higher education institutions can do to provide assistance. We are working on developing new resources for our website that we will post soon. To start, here are links to information from Minnesota-based efforts (please contact us if you know of others) and other information:

September 28, 2021: Department of Homeland Security Announces Proposed DACA Rule

On Monday, September 27, the Department of Homeland Security announced a proposed rule to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and protect the hundreds of thousands of current and potential DACA recipients throughout the United States. As it was explained in the DHS press release:

"The Biden-Harris Administration continues to take action to protect Dreamers and recognize their contributions to this country. This notice of proposed rulemaking is an important step to achieve that goal. However, only Congress can provide permanent protection. I support the inclusion of immigration reform in the reconciliation bill and urge Congress to act swiftly to provide Dreamers the legal status they need and deserve.” - DHS Secretary Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas

The proposed rule is now on Regulations.gov, and it will then be open for a 60-day comment period.

We encourage anyone interested to submit comments on this rule. Public comments are an important (but often overlooked) part of the regulatory process. We will share more information soon about how to submit comments on this proposed rule and what it would mean for immigrants in our community.

August 5, 2021: UMN Leaders Express Support for DACA Recipients

Rachel T.A. Croson (Executive Vice President and Provost) and several other university administrators sent an email to the campus community today in support of DACA recipients. It stated, in part:

DACA recipients and undocumented individuals are valued members of our University community, and we must not let this ruling minimize their positive impact and tremendous success. We urge our nation’s leaders to work together on compassionate and informed policies that will protect our students and their families, and keep the promise of opportunity for all.

DACA recipients and immigrants in the UMN community are encouraged to email [email protected] if you wish to discuss your situation. We are available to answer your questions and connect you to resources. You can also consider applying for the Dream Fund, the Immigration Response Team's donor-supported fund that provides emergency grants to individuals impacted by immigration changes.

August 3, 2021: Extension of Initial Registration Period for TPS for Burma (Myanmar), Syria, and Venezuela

The Department of Homeland Security today published a Federal Register notice (FRN) announcing extensions of the initial registration periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial (new) applicants under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations of Venezuela and Burma as well as the redesignation of Syria.

This extension will allow individuals to submit an initial Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and an application for an Employment Authorization Document (if desired) at any time during the 18-month designation or redesignation period for these three countries.

If you are a UMN student needing assistance or have questions about filing for TPS, you can email [email protected].

July 30, 2021: “Renewed U.S. Commitment” to International Education Announced

The U.S. Departments of State and Education jointly released a statement on Monday announcing a “Renewed U.S. Commitment to International Education.” This action was welcomed by international students and institutions of higher education, who have long hoped to see the U.S. take a systematic approach to supporting international education, as many other countries have already done.

July 19, 2021: Temporary Protected Status Extensions Announced for Somalia and Other Countries

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia will be extended until March 2023. The Sahan Journal reports there were more than 200 Somali TPS recipients living in Minnesota as of 2018.

TPS enables the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to grant temporary protection to people already in the U.S. when it is determined they cannot return safely to their country. In addition to this redesignation, there have been several other TPS-related announcements in recent months including extensions and new filing procedures. Impacted individuals can review the USCIS website or email [email protected] for more information.

July 27, 2021: Biden Administration Releases Immigration Plan

On July 27, the Biden administration released a “blueprint for a fair, orderly and humane immigration system.” The plan includes 21 items focused around four main areas:

  • Ensuring a secure, humane, and well-managed border
  • Implementing orderly and fair processing of asylum applications
  • Strengthening collaborative migration management with regional partners
  • Investing in Central America to address the root causes of migration

Among the other items, the plan encourages Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. This is the proposal that, according to the National Immigration Forum, would grant Dreamers and others “protection from deportation and an opportunity to obtain permanent legal status.” The plan has also been criticized for renewing expedited removals, a practice where border officials can quickly decide to turn away migrants at the border who they believe are ineligible for asylum rather than allowing them to enter and then access the asylum process.