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The Biden administration announced on Monday it will provide over 300,000 Venezuelan immigrants already in the U.S. with a temporary protected status that will let them live and work in the country for 18 months. In a statement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it made the decision based on extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that will not allow people to return home safely. Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 19 to defer the deportation of Venezuelans for 18 months. After the order was issued, the Migration Policy Institute approximated that nearly 150,000 Venezuelan immigrants could be eligible. BuzzFeed News
In other national immigration news…
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Smugglers Color-Coding Migrants With Wristbands at the Border
Along the Rio Grande in the grassland near Penitas, Texas, different colored wristbands labeled “arrivals” and “entries” in Spanish litter the ground. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector have seen immigrants wearing the bracelets during apprehensions, according to Matthew Dyman, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Dyman said the “information on the bracelets represents a multitude of data that is used by smuggling organizations, such as payment status or affiliation with smuggling groups.” Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at Bipartisan Policy Center, said the categorized system demonstrates the sophistication of these criminal groups to make money off of transporting people across the U.S.-Mexico border. Reuters
3,200 Migrant Children Stuck in Border Patrol Custody, A New Record
As of Monday, more than 3,200 migrant children were left in Border Patrol facilities. Close to 1,400 of those minors — 170 of them under 13 years old — were held at CBP for more than the 72-hour limit, according to government documents obtained by CBS News. As of Monday, the Office of Refugee Resettlement only had 500 beds available at the southern border for the growing number of migrant children arriving. The refugee office is working to increase its bed capacity, and is currently holding more than 8,100 unaccompanied children. The Biden administration has continued to use a public health law, first enacted under Trump, to expel migrants, except unaccompanied children, from the border. CBS News
Montana Sues to Stop Biden’s Immigration Plans
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) joined a lawsuit started by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) to stop President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations. Knudsen also wants to challenge the ICE guidance permitting the agency to prioritize apprehending individuals who pose a threat to national security or committed “aggravated” felonies. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center tally, there are approximately 4,000 and 5,000 undocumented immigrants in Montana, one of the smallest undocumented immigrant communities in the U.S. In a statement, Knudsen claimed that Mexican drug cartels brought methamphetamine to the state, and that it would get worse under Biden. The Associated Press
Florida AG Sues Over Biden’s Immigration Changes
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration’s immigration policy and claimed the decisions are a threat to public safety. “The Biden administration’s actions will allow criminal aliens to be released into and move freely in the state of Florida, and their resulting crime will cost the state million of dollars on law enforcement, incarceration, and crime,” Moody claimed in the lawsuit. It argues Biden’s new immigration directives violate federal immigration laws and should be blocked. The lawsuit also mentioned the Florida Department of Corrections had seven instances where ICE refused to take custody of people being released because they did not meet enforcement priorities. Miami Herald
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