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DHS Funding Package Includes Immigrant Surveillance

Plus: Advocates demand DHS end family separations, more staff hired to process DACA applications amid huge backlog

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The House Appropriations Committee has advanced a Homeland Security budget package that includes funding for technologies to surveil immigrants. The proposal, passed through the Democratic-controlled committee, would designate $475 million to ICE for the agency’s Alternatives To Detention program. That’s more than what the Biden administration requested for DHS’s 2022 budget. The program has received criticism for expanding the number of immigrants in ICE supervision. Critics also said the supervision caused them physical and emotional harm. The Biden administration claims ATD helps end detention and calls for the program to cover 140,000 individuals for the 2022 budget request. The Hill 

In other federal immigration news…

Advocates Demand an End to Family Separation

The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, along with the Jewish Family Service, sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas detailing the harms of migrant family separations and suggested policy changes. The letter shares stories of border officials separating parents from their 18- and 19-year-old children, including one with special needs; dividing married couples, including pregnant women from their partners; and taking grandchildren away from grandparents. The letter alleges border agents are disregarding family unity when separating these migrants and could stop the separations “tomorrow.” The San Diego-Union Tribune 

More Staff Assigned to Review DACA Applications

The Biden administration is assigning more immigration officers to review Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications in response to backlogs, according to information sent to Congress and shared with CBS News. Congressional officials said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will spread public awareness campaigns to educate DACA applicants on how they can reduce processing times and remind program beneficiaries to renew their work permits and deportation deferrals. As of May 2021, USCIS has only settled 1,900 of over 62,000 first-time applications submitted since December 2020. By the end of June, the backlog of pending first-time DACA applications grew to 81,000 petitions. CBS News

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