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The Biden administration has lifted most of its visa bans on Laos, ending a Trump-era ban that effectively stopped people in Laos from obtaining any travel or immigrant visas. Critics saw the sanctions as a form of political retaliation to pressure the Southeast Asian country into accepting people deported from the U.S. The new move could reunite around 2,000 people with loved ones. “Over the last few years, they’ve been unable to sponsor their spouses or kids … because of these arbitrary sanctions that are very ethnically based,” said Kham Moua, director of national policy at the nonprofit Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. NBC News
In other federal immigration news…
Biden Administration to Try Home Confinement, Curfews as Alternatives to Detention
The Biden administration is set to overhaul how undocumented immigrants awaiting court proceedings are tracked. The administration has long promised an alternative to for-profit detention centers, and plans to expand home confinement and curfew pilot programs, which are easier to execute with less resources. A few hundred immigrants will participate in the first trial of the program, which will launch in Baltimore and Houston. Approximately 180,000 undocumented immigrants are already being monitored through ankle bracelets and other tracking devices. Axios