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VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, September 11–17


FILE- People take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's Field Office in New York City, July 2, 2020.

Editor's note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.

Number of US Naturalizations Rose 30% in 2021

As the pandemic eased, the number of people who became naturalized U.S. citizens rose. In 2021, 814,000 people became citizens, up 30% from 628,000 in 2020, according to a June 2022 annual report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Story by VOA's immigration reporter Aline Barros.

US Law Enforcement Takes Down 'Prolific' Human Smuggling Operation

Speaking at a press conference at the Justice Department, law enforcement officials said the network ran a “prolific” smuggling operation, trafficking hundreds, if not thousands, of undocumented migrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia into the United States in recent years. Story by VOA's Justice Department reporter Masood Farivar.

Florida, Texas Escalate Flights, Buses to Move Migrants

Republican governors expanded their tactic of sending migrants to Democratic strongholds without warning, including Martha's Vineyard, a wealthy summer enclave in Massachusetts, and the Washington home of Vice President Kamala Harris. The Associated Press reports.

Tears, Uncertainty as Migrants Depart Martha's Vineyard Amid Political Standoff

Massachusetts transported migrants off the wealthy island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Friday, to a military base where they will be housed temporarily. As the 50 or so migrants boarded buses to leave, some of the island residents who sheltered them in a church for two nights wept, Reuters reported.

Report: Biden Urges Mexico to Take Migrants Under COVID Expulsion Order He Vowed to End

As border crossings have soared to record highs, U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is quietly pressing Mexico to accept more migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela under a COVID-19 expulsion order that the White House has publicly sought to end, according to seven U.S. and three Mexican officials. Reuters reports.

US Secretary of State Discusses Migration, Economics in Meeting With Mexican President

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday to repair relations between the two neighboring countries that have frayed over immigration and other issues. “We discussed shared efforts to address irregular migration in the Americas, including through humane border management policies and through expanding legal pathways,” said Blinken during a press conference. Story by VOA’s State Department Bureau Chief Nike Ching.

Migration around the world

Ukrainian High Schoolers Create App to Help Young Refugees

Helping people find a safe way to a safe place. That’s the goal of a new app called Refee, created by three Ukrainian high schoolers. Lesia Bakalets has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.

UN Report Cites Nicaragua's Clampdown on Democratic Freedoms

A report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council this week on Nicaragua’s human rights situation condemns what it calls the further deterioration of civil and political rights by a government seeking to keep its people in check. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

News in brief

— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it has received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of fiscal year 2023.

— U.S. border officials participated in the “High-Level International Conference on Border Security in the Americas” hosted by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). “The fight against human smuggling, the campaign to crack down on transnational criminal organizations, and the effort to tackle the root causes of irregular migration cannot succeed through any single country’s individual policies. These tasks are a collective responsibility, and we must lead this vital and urgent work together, according to Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John K. Tien.

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