Last month, in a front-page article, the New York Times put the gerrymandering issue on the national agenda, forcing USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas to acknowledged concern about the spirit of the legal provision which aims to help high-unemployment districts.
The Times article, which focused on the odd maps approved for New York projects (including what I've dubbed the "Bed-Stuy Boomerang" involving Atlantic Yards), even generated an editorial chiding the federal agency.
But the memo issued earlier this month stated that the USCIS would continue to give deference to the lines drawn by the state.
USCIS reconfirmed that it will defer to the designation by a state of a specific geographical area as a targeted employment area.
"We've recently decided that, as in the director's iterative memo, that we are going to defer to state agencies in regards to the geographic area of TEA designation. And I guess that’s the main point I wanted to make today."So, it seems Mayorkas was posturing for the press.
Prospects for reform