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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Mexican president voices support for Biden plans on coronavirus, economy, migration

 BY JORDAN WILLIAMS

Mexican president voices support for Biden plans on coronavirus, economy, migration

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador voiced his support on Thursday for President Biden’s coronavirus, economy and migration plans.

“We agree with the agenda they presented, with what Biden is promising,” López Obrador said in a news conference according to Reuters.

Biden has signed a handful of executive orders since his inauguration, some of which undo some of the hard-line immigration policies instituted by former President Trump.

Among the orders includes one that halts the construction of Trump’s highly-touted “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as an order preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The Department of Homeland Security is also pausing removals of certain noncitizen for 100 days beginning Friday pending a review of current immigration policy.

Biden on Wednesday sent the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress shortly after being sworn in, which López Obrador described that bill as “very good,” according to Reuters.

If passed, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, prioritize border control measures and address the root cause of migration.

López Obrador had previously asked Biden to provide legal immigration status to Mexican nationals who are working in the U.S. 

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Thursday, January 21, 2021

How many more immigrants and who should they be?

 BY JOSEPH CHAMIE, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

How many more immigrants and who should they be?
© Getty Images

Immigration is among the various critical issues facing the United States. In particular, America needs to address how many more immigrants should be admitted annually and who should they be.

While some Americans want increased immigration, others want levels to remain about the same as the recent past and still others want reduced immigration. In addition, while some would like more immigrants of their own ethnic group, others oppose admitting immigrants of certain ethnic and religious groups. 

Furthermore, some want to continue selecting U.S. immigrants largely on the basis of family ties, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of the foreign nationals admitted to the U.S.

However, others contend that it would be in the best interests of the nation to select immigrants largely on the basis of merit, skills and education or a point system, as is used in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Of course, a shift from selecting immigrants on the basis of family ties to a point system would have an enormous impact on the more than 4 million people waiting in family and employment-based green card backlogs. 

Since its founding on July 4, 1776, immigration, that is the immigrants and their descendants, has accounted for most of America’s population growth. 

If no immigrants had arrived on America’s shores after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the country’s population of 2.5 million at that time would have grown to slightly less than half its current 331 million

Today’s number of foreign-born living in the U.S. is close to 45 million, or nearly 14 percent of the country’s population. Since the passage of the seminal 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, the country’s foreign-born population has more than quadrupled

Known as the Hart-Celler Act, this legislation has had an enormous impact on the composition of the country’s population, including how immigrants would be selected. It ended an immigration-admissions policy system based on national-origins quotas and gave rise to large-scale immigration, both legal and unauthorized, leading to an increasingly ethnically and religiously diverse America.

In 1960, for example, the top five immigrant groups, which accounted for about half of the foreign-born population, were from Italy, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Poland. By 2018, the top five immigrant groups, also accounting for nearly half of the foreign-born population, were from Mexico, India, China, the Philippines and El Salvador.

As in the past, America's population growth during the 21st century will largely be the result of immigration. By 2060, for example, if immigration continues at the level of the recent past of about 1.1 million annually, the U.S. population is projected to increase to 405 million

If immigration were zero, the U.S. population in 2060 would be 3 percent smaller than it is today, or 320 million. To stabilize the size of the population would only require a fraction of levels of the recent past. 

Moreover, if immigration remains at slightly more than 1 million per year, the foreign-born share of the American population is projected to increase to 14.9 percent by 2028 and reach 17.1 percent by 2060. 

With zero future immigration, however, the proportion foreign-born in 2060 would fall to 5 percent.

It is evident that the number of people wishing to immigrate to the U.S., estimated at more than 150 million, far exceeds the number the country can realistically accept. Consequently, choices will have to be made regarding how many should be admitted annually and who those individuals should be. 

The nation needs to effectively address unlawful immigration and border security. Thirty five years ago, Congress adopted the Immigration Reform and Control (IRCA) and with it an estimated 2.7 million individuals unlawfully resident in the country were granted legal status, the — largest in U.S. history. 

Today, the estimated number of people residing unlawfully in the country is four times the number when IRCA was adopted, approximately 11 million or almost a quarter of today’s U.S. foreign-born population. In addition, the immigration court’s backlog of cases is at a record high of 1.3 million, with delayed court hearing days.

IRCA also made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire or recruit any individual unauthorized to work in the U.S. and established a system for verifying the legal status of employees. That part of IRCA clearly failed to be implemented effectively. Today, nearly 8 million undocumented migrants are working in the country.

Several decades ago, Congress created the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and found that a substantial but well-regulated legal immigration is in the national interest, but illegal immigration is a threat to the nation’s long tradition of immigration and to its commitment to the rule of law. 

The chair of that commission, Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), succinctly described a fundamental principle for the desired immigration policy for the U.S., “Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”

The United States, like every other nation on the planet, needs to address immigration. In addition to its important demographic, economic, social and political effects, immigration also raises serious concerns and ethical questions, including those relating to human rights, poverty and development equity, environmental degradation and climate change.

Until the country adopts clear policies and implements effective programs, immigration will remain a crisis for the country and continue to be a divisive issue dividing Americans.

The new Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress have a unique opportunity to repair America’s broken immigration system, unite the country in dealing with immigration and increased diversity and continue having immigrants contribute to the advancement of American society.

Joseph Chamie is an independent consulting demographer, a former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues, including international migration, fertility, mortality, growth, gender and aging.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Biden to sign executive orders on climate, health care, immigration in first two weeks

 BY BRETT SAMUELS

President Biden is poised to take action on 53 executive items over the next 10 days as he seeks to rapidly reverse some Trump administration policies and implement his own, according to a document outlining the schedule for Biden’s first two weeks in office.

The document, which was circulated to individuals close to the administration and obtained by The Hill, shows that Biden will take executive action each weekday through the end of January, with each day centered around specific themes such as climate, economic relief, health care and immigration.

The timetable lays out which days Biden is expected to act on anticipated items such as reversing the Mexico City policy, creating a task force to reunite separated migrant families and establishing a policing commission.

The schedule notes that the specifics of certain executive actions are to be determined, reflecting how the Biden team is still hashing out details as it takes office following delays in the transition after the November election. The themes are expected to extend into February, which has been designated around the idea of “Restoring America’s Place in the World,” according to the document.

Spokespeople for the Biden White House did not respond to a request for comment.

This week, Wednesday’s theme is focused on the inauguration and addressing “four crises” —  the coronavirus pandemic, climate, the economy and equity. Among the items Biden will sign are an order mandating masks be worn on federal lands, an extension of eviction moratoriums, a repeal of Trump’s travel ban and a proclamation halting border wall construction.

Thursday’s theme will focus on the pandemic, according to the document. Biden is expected to sign off on executive orders to review the supply chain ahead of any use of the Defense Production Act and to implement public health measures on public transportation, airplanes and trains.

Friday’s theme is economic relief, with two executive orders expected to be signed, according to the document. One will direct agencies to take action on Medicaid, Pell grants and unemployment insurance, while the other will restore collective bargaining rights to federal employees and initiate a rollback of a Trump administration rule on Schedule F.

The theme for Monday is “Buy American,” and Biden will sign one executive order seeking to ensure agencies use U.S. suppliers.

The remainder of next week will be spent signing off on executive orders and reversing Trump-era moves surrounding equity (Jan. 26), climate (Jan. 27), health care (Jan. 28) and immigration (Jan. 29).

Biden on Jan. 26 will sign an order establishing a policing commission and reinstating Obama administration policies that regulate the transfer of military-style equipment to local police departments, a topic that gained renewed attention during racial injustice protests last summer.

Biden is expected to announce on Jan. 27 plans for a U.S.-hosted climate leaders summit to take place on April 22, and he will sign an order calling for "science and evidence based decision-making" across federal agencies.

He is scheduled to rescind the Mexico City policy that blocks the U.S. from giving federal funding to international groups that provide or promote abortion services on Jan. 28.

And on Jan. 29, the immigration themed day, Biden is expected to sign executive orders to direct a review of the public charge rule and create a task force to reunify families separated during the Trump administration.

February’s actions remain a work in progress, but the early days have been mapped out, and there is likely to be a strong focus on national security matters, according to the schedule reviewed by The Hill.

Biden on Feb. 1 is tentatively expected to sign an executive order aimed at workforce recruiting and retention. The following day, he will sign a “Forever Wars” executive order initiating a review of counterterrorism operations that also reinstates the policy of closing Guantanamo Bay prison, something neither of his predecessors managed to do.

Biden was sworn in on Wednesday morning outside the west front of the U.S. Capitol in a ceremony scaled back due to the pandemic. His inaugural speech included multiple pleas for unity amid deep tensions across the nation.

The new president and his top aides have made no secret of their plans to use executive powers to swiftly implement the Biden administration's agenda on a host of key issues, including climate, racial justice and the pandemic and to reverse key Trump administration policies on immigration and health care.

They have also projected optimism that there will be room to work with Congress on an economic relief package and an immigration bill, the latter of which Biden sent to lawmakers after being sworn in.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS

 BY REBECCA BEITSCH

Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS
© Reuters/Pool

Senators on Tuesday spent the last full day of the Trump administration vetting Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead a major turnaround at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A Cuban immigrant whose mother fled the Holocaust, Mayorkas has often said his family’s journey to America influences his drive for service in an agency with responsibilities for both securing the border and managing immigration.

If confirmed, he would come to the job with substantial experience in the department, having served as deputy DHS secretary during the Obama administration and the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

“The principles of homeland and security have been tremendously important in shaping my life. My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism, and to provide me with the security, opportunity, and pride that American citizenship brings to each of us," Mayorkas told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "I was raised to appreciate each day what this country has meant for our family, and the blessing it is to know it is our homeland."

Mayorkas appeared before senators on Tuesday along with a slate of officials tapped to head national security positions within the Biden administration, with lawmakers on other committees weighing the nominations of director for national intelligence pick Avril Haines, Tony Blinken to lead the State Department and retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to head up the Pentagon.

But his nomination has already hit a rocky path, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) placing a hold on it, arguing that Mayorkas “has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border.”

His hold could stall a nomination otherwise expected to advance once Democrats gain control of the Senate on Wednesday. Defeating the hold will require a 50-vote threshold cloture vote and eats up days of floor time, complicating the process.

Homeland Security is one of several agencies that has faced criticism in the days after the deadly riots at the Capitol, one of many factors that Biden and Democrats argue makes the DHS post a top priority.

“We've seen this department [in] turmoil over the last four years," said Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.).

“Ali Mayorkas will bring the kind of steady hand that this department needs,” Tester added, using a nickname as he introduced Mayorkas. “I would hope this committee would ... get him to the Senate floor so we can get confirmed. Because honestly, after the events on Jan. 6, we have no time to waste.”

Mayorkas vowed to protect the Capitol and deal with threats ranging from cyberattacks to the dangers of extremism and domestic terrorism, along with assisting with the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

“If I should have the honor of being confirmed, I will do everything I can to ensure that the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy, and the terror felt by you, your colleagues, staff, and everyone present, will not happen again,” he said.

Mayorkas would take over the reins at DHS after the department has churned through six leaders under the Trump administration and separated more than 600 immigrant children from their parents as they crossed the border. 

He has won accolades from Democrats for spearheading the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that allows children brought into the U.S. by their parents the chance to get a work visa.

Mayorkas has most recently worked at law firm WilmerHale and was previously a federal prosecutor before working his way up the ranks at DHS.

He has not embraced calls from the left to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency overseen by DHS that was accused of being too aggressive during the Trump years.

But Mayorkas said he would resist efforts to expand President Trump’s border wall and said he does not view a lack of opportunity as a reason for immigrant hopefuls to claim asylum.

“It's not a monolithic challenge, the border. The border is varied depending on the geography, depending on the specific venue, and depending on the conduct of individuals around it. We don't need, nor should we have a monolithic answer to that varied and diverse challenge,” he said, adding that he sees aid to other nations to improve their own economies as part of the U.S. strategy to address immigration.

But many Republicans in the hearing focused on a 2015 inspector general report that found that Mayorkas got involved in immigration cases with ties to Democrats.

The report concerns the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, which gives visas to those expected to make major investments in the U.S.

The report highlights three cases where Mayorkas intervened, each tied to high-ranking Democrats: a Las Vegas casino pushed by then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a film project tied to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), and an electric car company connected to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Anthony Rodham, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brother. The report notes investor visas tied to each project would have been unlikely to be approved without Mayorkas's involvement.

The inspector general report concluded that Mayorkas’s action gave the “appearance of favoritism and special access,” but that the then-USCIS leader’s decisions were “legitimately within his purview.” It also noted that Mayorkas declined to become involved in matters where he did not think his influence would be appropriate.

In response to questions from multiple Republican lawmakers, Mayorkas said on Tuesday that he stepped into a visa program that was “plagued by problems,” adding that it is the responsibility of leaders to step in and fix problems within their agency. 

“I fixed problems through the cases that the agency handled. The cases that you mentioned, the three cases that are cited in the inspector general's report, are three of hundreds and hundreds of cases that I became involved in at the request of senators and members of the House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle,” he said. 

The nearly 100-page inspector general report includes a roughly 30-page rebuttal by Mayorkas, outlining his rationale for involvement.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) asked Mayorkas if he had learned anything from the episode.

“Looking back on these circumstances, should you have not said ‘Because I had been called by a leading Democrat’ whether Gov. Rendell, or others of that nature, but in a circumstance like this ‘because of my political connection I should recuse myself and let others take that responsibility.’ Is that not the appropriate action to take when something has the very distinct appearance of political favoritism?” Romney asked Mayorkas.

Mayorkas credited the report with helping to establish better guardrails for involvement in such cases.

“I did, in fact, learn, senator, how to better guard against a perception, and I agree with you, 100 percent that it is our obligation to guard against that perception, so that there is trust and confidence in the decisionmaking of government leaders,” he replied.

Some Democrats pushed back on Republicans’ focus on the report. 

“To allow these unfounded allegations to cloud @AliMayorkas' unblemished career in public service — at a time when the Department so critically needs a qualified and capable leader — is irresponsible at best, and dangerous at worst,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said of his Republican colleagues on Twitter.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

RELEASE - President Appoints Lauren McFerran NLRB Chairman

 Washington DC – January 21, 2021 – President Joseph R. Biden has named Board Member Lauren McFerran Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board.

“It is a tremendous honor to assume the Chairmanship of the NLRB,” McFerran said. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue serving with our extraordinary agency staff in this new capacity. In these turbulent times for working people, the mission of the Board and the rights we protect are more important than ever. I look forward to this new chapter in the Board’s work, redoubling our efforts to serve the Act’s goals -- ‘encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and . . . protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association.’”

McFerran served as a Member of the NLRB from December 17, 2014 until December 16, 2019. On July 29, 2020, the Senate confirmed her renomination as a Board Member for a term expiring on December 16, 2024.

The NLRB also consists of Member John F. Ring (previously NLRB Chairman), whose term expires on December 16, 2022; Member Marvin E. Kaplan, whose term expires on August 22, 2025; and Member William J. Emanuel, whose term expires on August 27, 2021. One Board member seat is currently vacant.

Prior to her appointment to the NLRB, Ms. McFerran served as Chief Labor Counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP Committee) and also previously served the Committee as Deputy Staff Director under Senator Tom Harkin. She began working on the HELP Committee as Senior Labor Counsel for Senator Ted Kennedy. Before her work in the United States Senate, Ms. McFerran was an associate at Bredhoff & Kaiser, P.L.L.C. and served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Ms. McFerran received a B.A. from Rice University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.


For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com/

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hawley delays quick confirmation of Biden's DHS nominee

 BY REBECCA BEITSCH

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced on Tuesday he would place a hold on Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Hawley, who has come under fire recently amid allegations that he played a role in the Capitol riot early this month, made the announcement just hours after the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrapped its hearing with Mayorkas. The move delays the nomination of a post Democrats have argued is critical to fill immediately to protect national security.

“Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said in a statement.

“Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered," he added.

Hawley’s opposition comes as Biden and Democrats argue the attacks on the Capitol make the post a top priority. Hawley was the first senator to announce he would vote against certification of the 2020 election results.

His hold could stall a nomination otherwise expected to advance once Democrats gain control of the Senate on Wednesday. Defeating the hold will require a 50 vote threshold cloture vote and eats up days of floor time, complicating the process.

Mayorkas, who previously served as the deputy secretary of DHS under the Obama administration, did not earn any Republican votes when he was confirmed in 2013.

"We are facing unprecedented challenges and threats to our national security, and our country urgently need a confirmed Secretary of Homeland Security in place on day one to protect the American people. Alejandro Mayorkas is one of the most knowledgeable homeland security experts in the country," Biden transition spokesman Sean Savett said in a statement to The Hill.

"The Senate held swift confirmation votes for the DHS Secretary nominee in 2009 and 2017 in order for them to start on day one for good reason. Senator Hawley's threat to disrupt historical practice and try to leave this vital position vacant is dangerous, especially in this time of overlapping crises when there is not a moment to waste."

Hawley’s opposition stems from an exchange where the lawmaker asked Mayorkas if he would obligate $1.4 billion in funds set aside for Trump’s border wall.

“If I may strike at the fundamental point that I believe you were inquiring of, which is will I follow the law and the execution of my responsibilities should I have the privilege of serving as the Secretary of Homeland Security. And the answer is yes I will follow the law. And what I would need to do is to understand what the law provides with respect to the obligation of funds to construct a border wall, and then see what the opportunities are to discontinue any such obligations,” Mayorkas said.

Hawley then thanked Mayorkas for getting “right to the nub” of his question.

He also asked Mayorkas about Biden’s plans to give legal status to 11 million people residing in the U.S., something Hawley said concerned him “especially in this time of severe economic distress that has fallen disproportionately on working class Americans.”

Mayorkas called the move a “path to citizenship for the individuals who have been in this country for many years, who have contributed to our communities, and to this nation's economic prosperity."

"I would be privileged to work with Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that provides that path, and provides a permanent solution to what is clearly a broken system,” he added. 

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

White House approves deferred deportations for Venezuelans

 BY TAL AXELROD

White House approves deferred deportations for Venezuelans
© Getty Images

The White House approved the deferral of deportations for some Venezuelans in an 11th hour decision before President Trump leaves office. 

The White House said in a memo released Tuesday that it is approving Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuelans. Recipients of the deferral will be able to live and work in the U.S., similar to those protected under a temporary protected status (TPS).

The memo hammered the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, accusing its corruption of producing “the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere in recent memory.”

“A catastrophic economic crisis and shortages of basic goods and medicine have forced about five million Venezuelans to flee the country, often under dangerous conditions,” the White House wrote in the memo. 

“The deteriorative condition within Venezuela, which presents an ongoing national security threat to the safety and well-being of the American people, warrants the deferral of the removal of Venezuelan nationals who are present in the United States.” 

The new policy is a final swipe against the Maduro regime from the White House, which has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president since 2019 following a 2018 presidential race that Maduro won but observers say was rife was fraud.

Maduro appeared to be only narrowly holding onto power after the election as an alarming humanitarian crisis, fueled by food and medicine shortages, worsened even further, and Western nations rallied around Guaidó. However, he was ultimately able to hold onto the presidency as enthusiasm among the opposition faded and international attention was focused elsewhere.

The new policy defers deportations for “any national of Venezuela, or alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela, who is present in the United States as of January 20, 2021.”

Those not protected under the program include Venezuelans who have “voluntarily returned to Venezuela or their country of last habitual residence outside the United States;” have not continuously lived in the U.S.; have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors; are subject to extradition; the secretary of Homeland Security “has determined is not in the interest of the United States or presents a danger to public safety;” the secretary of State “has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.”

The move was met with applause from some Republican lawmakers who have long touted the need for the U.S. to take a stand against socialist dictatorships like Venezuela.

“We have a fundamental obligation to provide safe-haven for those fleeing tyranny and oppression. This act of solidarity provides our Venezuelan exile community with much-needed assurance during these unprecedented times,” said Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.). “I will never stop fighting for this just cause until Venezuela is freed from the murderous, socialist Maduro regime and is once again a vibrant, prosperous democracy that respects the rule of law.”

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Biden to send Congress immigration reform bill after being sworn in

 BY BRETT SAMUELS

Biden to send Congress immigration reform bill after being sworn in
© Getty

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday will send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress shortly after being sworn in to office, proposing overhauls to key parts of the country's system that would include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and other groups.

The proposed legislation, titled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, provides a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, includes additional funding for technology along the border, and aims to address the root causes of migration in Central America, where migrants have fled by the thousands to the U.S. in recent years.

"The American public know their immigration is not working the way it should be, and we need a complete overhaul that both protects the American people but is also consistent with our values, and that’s what the president-elect intends to do with this legislation," an incoming White House official told reporters in a call detailing the package.

If passed, the legislation would create an immediate pathway to green cards for certain individuals, including beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, known as Dreamers. Those individuals could then apply for citizenship three years after getting a green card.

Others who do not fall into that category would be eligible for a pathway to citizenship over the course of eight years.

The bill would also seek to overhaul aspects of the legal immigration system. It would expand certain visa programs, such as providing dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization and preventing children from aging out of the system.

Other parts of the bill would target investments in border security and foreign aid intended to slow the flow of migrants toward the U.S.

The Biden proposal would codify plans to spend $4 billion over four years to address corruption, poverty and other issues in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that have forced citizens there to seek refuge elsewhere.

Biden, who plans to halt construction of Trump's wall along the southern border upon taking office, would also authorize funding for plans to improve infrastructure at ports of entry and approve allocating additional funding for screening technology.

The bill marks the first big legislative swing of the Biden presidency, and it's unclear whether it will garner bipartisan support. Trump was never able to muster support for a comprehensive immigration package, instead mostly implementing his agenda via executive action.

Republicans have already expressed skepticism about providing a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country without documentation, which is often referred to as amnesty.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) prevented Biden's nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security from getting a quick confirmation vote, arguing Alejandro Mayorkas "declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system."

There are some immigration-related policies Biden will implement without Congress. 

Biden on Wednesday is expected to revoke the emergency proclamation that sped construction of a wall along the border with Mexico. He will also reinstate normal visa processing practices with 13 countries, many with Muslim-majority populations, in a reversal of Trump's travel ban.

Biden is separately expected to take executive action solidifying DACA and TPS after both have come under legal scrutiny, though officials did not elaborate on what those orders would look like.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Census Bureau director stepping down after outcry over immigrant count

 By ZACH MONTELLARO

Steven Dillingham, the director of the Census Bureau, is stepping down from his post on Wednesday following calls for his resignation from key Democratic lawmakers.

“Effective January 20, 2021, I will be retiring from my position as director of the U.S. Census Bureau,” Dillingham said in a letter sent to Census Bureau staff, which was published by the bureau. “I have a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart for all you have done for our Nation.”

Dillingham, who was appointed to lead the agency by President Donald Trump in early 2019 and confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate, was not set to leave the post until the end of this year.

Pressure has been mounting on Dillingham and the bureau, following the Commerce Department Office of Inspector General’s sending a memo last week alleging that he was pressuring bureau employees to rush a technical data report on the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country. After the OIG memo was made public, Dillingham said in a letter that he ordered those involved to “stand down” on that technical report.

Several key Democratic lawmakers told POLITICO last week that Dillingham should resign, or be removed from his post by President-elect Joe Biden, following the OIG report. Talking Points Memo first reported Dillingham’s resignation on Monday.

Biden’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Dillingham’s resignation.

In a blog post accompanying his resignation, Dillingham said he had “received requests to continue serving during and after the transition, including from a President-Elect Biden transition official,” but he did not give a timetable for when those requests were made.

He praised the work of employees of the bureau and highlighted his long career of government service. He also said that Biden “understands the important role of statistical agencies and I am confident that he will select talented leadership for the Census Bureau, as evidenced by the strong and experienced leadership team he supports for the Department of Commerce.”

Ron Jarmin, a career civil servant and deputy director of the bureau, would serve as acting director in the interim, once Dillingham resigns and until a new director is named and approved by the Senate. He previously served as acting director for about a year and a half, before Dillingham was appointed, and has been at the bureau since 1992.

The soon-to-be-former director also wrote that the whistleblower concerns relayed in the Commerce OIG memo “appear to be misunderstandings regarding the planned process for the review and potential postings of data, and the agreed upon need to apply data quality standards.”

The now-scrapped technical report was related to an executive order Trump issued in July 2019 that sought to obtain citizenship data through government records, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration could not include a citizenship question on the decennial count.

Separately, Trump issued a memorandum a year later that sought to exclude certain undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count, which determines the number of House seats and Electoral College votes each state gets. In December, the Supreme Court punted on ruling on a challenge to the memorandum, saying it was not ripe for review.

Historically, undocumented immigrants are included in the count, and Biden has said he opposed Trump’s efforts to exclude them, almost assuredly spelling the end for Trump’s plans.

Apportionment data was due by statute on Dec. 31, 2020, but the pandemic scrambled the agency’s schedule. The agency initially pleaded with Congress in the summer of 2020 to grant an extension for various deadlines. Congress never did, and the agency did an about-face on its request in August 2020, saying it would push to deliver data by the end of 2020.

Experts both inside and outside the agency feared that rushing to deliver the data — and the president’s memorandum to exclude undocumented immigrants — was a politically motivated attempt by the Trump administration to skew numbers that could ultimately benefit Republicans.

The Census Bureau announced over the weekend that no apportionment data — or data on the undocumented immigrant population — would be published “prior to the change of Administration on January 20,” in an agreement in a lawsuit brought by the National Urban League and other plaintiffs about the accuracy of the count.

Earlier in the week, Justice Department lawyers representing the bureau in that case said that apportionment data would probably not be available until early March. In the agreement, the government stated that the apportionment data “will not be in position to finalize or provide apportionment data until many weeks after January 20.”

Tyler Pager and Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.


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