About Me

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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


Thursday, July 31, 2014

California Gov. Jerry Brown Highlights Immigration, Economy in Mexico Trip

Wall Street Journal
By Alejandro Lazo
July 30, 2014

MEXICO CITY—California Gov. Jerry Brown ended a three-day visit to Mexico City Wednesday, capping a trip in which he drew attention to Mexico's economic changes as well as the plight of unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S.

Mr. Brown's visit to Mexico, his state's biggest export market, achieved few concrete accords, but it was long on ceremony, meetings and signings of memorandums of understanding. The governor, meanwhile, spoke with several Mexican officials including President Enrique Peña Nieto, who met privately with the 76-year-old Democrat.

The governor's trip was subsidized by California businesses eager to expand in rapidly privatizing Mexico, as well as lobbyists, activists and other state capital insiders.

With an international stage and heavy coverage from the Mexican press, Mr. Brown, seeking a fourth term this fall, seized the opportunity to declaim on a variety of issues, including climate change, immigration policy, wait-times at the San Diego-Tijuana border and the shortcomings of online education offerings.

The governor's sojourn south came as Mexico rapidly implements changes to its economy pushed by Mr. Nieto, including the opening of the country's oil and gas sectors and new laws seeking to loosen up the fixed-line and mobile telecommunications sectors.

Mr. Brown warned of his state's own issues with deregulating the energy market. Those warnings made headlines in Mexico, leading Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal to try to reassure Mr. Brown at a closing ceremony.

"After the good job the legislators have done on that, the regulatory framework will follow along those lines to protect the national interest," he said at a breakfast banquet for Mr. Brown at the Club de Industriales, a high-rise sanctuary in Mexico City for elite business and political interests.

While the trip was ostensibly focused on trade, immigration policy and climate change were the two subjects Mr. Brown addressed most often and most passionately, speaking in detail on the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border and linking the two topics at an event Monday.

"We can see how some are fearful of children walking across the border," Mr. Brown said at the signing of a voluntary climate-change agreement with Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. "What will they think when millions of people are driven north from the parched landscapes of a world degraded by intensifying climate change?"

Mr. Brown described California's relationship with Mexico as older than the one his state has with the "government in Washington." After convening a Tuesday meeting with Catholic bishops from Los Angeles, Mexico and Guatemala, Mr. Brown pledged to do "whatever can be done by a mere governor" to aid the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America at the border.

"Certainly, I'd do everything I could to make sure California will do its part to shelter any young children that are in need of protection," Mr. Brown said. "I certainly support additional shelters to deal with the particular immediate challenge we have."

Jessica A. Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who focuses on law and politics, called the trip largely "symbolic," but still significant given California's size and importance in the U.S.

"Symbolism matters in politics," she said. "[Gov. Brown] is very clearly staking out a position on the immigration debate and the fact that he went to Mexico at this time and signed all of these agreements is significant."

Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, said that Mr. Brown's comments in Mexico weren't enough, and, as the governor of the state with the nation's largest immigrant population, he needed to go to Washington and "offer a middle-of-the-road solution to unraveling the knot that is immigration reform."

Throughout his trip, Mr. Brown seemed to relish his tightly packed schedule, which was condensed further by the addition of last-minute meetings with President Nieto and the bishops. Mr. Brown also seemed to enjoy taking light jabs at Republicans, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, chiding his decision to send National Guard troops to the Texas border and describing his relationship with House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy as one "that probably needs further development."

He even ribbed the fancy trappings and accommodations provided by the California Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the trip.

"This is the glitziest thing I've ever seen," he said on his first night in Mexico. "But this is the way Republicans live, so let's enjoy it."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

States Hit Snags Issuing Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

Wall Street Journal
By Dan Frosch
July 30, 2014

DENVER—A law granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants is set to take effect Friday in Colorado, but the state is facing challenges as it seeks to handle a wave of applicants.

Other states with large immigrant populations, such as California and Illinois, also are dealing with complications and high demands as they implement similar laws.

In Colorado, the motor-vehicle division's scheduling website was overwhelmed in early July after it started setting up appointments for undocumented immigrants, and shut down several times.

There is a three-month wait to get an appointment with the Driver Services Department in Illinois, which began issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants last December, as tens of thousands of people have tried to apply.

And an estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in California are expected to seek special driver's licenses beginning in January. Officials have been working on a new document design since the federal government rejected the state's initial effort because it was too similar to a traditional driver's license.

Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have laws permitting undocumented immigrants to get some sort of special driver's license or permit, said the National Conference of State Legislatures. Individuals who can't show that they are in the U.S. lawfully typically are required to provide proof of state residency, tax returns or other identification to qualify for licenses. But in larger, more populous states, where substantial numbers of immigrants may be eligible, the new regulations are proving tricky to roll out.

In Colorado, the state is only offering appointments to apply for the licenses at five of 37 motor vehicle division offices. While immigrant advocates praised the new law, they raised concerns that some living in rural areas would have to drive hours to reach the nearest office.

"Some people are frustrated because they don't understand why the state government would want them to drive without a license over highways and mountain passes, essentially endangering themselves and other people if there were an accident," said Nicole Mosher, executive director of Compañeros, which provides resources to immigrants in southwestern Colorado.

Daria Serna, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the licensing program, said lawmakers had intended it to be funded through license fees. Department officials said Wednesday they couldn't expand the resources it has devoted to the program without potentially raising the costs for applicants.

"Some people maybe expected us to license everyone in the first 30 days," she said. "If we need to go back and ask for more resources, then we will do that."

Illinois officials and immigrant advocates said they were encouraged by the huge interest in the licenses in that state, though it caused a lengthy lag time.

"We are encouraging people to be patient," said Dave Druker a spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

California's motor vehicle department has held four public hearings in recent weeks in Los Angeles and Oakland as it prepares to complete its licensing regulations. Immigrant rights groups were urging state officials to expand the list of identifying documents that could be submitted by applicants.

State officials said they were continuing to work with the Department of Homeland Security to devise a license design that was distinguishable from its regular license in accordance with a federal law known as the Real ID Act.

Corrections & Amplifications

Colorado's the state motor vehicle division's scheduling website was overwhelmed with traffic in early July. An earlier version of this article reported it was overwhelmed in early June.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Senate Opens Debate on Bill to Halt Surge of Migrants

New York Times
By Ashley Parker
July 30, 2014

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats opened debate Wednesday on an emergency measure to help stem the flood of young migrants from Central America, though they still face two uphill votes — another procedural, and one of final passage — before they can head home for the five-week August recess having passed legislation to address the crisis at the southern border.

The first procedural measure passed 63 to 33, with 11 Republicans joining their Democratic counterparts in favor of opening debate, and two Democrats locked in competitive 2014 races — Senators Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana — opposing it.

The legislation, however, is unlikely to pass the Senate before the coming break, with many of the Republicans who voted to advance the bill threatening to ultimately vote against it if they are not allowed to offer amendments for additional changes.

The Republican-controlled House is also struggling to muster the votes to pass its own border legislation.

In a sign of the resistance Speaker John A. Boehner and his team are facing, the leadership is now planning to allow two votes on Thursday — one on the emergency funding bill itself, and, only if it passes, another to prevent President Obama from offering protected status to additional immigrants who came here illegally as children, under a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

And even if both chambers do manage to push through their bills, the two sides are not expected to reach a compromise before the August recess.

The Democratic proposal, which also includes money to combat wildfires in Western states and for Israel’s missile defense system known as Iron Dome, would allocate $2.7 billion toward what both President Obama and congressional lawmakers have called an urgent humanitarian crisis.

The amount falls short of the $3.7 billion in emergency funds the president originally requested, but it is far more than the $659 million House Republicans are proposing in their alternative.

The crucial part of the House plan would change a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, to make it easier to more quickly return the Central American migrant children to their home countries.

On Wednesday, the White House issued a veto threat against the House legislation, saying the bill would “undercut due process for vulnerable children, which could result in their removal to life-threatening situations in foreign countries.”

The Senate Democratic plan does not make any changes to the 2008 law, with Democrats in both the House and the Senate almost unanimously opposed to any change to it, saying that could hurt the young migrants fleeing violence in their home countries.

Mr. Boehner is facing an assault on multiple fronts in his attempt to hold his fragile coalition together. Some Senate Democrats are threatening to use any border bill the House sends them as a vehicle to enter into House-Senate negotiations over the broader bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in June 2013, which includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants already in the country.

Even though the Senate Democrats almost certainly do not have the votes to execute such a maneuver, the mere suggestion could rattle House Republicans. “We have a president that’s already said that he’s going to go out and make the problem even worse by granting amnesty to even more people, unlawfully,” said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, met Wednesday evening with as many as two-dozen House Republicans to discuss the matter. Mr. Cruz has made no secret of his opposition to the House bill, which does not include any changes to the president’s 2012 executive action allowing young immigrants brought to the country as children — known as “Dreamers” — to remain here without threat of deportation, under the deferred action program.

If Mr. Cruz is able to persuade enough House Republicans not to support their own bill without further changes, the House could fail to pass any legislation before the break.

“People were not happy with the bill that the House leadership has,” said Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota. “There wasn’t any support in the room.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

What Happens If the Border Funding Bill Fails?

Wall Street Journal
By Laura Meckler and Kristina Peterson
July 30, 2014

When the White House wants Congress to pass legislation, it normally talks about all the bad things that will happen if Congress doesn’t act.  But with efforts failing to pass an emergency spending bill to address the surge in child migration, the administration was unable to point to specific consequences.

Asked this week what the practical effect of the failure would be, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest referred reporters to individual agencies. “We are hopeful that Congress will take the kind of action that is required,” he said.

So what did those agencies have to say?

The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for caring for children in shelters while they work to place them with sponsors in the U.S., where they will await immigration hearings. An HHS spokesman said that without the funding—and without “extraordinary measures”—HHS would be “unable to set up more stable, cost-effective arrangements for these children.” But it did not say that the agency would be unable to care for children.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will run out of money in mid-August and the Customs and Border Protection service will run out in mid-September, forcing DHS to divert money from elsewhere in the department. But it, too, did not cite any particular consequences.

This may be partly because the number of children apprehended at the border has fallen dramatically from its peak in June. For instance, senior administration officials said last week that HHS no longer has an urgent need to open new shelters, which was one of the major funding requests.

On Wednesday, the outlook for a resolution in Congress remained poor. In the Senate, a $2.7 billion Democratic bill cleared an early procedural hurdle on a 63-33 vote, but it is likely to be blocked by Republicans later this week.

The House is expected to pass its own border bill on Thursday, but Congress is unlikely to reach any agreement before lawmakers depart this week for their five-week August recess. Senate Democrats have not indicated they are considering any other options this week for dealing with the border crisis.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Mexico, Gov. Brown Has Plenty to Say About Immigration Crisis

Los Angeles Times (California)
By Chris Megerian
July 29, 2014

Tuesday morning Gov. Jerry Brown was sitting in the second row of an armored, dark-blue sport utility vehicle as it hurtled toward the next stop of his four-day trade mission.

He was clutching a paper cup of coffee that overflowed onto his hand and dripped onto his pants as the SUV struck pothole after pothole.

“This is tricky,” he said. A few minutes later, he pulled off the lid and gulped down the coffee in an attempt to prevent further damage.

Later on Tuesday, Brown will attempt to navigate the most controversial topic of his trip -- what to do about Central American migrants traveling north across the border from Mexico to the United States. Until arriving in Mexico on Sunday, Brown had said little about the topic.

But while in Mexico, it's something he's brought up at almost every turn, emphasizing the need to reunite children with their families and criticizing U.S. politicians who have used the topic for leverage against President Obama.

Asked during an interview with the Los Angeles Times why, until now, he’s been more reserved than politicians like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Brown said, “I’m not running for president this time.”

Besides, he said, “most of what’s being said isn’t really being very illuminating anyway.”

Brown said his quieter approach has been appreciated by the Obama administration. Valerie Jarrett, one of the president’s closest advisors, called him from Air Force One while Obama was in Los Angeles recently to say “she appreciated what I’ve said.”

“I’m not using the issue to bash the Obama administration,” he said.

Brown said he would talk more about the topic after a Tuesday afternoon meeting with the Los Angeles archbishop and other religious leaders from Central America.

“What is missing is the witness of the church,” said Brown, who once studied to become a Jesuit priest. “There’s a uniquely authoritative voice there that could be very helpful, more than another politician.”

Nonetheless, Brown has brought up immigration at nearly every event since arriving in Mexico on Sunday, sometimes in surprising ways.

On Monday, before he signed an agreement on addressing climate change, he warned of mass migrations if rising temperatures make some areas too difficult to live.

“We can see how some are fearful of children walking across the border,” he said. “What will they think when millions of people are driven north from the parched landscape of a world degraded by intensifying climate change?”

Later in the day, during an event to market California as a tourist destination, Brown said the state wanted more Mexican visitors.

“Some people are trying to keep them out,” Brown said. “And here we are, on the side of bringing more people in.”

Mexican politicians have welcomed Brown’s stance, including the country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who met privately with the governor on Monday.

“He was thankful that the tone and tenor of California is inclusive,” said Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who also attended the meeting.

Brown has signed multiple pieces of legislation making the state more welcoming to immigrants who crossed the country illegally, including allowing them to obtain driver's licenses. Another bill limited the situations in which arrests by local law enforcement can trigger deportation proceedings.

Brown said the new laws were a logical outgrowth of the rising political power of Latinos in California.

"There has been a sea change based on a demographic and historic change," he said. "It's not any particular virtue that has been developed by politicians."

The governor hasn’t always been as welcoming to migrants in California. At the end of the Vietnam War he resisted attempts to settle Vietnamese refugees in the state.

“We were in a high period of unemployment, and there was a lot of concerns about, what is the federal government doing about that?” he said.

“As it turns out the Vietnamese have been very solid contributors to the well-being of the state,” Brown said. “It’s another example of how societies can absorb people.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Obama Weighs Fewer Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Living in U.S.

Wall Street Journal
By Laura Meckler
July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON—For months, President Barack Obama said there were limits to his power to protect people living illegally in the U.S. from deportation. Now, he is considering broad action to scale back deportations that could include work permits for millions of people, according to lawmakers and immigration advocates who have consulted with the White House.

The shift in White House thinking came after House Republicans said they wouldn't take up immigration legislation, which Mr. Obama and advocates for immigrants had hoped would create a path to citizenship for many in the U.S. illegally.

Mr. Obama already has offered work permits and safe harbor from deportation to so-called Dreamers—about 500,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The new action could expand those protections to their parents or to other sets of illegal immigrants.

Such a move would please many Hispanic Americans and immigrant-rights advocates, who have pressed Mr. Obama to use executive authority to protect illegal immigrants with roots in the U.S. But it certainly would anger Republicans, who say Mr. Obama already has overstepped his authority by expanding protections from deportation.

"Such unlawful and unconstitutional action, if taken, cannot stand," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) said on the Senate floor this week.

An announcement is expected soon after Labor Day, an administration official said. The White House said Tuesday that no decisions on new deportation policy had been made.

The matter is being debated as the administration also responds to a surge in Central American children crossing the U.S. border. In that case, Mr. Obama has taken a tough stance, saying that everyone who doesn't meet narrow legal criteria to stay will be deported.

The border crisis doesn't appear to be dissuading Mr. Obama from considering policy changes to offer a measure of safe harbor for at least some of the 11 million people already settled illegally in the U.S. After legislation died in Congress that would grant many of them a route to citizenship, he said he would "fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."

Last month, Mr. Obama told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus he was prepared to take significant executive action, said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.). The lawmaker said Mr. Obama suggested he would offer safe harbor from deportation to certain illegal immigrants with roots in their communities and family ties to U.S. citizens.

One option under consideration would expand the program that offers work permits and protection from deportation to many young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

In a series of meetings with immigration advocates, faith leaders and experts, senior White House officials have asked how the administration might structure an expansion of that program, such as who might be included, participants said. The meetings have been run by White House Counsel Neil Eggleston and Cecilia Munoz, who heads the White House Domestic Policy Council.

One possibility under discussion is to protect people with children who are U.S. citizens, participants said. That group numbers about 4.4 million, according to the research group National Foundation for American Policy.

Another option is to include parents of existing participants in the deferred-action program, a group estimated to range from 550,000 to 1.1 million. Other options include defining the group based on length of U.S. residence or employment status.

Participants said administration officials have also asked about an alternative approach to protecting people called "parole in place," which has a different legal foundation but also could allow the government to issue work permits to illegal immigrants.

"It was clear the administration is really, finally looking at providing a temporary solution to the 11 million that are here," said one participant, Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. Laura Murphy, who heads the ACLU's Washington legislative office, said she came out of her meeting sure that the administration is considering significant action to help undocumented residents.

The White House is currently debating the limits of its legal authority, knowing its actions could be challenged in court by opponents.

In the spring, Mr. Obama announced an administrative review of deportation policy, and for months, administration officials signaled the results would be modest, partly to keep the pressure on Congress to enact a permanent fix.

The ideas discussed then are still under consideration, officials said. Those included making it clear that people with immigration violations but not criminal records aren't priorities for deportation, and changes to the controversial Secure Communities program, which uses local law-enforcement agencies to identify and hold people in the U.S. illegally.

In the past, Mr. Obama suggested he didn't have the power to do more. At an event last fall, a heckler yelled that he had the power to stop deportations. He replied, "Actually, I don't. If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we're also a nation of laws."

The change in heart also comes after significant pressure from immigration activists, who have branded Mr. Obama the "deporter in chief" for record deportations under his administration. That continues on Thursday, when faith leaders will protest outside the White House, and then on Saturday, with a march from the National Mall to the White House sponsored by the #Not1More campaign.

Marisa Franco, who is helping to organize the march for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said her group was pushing for safe harbor for an even larger group—some 8 million people who would be eligible for legal status under legislation passed by the Senate. "The only question left is the scope of the change the president will make and whether it will be the fullest of what people deserve," she said.

Activists pressured Mr. Obama in 2012 to offer safe harbor to young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The White House at first said it had no power to do so, and then changed its mind.

One person familiar with the internal discussions said shifts like this come about because policy makers are initially told by White House lawyers that a particular executive action is "challenging and hard." That was the case with the deferred-action program for some children. When policy aides later pushed and ask for a full vetting by the lawyers, the lawyers then concluded the action was "aggressive" but permissible under the law, this person said.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Immigrant Mothers Released From Holding Centers, but With Ankle Monitors

New York Times
By Julie Turkewitz
July 29, 2014

Carmen Garcia recently recounted the events of her family’s journey from El Salvador to the United States: assaults, robberies, abandonment by smugglers.

And then she and her 12-year-old son were taken into custody by federal officers in South Texas. After Ms. Garcia and her son spent a night on the floor of a holding facility, the authorities released them and allowed them to reunite with another son in New York as long as they showed up at a local immigration office.

The two reported as instructed this month to a building in Manhattan where a tracking device was affixed to Ms. Garcia’s ankle, a measure meant to ensure that she would not disappear as she and her son face deportation proceedings.

“I asked, ‘Why are you putting this on?’ ” said Ms. Garcia, 40. “We’re not assassins. We’re not thieves. We’ve come to save our lives.”

Ms. Garcia is one of more than 55,000 adults traveling with minors, mostly mothers with children, who have been picked up along the Southwest border from October through June, up from 9,350 during the same period the year before. The federal government, however, has fewer than 800 spaces to detain families.

As a result, the White House has said that it will expand alternatives to detention, including the use of electronic ankle monitors, a decision that has set off a debate — part of a larger national discussion about whether these immigrants should be treated as lawbreakers or refugees.

Both the government and advocates for immigrants generally agree that the monitors save money, are a humane alternative to custody and in some cases are necessary to compel an immigrant to appear in court.

But advocates and federal officials differ on how often the tracking monitors should be used. Officials say they are necessary because it is often difficult to determine whether a person is a flight risk or has a criminal history in their native country. Advocates say they stigmatize many immigrants fleeing violence, most of whom have a strong incentive to appear at immigration proceedings because they are seeking asylum.

“In no way could you refer to this population as hardened criminal offenders,” said Michelle Brané, director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an advocacy group based in New York. “They are mothers with very young children who are fleeing for their lives.”

Ankle monitors have been part of the government’s arsenal as far back as 2004 to try to ensure that immigrants appear in court. Immigration and Customs Enforcement oversees the ankle bracelet program, but contracts with a private company, BI Inc., to administer it.

By early July, the company was tracking 7,440 immigrants wearing bracelets, a slight increase from 7,297 the year before. A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Vincent Picard, said that it was “reasonable to assume” that the use of the devices would grow as more migrants are apprehended at the border.

The monitors use global positioning technology and are applied to people 18 or older, immigration officials said. Pregnant women are also excluded.

The bracelets are part of a larger tracking program that also includes telephone reporting and unannounced home visits. The program, which is aimed at people facing deportation, currently monitors about 24,000 people.

The cost of enrolling a person in the program is about $4.50 a day, according to immigration officials, compared with about $120 for detention. And nearly 100 percent of enrollees appeared for their court dates this fiscal year.

But the use of ankle bracelets has also been called uneven. A review of the program published by the Rutgers-Newark School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic and the American Friends Service Committee in 2012 concluded that it was plagued by “overuse, and an inconsistent application,” leading to “a physical, psychological, and an economic toll on the program participants.”

Immigration officials said the electronic monitors are applied only after careful screening to assess if they are necessary to compel a person to appear in court. In most cases, they said, migrants who prove that they will show up in court will eventually have their bracelets removed.

While the surge of unaccompanied children entering the country has set off a national debate, the soaring number of detained families is also posing a challenge to the federal government.

Two centers, one in Pennsylvania and another in New Mexico, have space for fewer than 800 detainees, though the government has plans to open a third center in Texas with room for about 500 people.

Ms. Garcia said that she was not told why she had to wear the bracelet. She had lived in the United States from 1989 to 1998, but had never been arrested or deported, she said.

Her ankle monitor — about the size and shape of a generous half-sandwich — must be plugged into the wall for at least two hours each day to be recharged.

If she crosses state lines it will emit a continuous beep and deliver a message telling her to turn back to her allowed zone, a federal immigration official said.

In a bedroom at a friend’s home in Queens, Ms. Garcia sat with her leg tethered to a wall socket. She and her son Alexander fled El Salvador after she witnessed the murder of her nephew, she said, adding that the killers had threatened their lives.

Their journey lasted more than a year — Ms. Garcia worked along the way — and the only item that remains from their trek is a coffee-colored brassiere, which she called her “reliquia,” a sacred vestige from her past.

She said her bracelet was hot, itchy and unnecessary to ensure that she appears in court.

But some immigrants choose instead to view the monitors as a small price to pay to be allowed to remain free.

Patricia Meza, 31, said she had owned an Internet cafe in El Salvador. After a gang demanded that she pay $500 a month as a form of tax, she closed the business, traveling through Mexico on the top of a train with her two daughters, one of them 10 years old and the other 10 months.

After being caught near the border, they spent two nights in federal custody in Texas. Then they were allowed to stay with Ms. Meza’s mother in New York, as long as they appeared at a Manhattan immigration office.

Leaving her appointment not long ago with a tracking device strapped to her leg, Ms. Meza hugged her daughters and sipped a soda offered by a friend. “It’s just part of the process,” she said. “My life begins from here.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

House Unveils Bill to Speed Deportations of Illegal Immigrant Children

Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan
July 29, 2014

House Republicans will force a vote this week on legislation to change the 2008 law and allow illegal immigrant children from Central America to be more quickly deported, and overturning environmental policies that prevent Border patrol agents from conducting robust enforcement on federal lands.

The $659 million bill, unveiled Tuesday, would give the Obama administration enough money to house the illegal immigrant children and families surging across the southwest border through the end of September — but it’s far short of the $4 billion President Obama asked for.

And the legislation goes beyond spending to include changes to the 2008 law, as well as a prohibition on storing the children on military bases unless certain conditions are met, and prohibiting those with drug-related convictions on their records from applying for asylum.

The legislation amounts to a short-term leash for Mr. Obama, with strings attached.

“This border problem has been exacerbated by the president’s current immigration policies, and it will be up to the White House to take the lead in reversing the flow of illegal immigrants into our country,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Kentucky Republican. “The funding included in the bill today will provide the tools necessary for our agency personnel to ensure immediate needs are met, but the administration must implement changes to their border policies and fully enforce existing immigration law if we are to adequately address this crisis.”

The key legal change included in the bill is to make illegal immigrant children from Central America subject to the same treatment as those from Mexico. That means they can be quickly screened and deported, rather than having to be turned over to social workers and housed in the U.S., often times for years, as their cases go through immigration courts.

Republicans also insisted on changes to environmental policy so that border agents can pursue illegal immigrants and patrol federal lands without having to worry about running afoul of other laws designed to protect the environment. Those laws have at times prevented agents from building watchtowers or driving certain areas of the border, agents say.

The Senate will hold its first test-vote Wednesday on a much more expensive bill that doesn’t include any changes in policy, but grants the Obama administration billions of dollars to continue housing the children and families.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

House G.O.P. Plan on Border Crisis Is Well Short of What Obama Seeks

New York Times
By Ashley Parker
July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their plan to stem the surge of undocumented child migrants from Central America at the southern border, proposing to spend $659 million — well short of the $3.7 billion President Obama seeks — to ease the humanitarian crisis after weeks of internal divisions and just days before Congress adjourns for its five-week August break.

The legislation, on which Republicans hope to hold a vote on Thursday, comes in response to Mr. Obama’s request this month for emergency supplemental funds to address the situation at the border, and it would also allocate far less than the Senate Democrats’ $2.7 billion plan.

The bill is largely intended to help Republicans save political face before returning home for the recess. “Frankly, we need to show that we can act and act thoughtfully, responsibly and quickly, and frankly clean up the mess that the administration has created,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma.

If the House passes its bill, some Senate Democrats are considering attaching a broad bipartisan immigration bill, which passed the Senate in June 2013 and includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, to the package and sending it back to the House.

Such a move would inflame tensions among Republicans who are already distrustful of Mr. Obama and the Senate, and could make it all but impossible for the House Republican leadership to rally its conference to support even modest changes to help at the border.

“Senate Democrats are open to conferencing the House package with the bipartisan, comprehensive reform bill that passed the Senate last year,” said a senior Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a delicate topic.

It is unlikely that Democrats would be able to pass such a measure, and not even Republicans who had supported an immigration overhaul would be likely to vote for it.

At its core, the Republican plan would change a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, allowing the authorities to more quickly deport the Central American children to their home countries. The legislation, which would provide funding through the 2014 fiscal year at the end of September, also calls for increasing the National Guard presence at the southern border, increasing the number of immigration judges in order to expedite court proceedings, and allowing the Border Patrol onto national park and monument land along the border.

Speaker John A. Boehner had acknowledged that Republicans could pay a hefty political price if they returned to their districts in August without having at least put forth their own alternative to handle the crisis at the border. The final bill that Republicans proposed is lower than their initial plan of about $1.5 billion. “I think there’s sufficient support in the House to move this bill,” Mr. Boehner said. “I think we should do something before we go home, and we’re working to get there.”

But Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, was among those wary of the plan. “As of right now, I’m not going to support it unless I have assurances that if it comes back from the Senate, we will not consider it unless it is actually going to address the border issue in a constructive way, and amnesty and open borders is not a constructive way,” he said. “To me, the laws that are on the books are already adequate. What we need is a president who will obey them. It really is that simple.”

Mr. Boehner may need to pick up at least a few Democratic votes to pass his bill, but both Senate and House Democrats are increasingly opposed to any changes to the 2008 law. The Senate bill does not make any changes to the 2008 law.

But as of Tuesday morning, many Republicans were rallying behind their leadership’s proposal.

“I think it will pass with almost all of the Republicans, and I think the Democrats don’t want to go home and face their constituents not having dealt with this,” said Representative Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas.

Other Republicans have called on Mr. Boehner to hold a separate vote to peel back Mr. Obama’s 2012 executive order that allows the young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” to remain in the country without the threat of deportation. Such a vote is unlikely before the recess — something Representative Bill Flores, Republican of Texas, called “one area of disappointment that I have.”

“I keep pressing our leadership to at least have a separate vote on that, so we can let the American people know where we stand on the president’s overreach,” Mr. Flores said. “They’ve been mum about it.”

Mr. Flores will, however, support the final bill, he said. “Again, I think the president created this mess, so I don’t think we necessarily have to clean it up, but on the other hand I think politically it would have been difficult to leave it out there,” he said.

Immigration advocates were quick to criticize the Republican plan. Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, warned that “half a loaf may actually be worse than no loaf at all.”

“What this crisis needs is policy that aligns with our better nature and responds to children and families compassionately,” he said. “This bill would reduce protections for vulnerable people fleeing desperate circumstances. Rather than meet them with open hearts and a clear, fair process, this bill meets them with National Guard troops.”

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New Bill Calls For $659 Million to Deal With Influx of Children at Border

Wall Street Journal
By Kristina Peterson
July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON—House Republicans later today will release a bill providing $659 million over two months to help deal with the influx of Central American children and families crossing the border.

The House GOP bill would grant less than one-fifth of the $3.7 billion requested by President Barack Obama to deal with the border crisis, in part due to its short time frame. Mr. Obama had asked for enough money to stretch over 15 months; the House bill would extend only until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday.

Republicans have responded to the surge of more than 57,000 unaccompanied children migrating from Central America since October by emphasizing the need to tighten security at the border. The GOP bill would deploy the National Guard to assist the Border Patrol and alter a 2008 anti-trafficking law to speed up deportations of the Central American children.

"The 2008 law will be tweaked so that all children are treated the same," said Rep. Kay Granger (R., Texas), who led a group that developed recommendations on the issue.

Ms. Granger said the law would be amended so that children from Central America could be returned to their home countries more quickly, in the same way that children from Mexico and Canada are currently treated. Democrats, who didn't include the change in the Senate bill, have worried that a speedier process risks sending home minors who have legitimate legal grounds to stay in the U.S. and could return them to dangerous situations.

"The crisis is at our border because of the crisis in Central America," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) said on the Senate floor.

Although some conservative lawmakers are expected to oppose the bill, many Republicans said they expected the bill would have enough GOP support to pass. However, with few Democrats expected to vote for the measure, Republicans cannot afford to lose very many GOP votes.

"I believe there is sufficient support in the House to move this bill," House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told reporters, but added, "We still have work to do."

Some lawmakers have pressed to have a vote on ending Mr. Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which shelters many young people from deportation. However, GOP leaders didn't indicate Tuesday in a closed-doors meeting of House Republicans that legislation addressing the issue would come to the floor anytime soon, lawmakers said.

"There's room for debate there, but let's keep this bill targeted on this particular crisis," said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) "We're trying to make sure we can get the votes without overreaching."

The House GOP bill wouldn't add to the federal budget deficit because it will tap into unused funds floating around other parts of the budget, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) Many Republicans had balked earlier at not offsetting the cost of the border bill. Approximately two-thirds of the funds will go to the Homeland Security and Justice departments to beef up border security, while roughly one-third will go to the Health and Human Services Department for care of the children, Mr. Rogers said.

The House legislation seeks to speed up the legal view of the migrants' claims by adding more temporary immigration judges and equipping hearing rooms with videoconferencing capabilities so that judges in other parts of the country can help tackle the border backlog, lawmakers said. Ms. Granger said the House bill will also include a "Sense of the Congress" resolution that the migrant children should not be housed in military facilities, where they may be impeding some military activities.

A Senate bill providing $2.7 billion through the end of the calendar year to deal with the border crisis isn't expected to advance past procedural votes later this week.

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