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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


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Senate Republicans float new DACA proposal

By Tal Kopan, CNN
Updated 1:46 PM ET, Mon September 25, 2017

Washington (CNN)A pair of Senate Republicans on Monday unveiled what they call a conservative approach to protecting young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children as Congress continues to race the calendar to the end of the DACA program.

The bill from Sens. Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, and James Lankford, of Oklahoma, mimics legislation from Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo sponsored by 31 Republicans in the House, but includes efforts to appease conservatives and limit concerns they may have about eventually allowing the hundreds of thousands of eligible undocumented immigrants to become citizens.

Individuals brought to the US under age 16, who have lived here since 2012 and were under 31 at that time, who have achieved a high school diploma or equivalent and who are pursuing higher education, have held a job or have served in the military would be able to apply for permits for successive five-year periods, after which they could pursue legal permanent residency and eventually citizenship. Recipients would also need to pass extensive background checks and maintain a clean criminal record, according to text reviewed by CNN.

The bill adds a few measures not in previous bills. For one, to address conservative concerns about "chain migration," a term that refers to immigration based on family relationships, the bill would prohibit individuals who achieve legal residency under the bill from sponsoring any family members. That restriction would not apply if they become citizens after the minimum 15-year process.

The bill also includes measures to crack down on illegal immigration beyond just addressing the undocumented youth previously covered under DACA. The bill tightens restrictions on overstaying a visa, currently the most common way immigrants to the US come illegally. It also would limit the Homeland Security department's future ability to offer exceptions to categories of undocumented immigrants.The issue has been pushed to the forefront since President Donald Trump announced he would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, with the two-year permits issued under the program beginning to expire in March. That delay has given Congress a deadline to make the executive branch policy permanent in law.

Lankford said in a news conference that Trump called him "late at night" after he put out a statement on DACA ending and they talked about the legislation.

"The President was fully engaged with that and was very supportive of the concept saying that's the way to go," Lankford said.

Still, he added, "I don't believe, and we don't believe, that this is a standalone bill," saying more immigration fixes would be needed to pass the bill.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also showed up at the news conference in support of the bill. He's been a longtime supporter of this issue, including being an original advocate for a Dream Act over a decade ago.

Even with the Republican backing in both chambers, however, any proposal would need the buy-in of GOP leadership in the House and Senate and would need to survive negotiations with Democrats to pass -- an uphill feat for any proposal. Tillis and Lankford demurred on questions about how their conversations with leadership about the bill have gone.The bill, the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education and Defending our nation or SUCCEED Act, follows the pattern of previous proposals and sticks closely to the pathway in Curbelo's bill.

There is widespread support in Congress for some type of DACA solution among both parties, but deep divisions remain about how to approach it.

Many Republicans have balked at eventually granting citizenship, something the right considers "amnesty." Democrats, meanwhile, have supported bipartisan legislation called the Dream Act that would offer similar protections but would cover slightly more potential recipients and doesn't include some of the other restriction measures in SUCCEED.

Republicans and Trump are insisting any measure be paired with some type of border security and possible immigration enforcement, and a fact sheet about the legislation makes clear that Lankford and Tillis both agree their bill must be part of such a package.

Any bill would need Democratic votes to path, likely in both chambers, to overcome Republicans that remain staunchly opposed to any solution for DACA-eligible individuals, and it's unclear if the type of border security and enforcement Republicans will demand will cross a line for Democrats who say they will not trade the safety of DACA protectees' friends and families for a fix.

On the House side, Speaker Paul Ryan has formed a working group of Republicans on all sides of the ideological spectrum to develop a proposal on the issue.

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

GOP senators unveil new ‘Dreamers’ bill

By Seung Min Kim
09/25/2017 12:00 PM EDT 
Updated 09/25/2017 04:01 PM EDT 

A new Senate GOP proposal released Monday would create a pathway to legalization for so-called Dreamers, but it wouldn’t allow them to sponsor family members to the United States — one of several provisions that make the bill far more conservative than other relief measures for young undocumented immigrants. 

The chief writers of the bill — Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma — have touted their plan as a more GOP-friendly vision for the fate of young undocumented immigrants in the United States, especially compared to the DREAM Act, which was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 

The new Dreamer blueprint is already hitting resistance from liberal immigration advocates and conservative hard-liners, though Lankford said President Donald Trump indicated during a phone conversation with him that he was “very supportive” of the concept behind the bill. 

“We’ll have to take the hits,” Tillis said at a news conference Monday promoting the bill. “We’ll take the hits on the far left for saying you’re not getting them to citizenship soon enough, and you’ll take it on the far right for saying you’ve ever given them an opportunity to pursue citizenship.” 

Tillis and Lankford hope their legislation, called the Succeed Act, can win support from conservatives as Congress scrambles for a fix following the White House’s decision to begin revoking work permits and deportation protections early next year for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. 

Details of the bill, which is also sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), were obtained by Politico in advance of its release. 

Under current law, green card holders can petition for close relatives such as a spouse or children to obtain permanent residency. But Trump has repeatedly slammed the concept of “chain migration,” a term critics use to describe U.S. citizens or permanent residents sponsoring their foreign relatives to come to the United States. 

Tillis and Lankford have tried to address that demand by barring Dreamers who would obtain green card through their legislation from petitioning family members, although they would be able to sponsor them if they become citizens, according to a person familiar with the legislation. 

“The people who are moving through the green card process are people who’ve gone through the process legally over a period of time,” Tillis said, defending the provision targeting chain migration. “This is a special group of people that we want to provide a solution to, but not necessarily let them expedite the potential admission of other persons.” 

Some of the nuts and bolts of the new GOP bill, which essentially creates a 15-year path to citizenship, are similar to those in past proposals addressing the issue of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors. 

To be eligible under the Succeed Act, an immigrant must have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2012 — the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era executive action that Trump said he would end — and before the age of 16. They would be required to obtain a high school diploma, pass a “thorough” criminal background check, submit biometric data to the Department of Homeland Security and pay off any back taxes or establish a repayment plan. 

This would give the Dreamers a “conditional permanent residence” status. If they maintained that status for 10 years, they could apply for a formal green card. Under conditional permanent residence, the Dreamers would have to earn a college degree, serve in the military for at least three years or be consistently employed. 

The status would have to be renewed after five years. Once they obtain green cards, the immigrants would be required to wait for five years before they could apply for U.S. citizenship, according to the legislation. Undocumented parents of Dreamers who would qualify under the new Republican bill would be barred from petitioning to stay in the United States based on their children’s legal status. 

“We took into consideration a basic fact: In American law, we don’t hold children accountable for the actions of their parents,” Lankford said. “They’re caught in between at this point.” 

Tillis, a first-term senator who has expressed interest in immigration for some time, and Lankford have communicated with senior White House officials for several weeks on their bill and received a positive reception, according to one Republican source familiar with their efforts. 

Trump has agreed in principle with Democratic leaders in Congress on a DACA deal that would pair border security measures with legislation addressing Dreamers, although the details are far from fleshed out. 

Democrats have said Trump has agreed to support the DREAM Act, which is also backed by GOP Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Cory Gardner of Colorado. But many congressional Republicans are privately concerned that the DREAM Act is too closely associated with Democrats and would subsequently struggle to attract support from a substantial number of GOP lawmakers. 

The new legislation is written to help give cover to Republicans who want to sign onto a bill protecting Dreamers yet still seek some tougher immigration restrictions. 

For example, the bill includes provisions meant to curb future illegal immigration into the United States. It would require future temporary visa holders — such as people who come to the United States on worker or student visas — to sign a waiver that would otherwise grant them an immigration hearing or other immigration-related benefits if they violate the terms of their visa. 

But some immigration advocates are already mobilizing against Tillis and Lankford’s measure. One, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, argued that provisions barring the young immigrants from sponsoring relatives for green cards, as well as the waiver proposal, were “disturbing.” 

“None of these provisions are applied to other groups of admitted immigrants,” Sharry said. “Why, then, does this bill send this group of young Americans to the back of the bus?” 

From the other end of the immigration spectrum, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates stricter immigration laws, tweeted that Tillis and Lankford “should instead focus on decades of broken immigration enforcement promises made to the American people.”

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

Republicans’ new immigration bill is so ridiculous that it could take 15 years to become a citizen

Think Progress
Esther Yu Hsi Lee
Sept. 25, 2017 - 3:43 PM

Three Republican senators have introduced an immigration bill that grants a 15-year pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. It also prevents those immigrants from sponsoring their family members for legalization.

Under the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation (or SUCCEED) Act — coauthored by Republican Sens. James Lankford (OK), Thom Tillis (NC), and Orrin Hatch (UT) — undocumented immigrants would be allowed to get on an eventual pathway to citizenship if they fulfill several years of criteria. For its most basic qualification, applicants must have arrived in the country before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012.

“These are kids who literally do not have a home anywhere,” Lankford said during the press conference announcing the bill on Monday.

That June 2012 date is significant because it marks the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, an Obama-era executive action that granted temporary deportation relief and work authorization in two-year increments. On September 5, President Donald Trump pulled the plug on DACA, calling on Congress to find a permanent fix for these beneficiaries so that they can legally remain in the country. Under the White House’s rescission announcement, more than 150,000 people whose employment authorization cards expire before March 5, 2018 must renew their current status one last time by October 5, 2017.

The SUCCEED Act would require applicants to be “consistently” employed 48 out of 60 months, earn a college degree, or serve in the military, while working their way into a conditional permanent residence status. That status would be renewed after five years, during which time they can apply for a formal formal green card, Politico first reported. After that, they can apply to become U.S. citizens, which would take another five years. In total, it would take applicants 15 years to become a citizen. The proposal would prevent immigrants from “chain migration,” a pejorative term to describe immigrants who are able to sponsor family members to legally stay in the United States.

The bill is a far more restrictive version of the DREAM Act, a federal bill annually introduced since 2001 by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), that would grant a pathway to citizenship in a fewer number of years. In a scenario where the SUCCEED Act passes as federal law, that would mean that DACA recipients — whose average age is currently 25 years old — would be 40 years old by the time they become Americans with full rights. There are various avenues to become a citizen in this country, but it generally takes legal immigrants anywhere between three and five years to undergo the citizenship process.

The SUCCEED Act has President Donald Trump’s approval, Lankford said, insisting that the bill “can’t be a standalone,” meaning that the bill would have to be a part of a larger immigration reform package. Tillis added that there should be border security components to that plan.

“The president was very outspoken,” Lankford said at the press conference, indicating that the president hadn’t seen the text of the SUCCEED Act, but felt that the principles of the bill were aligned with “exactly the kind of solution that would work.”

Tillis explained that including a 15-year citizenship provision was in part intentional because “this goes to the prevention component” of potentially having more people cross the border to apply for citizenship. He also criticized the DREAM Act because it “has failed every single time.”

Lankford indicated that the SUCCEED Act is a compassionate bill and said that these individuals are “currently a part of our economy” and that “it hurts us to put those individuals out of the economy.”

Although the Republican senators framed the bill on the principles of: “compassion, prevention, merit, and fairness,” immigrant advocates were horrified by the bill’s restrictions.

“The Succeed Act introduced today is more of the same: another bill brought forward by Republicans that continues to criminalize immigrant communities,” Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said in a statement. “The bill calls for the extreme vetting of immigrants, and restricts family reunification and legal migration. We’ve seen this all before and we’re not going to stand for it. We demand that a clean Dream Act is brought to the floor for a vote.”

“It excludes the oldest Dreamers—those who have lived here the longest—from the program entirely,” Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigrant rights America’s Voice Education Fund, said in a statement. “It makes it difficult for Dreamers to sponsor their loved ones under the legal immigration system. And it requires Dreamers to sign away future legal rights by forcing them to sign a voluntary deportation order subjecting them to automatic removal if they violate certain terms of their status.” 

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

Senate Conservatives Propose Tough Restrictions on 'Dreamers'

The New York Times:
SEPT. 25, 2017, 5:27 P.M. E.D.T.

WASHINGTON — Conservative Republicans in Congress on Monday unveiled their ideas for what should happen to so-called 'Dreamer' immigrants when an Obama-era program expires in March, touting tougher restrictions than those proposed by Democrats.

The bill offered by Republican Senators Thom Tillis and James Lankford was in response to President Donald Trump's move to end former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump gave Congress six months to write replacement legislation.

DACA temporarily shielded from deportation certain undocumented immigrants, known as 'Dreamers,' who were brought to the United States as children by family, many from Central America. The program allows work permits and other protections for around 800,000 people.

The Tillis-Lankford measure would bar Dreamers from applying for citizenship for at least 15 years and would cover fewer people than a Democratic proposal.

Trump has previously voiced support of a Democratic "Dream Act" bill, but wants to add new border security measures to it. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer and top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi have said that in a meeting with Trump they had discussed a path to citizenship for Dreamers after eight years.

Lankford told reporters at a press conference that he recently had a long telephone conversation with Trump and briefed him on the legislation he and Tillis were crafting.

Trump "was very supportive of the concepts, saying that is the right way to go," said Lankford.

Democrats are waiting for the White House to publish a list of 'principles' to guide Dreamer legislation. It was not clear whether those principles would be influenced by the Republicans' bill.

Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat who has been pushing Dreamer legislation for 16 years, said the Republicans' bill "falls short" because it "excludes tens of thousands of Dreamers" and would require those that do qualify to waive certain legal rights that could allow for deportations without due process.

Nevertheless, there is bipartisan hope in Congress that differences can be ironed out now that Trump, who anchored his 2016 presidential campaign on an anti-immigration platform, says he wants to protect the Dreamers.

"These are kids that literally do not have a home anywhere," Lankford said.

"They do not remember a home country they came from originally. They are not really considered (at) home here ... In American law we don't hold children accountable for the actions of their parents."

(Reporting By Richard Cowan, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

DACA judge reading Trump's tweets carefully

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter
Updated 11:13 AM ET, Mon September 18, 2017

Trump's tweets and extracurricular comments have played a significant role in the travel ban litigation, and now his Twitter feed could complicate a critical deadline in his efforts to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The latest example came Thursday as a federal judge in New York heard arguments concerning the administration's planned termination of DACA, the Obama-era program meant to bring relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. 

Challengers rushed to court almost immediately after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this month the administration would be ending the program. And the President rushed to his Twitter account.

Trump suggested in one tweet that if Congress failed to act to pass legislation in six months, he'd "revisit the issue." 

Later Trump tweeted: "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!"

That tweet caught the eye of Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton and hearing a challenge brought by Dreamer Martin Batalla Vidal.

"I do follow the President's tweets," Garaufis said.

Garaufis read the tweet aloud in court, according to a transcript, and zeroed in on one aspect of the case: A deadline imposed by the Department of Homeland Security that requires the renewal of applications for certain category of individuals to occur before October 5. 

Garaufis seemed concerned that the deadline could kick some out of the program if they weren't able to meet it. 

"They pay taxes, they pay rent, they pay for mortgages, they support communities," the judge said of the individuals involved. He added that he was concerned with the government proceeding with "arbitrary deadlines." 

"My hope would be, frankly, that the executive branch would put a voluntary halt to this, the termination process, to permit Congress and the President to find a legislative solution so the courts are not involved," he said. 

Trump's "own statements would belie any effort to throw these people out without good cause and it would just seem to be arbitrary," Garaufis said.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett A. Shumate responded that the administration was "actively considering" whether to extend the deadline in light of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

But that didn't seem to satisfy the judge. "I think we would just not focus on people in the impacted areas from the hurricanes, we need to focus on everybody," he said.

If the October 5 deadline is not extended, the judge might entertain a request for a temporary restraining order from the challengers. But critically, if the deadline is extended, it could infuriate not only Trump's base, but several states who have insisted the program come to a quick end. 

The parties are set to revisit the issue next week.

Meanwhile, the President is on notice: the judge has his eyes on Twitter.

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

Six Dreamers Sue Trump Administration Over DACA Decision

The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — San Diego attorney Dulce Garcia has regularly defended clients in immigration court. Now, she is the one seeking legal relief.

Brought to the United States illegally by her parents as a child, Garcia is one of six immigrants who sued the Trump administration on Monday over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Since it was authorized in 2012 by President Barack Obama, the program has provided protection from deportation and the right to work legally to nearly 800,000 young people.

Garcia's case, filed in San Francisco federal court, is the first to be brought by DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this month that the Obama-era policy would start winding down in March 2018, according to Garcia's lawyers.

It is among several lawsuits challenging the decision to end DACA, including two cases brought by state attorneys general.

The legal claims in all of the cases, including Garcia's, are similar: that the Trump administration did not follow proper administrative procedure in rescinding DACA, and that making enforcement promises to a group of people, only to revoke them, violates due process.

The Trump administration has said it is ending DACA because Obama overstepped his constitutional authority when he bypassed Congress and created the DACA program unilaterally. President Donald Trump called on Congress to enact a law to protect DACA recipients and last week angered some of his fellow Republicans by negotiating with top congressional Democratic leaders on possible legislation.

During the 2016 presidential election Trump ran on a hardline immigration platform, promising to end DACA and strengthen border protections in order to increase jobs for U.S. workers.


The daughter of a hotel housekeeper and a welder, Garcia arrived in Southern California from Mexico at the age of 4. A few years later, she said, her family was ousted from their apartment because the property contained illegal units.

"We were living out of my dad's truck for a little bit there," she said.

Garcia decided to become an attorney after working for a criminal defense lawyer in high school. She put herself through school working for lawyers and performing other jobs such as parking cars.

After Obama announced DACA in 2012, Garcia, now 34, seized the opportunity. When she filled out forms for a social security number in 2013, the government clerk congratulated her.

"I cried right there," she said.

The case on behalf of Garcia and other DACA recipients could be heard with two separately filed San Francisco DACA cases, one brought by the University of California and the other by a group of state attorneys general, led by California's Xavier Becerra. Another group of attorneys general, led by New York's Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit over DACA on September 6 in Brooklyn federal court.

Legal experts have said court challenges to Trump's decision could face an uphill battle because a president typically has wide authority in implementing immigration policy.

Jirayut "New" Latthivongskorn, another plaintiff in the lawsuit on Monday, was brought to the United States from Thailand when he was nine. Latthivongskorn is now a fourth year medical student at University of California San Francisco and a master's degree candidate in public health at Harvard. His DACA work authorization expires in January 2019.

His medical residency is not set to begin until a few months after that, and could be impossible if he loses his authorization to work legally.

"I have all these big ideas about how I want to change the world and change systems around health care," he said. "The fact I might not be able to get there is troubling and frustrating."

Garcia said that having to advise some of her DACA clients that there may be no help for them while at the same time trying to address her own immigration status takes a toll.

"That's a reason why I don't do exclusively immigration law," she said. "It would wear me down too fast."

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Sue Horton and Mary Milliken)

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

California Continues Defiance of Trump Administration with Move Toward Sanctuary State Status


Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees

The New York Times
SEPT. 18, 2017

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to welcome refugees is too costly and raises concerns about terrorism.

Advocates of the program inside and outside the administration say refugees are a major benefit to the United States, paying more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and filling jobs in service industries that others will not. But research documenting their fiscal upside — prepared for a report mandated by Mr. Trump in a March presidential memorandum implementing his travel ban — never made its way to the White House. Some of those proponents believe the report was suppressed.

The internal study, which was completed in late July but never publicly released, found that refugees “contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government” between 2005 and 2014 through the payment of federal, state and local taxes. “Overall, this report estimated that the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive over the 10-year period, at $63 billion.”

But White House officials said those conclusions were illegitimate and politically motivated, and were disproved by the final report issued by the agency, which asserts that the per-capita cost of a refugee is higher than that of an American.

“This leak was delivered by someone with an ideological agenda, not someone looking at hard data,” said Raj Shah, a White House spokesman. “The actual report pursuant to the presidential memorandum shows that refugees with few skills coming from war-torn countries take more government benefits from the Department of Health and Human Services than the average population, and are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.”

John Graham, the acting assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the health department, said: “We do not comment on allegedly leaked documents” and that no report had been finalized. He noted that Mr. Trump’s memorandum “seeks an analysis related to the cost of refugee programs. Therefore, the only analysis in the scope of H.H.S.’s response to the memo would be on refugee-related expenditures from data within H.H.S. programs.”

The three-page report the agency ultimately submitted, dated Sept. 5, does just that, using government data to compare the costs of refugees to Americans and making no mention of revenues contributed by refugees.

“In an average year over the 10-year period, per-capita refugee costs for major H.H.S. programs totaled $3,300,” it says. “Per-person costs for the U.S. population were lower, at $2,500, reflecting a greater participation of refugees in H.H.S. programs, especially during their first four years” in the United States.

It was not clear who in the administration decided to keep the information out of the final report. An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that “senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.” A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified. Mr. Miller personally intervened in the discussions on the refugee cap to ensure that only the costs — not any fiscal benefit — of the program were considered, according to two people familiar with the talks.

He has also played a crucial role in the internal discussions over refugee admissions, which are capped by an annual presidential determination that is usually coordinated by the National Security Council and led in large part by the State Department.

This year, officials at the State Department as well as the Department of Defense have argued vociferously that the United States should admit no fewer than the 50,000-refugee cap that Mr. Trump imposed in January as part of the travel ban, but Mr. Miller has advocated for a much lower number — half or less, according to people familiar with the internal talks who described them on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to detail them. The Department of Homeland Security last week proposed a cap of 40,000. The limits being debated would be the lowest in more than three decades.

“We see an administration that’s running a program that it’s intent on destroying,” said Mark Hetfield, the president of HIAS, one of nine refugee resettlement agencies opposing the cut in admissions. “We do have champions in the White House and in the administration, but they’re not being given a voice in this.”

The issue is coming to a head as Mr. Trump attends the United Nations General Assembly this week for the first time as president. The United Nations has repeatedly appealed to nations to resettle 1.2 million refugees fleeing war and persecution from all over the world, and former President Barack Obama used the gathering last year to tout his goal of admitting 110,000 refugees in the fiscal year that ends this month, and to pressure other countries to follow the lead of the United States in embracing more displaced people.

Mr. Trump, by contrast, has highlighted his goal of radically cutting refugee admissions. The president moved swiftly after taking office to crack down on refugees, issuing his original ban against travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries only a week after taking office.

Facing legal challenges to that order, his administration released a second travel ban two months later against six countries, along with a presidential memorandum in which Mr. Trump called on the secretary of state to consult with the secretaries of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security and his White House budget director and submit within 180 days “a report detailing the estimated long-term costs of the United States Refugee Admissions Program at the federal, state, and local levels, along with recommendations about how to curtail those costs.”

The budget Mr. Trump released in May argued that refugees and other immigrants were a fiscal drain. “Under the refugee program, the federal government brings tens of thousands of entrants into the United States, on top of existing legal immigration flows, who are instantly eligible for time-limited cash benefits and numerous noncash federal benefits, including food assistance through SNAP, medical care and education, as well as a host of state and local benefits,” the document said.

It would be less costly, it argued, if there were fewer refugees, since “each refugee admitted into the United States comes at the expense of helping a potentially greater number out of country.” Inside the administration, those who espouse this view argue that any research purporting to illustrate fiscal benefits of refugees is flawed and reflects only wishful thinking.

As Mr. Trump deliberates privately about the issue, a coalition of human rights and religious groups as well as former national security officials in both parties has formed to encourage him not to allow the refugee cap to plummet.

“From a national security standpoint, while we can’t take an unlimited number of refugees, we need to show our friends and allies that we stand with them and this is a shared burden,” said Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security under George W. Bush.

“They’ve generated a lot of economic value,” Mr. Chertoff added in an interview. “I don’t think refugees are coming to take American jobs.”

Julie Hirschfeld Davis reported from Washington, and Somini Sengupta from New York.

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

State Department Tightens Rules for Visas to U.S.

The New York Times
SEPT. 18, 2017

WASHINGTON — The State Department is giving immigration and consular officials new grounds to deny entry to visitors to the United States or to kick them out if they are already here.

In a cable to American embassies around the world, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson wrote that visitors who require a visa before entering the United States must then follow through on their stated plans for at least three months. If in that period they do something they failed to mention in an interview with a consular official — such as marry an American citizen, go to school or get a job — it will be presumed that they have deliberately lied.

That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to renew a visa, get a new one or change their status. And if they were still in the United States, it would make those visitors eligible for deportation.

Changes of plans that occur after three months may still be problematic but are not presumed to be the result of “willful misrepresentation,” the cable said. Under previous rules, a change in plans was deemed to be misrepresentation only for the first month after arrival in the United States.

“If someone comes to the U.S. as a tourist, falls in love and gets married within 90 days and then applies for a green card, this means the application would be denied,” said Diane Rish, the associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This is a significant policy change.”

In 2016, the United States issued more than 10 million visas, helping to support a large tourism industry. But the new rule does not generally apply to citizens of 38 countries — including most of Europe and longstanding allies like Australia, New Zealand and Japan — who do not need a visa or an explicit travel, business or educational plan before coming to the United States.

Most people from the Middle East, Africa and much of Asia do need a visa, however, and consular decisions about who gets the precious documents are among the greatest sources of tensions between the United States and these nations. In some foreign countries, hundreds line up daily outside American embassies and consulates to apply.

Travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries who have been banned from entry to the United States under an order that the Supreme Court partially allowed to go into effect in June would not be affected since they cannot receive a visa under almost any circumstances.

The new rules are part of a broad push by the Trump administration to crack down not only on illegal immigration but also to tighten restrictions on legal immigration. Earlier this month, President Trump moved to end an Obama-era program shielding from deportation about 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children, calling on Congress to find a way to continue it.

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which generally advocates stricter immigration rules, said his group supported the new rule.

“It’s an effort to prevent people from abusing the legal immigration process,” Mr. Mehlman said. “The burden of proof should be on the people who say their plans have changed.”

But Ms. Rish said that a lot could change in three months for a young visitor, and that presuming that such changes arose from a deliberate lie is draconian.

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