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, May 31, 2018

Bush DHS chief criticizes 'fearmongering' over migrants

The Hill
By Maya Lora
May 30, 2018

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Wednesday criticized what he called “fearmongering” over migrants and refugees.

“In certain countries around the world certain elected officials have made the notion of forced migrants, refugees, immigration a political issue,” said Ridge, who served under former President George W. Bush, at a discussion on the global migration crisis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“They’ve tried to generate the fear that somehow these individuals — by the way, probably the majority are women and children, the most vulnerable in these countries — somehow will be terrorists or criminals and disrupt the way of life once they come across the border,” Ridge continued. “It’s mythical.

“It’s the worst kind of fearmongering done, in my judgment,” he added. “And it’s unworthy of the United States of America, in my judgment.”

Ridge, who was also a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, has criticized the Trump administration before. In November, he dismissed President Trump’s push for a border wall with Mexico, saying the U.S. didn’t need it.

His comments come amid a heated debate over the administration’s new efforts to crack down on illegal border crossings. Officials plan to prosecute those crossing the border for the first time, hoping it will deter migrants.

That policy has also sparked debate over the plight of migrant children, who are separated from parents who face criminal charges.

Ridge recently co-chaired a task force at CSIS that drew up a report on how the world and the U.S. in particular should address the growing refugee crisis.

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

Time's up, Congress. Bypass GOP leaders and get DACA done for DREAMers

USA Today (Op-Ed)
By Governor John Kasich
May 30, 2018

Ever since the Trump administration’s effort last fall to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, 800,000 young people living in our communities have faced the fear of deportation from the only homes — and the only homeland — most have ever really known. These are the “DREAMers”: our neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers who were brought to America as children and, until now, were eligible to stay and lead productive lives by meeting strict DACA requirements and undergoing security checks.

As governor of a state with many DACA residents and as a grandson of immigrants who values the immense contributions each new generation of arrivals has brought to America, I am deeply concerned by congressional inaction on DACA. Also, as a former member of Congress, I believe that election to the House or Senate carries a responsibility to solve problems and keep America on course with the values that have made our nation great.

I was initially encouraged by court decisions that delayed the president’s shutdown of DACA and bought Congress time to find a bipartisan solution that would allow DREAMers to remain with us. But as Congress continues to dither and the House Republican leadership stubbornly insists on blocking all DACA debate, my hopes have turned to frustration.

Look, this should be a slam dunk! DACA recipients who live in our communities are Americans in every sense, except for their paperwork. They grew up in this country. They are one of us. Many are valued employees, others pursue higher education and some serve in our armed forces.

But with President Trump’s push to end the DACA program, it’s fallen on Congress to act before hundreds of thousands of these young people lose their protection from deportation. The clock is ticking. Yet the House of Representatives, in particular, seems incapable of taking action, frozen in place by its present leadership and Washington’s toxic politics.

Fortunately, there is a way for a determined, bipartisan majority of members to go over the heads of that leadership and move a DACA bill toward consideration in the House.

A little-used parliamentary tool called a discharge petition, when signed by a majority of members, can bring a blockaded issue to the House floor. A discharge petition to force action on four separate DACA bills is now being circulated, and many members from both parties have already signed. But the needed majority of 218 has not yet been reached, and a few more members must have the courage and good sense to sign.

Otherwise, a terrible alternative hangs over 800,000 of our neighbors, not to mention their families, employers, coworkers and classmates. And if members fail to agree on a DACA solution — with or without using a discharge petition — I fear Congress will never have the confidence to tackle far more complex immigration issues. In fact, inaction on DACA suggests to me that our current Congress, given today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere, may be totally incapable of solving any complex problem at all.

I would be very happy to have Congress prove me wrong. We must tell House members to sign the discharge petition and act on DACA now. Then the Senate must do its part. Time’s up. Get it done!

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

Trump Against the Tide

New York Times (Opinion)
By Thomas B. Edsall
May 31, 2018

Democratic voters, especially young, white liberals, have been moving sharply in a progressive direction, not only on issues of race, but across the board — on the economy, on immigration and on the environment.

Zach Goldberg, a doctoral candidate in political science at Georgia State University, has been tracking ideological trends among liberal, moderate and conservative whites, using survey data collected by American National Election Studies.

The accompanying chart measures support for higher immigration levels from 1992 to 2016. White moderates and conservatives, including Republicans and independents, showed relatively little change over those 24 years. Among white liberals, though, support for increased immigration grew from a low of 4 percent in 1996 to 38 percent in 2016.

Goldberg broke down the data by age groups and found that the driving force was young, white liberals aged 18 to 24. In an email, Goldberg wrote:

To sum up, both social media and the progressive direction of the Obama years helped lay the groundwork for the progressive/multicultural normative context that Trump would later enter and threaten to smash. For liberals, Trump and his supporters were perceived as white supremacists who aspired to “make America white again.”

In other words, he continued,

in an era where “whiteness” has become increasingly associated with moral injustice (past and present), liberals are determined to distinguish themselves as “inclusive” and “unlike the deplorable white majority.”

In further support of his argument, Goldberg produced the following graphic from ANES surveys:

In our email exchange, Goldberg argued that Trump’s election produced what he calls “moral panic” among liberals:

Liberal progressives perceive Trump as a threat to the increasingly egalitarian/multicultural moral order. They fear that he will undo or turn back the clock on many of the gains they’ve made over the past few decades. America under Obama was trending in the progressive direction — towards a proverbial “end of history” or egalitarian multicultural utopia. Trump then emerges and is perceived as not only “crashing the party,” but also as threatening to return it to its “whites only”/exclusivist format.

The Pew Research Center has documented some of the most striking shifts in a liberal direction among Democratic voters. For an October 2017 report, Pew asked respondents to choose between two statements:

First, “immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents,” and second, “immigrants burden the country by taking jobs, housing and health care.”

The percentage of self-identified Democrats and Democratic leaners who agreed that immigrants strengthened the country grew from 48 percent in 2010 to 84 percent in 2017. Conversely, the share of Democrats describing immigrants as a burden fell from 60 percent in 1994 to 12 percent in 2017.

“Many pro-immigrant positions are at an all-time high (among Democrats) in public opinion,” Nick Gourevitch, a Democratic pollster, told me by email, “especially questions around immigration strengthening society and the positive impact of immigration.”

“Taking that position is now a signal that you are not with Trump and you are not with white nationalist elements of the Republican Party,” Gourevitch added. “If you are strongly anti-Trump now, you are almost, by definition, pro-immigrant, pro-racial justice.”

Immigration in essence is an issue that hinges on race. White conservatives vote on race. As Michael Tesler, a political scientist at the University of California at Irvine, put it in The Washington Post in November 2016:

Racial attitudes became strongly connected to whether whites identified as Democratic or Republican during Barack Obama’s presidency. That, by itself, meant that racial attitudes would matter a great deal in 2016 — even above the powerful impact of partisanship itself. There is now a stronger partisan divide than ever between racially sympathetic and racially resentful whites. Indeed, the divide is so large it exceeds what was true in 2008 and 2012 — when there was an actual African-American candidate on the ballot.

Republican turnout swamped Democrats in 2016: As my colleague David Leonhardt wrote last year, if liberals voted at the same rate as conservatives, Hillary Clinton would be president.

A June 2017 report issued by the bipartisan Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group found that a subset of all voters that the organization calls “American preservationists” gave Trump 20 percent of his total vote. It was these voters who comprised “the core Trump constituency that propelled him to victory in the early Republican primaries.” American preservationists, the study group found, “take the most restrictionist approach to immigration — staunchly opposing not just illegal but legal immigration as well.”

In testing racial attitudes, Pew asked voters to choose between “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their condition” and “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” The percentage of Democrats citing discrimination grew from 28 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in 2016 to 64 percent in 2017.

A similar pattern, although less extreme, can be seen in responses to questions on environmental issues. For example, from 2006 to 2014, the percentage of Democrats who believed that there is “solid evidence that the average temperature on earth is getting warmer,” fluctuated from the mid to high 70s. In 2017, it shot up to 92 percent.

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, sees the trends among Democratic voters as a clear plus, with little downside:

There has been a tremendous shift in the public to progressive positions and awareness — on marijuana, on marriage equality, on calling out racism, on #MeToo, on support for comprehensive sex education and women’s reproductive health issues. Democrats are both leading the way and catching up. Millennials are the future and they are totally in support of these positions.

Jonathan Cowan, president of Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, is more ambivalent.

On the plus side, he wrote in an email,

this shorter-term trend clearly comports with the multi-decade trend in which both the country at large and the Democratic Party itself have become increasingly more open-minded, pluralistic and progressive on a range of social issues, including racial justice, immigration and women’s rights.

Cowan then shifted to what he called “the rest of the story”:

Not all of the country is moving at the same pace. Donald Trump won a national election playing a brand of racial politics not seen in this country since George Wallace. So while Democrats fight for progress and justice on racial issues, we cannot be dismissive or scornful of voters who do not share precisely the same views or beliefs, but who nonetheless want an alternative to the hard-core misogyny, nativism and racism of Trump.

Third Way analyzed all 435 House districts in anticipation of the 2018 election and reached the conclusion that the key fights will be in districts that require appeals to swing voters to win.

The study found that 168 districts are virtually certain to elect Democrats, who currently hold 165 of these seats. On average, these districts are 44 percent white and 56 minority.

Conversely, there are 195 districts almost certain to elect Republicans. They are 75 percent white and 25 percent minority. 193 are held by Republicans, and, based on past voting records, Democrats face long odds making gains in these deep red districts.

In the middle, there are 72 so-called purple districts that are key to control of the House. They are, on average, 70 percent white and 30 percent nonwhite. Democrats currently hold just over a third of these seats, 27, and must make major gains to reach a House majority. The whites in these disproportionately suburban, relatively high income districts stand out in that they are far better educated than the national average, suffer less poverty and register lower unemployment rates.

Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at liberal leaning New America, contends that the hostility of Democratic elites to Trump is driving the leftward shift among Democratic voters.

“Opinion leadership among Democratic elites has become much more ‘woke’ over the past several years,” Drutman said by email:

Democratic politicians and journalists have spent more time talking about social justice issues and championing the causes of historically disadvantaged groups, and there’s a basic cue-following that happens. What it means to be a Democratic is shifting, and voters are updating their views to fit with that.

At the same time, Drutman noted, many conservative whites have left the Democratic Party, effectively increasing “the percentages of self-identified Democrats taking more liberal stands on cultural issues.”

Perhaps most important:

Democrats are defining themselves in opposition to Trump, and to stand in opposition to Trump is to take liberal stands on social and cultural issues.

Animosity to Trump is one of many factors driving liberal positioning among Democrats. Matt Grossmann, a political scientist at Michigan State, pointed to some of these in an email:

It’s hard to sort out the roles of Black Lives Matter, police violence, Trump statements, Democratic comments on Trump, social desirability pressures for educated liberals, increasing education among Democrats, campus movements, me too, etc.

Grossmann added:

The general explanation is that, as a result of all of that, political elites, including the presidential candidates, and the media are talking more about these views, with Democrats publicly taking liberal positions and Trump-era Republicans taking the opposite views.

Cowan argues that rapid advances in digital communications have played a crucial role in the liberalization of Democratic voters:

There are a series of Great American Awakenings sweeping the country in the early part of the 21st century, and each of these awakenings are being radically accelerated by the ubiquity and advent of digital technology and the stories and movements it enables people to tell and build, e.g. The outrageous mistreatment of African Americans at Starbucks now caught on cellphone video or dash cams, the rise of the #MeToo Movement and the ability of social media platforms to empower, amplify and sustain the stories of Dreamers.

From a strategic vantage point, there is no question that the United States — and the world for that matter — is moving in the same direction as the Democratic Party. Still, a question remains: Is the Democratic Party too far ahead of the electorate, in danger of being swamped by reaction?

Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm that conducts polling for NBC and The Wall Street Journal, provided data in an email suggesting that the Democratic Party is at the leading edge on the issue of immigration.

In a series of surveys for NBC/WSJ, Public Opinion Strategies asked voters to make a choice similar to the one posed above by Pew:

A. “Immigration adds to our character and strengthens the United States because it brings diversity, new workers, and new creative talent to this country.”

B. “Immigration detracts from our character and weakens the United States because it puts too many burdens on government services, causes language barriers, and creates housing problems.”

The percentage of all voters choosing A has grown steadily from 41 in 2005 to 47 in 2010 to 54 in 2013 to 64 in 2017. Democrats have led the charge, going from 42 percent in 2005 to 81 percent in 2017, but equally significant are the shifts that Public Opinion Strategies found among Republican constituencies:

In 2010, a majority, 54 percent, of white Southerners agreed that immigration weakens the country; by 2017, a majority, 53 percent, said immigration strengthens the country. Similarly, 59 percent of women without college degrees said immigration hurts the country; by 2017, 53 percent said immigration helps the nation.

Immigration is one of a package of issues that fall under the broad category of liberalization — something Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, calls emancipation.

The worldwide trends on emancipation have been moving decisively in a liberal direction, as shown in this chart developed from Pinker’s new book, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.”

Over the course of the years covered by the chart, from the 1960s to the present, America’s two major parties have taken opposing sides in a large-scale social struggle over emancipation: the Democrats on the front lines fighting against conservative resistance, a rear-guard Republican action that is determined to maintain the status quo or roll it back. The advantage has rotated from one party to the other over the past several decades.

The Republicans are back in power now. Trump’s fervent millions stand loyally behind him. The president is pushing ever more aggressively to bring the emancipation project to a halt. But his foothold is insecure — and he is rowing against the current.

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

Trump Immigration Policy Veers From Abhorrent to Evil

New York Times (Opinion)
By Nicholas Kristof
May 30, 2018

We as a nation have crossed so many ugly lines recently, yet one new policy of President Trump’s particularly haunts me. I’m speaking of the administration’s tactic of seizing children from desperate refugees at the border.

“I was given only five minutes to say goodbye,” a Salvadoran woman wrote in a declaration in an A.C.L.U. lawsuit against the government, after her 4- and 10-year-old sons were taken from her. “My babies started crying when they found out we were going to be separated.”

“In tears myself, I asked my boys to be brave, and I promised we would be together soon. I begged the woman who took my children to keep them together so they could at least have each other.”

This mother, who for her protection is identified only by her initials, J.I.L., said that while in El Salvador she was severely beaten in front of her family by a gang, and she then fled the country to save the lives of her children.

Who among us would not do the same?

J.I.L. noted that she had heard that her children might have been separated and sent to two different foster homes, and added: “I am scared for my little boys.”

Is this really who we are? As a parent, as the son of a refugee myself, I find that in this case Trump’s policy has veered from merely abhorrent to truly evil.

Family separations arise in part because of the new Trump administration policy, announced last month, of “zero tolerance” for people who cross the border illegally. That means that parents are jailed (which happened rarely before), and their kids are taken away from them.

“That’s no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States when an adult of a family commits a crime,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told NPR this month. “If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family.”

Yet Mirian, a Honduran woman who arrived in the U.S., broke no law. She simply followed the established procedure by presenting herself at an official border crossing point and requesting asylum because her life was in danger in Honduras — nevertheless, her 18-month-old was taken from her.

“The immigration officers made me walk out with my son to a government vehicle and place my son in a car seat in the vehicle,” Mirian said in a declaration accompanying the A.C.L.U. suit. “My son was crying as I put him in the seat. I did not even have a chance to comfort my son, because the officers slammed the door shut as soon as he was in his seat.”

Likewise, Ms. G, a Mexican in the A.C.L.U. suit, went to an official border crossing point and requested asylum with her 4-year-old son and blind 6-year-old daughter. None of them had broken American law, yet the children were taken from their mother.

“I have not seen my children for one and a half months,” Ms. G wrote in her declaration. “I worry about them constantly and don’t know when I will see them.”

Granted, this does not happen to all who present themselves at the border and do not cross illegally; it seems arbitrary. But even for those parents who commit a misdemeanor by illegally entering the U.S. — because they want to protect their children from Central American gangs — the United States response seems to be in effect to kidnap youngsters.

If you or I commit a misdemeanor, we might lose our kids for a few days while we’re in jail, and then we’d get them back. But border-crossers serve a few days in jail for illegal entry — and after emerging from criminal custody, they still don’t get their kids back soon, said Lee Gelernt, an A.C.L.U. lawyer. In one case, he said, it has been eight months and the child still has not been returned.

It’s true that immigration policy is a nightmare, we can’t take everyone and almost no one advocates open borders. Some immigrants bring small children with them and claim to be the parent in hopes that this will spare them from detention.

Yet none of that should be an excuse for brutalizing children by ripping them away from their parents. I was at times ferociously critical of President Barack Obama’s handling of Central American refugees, but past administrations managed these difficult trade-offs without gratuitously embracing cruelty. One fruitful step has been to work with countries to curb gang violence that forces people to flee.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly hails family separation as a “tough deterrent” and shrugs that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”

So what’s next, Mr. President? Minefields at the border would be an even more effective deterrent. Or East German-style marksmen in watch towers to shoot those who cross?

We as a nation should protect our borders. We must even more assiduously protect our soul.

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

Pelosi dismisses Trump’s claim she favors MS-13 as false

May 30, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office is dismissing President Donald Trump’s latest claim that she’s an “MS-13 lover” as simply not true.

The Democratic leader’s spokesman pointed to a fact-checker’s report rating Trump’s earlier suggestions that she favors of the gang as “false.” Pelosi declined further comment.

Trump’s most recent characterization of Pelosi came in attacks during a campaign-style rally Tuesday in Tennessee as the White House focuses on illegal immigration ahead of the midterm election.

Pelosi has been critical of Trump’s use of the word “animals” in his talks about illegal immigration, saying the president should respect the worth of every person, but the White House has said the was referring specifically to the gang members.

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

A Transgender Woman Who Was Part Of The Migrant Caravan Has Died In ICE Custody

Buzzfeed News
By Adolfo Flores
May 30, 2018

A transgender woman who was part of the caravan of Central American migrants that arrived at the US border earlier this month died in custody Friday from what appeared to be cardiac arrest.

Roxsana Hernandez, 33, died in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She had been taken to another hospital in New Mexico more than a week earlier with symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration, and complications associated with HIV.

Hernandez asked for asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry on May 9, according to Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which organized the caravan. The group said she was first detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in holding cells known as “iceboxes” because of how cold they are.

In addition to being cold, Pueblo Sin Fronteras said, Hernandez lacked adequate food and medical care and was held in a cell where the lights were turned on 24 hours a day. On May 16, she was then taken to a transgender unit at the Cibola County Correctional Center, a federal prison facility in Milan, New Mexico, that contracts with ICE.

The following day Hernandez was admitted to Cibola General Hospital and was later transferred via air ambulance to Albuquerque’s Lovelace Medical Center, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died on May 25. The preliminary cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to ICE.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News last month, Hernandez said she had fled Honduras in part because of the discrimination and violence she faced for being transgender.

Four months before joining the caravan, Hernandez said, she was walking home when MS-13 gang members started screaming “We don’t want you in this neighborhood, you fucking faggot” at her before gang-raping her.

“Four of them raped me and as a result I got HIV,” Hernandez told BuzzFeed News. “Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags.”

Standing in front of a church in Puebla, Mexico, playing with a silver cross around her neck, Hernandez said that gangs had continued to threaten her and told her she had to leave the area where she lived in Honduras.

“I didn’t want to come to Mexico — I wanted to stay in Honduras but I couldn’t,” Hernandez said. “They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that.”

Hernandez said she was able to put some money together to head to Guatemala. Her plan was to return to the US, from which she had previously been deported three times. She had some family in the US but said they did not accept her because she was trans.

From Guatemala she went to Mexico, where she eventually linked up with the caravan of 1,200 to 1,500 migrants heading north.

Hernandez holds up a piece of paper explaining why she left Honduras.

Immigrant advocacy organizations — including Pueblo Sin Fronteras, Diversidad sin Fronteras, and Al Otro Lado — blamed Hernandez’s death on US immigration authorities.

“Roxy died due to medical negligence by US immigration authorities,” the groups said in a statement. “Why incarcerate and torture her like this? She had a home waiting for her in the United States. They could have let her go there. If they had, she would still be with us.”

Irving Mondragón, a cofounder of Diversidad sin Fronteras, a collective of LGBTQ migrant advocates, said immigrants are denied medical attention inside CBP holding cells.

“Everybody’s human rights are violated. From the moment they enter there are no guarantees,” Mondragón told BuzzFeed News. “People have said that she was safe because she made it to the US, that the hardest part was over. But it’s not true — the US is an imperial democracy and tyrannical. Asking for asylum can lead to death.”

Mondragón said Hernandez had been sick when she turned herself in to US border authorities but was in good spirits.

“She told me she loved me. She had courage, but was nervous at the thought of entering the US again,” Mondragón said. “I’ll remember her as a timid, respectful person, always giving the other girls advice and sharing her food.”

Mondragón said he’s worried about the other trans women from the caravan who remain in detention, many of whom are on medications for hormones and at least one who is taking medication for HIV.

In a statement announcing Hernandez’s death, ICE said comprehensive medical care is provided to detainees for the duration of their stay at the agency’s detention centers.

“All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care,” the statement said.

Hernandez was set to be deported without seeing an immigration judge, a process known as expedited removal, ICE said.

Hernandez had entered the US illegally twice between 2005 and 2009, and was granted voluntary return to Mexico because she claimed Mexican nationality to authorities, according to ICE’s statement. She later entered the US illegally a third time and was deported on March 11, 2014, after being convicted of illegal reentry.

ICE’s statement also noted that Hernandez was convicted of lewd, immoral, indecent conduct and prostitution while in Dallas in May 2009, and was also convicted of theft while in the US in 2006.

Jennicet Gutiérrez, national organizer for Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, said Hernandez’s record is irrelevant to the fact that she died in ICE’s custody.

“They are responsible for her death. Trans women continue to face violence inside and outside detention centers, and are oftentimes forced to do sex work as a means of survival,” Gutiérrez said. “She was trying to find safety in the United States and sadly she’s no longer with us. We demand answers and justice for Roxana.”

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