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


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

MLK III makes 'call to conscience' at border on 55th anniversary of 'I Have a Dream' speech

San Diego Tribune
By Kate Morrissey
August 28, 2018

On the 55th anniversary of his father’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Martin Luther King III criticized the Trump administration’s decision to separate multitudes of families at the border and demanded immigration policies that protect basic human dignity.

The way the Trump administration has carried out immigration enforcement both inside the U.S. and at the border runs counter to the values and principles laid out by the elder King in his famous speech at the March on Washington in 1963, the younger King said as he stood yards from the fencing that separates San Diego and Tijuana.

“There is a sense of crisis in the United States and around the globe that my father warned would come if we did not find a way to live together as a common humanity,” King said. “We are experiencing a climate of incivility, lack of empathy and outright denial of human dignity that is arguably unprecedented in recent times.”

King decided to commemorate his father’s famous speech by traveling to the southwest border after learning about migrant children who had recently been separated from their parents by the federal government. He said he chose San Diego based on its engaged local community organizations and because the border here has significant numbers of people crossing.

King’s backdrop of Friendship Park was the same location where a migrant caravan that drew the ire of President Donald Trump demonstrated in April to call for protections of asylum seekers’ rights. Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the same stretch of border soon after as a stage for announcing the zero-tolerance policy that would lead to mass separations of migrant families.

Trump has made border security one of his top priorities and has sought funding for a barrier along segments of the nearly 2,000-mile border that the United States shares with Mexico. He continues to oppose the diversity lottery visa, which randomly awards visas to tens of thousands of people from underrepresented countries and he has criticized what he calls “chain migration” that he said enables legal immigrants to sponsor relatives for U.S. visas. In June, he reversed course on a policy that resulted in immigrant family separations at the border, signing an executive order that would keep families together.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, King called for all immigrants and refugees to be treated with dignity and respect.

Fifty-five years ago, King’s father emphasized that the “unalienable rights” that were promised at the founding of the U.S. belong to everyone.

“This includes not just ourselves, but our neighbors and the stranger at our door,” the younger King said Tuesday.

He criticized the way the Trump administration had left unauthorized immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in limbo when it ended the program last year without a solution from Congress. King said DACA recipients should have a pathway to citizenship. He also condemned policies separating any child from his or her parents.

“When I first heard of the caging of children, I was stunned, I was appalled, I was shaken to my core,” King said. “A great democracy does not bully the most vulnerable among us.”

He praised “people of conscience” who have protested such policies and called on Americans to vote out politicians who support those policies in November’s election.

“If we want to fulfill my father’s dream, we’ve got to invigorate our democracy with a fresh passion for constructive social change,” King said. “We must become active civic agents of change.”

At the end of King’s speech, he introduced his 10-year-old daughter Yolanda Renee.

“Dreamers must stick together,” she said.

Switching to Spanish, she delivered some of the most famous lines of her grandfather’s speech:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

One woman yelled, “Yolanda for president!”

Trump also commemorated the famous “I Have a Dream” speech on Tuesday.

“More than half a century after his speech, our nation reaffirms our commitment to protecting the promise of America for all our people,” Trump said in a statement. “For this reason, my administration is continuing to create an environment where the American Dream — and its many opportunities — are available for all hardworking Americans. As a result, for example, we have already seen the unemployment rate for African Americans reach a record low.”

Douglas Moore Jr., executive director of the United Domestic Workers union in San Diego, said King’s father’s words are often looked at as part of history, but he believes that the King dream is more relevant than ever and should guide the U.S. on immigration.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, welcomed the younger King to the border, saying he was the “right person in the right place at the right time” to address how people are treated by the U.S. immigration system.

Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee U.S./Mexico Border Program, said King’s visit was important and carried on the legacy of his father.

“It expands the notion that those who live along the border and those crossing the border are deserving of civil rights protections,” Rios said.

Irving Hernandez, a 23-year-old DACA recipient, said King’s speech captured what the battle has been for him, pushing for protections both for DACA recipients as well as other groups in the immigrant community.

“Truly the fight for equality takes time,” Hernandez said.

King’s speech opened with a procession up from the beach to the mesa at Friendship Park in the southwestern-most part of San Diego. A group of fifth graders from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School sang “One Day” as King approached.

After his speech, King went between the fences with his family to talk to people on the Mexican side of the barrier. They told him about meeting with relatives at the Friendship Park fence on weekends to touch pinkie fingers briefly between the steel mesh.

“We can do better than what we’re doing,” King said. “We’re operating at a low level right now.”

He met a Haitian immigrant who had traveled up from Brazil through deadly jungles in Central America before settling in Tijuana. He found that story of what migrants go through particularly compelling, he said.

He also met a deported U.S. military veteran.

“How do you mistreat the people who stood up to protect this country?” King said. “It’s almost insane.”

King said he’s grateful to his parents for showing him a path to human rights work and also thankful that his mother didn’t make him feel like he had to be another version of his father.

“Nothing comes easy, particularly when following in footsteps so gigantic,” King said.

He hopes to be a catalyst for change in his own way.

King was scheduled to meet with San Diego community members through the United Domestic Workers union later in the afternoon.

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

For DREAMers like me, John McCain was a protector and guide. Honor him by helping us.

USA Today (Op-Ed)
By Lorenzo Santillan
August 29, 2018

The tributes honoring the life of Sen. John McCain acknowledge all the ways he has fought for our country. Yet I want to thank this American patriot for his service on behalf of a vulnerable part of society that is hidden in the shadows: undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children.

It’s been nearly a year since the Trump administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that gives many DREAMers like me the ability to work and live legally in the United States. Yet during this dark and uncertain year, I have always stayed hopeful knowing that McCain was fighting for us in Congress. He has said it was “not conscionable” to tell the 800,000 DREAMers accepted into the DACA program to go back to countries we don’t know.

From one Arizonian to another

My mother carried me across the border through a tunnel near Nogales, Arizona, when I was just nine months old. She wanted to give me the chance to succeed in ways I never could have in Mexico.

The fact that McCain comes from Arizona — the only home I’ve ever known — makes me even more proud. I’m also honored by his recognition that DACA recipients are “pursuing degrees, starting careers, and contributing to our communities in important ways.”

I know that is the case because I am living example. I am an owner of a food trailer, a homeowner in West Phoenix and the father of two amazing young children, who are American citizens.

McCain wanted to ‘raise hell’ and leave it all on the field. Mission accomplished, Senator.

Ninety percent of the DACA-eligible population over 16 years old were employed in 2015 and this group holds almost $16.8 billion in spending power, according to New American Economy. More than 80 percent have graduated from high school and have taken at least one college course, and we fill important roles in the U.S. economy, as accountants, nurses, and teachers. In the five most populous states, 5 percent on average of DACA-eligible workers are entrepreneurs like myself. We understand the American dream as well as anyone.

My own parents only had an elementary school education. My mom cleaned houses and my dad was a landscaper. I was inspired by their work ethic to spend years as a prep and line cook in several restaurants, learning the skills that made it possible to start my own business.

Americans make their own paths

I am 31 years old now and still undocumented, but I have continued to make the most of the opportunities my mother gave me by bringing me here. Today, my food truck sells Mexican cuisine at music and cultural festivals across the southwestern United States. Like so many other DREAMers, I made my own path. If that doesn’t make me an American, nothing does.

Without DACA, I’d have to shut down my business, and, worse, be subject to deportation and have to leave behind my family. I’d no longer be able to serve my customers or contribute to my community.

I know that McCain suffered from personal tragedies in his life and he understood the value of sacrifice and commitment. He understood that empowering DREAMers to give back is good for our country. I am asking Congress to honor his legacy by giving us a chance to claim our place as Americans.

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

Mollie Tibbetts, Racism and the Rule of Law

New York Times (Opinion)
By David Leonhardt
August 28, 2018

The main reason that Mollie Tibbetts’s horrible killing has received so much attention is racism. Tibbetts’s accused murderer is a Mexican immigrant, and large segments of the conservative media, including talk radio and Fox News, like to call attention to crimes committed by people with dark skin. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.

You’ll notice the pattern if you spend any time watching or listening to these media sources. The pattern becomes especially clear when they descend into falsehoods.

Just look at the made-up story that Fox promoted last week about land seizures in South Africa, which led to a false tweet from President Trump about “the large-scale killing of farmers.” Or look at Lou Dobbs’s long history of telling on-air lies about immigrants (despite their comparatively low crime rates). Dobbs, other right-wing hosts and Trump have no such history of making up stories about crimes committed by white people.

I don’t think it’s possible to have an honest conversation about the Tibbetts debate without acknowledging the role that race plays. But I also think that David A. French’s piece in National Review is worth reading, especially for progressives.

French starts the piece by acknowledging the role of racism. That’s not his focus, though. His goal, instead, is to persuade readers that race is not the sole reason that the Tibbetts case resonates with so many people.

“There are reasons why illegal-immigrant crime can carry a poignant punch among people of good will,” French writes. “The murderer wasn’t supposed to be here. I’m reminded of the pain that people feel when, for example, they find out (in different crimes) that the police didn’t follow up on a lead or a prisoner was wrongly released on parole. The feeling is palpable.”

Imagine, for example, that you heard the killer in a mass shooting had been able to purchase a gun illegally, because of a failure in the background-check system. Wouldn’t that heighten your sense of injustice about the crime? For most of us, the answer is yes. “The official failure magnifies the personal injustice,” as French argues.

We live in a society that is supposed to be governed by laws. When they are not followed or enforced, many people are bothered. And they are right to be. Society functions better when its rules mean something.

I’m outraged by the racism that the many immigrants face, by the lies told about them and by the abuses that the Trump administration is committing against them. None of it is defensible, whether the immigrants arrived here legally or illegally.

But once the disaster of the Trump presidency has passed, the United States really should rewrite its immigration laws with the goal of reducing illegal immigration (as Barack Obama and John McCain, among many other politicians, have advocated over the years). Toothless laws undermine people’s faith in their government — and create all kinds of kindling for mistrust and anger.

On the same subject: Tibbetts’s relative, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, wrote a moving denunciation of racism in a recent Facebook post. And several writers, including Rachael Revesz in The Independent and Amanda

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

Well, at Least Sheriff Joe Isn’t Going to Congress

New York Times (Op-Ed)
By Michelle Cottle
August 28, 2018

Let us pause for a moment to mark the loss of a fierce and tireless public servant: Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who so robustly devoted himself to terrorizing immigrants that he was eventually convicted of contempt of court and would have lived out his twilight years with a well-deserved criminal record if President Trump, a staunch admirer of Mr. Arpaio’s bare-knuckle approach to law enforcement, had not granted him a pardon.

To clarify, Mr. Arpaio the man has not passed. As of Tuesday, he was still very much alive and kicking, the proto-Trumpian embodiment of fearmongering ethnonationalism. Mr. Arpaio’s dream of returning to elective office, however, has been dealt what is most likely a fatal blow by his loss in Arizona’s Republican primary for the Senate. Cast aside and left to wallow in the knowledge that his moment has passed, he has a fitting end to the public life of a true American villain.

This defeat came as a surprise to no one. In the closing weeks of the race, his campaign had begun melting down. His staff was in chaos, and polls showed him trailing both Representative Martha McSally, Tuesday’s victor, and Kelli Ward, an anti-immigration firebrand also courting the right wing of the party.

As “America’s toughest sheriff,” as Mr. Arpaio liked to call himself, prepares to ride off into the sunset, it bears recalling that he was so much more than a run-of-the-mill immigrant basher. His 24-year reign of terror was medieval in its brutality. In addition to conducting racial profiling on a mass scale and terrorizing immigrant neighborhoods with gratuitous raids and traffic stops and detentions, he oversaw a jail where mistreatment of inmates was the stuff of legend. Abuses ranged from the humiliating to the lethal. He brought back chain gangs. He forced prisoners to wear pink underwear. He set up an outdoor “tent city,” which he once referred to as a “concentration camp,” to hold the overflow of prisoners. Inmates were beaten, fed rancid food, denied medical care (this included pregnant women) and, in at least one case, left battered on the floor to die.

Indeed, many prisoners died in Mr. Arpaio’s jail — at an alarming clip. The number of inmates who hanged themselves in his facilities was far higher than in jails elsewhere in the country. More disturbing still, nearly half of all inmate deaths on his watch were never explained. Over the years, the county paid out tens of millions in wrongful death and injury settlements.

At the same time, Mr. Arpaio’s department could not be bothered to uphold the laws in which it had little interest. From 2005 through 2007, the sheriff and his deputies failed to properly investigate, or in some cases to investigate at all, more than 400 sex-crime cases, including those involving the rape of young children.

Mr. Arpaio embraced the racist birther movement more energetically than most, starting an investigation aimed at exposing President Barack Obama’s American birth certificate as a forgery. The inquiry ran five years, with Mr. Arpaio announcing his “troubling” findings in December of 2016, just weeks after having been voted out of office. Even many of his own constituents, it seemed, had grown weary of the sheriff’s excesses. No matter, as of early this year, Mr. Arpaio was still claiming to have proved “100 percent” that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate had been faked — to be clear, he has not — and suggesting he would revive the issue if elected to the Senate.

It was no secret that Mr. Arpaio’s methods often crossed the line into the not-so-legal. In 2011, a federal district judge ordered the sheriff to end his practice of stopping and detaining people on no other grounds than suspecting them of being undocumented immigrants. Mr. Arpaio declined to oblige, secure in the rightness of his own judgment. The legal battle dragged on until last summer, when he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for blatantly thumbing his nose at the law.

Such unwillingness to bow to an uppity judiciary surely impressed Mr. Trump, who sees his own judgment as superior to any moral or legal precept. In this way, Mr. Arpaio was arguably the perfect pick to be the very first person pardoned by this president. The two men are brothers in arms, fighting the good fight against the invading hordes of immigrants — and their liberal enablers, of course. And if that requires dismissing the Constitution and destroying the rule of law, so be it. What true patriot would object to a few tent cities or human rights violations when the American way of life is in mortal peril?

In announcing the pardon last August, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Arpaio as an “American patriot.” The official statement by the White House gushed: “Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” To Mr. Trump’s fans, this was another welcome sign of the president’s commitment to keeping them safe from The Other.

Not everyone in the president’s party was pleased. Members of his administration reportedly advised against the pardon as too controversial. It was widely noted that the announcement was made in the hours right before Hurricane Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast, presumably with an eye toward minimizing the negative media coverage of the pardon while journalists were busy reporting on the storm. (For his part, Mr. Trump later claimed that the pardon actually had been timed to take advantage of the higher ratings generated by Harvey watchers.)

Even so, John McCain, the Arizona senator and frequent Trump critic who passed away on Saturday, made his dismay known. “The president has the authority to make this pardon,” he said in a statement, “but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law, as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Certainly, Mr. Arpaio showed little sign of remorse on the campaign trail. In a recent interview with The Times, he rambled about all the Mexican rapists and murderers who filled his jails back in the day, and he said the answer to the debate over Dreamers was simple: Deport all 700,000 of them back to their home countries.

The former sheriff also made clear that, despite all the legal drama swirling around the president, his loyalty to Mr. Trump was steadfast. “You can’t support people just because they’re convicted?” he asked rhetorically. “No matter what he’s convicted of, I’m still going to call it a witch hunt, so of course I’ll stand by him.”

Some might consider it ungenerous to celebrate Mr. Arpaio’s electoral failure and continuing slide into irrelevance. But the man has a long and storied history of mistreating people in unfortunate circumstances, so it seems only appropriate to return the favor.

For nearly a quarter-century, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a disgrace to law enforcement, a sadist masquerading as a public servant. In a just system, we would not see his like again. In the current political climate, it may be enough that Arizona Republicans solidly rejected him.

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

Hatewatch Headlines

Southern Poverty Law Center
August 28, 2018
Hatewatch Headlines

America’s Voice: How hate groups, including the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), are dug in with the Trump administration.

On August 15, Lee Francis Cissna, the director of the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), sat down for a press event with the hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which was founded by white nationalist John Tanton. One might ask what the head of a major government organization was doing palling around with a hate group. The truth is that this was not an isolated event, and that there is an anti-immigrant network Tanton founded and which CIS is a part of, which has become integral to the Trump Administration for both staffing and policy reasons. This network’s influence helps to explain the zealous attacks on immigrants and the white nationalist connections that have become the hallmark of this Administration. This influence has been beneficial for the network, which enjoys increased influence and donations.

John Tanton, originally a Michigan ophthalmologist, began to build a network of anti-immigrant organizations in the 1970’s. The three main anti-immigrant organizations he founded are NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the latter two as hate groups. Just today, we learned that a former employee at FAIR recently filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination, saying “racial slurs” were used against him, and claiming he was “made fun of for being Hispanic”. The former employee, Joe Gomez, said his experience helps confirm that FAIR is in fact a hate group.

Tanton’s racist ideas have been a matter of the public record since the 1980’s. His early financial backers, the Pioneer Fund, like him believed in eugenics and white racial superiority. And two of Tanton’s friends are prominent white nationalists Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, who run the white nationalist websites American Renaissance and VDARE, respectively. A connection to Brimelow was the reason why a White House speechwriter was fired last week.

There remain many connections between the Trump White House and one or more of Tanton’s extremist groups. Alumni, supporters, and colleagues of FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA have been vocal cheerleaders both inside and outside of the Administration for some of Trump’s worst immigration policies, including the increase in indiscriminate ICE raids, separations at the border, ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of families, ending help for children who are U.S. citizens but whose parents happens to be immigrants, and attempting to end DACA for Dreamers.

Here are just some of many of the connections between the Trump Administration and John Tanton’s anti-immigrant network:

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General, who currently has immense power over immigration policy, has been meeting with the Tanton network since at least the 1990s and been a constant ally and one of the strongest champions of their ideas ever since. Sessions was an important conduit for placing former staffers sympathetic to anti-immigrant throughout the Trump Administration. These include: Gene Hamilton, who while at the DHS masterminded the end to DACA for Dreamers; Danielle Cutrona who served on Trump’s immigration transition team; Alan Hanson who runs the Office of Justice Programs; Rick Dearborn who worked for Legislative, Intergovernmental Affairs and Implementation, and post prominently, Stephen Miller.

Stephen Miller, currently a senior advisor to the President, has his own history with the network and has been the most aggressive and prominent promoter of their ideas inside the White House. He was the keynote speaker at a 2015 CIS event and once said that a conversation with CIS’ research director was “one of the great pleasures of my professional life.”

At least three top Administration officials have appeared at events with CIS, including Lee Francis Cissna, the director of USCIS; Thomas Homan, then-acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and James McHenry, director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Since the 1990s, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, provided polling for FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA.

The head of Trump’s failed voter commission and sometimes immigration advisor, Kris Kobach, was employed by Tanton’s network for over a decade and is deeply entangled in its organizational web.

Trump nominated Ronald Mortensen for Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, which oversees the U.S. response to refugees. Mortensen has written for CIS since 2009, but his nomination has been aggressively contested by human rights and faith groups.

Julie Kirchner, former executive director of FAIR, left in 2015 to work as an immigration advisor to the Trump campaign. She was later appointed to Chief of Staff at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and then became the ombudsman for USCIS.

Robert Law is a senior policy adviser to USCIS, but was previously the lobbying director for FAIR.

Jon Feere, a long time staffer at CIS, was hired as a senior advisor at ICE.

NumbersUSA and CIS claimed to have met with Trump and top officials throughout Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Trump used their data in one of his campaign ads.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and a current candidate for U.S. Senate, sits on the Board of Directors for FAIR and worked on Trump’s transition team.

Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, was the CEO of Breitbart, which frequently reports on the Tanton network’s “research” and gives column space to Tanton allies. Bannon’s favorite book, a racist French novel, was published in English by another of Tanton’s organizations.

The deep connections that Tanton’s anti-immigrant network has in the Trump Administration is concerning in its own right; but the immediate and long term effects of its influence on policy will continue to be devastating for the lives of countless immigrants. Under the Trump Administration, CIS, FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the rest of the Tanton network have more power than ever — and they’re using it to reshape American immigration policy, possible for decades to come.

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