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


Friday, May 31, 2019

Guan v. Barr

An asylum seeker was statutorily ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal where there were serious reasons to believe he committed a serious nonpolitical crime since he was involved in a financial scheme embezzling public funds and he admitted that his involvement in the scheme stemmed from purely economic reasons. Torture does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to lawful sanctions, including the death penalty.

Guan v. Barr - filed May 30, 2019 
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 17-71966 

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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Honcharov v. Barr

The Board of Immigration Appeals does not per se err when it concludes that arguments raised for the first time on appeal do not have to be entertained.

Honcharov v. Barr - filed May 29, 2019 
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 15-71554 

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

Assembly OKs Health Care for Adult Immigrants

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Assembly voted Tuesday to extend the state’s Medicaid program to eligible adults who are in the country illegally.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend about $98 million a year to cover low-income immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 who are living in the country illegally. The state Senate’s budget proposal would also add coverage for people 65 and older living in the country illegally.

The state Assembly’s bill would cover all immigrants in California living in the country illegally over the age of 19.

But Newsom has raised concern about the assembly’s bill because it is estimated to cost more than $3 billion a year.

The bill passed 44-11.

The proposed law, Assembly Bill 4, goes next to the state Senate.

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

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to move quickly on DACA

By Ariane de Vogue

Washington (CNN)A frustrated Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to say by the end of next month if it will hear arguments on whether it can wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.

Such action could mean the court hears oral arguments and issues a decision in the middle of the 2020 presidential election.

As things stand, lower courts have ruled against the administration’s attempts to rescind the program and issued a nationwide injunction that keeps it on the books, and the Supreme Court has not acted upon a longstanding request from the Justice Department to take up the issue.

The justices’ inaction suggests that some of them believe the issue should percolate in the lower courts before Supreme Court review.

“Twenty months ago, DHS determined, in accordance with the views of the Attorney General that DACA, a discretionary policy of immigration non-enforcement, was unlawful, ill-advised, and should be discontinued,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in briefs filed last week after the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest court to rule against the program.

In a 2-1 ruling issued earlier this month, the appeals court held that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the program was “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law in part because the Department of Homeland Security “failed to give a reasoned explanation” for the change in policy.

Francisco said that a nationwide injunction blocking the rescission of the program continues “to impede efforts to enact legislation” that would address “legitimate policy concerns” and that petitions filed in November 2018 with the Supreme Court have not been acted upon.

“The government respectfully submits that further percolation is unnecessary and the time for the Court to act is now,” Francisco wrote.

In a motion to expedite, Francisco told the justices it was “critical” that they act before their summer recess to allow the parties time to file briefs in the matter for arguments next term.

The Supreme Court will consider the motion behind closed doors on Thursday.

Attorney General Bill Barr lamented earlier in the month that “nationwide injunctions have frustrated presidential policy for most of the President’s term with no clear end in sight.”

In a speech before the American Law Institute in Washington, DC, Barr noted that the Supreme Court has not acted on the requests “and they languish on the conference docket”.

“Unless the court acts quickly and decisively, we are unlikely to see a decision before mid 2020 at the earliest — that is, right before the next election,” Barr said.

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

O'Rourke's Immigration Plan Calls for Pathway to Citizenship

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping immigration plan to seek a pathway to U.S. citizenship for 11 million people in the country illegally, deploy thousands of immigration lawyers to the southern border to help with asylum cases and earmark $5 billion to bolster the rule of law in Central America.

The former Texas congressman becomes just the second major candidate in the packed field of Democratic presidential hopefuls to offer a comprehensive immigration proposal, even though the U.S.-Mexico border and the thousands of people streaming across it illegally have dominated headlines and U.S. policy discussions for months.

Other policy goals — including plans to slash carbon emissions nationwide to combat climate change and extend universal health care coverage — have overshadowed immigration, despite President Donald Trump fixating on calls for tightening border security and extending a wall along the border, seeing both as winning issues for himself and the Republican Party heading into 2020.

The only other Democratic White House contender to offer a full immigration plan is former Obama administration housing chief Julián Castro, who called in April for ending criminalization of illegal border crossings entirely.

O’Rourke’s plan doesn’t go that far, but he pledges to use executive orders to mandate that only people with criminal records be detained for crossing the border illegally. He also would end the separation of immigrant families at the border, remove federal immigration courts from their current jurisdiction under the Justice Department, stop all funding for what he calls “private, for-profit prison operators” and send 2,000 lawyers to the border to help those immigrants seeking U.S. asylum, often because they are fleeing drug or gang violence back home in Central America.

O’Rourke said he’d work with Congress to legalize 11 million people in the country illegally during his first 100 days as president, fast-tracking “Dreamers,” those people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. And he’s promising to invest $5 billion to combat violence and poverty in the three Central American countries that currently send the most immigrants to the U.S. illegally: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The plan “overcomes a generation of inaction to finally rewrite our immigration laws in our own image reflecting our values, the reality of the border, the best interests of our communities, and the longstanding traditions of a country comprised of families from the world over,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

O’Rourke, a fluent Spanish speaker, served three terms in Congress representing El Paso, across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. While campaigning, he reminds audiences multiple times a day that immigrants comprised more than a quarter of the people in his district and declares that his hometown and Juárez are part of the world’s largest “binational community.” He’s fond of saying that El Paso is among the safest cities per capita in the nation “not because of walls but in spite of walls” along the border.

O’Rourke’s plan also seeks to better track and prevent immigrant deaths by creating an independent border oversight office and expanded training and contact with surrounding communities for federal personnel. A nine-page fact sheet O’Rourke released with his proposal accuses the Trump administration of “pursuing cruel and cynical policies that aim to sow needless chaos and confusion at our borders.”

“It is manufacturing crises in our communities. And it is seeking to turn us against each other,” the fact sheet says. “When this is done in our name, with our tax dollars, and to our neighbors, we not only undermine our laws, hold back our economy, and damage our security — we risk losing ourselves.”

Trump has said his immigration policies are meant to keep the country safe.

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Supreme Court to decide whether families of Mexican teens killed by U.S. border agents can sue

By Robert Barnes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would hear a case that will determine whether the families of Mexican teenagers killed by U.S. Border Patrol agents in cross-border shootings can sue in U.S. courts.

The justices failed to settle the issue once before. Their renewed involvement was necessitated by contradictory lower court decisions in cases from Arizona and Texas.

At issue is whether congressional approval is needed before families can sue on behalf of foreign victims who were injured on foreign soil. The court took the case from Texas, but its outcome will influence the Arizona case.

It will be argued during the term that begins in October.

The Supreme Court previously considered the death of 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, who was shot and killed in 2010 on the Mexican side of the wide culvert that separates El Paso from Juárez.

Border agent Jesus Mesa Jr. was patrolling the area when Sergio and his friends ran up the steep embankment on the U.S. side to touch the tall fence and then raced back to Mexico.

Mesa had said he and other agents were under attack from a rock-throwing gang, but cellphone videos of the incident indicated that was not true. Mesa grabbed one of the other youths and then, while holding on to him, shot at Sergio, killing him as he peered from behind a bridge piling.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has twice held that the suit cannot go forward.

It was a “tragic event,” Judge Edith Jones wrote, but not one for which the boy’s family can sue Mesa.

Congress has failed to “create private rights of action against federal officials for injuries to foreign citizens on foreign soil,” Jones wrote. “It is not credible that Congress would favor the judicial invention of those rights.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit went the other way in the Arizona case.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Swartz fired across the border in 2012 and killed 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who had been walking down a street in Nogales parallel to the border fence.

Swartz was charged with murder and acquitted, although the government has indicated it may retry him for manslaughter. In the meantime, the teenager’s mother filed suit against Swartz, and a divided panel of the 9th Circuit said her suit could continue.

“This case involves the unjustifiable and intentional killing of someone who was simply walking down a street in Mexico and who did not direct any activity toward the United States,” wrote Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld.

The courts’ disagreement concern a 1971 Supreme Court decision, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents. The court allowed people to sue over unconstitutional actions by federal officials, even if such suits had not been explicitly authorized by Congress.

But since then, the court has been more likely to restrict the right than expand it. The justices looked at the Texas case but did not reach a conclusion in 2017.

The justices said it would be “imprudent” to decide until the 5th Circuit reconsidered the case in light of a separate Supreme Court decision issued about the same time.

In that case, the high court reinforced protections for government officials, who are generally shielded from civil lawsuits when they have acted in good faith in carrying out their duties.

The case accepted Tuesday is Hernández v. Mesa.

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

Border Wall on Private Land in New Mexico Fuels Backlash

By Simon Romero

ALBUQUERQUE — Congress has so far thwarted President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico. But that hasn’t stopped some supporters from finding a way to build their own barrier.

A group that pushes for stricter border control is spending $6 million to construct less than a mile of border fencing on private land in southern New Mexico. Their hope is for the project to help limit the flow of migrant families trying to enter the United States around El Paso.

“It really was ridiculous how easy it was to get around the El Paso wall until we built this,” said Kris Kobach, who is known for his hard-line stance on immigration and is on the advisory board of the group, We Build the Wall, which collects donations to finance a barrier on the southern border.

Mr. Kobach unveiled the fencing on Memorial Day on land in Sunland Park, N.M., owned by the American Eagle Brick Co. He said that the company hired to build the wall, Fisher Industries of North Dakota, hoped to complete the project in a few days.

The wall’s effectiveness and legality, though, are in doubt. The stretch of wall could simply push migrant families toward crossings in more remote areas, as other portions of border fencing have done.

Still, the project has already come under criticism from elected leaders in New Mexico and Texas who see it as a publicity ploy, while others point to the ties between We Build the Wall and a right-wing militia whose leader is in jail on weapons charges.

The mayor of Sunland Park, Javier Perea, said the city issued a cease-and-desist order on Tuesday after determining that the builders had failed to obtain the required permits for the project.

“The construction of the wall at this point is in violation of city ordinances,” Mr. Perea said, saying that a survey had not been filed and that the fencing exceeded the maximum allowed height of 6 feet.

Dustin Stockman, a vice president of We Build the Wall, said that the project was on “strong legal footing” and would be completed.

Representative Veronica Escobar, an El Paso Democrat, focused scrutiny on Mr. Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year, and Stephen K. Bannon, a former adviser to Mr. Trump who is chairman of We Build the Wall’s advisory board.

“It’s deeply disturbing when outsiders, like Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon, come in and use our community and people as a backdrop to further their racist agenda,” Ms. Escobar said in a statement.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, also a Democrat, said: “To act as though throwing up a small section of wall on private land does anything to effectively secure our southern border from human and drug trafficking or address the humanitarian needs of the asylum seekers and local communities receiving them — that’s nonsense.”

We Build the Wall was started in December as a GoFundMe online fund-raising campaign by Brian Kolfage, a disabled Air Force veteran. The organization said it hoped to raise $1 billion. So far, it has collected $20 million from private donors.

Jeff Allen, a co-owner of the company on whose land the wall is going up, told The El Paso Times why he favored the project. “We have been burglarized by illegals,” he said. “We have drug traffickers coming through here, and anyone who is against this is against America.”

The desert near Sunland Park has been the site of militia activity. A group called the United Constitutional Patriots uploaded video to social media showing its members detaining migrant families.

We Build the Wall used video recorded by the militia in its fund-raising pitches, according to a report by Phoenix New Times.

While Mr. Kobach claimed on Tuesday that We Build the Wall was not tied to the militia, Jim Benvie, the spokesman for the militia, said that he had dealt with Mr. Kolfage, the founder of We Build the Wall, and expressed delight with the project.

“This is our stomping ground,” Mr. Benvie said about the area where the wall was being built. He added that the group considered the project a victory and planned to patrol in other areas in Texas, Arizona or New Mexico.

Mr. Trump has encountered one obstacle after another in his quest to build a wall along the entire border. After Congress refused to allocate money for the project, a federal judge in California granted an injunction this month preventing the Trump administration from redirecting funds for the wall using a national emergency declaration.

Even before this flare-up of militia and construction activity, residents along the border have long been grappling with existing fenced sections. Researchers say that the expansion of border fencing during the Bush administration pushed migrants toward crossing in more remote territory, resulting in hundreds of deaths from exposure to extreme desert heat.

Mr. Kobach, who came under scrutiny this month for his list of conditions, including an on-call jet, if he were to become the Trump administration’s immigration czar, disputed assertions that this new portion of wall would place migrant families at risk.

“I don’t think this fence endangers anyone’s life,” Mr. Kobach said, while claiming that migrants would not seek to cross the border at the point where the new portion of wall ends, near a cliff. “I doubt that they’re going to try to climb over an 18-foot bollard wall,” he said.

Still, as debate unfolds about the wall, the desert is claiming lives. In one grim episode this month, a 26-year-old Mexican man was found dead near another portion of border wall in southern New Mexico. Investigators are looking into whether he fell to his death while trying to scale the wall.

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

The crush of children at Arizona’s border shows a U.S. immigration system on the brink

By Maria Sacchetti

YUMA, Ariz. — Central American parents and children started pouring into this desert border community faster than anyone had predicted. Out of desperation, the Salvation Army opened a shelter in a strip mall in March, thinking it would be temporary. At first, they had 50 people. Then 150. Then the numbers doubled by the week.

Churches issued urgent calls for diapers, baby formula, coloring books and crayons. Aid workers flew in from Washington. The mayor, who opposes illegal immigration, declared an emergency and implored the White House to help because the flow of people coming out of federal detention at the border was unlike anything Yuma had ever seen.

“I’m not interested in seeing homeless and hungry families walking around the city looking for resources and all the issues that come with that,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls (R) said in a recent interview at City Hall. “It’s a big issue.”

In the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, which stretches from California deep into the Arizona desert, half of the apprehensions this year have been of children — the highest share on the U.S. southern border. The tally is rising fast in Yuma, a sparsely populated farming community in Arizona’s southwest corner, driven in part by migration patterns that shift frequently as people try to determine the path of least resistance to the United States.

Asylum-seeking migrants arriving dusty and exhausted here in recent days said it is easier than ever to enter the United States — if they surrender with a child. Because minors generally cannot be held for long periods, most are released with their families or to a shelter.

Nearly 169,000 youths have surrendered at the southern border in the first seven months of this fiscal year, and more than half are ages 12 and under, according to federal records and officials familiar with Customs and Border Protection statistics. Minors now account for nearly 37 percent of all crossings — far above previous eras, when most underage migrants were teenagers and accounted for 10 percent to 20 percent of all crossings.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything near this,” said John Sandweg, an acting director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration.

The children have shattered a multibillion-dollar system that Congress and the White House built over the past two decades to quickly catch and deport adults, and border scenes involving children have been surreal: One boy recently surrendered in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume, a girl carried a pink-clad doll, and border agents are feeding formula to newly apprehended babies.

Migrants say they are coming to the United States because droughts are frying Central American harvests, they can’t pay their bills, and gangs are recruiting children.

“I want to study,” said Cesar Gonzalez, 13, of Guatemala, wearing a donated sweatshirt with “USA” emblazoned across his chest, soon after he was released from custody, as he and his family waited at the Yuma airport for a flight to Boston. “And then I can work to help my father.”

Families are increasingly heading to the desert dunes of Arizona’s southwest corner because they sense the U.S. government’s focus is on the Texas border along the Rio Grande and because Arizona has less space for detention beds, meaning they are more likely to be released quickly.

“On other borders, they’re deporting people,” said a mother of three named Queny, who asked not to disclose her last name. She said her Central American family of five, including a nursing 1-year-old, paid less than $6,000 to cross, cheaper than the price for smuggling an adult. In Arizona, they were released within days.

Yuma traces its roots to the 19th-century Gold Rush but is now known as the nation’s “Winter Lettuce Capital” and home to the military’s Barry M. Goldwater bombing range. Most newcomers are either migrant farmworkers from Mexico or snowbirds heading south for the winter.

In October, the Border Patrol released about 200 Central American family members, and nonprofit groups, lacking shelter space, housed them in motels. Federal agents have apprehended more than 31,000 family members here since, nearly four times as many as in the same period last year, and they have warned Yuma to expect hundreds more in a city that has a small airport, a few bus stops and an occasional train.

The Salvation Army stunned neighboring business owners in a Yuma strip mall when it opened a shelter in March, installing portable toilets and showers behind the building.

“I thought it was a joke,” said Alma Mosier, a registered nurse who owns Cheekie Boutique, a woman’s clothing store. She expressed concern about federal officials’ claims that some children are making repeat trips to help adults enter the United States. “Where are the little kids coming from? Are they recycling the kids over and over? You want to protect the kids, you know?”

Latinos make up more than 60 percent of Yuma County’s population, and more than a quarter of the county’s population are immigrants. Though Latinos generally lean left, Yuma is politically divided. Some embrace Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration policy; a few have driven by the shelter and shouted at the families to go home.

Others help. They serve meals, sort donated clothes and monitor the shelter around the clock. Some drive families to the airport or escort them to the new bus stop out back. Piles of shampoo, diapers and canned goods are arriving, but it’s difficult to keep up with demand.

“It’s basically a revolving door,” said Salvation Army Capt. Jeffrey Breazeale. “I’ve been told it’s not going to slow down.”

Sister Mary Beth Kornely, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Yuma, said the local Immaculate Conception Catholic Church asks for volunteers or supplies at Sunday services.

“The need is extremely great because the numbers just keep pouring in,” Kornely said.

Though President Trump’s proposed $4.5 billion in border spending includes humanitarian aid and enforcement, Democrats worry that the approach doesn’t adequately address the children, whom one lawmaker called the “cannon fodder in Trump’s reelection campaign.”

“I’ve never seen it this bad, and I think it’s going to get worse,” said U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who recently visited Yuma. “As kids, they are now part and parcel of a presidential election. As that campaign escalates as they become more desperate, so will the situation on the border.”

So far, locals have shouldered the cost. The mayor, a Republican married to the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, has dispatched city workers to help. The Democratic-led County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to spend up to $25,000 to cover shelter utilities if it expands.

“I oppose illegal immigration because it’s illegal, but what you see now is migration. It’s lawful,” said Russell McCloud, board vice chairman and a Republican, referring to Central American asylum claimants. “That’s the issue, right? Otherwise, they would be stopped and turned away.”

At Border Patrol facilities, advocates say, children fall eerily silent. But at the shelters, they come alive. They play, throw tantrums, cuddle with stuffed animals. They have their own thoughts about what is good about America. Some wish for a bicycle, others for a better education. Some said they want to send money to the parents and siblings left behind.

Inside a converted monastery in Tucson run by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, adults sipped coffee, and children rode bicycles past orange trees in the yard one recent day. Medics roamed the halls. Offices were set aside for consulates, lawyers, phone calls and clothing donations. Children carried stuffed animals: a teddy bear, a dinosaur, a lamb.

And they pointed to their destinations on giant maps of the United States: Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida.

Emmanuel and Ayembi, twin brothers from Guatemala, are going to Pennsylvania to meet their grandfather for the first time. Their mother, Beisy, 22, hasn’t seen him since he left Guatemala 15 years ago to work and send money home.

A Honduran woman named Lilian burst into tears when asked how smugglers treated her along the journey. She said she left Honduras because her mother has cancer and needs more money to pay for treatment.

“I couldn’t afford it,” she said, wiping away tears so her 3-year-old daughter, Adriana, wouldn’t see.

Nearby, 4-year-old Sofia roamed the second-floor hallway in blue pajamas and kept an eye out for Mickey Mouse. To quiet Sofia and her siblings, Rigoberto, 1, and Claudia, 8, their mother had told them they were going to Disneyland.

“Where is he, mami?” the girl kept asking, hoping to see the famous Disney character, her mother said. “When are you going to take me to him?”

“She thinks we’re going on vacation,” Queny said with a whisper, saying she fled a cheating husband and plans to stay with a friend in North Carolina. “We are going to work.”

South of Yuma, on the other side of the Mexican border, more families are waiting to get in.

One recent night, children played with Barbie dolls and coloring books on a filthy sidewalk beside a traffic-clogged street. They slept under blue tarps weighed down with rocks and pressed against a towering border fence fortified with razor wire. They pay a few pesos to a lady down the street to bathe or wash their hair. They are trying to cross legally, and they have been waiting for three months.

A boy played on a towering fence that separates Mexico and the United States. Another swung police tape like a cowboy lariat. A stray dog followed them wherever they went. They named him Firulay.

“The people who suffer are the children,” said Rosa, who traveled to the border with her 10-year-old daughter, Ruth, an aspiring airline stewardess from El Salvador. “They could be smiling and playing, but only they know how they feel.”

Evelyn, a gap-toothed little girl from Mexico traveling with her mother, Marisol, held up a doll and smiled. She turns 6 in November.

“My birthday will be on the other side,” she said.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Border Patrol Agent Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Multiple Women Over 7 Years

By Alanna Vagianos

An Arizona Border Patrol agent is accused of sexually assaulting at least three women during his seven-year tenure with the government’s Customs and Border Protection agency.

Steven Charles Holmes, 33, was arrested on Tuesday after a woman reported that the Border Patrol agent sexually assaulted her after the two met on an online dating app and went on a date. The Tucson Police Department told HuffPost that the investigation into Holmes “uncovered multiple victims with similar reports occurring from January 2012 to January 2019.”

Holmes was arrested on Tuesday and charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of aggravated assault. He was booked into Pima County Jail and is being held on $25,000 cash bond.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told HuffPost that Holmes has been with Border Patrol for seven years.

“The U.S. Border Patrol stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission,” the spokesperson said. “We do not tolerate misconduct on, or off duty, and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged misconduct by our personnel.”

Holmes has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the Tucson Police Department’s investigation.

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

Trump is now using E-Verify in his golf courses. The result: More firings of undocumented workers

By Joshua Partlow and David A. Fahrenthold

FREEHOLD, N.J. — The two Mexican line cooks noticed nothing remarkable about the opening of the 2019 season at President Trump’s golf club in Colts Neck, N.J.

Juan Espinoza and Abelardo Montes filled out the same forms and presented the same fake identification cards to their superiors as they had done for the past seven years, they said.

They showed up to cook, spent one week on the job, and then were summoned to a manager’s office early one Saturday morning in April. Their documents were invalid, they were told. They could punch out and leave the premises.

“They said a new rule had started called E-Verify,” Montes said. “That was the reason they fired us.”

The firings show that Trump’s company has followed through on its promise this year to start using the government’s online system for checking a new hire’s eligibility to work in the United States — a pledge it made in response to revelations that the company relied on undocumented labor.

The dismissals also show that the Trump Organization’s adoption of E-Verify has led to further shedding of workers, after the company had already purged about 20 undocumented workers this year. All 12 of Trump’s U.S. golf courses are now enrolled in the program, according to the government’s online database of E-Verify users; in December, only three were enrolled.

Espinoza and Montes said an additional 15 undocumented groundskeepers were let go this year at Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck. The Washington Post was not able to independently verify the additional firings at Colts Neck.

The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment for this article. Trump’s son Eric, who is running his father’s company day-to-day, has said the terminations are a tragic consequence of the workers’ use of false documents to get a job and the country’s broken immigration system.

The Post has been detailing since late last year the Trump Organization’s history of using undocumented labor and has, so far, interviewed 40 such workers fired from their jobs since then.

Some of the fired workers had been employed by the company for years and said that their supervisors knew their papers were false but allowed them to work there, anyway. The company has denied knowledge that any of its workers were undocumented.

As a candidate railing against undocumented immigrants, Trump declared in a 2016 speech in Arizona, “We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and we will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country.”

The same year, Trump told MSNBC host Chris Matthews: “I’m using E-Verify on just about every job. . . . I’m using E-Verify, and I’ll tell you, it works.”

It was not until this year, however, that all of the company’s U.S. golf courses began using the system, which allows employers to check the names and personal information of new hires against records held by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Eric Trump told The Post in January that the Trump Organization used E-Verify at only some of its properties because the program is not required by law in most states, many competitors do not use it and the system is not foolproof.

Recently, the president has adopted a more skeptical tone about the idea of mandating E-Verify nationwide.

“The one problem is E-Verify is so tough,” Trump told Fox News earlier this week. The White House declined to comment when asked whether Trump was aware that E-Verify had triggered firings at his own company.

Still, for some, such as farmers, Trump said, “they’re not equipped for E-Verify.”

The stricter immigration standards at Trump’s golf clubs has caused the company to offer higher salaries for some manual labor jobs and rely more heavily on college-age Americans, according to former workers familiar with staffing decisions. The company has also put out a wide range of help-wanted ads this year, calling for groundskeepers, kitchen staff and other workers. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., tried to recruit military veterans to its grounds crew on the jobs site recruitmilitary.com.

“Do you enjoy working outside?” the ad asked. “Do you get satisfaction in contributing to a team?”

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for reduced immigration levels, supports a mandatory E-Verify system that would require employers to perform E-Verify checks on new hires but not existing employees. He said the Trump club’s firing of the two cooks — who, despite being veterans of the Trump club, were technically rehired for a seasonal job every year — is what the system is designed to do.

“That’s the point to E-Verify. The point is to weaken the job magnet,” he said.

Krikorian said that the Trump Organization could have made this move earlier, when the president began his campaign with a strident attack on illegal immigration.

“You’d think, in 2015, they’d say, ‘Let’s go take a look at this and see what our own situation is,’ ” Krikorian said. “But better late than never.”

A former manager at Colts Neck said that, until recently, immigration checks had not seemed a priority for Trump Organization bosses in New York. The company had required reviews of pay disparities between male and female employees — pursuant to a New Jersey law — and background checks for employees dealing with young golfers. Immigration checks did not have the same priority.

“E-Verify was not big,” said the former manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preserve relationships in the golf business. “There was not a specific request [to implement it], because I think there was an additional expense.”

The E-Verify system itself is free, but using E-Verify can still add costs for companies, because the process adds extra work for employees and eliminates possible new hires, dragging out the hiring process.

Decades ago, Espinoza, 46, and Montes, 47, were neighbors in the town of Poza Rica de Hidalgo in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, Mexico, they said in an interview in Spanish. They are roommates now in a red brick apartment complex in Freehold, N.J., surrounded by other Hispanic immigrants working in restaurants, landscaping, carpentry, and other manual labor jobs.

Between them, their salary supports eight children in Mexico — plus parents and spouses. Montes said half of his paycheck — he earned $17.25 an hour last year, according to a pay stub — was sent home each month.

Both men, who began as dishwashers in 2012 before learning to cook, were praised by their colleagues. The former manager, whose tenure overlapped with theirs, said: “They were very hard workers. They were very loyal.”

Upon their firings, the two longtime employees were handed a one-page flier saying they could call the Department of Homeland Security if they wanted more information. When the restaurant’s chef asked Espinoza if he could get his documents in order, Espinoza was shocked.

“I said, ‘How?’ he recalled saying. “We’ve always told you these weren’t real papers. We’ve always told you the truth. You knew that.’ ”

The supervisor did not respond to a request for comment.

Espinoza and Montes said they valued their job but routinely felt discriminated against because they could not speak English well and didn’t have legal authorization to work for Trump.

“It enrages you,” Espinoza said. “To hear [Trump] talking about Mexicans, and he had us working there, and he knows how much he exploits Mexicans.”

They said they didn’t receive health insurance, vacation or other benefits that authorized colleagues received.

“I worked sick, with fevers, with headaches, with stomach pain,” Montes said. “I had to keep working. I couldn’t lose a day. I had to pay my rent and my bills.”

Several undocumented workers at other Trump golf courses have also said they were denied these same benefits.

The New York Attorney General’s office is looking into allegations of wage theft by the Trump Organization against other former undocumented workers at the company’s golf courses in Westchester and Dutchess counties. The company has denied the allegations.

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In Shift, Trump Will Pick Kenneth Cuccinelli to Oversee Legal Immigration

By Maggie Haberman and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the immigration hard-liner who was expected to be President Trump’s pick to coordinate immigration policy, will instead be chosen to take over for the embattled official who has overseen the legal immigration system, according to two people briefed on the situation.

The official, L. Francis Cissna, whose role as the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has included overseeing a visa system that many White House aides view as broken, has submitted to pressure to step down, the two people said.

Mr. Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general, is expected to be tapped to replace Mr. Cissna, the two people said. Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Cuccinelli in recent days to help coordinate policy across agencies, akin to the “immigration czar” job that the president has considered creating for months. The move startled officials at the White House and at the Department of Homeland Security, where one West Wing official said Mr. Cuccinelli would work.

For now, he will be used to move out Mr. Cissna, the people familiar with the move said.

But Mr. Cissna, who was supported by a number of immigration restrictionists, held a Senate-confirmed role. And people close to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has been a target of Mr. Cuccinelli’s in the past, said that the former attorney general’s chances of being confirmed were close to zero, creating immediate questions about the next steps in the process.

Mr. Cissna’s resignation was previously reported by The Washington Post. The White House declined to comment.

The latest twist in the Trump administration’s personnel decisions related to immigration shows that it has become one of the most battle-scarred areas of internal turf in the past several months. Over the past several weeks, Mr. Trump has sought to shake up the leadership at the Department of Homeland Security, beginning with ousting Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April.

The New York Times reported that month that Mr. Cissna could also be forced out, and officials in the White House have long seen him as a hindrance, particularly Mr. Trump’s top policy adviser, Stephen Miller, whose singular focus is immigration. But a number of immigration restrictionists who have sought for years to reduce legal immigration described Mr. Cissna as a reliable partner. He was also supported by prominent Republicans like Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.

Ultimately, it was not enough to keep him in his job.

Mr. Cuccinelli, however, faces a likely insurmountable obstacle in Mr. McConnell. Mr. Cuccinelli in 2014 was part of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that supported a primary challenge to Mr. McConnell.

A person close to the senator said on Friday that Mr. Cuccinelli would not make it through the confirmation process.

Even if he is not confirmed, Mr. Cuccinelli is expected to be kept on at the Department of Homeland Security in some fashion.

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

Trump Asks Citizenship and Immigration Services Head to Quit

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump asked the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to resign, leaving yet another vacancy within the Department of Homeland Security.

Lee Francis Cissna told staff on Friday that his last day would be June 1, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Associated Press.

Cissna leads the agency responsible for legal immigration, including benefits and visas. With his departure, there are more than a dozen vacancies of top leadership positions at the sprawling, 240,000-employee department. Some are being temporarily filled, including secretary and inspector general. Cissna’s position, like others, requires Senate confirmation.

Cissna had been on the chopping block last month amid a White House-orchestrated bloodbath that led to the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen (KEER’-sten) Nielsen, in part because aides felt he wasn’t moving quickly enough to tighten immigration rules and push through complicated regulation changes.

But his job was saved, temporarily, after high-ranking Republicans spoke out about his record, particularly Sen. Chuck Grassley , who worked with Cissna for years. And it appeared he was back to business.

He told The Associated Press just two weeks ago that his agency was training dozens of U.S. border patrol agents to start screening immigrants arriving on the southwest border for asylum amid a surge in the number of families seeking the protection.

Asylum officers conduct initial interviews of immigrants arriving on the border to determine whether they have a credible fear of returning to their countries or should be sent back. Those who pass the interviews are allowed to seek asylum before an immigration judge, but their cases may take years to wind through the backlogged immigration courts.

But Trump is dealing with a growing crisis as tens of thousands of Central American migrants cross the border each month, overwhelming the system, and he has been unable to deliver on his signature issue of reduced immigration and tighter border security.

Cissna told his staff in the email that he was grateful for their support and service, but offered no information on what was ahead.

“During the past 20 months, every day, I have passionately worked to carry out USCIS’ mission to faithfully administer the nation’s lawful immigration system,” Cissna wrote to staff.

Earlier this week, administration officials said Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, would be taking a job at the department, but it wasn’t clear what his role would be. A person familiar with the matter said Cuccinelli was being considered for Cissna’s job, but it was unclear how that would work because the position requires Senate confirmation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters within the administration.

Cuccinelli’s name has been tossed around for months. He had also been considered for a position as an immigration czar, a job possibly housed within the White House, but officials said this week he would not be taking on that role.

Cuccinelli has in the past advocated for denying citizenship to the American-born children of parents living in the U.S. illegally, and limiting in-state tuition at public universities only to those who are citizens or legal residents.

A message sent to Cuccinelli wasn’t immediately returned Friday.

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

This Is Why So Many Children Are Dying In Border Patrol Custody

By Angelina Chapin

A 16-year-old migrant boy was found dead Monday after being taken into Border Patrol custody, making him the fifth minor since December to die shortly after being detained in a government processing facility. Given the arduous journey many children take to get to the U.S. and the unsanitary conditions in Border Patrol centers, medical experts and immigrant rights advocates warn these deaths are likely to continue.

“There’s no reason to think we’re not going to see more of this,” said Neha Desai, the director of immigration at the National Center for Youth Law. “Until the government starts complying with its basic legal obligations, they are jeopardizing the health and lives of children in their custody.”

The teenager, named Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, was originally diagnosed with the flu and given medicine. But instead of being taken to a hospital, he was transferred to a nearby border station where he could be segregated from other detained migrants. He was found dead the next day.

His death follows a similar pattern to those of the other four children: Vasquez’s initial symptoms quickly worsened after an initial diagnosis, and he did not have adequate access to medical care or a safe environment for recovery.

Customs and Border Protection says it’s providing migrants care to the best of its ability, given the influx of families that are crossing the border. So why are children continuing to die after being put in Border Patrol holding cells?

Perilous Journeys
Most immigrants do not arrive at the border in good health. Many families and children come from poor countries in Central America, where children might not be receiving all the nutrients or medical care they need, said Dr. Lisa Ayoub-Rodriguez, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics immigrant health special interest group. They often make dangerous journeys that involve trekking through the U.S. desert in extreme temperatures with limited access to water or doctors.

Immigrants rights advocates say the U.S. government is leading migrants to cross the border in remote locations because a “metering” policy in place at major ports of entry limits how many people can request asylum or other help each day. People are forced to wait in Mexico for weeks or months before they can get into the U.S.

The number of families making remote journeys through the El Paso sector, which encompasses west Texas through New Mexico and includes part of the Chihuahuan Desert, has increased from 3,000 to 53,000 this fiscal year, and the number of migrants who die while trying to reach the border is also on the rise.

Jakelin Caal, a 7-year-old girl who died less than 48 hours after being detained by Border Patrol in December, traveled more than 2,000 miles from Guatemala with her dad, including through the New Mexico desert. She died of dehydration and septic shock after getting a fever, having seizures and being flown to a hospital in El Paso.

By the time children show up at Border Patrol processing centers, they might already be dehydrated and have compromised immune systems, Ayoub-Rodriguez said, which means their bodies cannot fight off illnesses and they’re at risk of developing more serious conditions.

Inadequate Medical Care
Medical experts are concerned that children aren’t receiving adequate medical screening before being placed in Border Patrol facilities. After two children died in CBP custody in December, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo saying every immigrant under 18 had to receive a medical assessment. Minors were previously “provided medical attention on an as needed basis,” a CBP official wrote in an email to HuffPost.

Migrants being held by CBP in outdoor detention pens in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said they did not receive medical examinations or treatment, even though their children had headaches, coughs, fevers, body aches and other flu-like symptoms, according to a complaint filed by the ACLU of Texas.

The CBP official said the agency is currently prioritizing medical screening in the busiest areas but that it aims to provide the service “for the entire Southwest border.”

“Throughout this emergency DHS will never lose sight of our humanitarian obligations and is doing everything we can to fulfill our mission while caring for those in our custody,” the official told HuffPost, noting that families are showing up to the border in record-high numbers.

Children are screened by “physician assistants, nurse practitioners practitioners and EMTs,” the official said.

But experts say it’s important for children to be examined by pediatricians who know exactly what to look for.

Symptoms can spiral into more serious illnesses if health care providers miss them, said Dr. Julie Linton, co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics immigrant health special interest group. For example, signs of sepsis ― the body’s potentially life-threatening response to an infection ― are different in adults than in kids and can involve subtle changes such as increased heart rate or fast breathing, she said.

“Kids get sick quickly,” Linton said. “Each hour of delay for treatment can increase mortality.”

Ayoub-Rodriguez said it’s also important that children are monitored after an initial screening to make sure symptoms don’t worsen.

Felipe Gomez Alonso, 8, died less than 24 hours after being detained by Border Patrol in December. He initially had glossy eyes and a cough, and he was diagnosed with a common cold and given Tylenol. Then he developed a fever, began vomiting and died from the flu.

CBP facilities are not typically set up for long-term care. Only “basic, low acuity care is provided” on site after a child is examined, the agency official said.

Border Patrol facilities in McAllen, Texas, the most heavily trafficked stations in the U.S., are “among the few in the country that have a small number of midlevel health professionals — nurse practitioners or physician assistants — on site,” The New York Times reported in March.

CBP stations have become so overcrowded that Ayoub-Rodriguez worries it would be difficult for staff to give sick migrant children the attention they need, even in stations that do have medical professionals available.

“I imagine [the signs] are very easy to miss,” she said. “One minute they are just taking a nap, and the next they’re not responsive when you’re trying to wake them up.”

Conditions Not Suitable For Children
Sick children need to recover in a safe environment, but border facilities could exacerbate their illnesses. Migrants refer to these holding cells as “hieleras” ― Spanish for “iceboxes” ― or “perreras” ― Spanish for “dog kennels” ― to describe their cold temperatures and chain-link fences. Children often sleep on the floor covered only by foil-like Mylar blankets.

“In my opinion, CBP facilities aren’t suitable for anyone,” Desai said. “They are absolutely, positively, not in any capacity appropriate for children.”

According to the Flores Settlement, a 1997 government agreement that outlines immigrant children’s rights, minors should only be kept in these facilities for up to 72 hours. But activists told HuffPost that the government regularly violates this settlement because of overcrowding in Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters, where children are detained while they await sponsors.

Vasquez, the teen who died this week, was held in a CBP facility for six days ― twice as long as the Flores Settlement permits. Desai said a minor was recently recently kept in a temporary holding cell for 11 days.

Children with illnesses need access to food, water and nutritious liquids such as Pedialyte or Gatorade, which they can’t easily get in border facilities.

Jakelin’s father said his daughter was not given water while they were detained, a claim that Border Patrol denied, and immigrants report being fed frozen ham sandwiches in these facilities.

Linton said kids are often returned to CBP stations after going to the hospital, which violates basic medical guidance. Both Felipe and Juan de León Gutiérre, a 16-year-old who died in April after being taken into Border Patrol custody, were returned to government-run facilities after they were examined by medical professionals.

No child can recover while “lying on a concrete floor on a mat, with cages that extend from floor to ceiling, and lights kept on 24/7 disrupting their sleep,” Linton said.

“These are not conditions that promote healing,” she said. “They further place children at risk for serious repercussions from illnesses.”

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Girl, 10, 6th known child to die after US border detention

HOUSTON — U.S. authorities say a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died last year after being detained by border authorities in a previously unreported case.

The death marks the sixth known case in the last year.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that she died on Sept. 29 at an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital of fever and respiratory distress.

Spokesman Mark Weber said the department began caring for the unidentified girl in March 2018. Weber said the girl was “medically fragile,” with a history of congenital heart defects.

He did not say when she entered the U.S. or whether a parent or adult accompanied her. HHS provides care to children the government considers unaccompanied.

The deaths of immigrant children in U.S. government custody have sparked calls for investigations and changes to Trump administration policy. Weber said the department was committed to protecting the children in its custody.

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Flu Outbreak Prompts Largest Border Detention Center to Stop Processing Migrants

By Manny Fernandez and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

HOUSTON — Border Patrol officials temporarily stopped processing apprehended migrants at the agency’s largest detention center, in the South Texas city of McAllen, after nearly three dozen detainees there became ill with the flu.

The halt was ordered late Tuesday, a day after the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who was sick with the flu and had been in custody at the center. The McAllen facility resumed full operations Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, medical staff at the facility — known as the Centralized Processing Center or Ursula, from its address on Ursula Avenue — identified 32 migrants with high fevers and flu-related symptoms. Officials decided to temporarily suspend all intake procedures for migrants to “avoid the spread of illness,” the Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, said in a statement.

Migrants apprehended in the area were processed at other locations while intake was suspended in McAllen, officials said. A Border Patrol official told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the 32 ill detainees had been transferred out of the McAllen center to nearby facilities for further tests.

The flu outbreak and the disruptions it caused raised new questions and controversy over the conditions and the medical care in Border Patrol facilities, as the agency scrambles to handle a surge of migrants arriving from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The 16-year-old boy, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, was found dead on Monday morning. He was the fifth migrant child to die in federal custody in recent months. A sixth child, a 2-year-old boy, died on May 14 after he and his mother were released from custody and after he spent weeks at a children’s hospital in El Paso.

Carlos was sick with influenza, but the cause of death is not yet known.

He was an unaccompanied minor, and had entered the United States on May 13 near Hidalgo, Tex. According to a Customs and Border Protection official who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, Carlos received an initial medical screening that day and showed no signs of illness, and then was transferred to the Centralized Processing Center, the main hub for processing migrants apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley region.

On Sunday morning, the official said, Carlos told agents he was not feeling well, and a nurse practitioner determined that he had influenza and recommended that he receive doses of Tamiflu.

Carlos was later transferred to a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, about 20 miles away, where he could be separated from other detainees. He was found dead at the Weslaco station about an hour after a welfare check, the official said.

The agency said it has begun an investigation into his death.

The tally of migrant children who have died in federal custody since late 2018 increased to five from four Wednesday evening, after officials confirmed that a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died in September 2018 in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The unidentified girl, whose death was first reported by CBS News, was a “medically fragile child” with a history of heart problems, according to a statement from Health and Human Services. She underwent surgery in San Antonio, but complications left her in a comatose state, the statement said. She was later transferred to Omaha, Neb., to be closer to her family, and died there on Sept. 29, 2018.

Of the children who died in custody in recent months, she was the only one from El Salvador. The other four were from Guatemala. The sixth child who died after being released from custody was also from Guatemala.

After Carlos’s death on Monday, officials at the Centralized Processing Center spent Tuesday checking detainees’ temperatures, and identified 32 adults and children who appeared to have influenza. Officials declined to say whether the 32 had been exposed to Carlos, saying the agency was still investigating. But they said the ill migrants were given additional medicine, and some were sent to a hospital and later released back into federal custody.

Officials have been struggling to house and care for a flood of Central American families, most of whom turn themselves in after crossing the border illegally. Hundreds of migrant families are apprehended daily, and even hourly in some border regions. Agents in South Texas apprehended more than 400 migrants in several groups one recent morning.

In the busiest Border Patrol sector — the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which includes McAllen — the holding capacity of the agency’s facilities is 3,363 detained migrants, but more than 8,000 were in custody last week.

The Border Patrol opened a temporary tent city in Donna, a town near McAllen, and has built four more tent structures outside two Border Patrol stations in South Texas.

Images of migrants sitting on the concrete pavement and grass outside Border Patrol buildings in recent days have outraged immigrant advocates and Democratic lawmakers. For months, they have complained that the conditions at the detention centers and tent cities are callous and unhealthy.

Many migrants are ill when they are apprehended, or become ill after being housed at Ursula. The McAllen detention center, which opened in 2014, is effectively a giant warehouse of corrugated steel, with groups of migrants held in chain-link cages. Migrants refer to it as “La Hielera” — the cooler or the icebox — because of its frigid temperatures. Border Patrol officials said ill migrants apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley Sector are frequently taken to local hospitals, with the sector averaging 20 hospital visits per day.

Christopher Cabrera, a vice president of the local union of Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley, spoke in an interview in April about the disease and illness in the building.

“The majority of our agents get sick,” said Mr. Cabrera, who has been a Border Patrol agent for 17 years. “Infectious disease is everywhere. There’s always scabies in there. Usually we have chickenpox. We have tuberculosis in there. You name it, it’s probably been through that building.”

Border Patrol officials have described the influx of migrants as a humanitarian crisis that is straining the agency’s resources and diverting it from its border security mission. In a statement on May 17, Rodolfo Karisch, the Border Patrol’s chief patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, called the creation of the four new tent structures at two Border Patrol facilities a “default solution.”

“This is the reality of what happens when we simply cannot handle the influx of migrants arriving,” Mr. Karisch said in the statement. “We are doing all we can to ensure a safe environment for all involved, but it is crystal clear that we have a real emergency on the border; this is not sustainable.”

In Washington on Wednesday, the rising number of deaths of detained migrant children touched off a heated exchange between members of Congress and the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan.

At a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Representative Lauren Underwood, Democrat of Illinois, pressed Mr. McAleenan on the medical effects that family separations have on children, as well as the recent deaths of migrants in federal custody.

“I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, that this is intentional,” Ms. Underwood said. “It’s intentional. It’s a policy choice being made on purpose.”

“That’s an appalling accusation,” Mr. McAleenan replied. “And our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every day.”

The committee voted 9 to 7 to strike Ms. Underwood’s statement from the record.

The White House has requested $4.5 billion in emergency funds for the southwest border, including nearly $3 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to care for unaccompanied minors. Mr. McAleenan said at the hearing that the funds would help prevent deaths of children in federal custody.

Detained migrant children are supposed to be transferred out of Border Patrol facilities and into shelters managed by the Department of Health and Human Services within three days. But Carlos was not assigned a shelter bed until six days after he had been detained.

“Do you know how disturbing it is when the largest law enforcement agency is not even following the law?” said Representative Nanette Barragán, Democrat of California.

Homeland Security officials have said they must wait for Health and Human Services’ approval before transferring detained children to shelters.

Democrats have opposed granting the full amount of emergency funds requested for the border because it includes money for additional detention beds, which would be used to detain more immigrants. But in negotiations to secure more money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Democrats have offered to allocate additional money for food and humanitarian assistance for migrants detained at the border.

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Pentagon to Build Temporary Shelter for 7,500 Migrant Adults Facing Deportation

By Helene Cooper and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said on Wednesday that it would build temporary housing along the southwestern border for 7,500 migrant adults facing deportation, the latest step in the administration’s efforts to respond to a surge of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the United States.

The Defense Department will loan military-style tents to the Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon officials said. In a statement emailed to reporters, Maj. Chris Miller, a Pentagon spokesman, said that military personnel would only set up the tents and that the operation of the facilities would rest with homeland security.

The cost for putting up the tents — to be constructed near Tucson, as well as near Tornillo, Donna, Laredo and Del Rio, Tex. — will be determined after the Pentagon conducts on-site assessments over the next two weeks.

Detention centers at the border have been pushed to overcapacity as an increase of migrants, most of them from Central America, have crossed into the United States. Officials recently said they would spend millions on the construction of tent cities in Texas, and they also began flying migrants to facilities with more space in Del Rio, Tex., and in California.

Defense Department officials said that the acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the request for assistance that the Department of Homeland Security made on May 9.

A day after receiving that request, Mr. Shanahan notified Congress that he intended to shift $1.5 billion that had been designated for the war in Afghanistan and other projects to help pay for work on Mr. Trump’s border wall.

At the time, Mr. Shanahan, who is expected to be nominated as defense secretary, said that the money from the Pentagon’s other programs would be the last that it moves to help build about 80 miles of fencing and barriers along the southwestern border. That shift was in addition to the $1 billion that the Defense Department transferred to wall construction in March from the Army’s personnel budget.

Mr. Shanahan’s acquiescence to the president’s efforts to use the military along the border is likely to affect what was already expected to be a contentious confirmation battle. Many Democratic lawmakers view the border wall as unnecessary and have expressed concerns about the increasing use of the military to help in the president’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the country.

Since Mr. Trump declared what he called a national security crisis at the border that warranted the deployment of active-duty troops, some officials at the Defense Department had sought to limit their role. But the administration has kept them in the mix.

The Posse Comitatus Act, dating to Reconstruction, bars American forces from engaging in law enforcement activities within the borders of the United States.

In recent months, homeland security has also diverted to the border officials who provide security elsewhere in the country. The department has requested volunteers from agencies like the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coast Guard to assist with processing migrants at the border.

Customs and Border Protection officials in April detained 109,144 migrants at the southwestern border, including at its legal ports of entry, the highest total since 2007.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lopez v. Barr

A Notice to Appear that is defective under Pereira v. Sessions cannot be cured by a subsequent Notice of Hearing and therefore does not terminate the residence period required for cancellation of removal.

Lopez v. Barr - filed May 22, 2019 
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 15-72406 

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House Judiciary set to review bills to protect Dreamers and TPS recipients

By Priscilla Alvarez

Washington (CNN)The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The proposal is designed to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children and are protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as other immigrants with temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure.

Holders of temporary protected status — which provides protection to people displaced by natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other events — and deferred enforced departure, another form of relief from removal for designated countries, have faced similarly uncertain futures as the administration has moved to end the programs.

The measure has been broken up into two bills for the committee vote. A third bill to allow Venezuelan nationals to be eligible for temporary protected status is also included in the lineup.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and other Democrats unveiled the original legislation in March.

The bills faces an uphill battle. While it could gain some traction in the Democratic-controlled House, it’d still need to pass the Senate, held by Republicans, and be signed by President Donald Trump, who has sought to end the DACA program.

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