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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, January 29, 2021

Kaur v. Wilkinson

 Some forms of physical violence are so extreme that even attempts to commit them constitute persecution for purposes of seeking asylum; attempted rape is a severe violation of bodily integrity and autonomy, and so is itself almost always a form of persecution; it is the conduct of the persecutor, not the subjective suffering from the perspective of the victim, that matters for purposes of determining what constitutes persecution.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Durbin, Graham teaming up on immigration bill


Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are introducing DREAM Act legislation next week, as senators look for a long elusive immigration deal. 

Durbin told reporters on Thursday that it would be the starting base for broader negotiations within the Judiciary Committee and the Senate. 

"If we can reach an agreement soon, very soon, we will have the base bill reintroduced and then that will be our starting point to build support as well as consider any additions, too," Durbin, the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters.

Durbin, who also serves as Senate majority whip, said that the forthcoming bill "will resemble our similar efforts in the past."

Graham and Durbin have previously introduced Dream Act legislation that would provide permanent residency, and eventual citizenship, to immigrants brought into the country as children who meet education or work requirements. 

Graham, in a phone interview with The Hill, confirmed that the bill will mirror their earlier legislative efforts, which he viewed as a starting point for broader discussions that would also need to include border security. 

The Senate proposal would be substantially narrower than Biden's immigration proposal that would provide pathways to citizenship for 11 million immigrants, as well as expanding refugee protections and more border technology. The Biden administration has also reportedly signaled a willingness to break the proposal into pieces to try to make it easier to pass Congress.

But Biden’s proposal is largely considered a non-starter for congressional Republicans. 

Durbin, asked about going broader on immigration, warned that some things "will be too much of a reach."

In addition to Graham, Durbin has said that he's reached out to roughly half a dozen Republicans, but pointed to the Dream Act and Temporary Protection Status as two of the highest priorities.

"My hope is ... that we can through the Judiciary Committee move on an expedited basis the highest priorities and I'm working to build a group that might be able to do that," Durbin said.

But Graham stressed that he views the bill with Durbin as a “starting point” for negotiations and a "good way ...to get more people involved."

Immigration has long been viewed as a white whale for Congress, with both sides interested in getting a deal but never able to reach an agreement. Trump, in early 2018, opened the door to accepting a pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought into the country as children in exchange for $25 billion for the border wall. 

But any chance of an agreement quickly unraveled and the Senate rejected four immigration bills including a centrist bill, backed by Graham, that would have allowed about 1.8 million immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children to remain, providing them an eventual pathway to citizenship. It also included $25 billion in border security and would have prevented the parents of “Dreamers” from being sponsored for citizenship. 

Graham on Thursday added that he wouldn’t support passing the forthcoming bill as a stand-alone, if they can’t get a larger deal, and doesn't think 10 Republicans would give it the support needed for it to overcome a filibuster. 

“[It] is a good place to start the discussion and build out a compromise that will beneficial to the dreamer population and not incentivize a third wave of illegal immigration,” Graham said. 

Updated at 3:09 p.m.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Psaki expects DHS nominee Mayorkas to head task force to reunite separated families


Psaki expects DHS nominee Mayorkas to head task force to reunite separated families
© Reuters/Pool

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday night said she expects President Biden's nominee for Department of Homeland Security to head a task force dedicated to reunited families that have been separated at the border. 

During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, the host asked Psaki about recent reports that both first lady Jill Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas would play a part in the effort to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Biden, while on the campaign trail, has called the separation of families at the border during the Trump administration a "moral failing," and has vowed to institute a task force dedicated to reuniting children and parents. 

"I would expect that that ... Mayorkas, who we expect will be confirmed soon, will be playing a prominent role leading this effort, overseeing it, of course, out of the Department of Homeland Security, and we'll have more to share soon about the members of the task force and how it will work as we look ahead to address this really horrific challenge," Psaki told Maddow.

Migrant children who came with their parents to the U.S. southern border starting in April 2018 were separated after the Trump administration implemented a "zero-tolerance" policy in which adults were criminally charged. 

The policy lead to more than 3,000 migrant family separations, according to a report from NBC News. Many of these families have yet to be reunited. 

Trump eventually ended the policy during his tenure. 

The Biden administration officially rescinded the "zero-tolerance policy" earlier this week, though the move was largely symbolic.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had previously placed a roadblock in Mayorkas's confirmation in the Senate, expressing concerns about his planned immigration policies.

Other Senate Republicans, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), have expressed concerns about a 2015 inspector general report indicating he intervened in some Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of Democrats during his tenure there.

However, Mayorkas's confirmation cleared a procedural hurdle with some Republican support Thursday, with the Senate voting 55-42 to advance the nomination. Mayorkas's formal confirmation vote is set for Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted the hold Thursday, saying saying "because of the tactics of some Republican members, particularly the junior senator from Missouri, Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination is being needlessly stalled.”

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Biden DHS pick advances in Senate, clearing Republican hurdle


Biden DHS pick advances in Senate, clearing Republican hurdle
© Getty Images

Senate Democrats drew the support of some Republicans Thursday in advancing the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) placed a hold on his nomination in committee.

The 55-42 vote ticks off the procedural hurdle before the Senate must vote to formally confirm him on Monday.

The additional vote was due to opposition from Republicans. 

Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blamed Hawley along with others, saying "because of the tactics of some Republican members, particularly the junior senator from Missouri, Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination is being needlessly stalled.”

Hawley had requested a hold after he argued Mayorkas's alignment with Biden’s immigration plan and calls to stop the border wall deserved more scrutiny.

But the delays have enraged Democrats as well as former homeland security officials on both sides of the aisle who said the tradition of confirming national security positions right after the inauguration should be maintained in a critical time.

“Our country is facing dangerous threats to our security and to our national security. Violence and domestic terrorism spurred on by white supremacy ideology and anti-government sentiment and conspiracy theories continues to rise. We saw the tragic and deadly result of that growing threat right here in the Capitol just three weeks ago, and just yesterday Homeland Security issued a counterterrorism bulletin warning possible further violence in the coming weeks,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on the floor. 

“The Department of Homeland Security should be leading a forceful response to these complex and significant threats and protecting Americans,” he said, adding it needs a confirmed leader as soon as possible.

If confirmed, Mayorkas would be the first Cuban American to lead the Department of Homeland Security. He served as the department’s deputy under the Obama administration after leading the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) wing.

But Republicans have expressed concern over a 2015 inspector general report from Mayorkas’s days at CIS that found he intervened in immigration cases at the behest of some Democrats. Mayorkas has said he stepped into a broken process on behalf of lawmakers from both parties.

The EB-5 visas in question allow for travel in cases where the recipient plans to make major investments.

“I'm concerned that Mr. Mayorkas did not seem to express any regret whatsoever for his previous actions during his recent confirmation hearing before the Homeland Security Committee. Instead, he appeared to take the view that interfering in EB-5 cases on behalf of well-connected politicians and stakeholders was somehow the same as casework help offered to Americans who experienced problems with the international adoption systems. It was a baffling comparison,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who previously sought information from Mayorkas when the investigation was first underway.

Updated: 7 p.m.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Biden immigration plans hit early snags


Biden immigration plans hit early snags
© Getty Images

President Biden is running into some early roadblocks as he seeks to quickly dismantle the Trump administration's immigration policies and implement his own.

A federal judge put a temporary freeze on Biden’s 100 day moratorium on deportations, some Senate Republicans are slow-walking his top Homeland Security nominee and the announcement of a committee to reunify families separated at the border during the Trump era has been postponed.

Since taking office Jan. 20, Biden has dedicated each day to a different policy area by rolling out related executive orders. Friday had been slated for immigration, with Biden planning to unveil an order forming a committee focused on family reunification and other actions that would rescind or review Trump policies, according to a memo obtained by The Hill.

"We’ll have more to say next week on immigration, the president will, so we’ll have more to report out to you in the next couple of days," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Thursday briefing.

The White House declined to comment on the reason for the change in timing.

The shift in scheduling comes as Biden has pushed to reverse some of former President Trump's most consequential actions on immigration. And despite the early setbacks, immigration advocates remain optimistic about Biden’s agenda.

"It’s just the beginning. Now we have to see what else they’re going to do," said Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action. "They're going to have to put in serious political capital and prioritize legalizing people via congressional action and continue to take seriously the need for a massive overhaul of our immigration enforcement system."

Biden has already encountered some GOP resistance on the immigration front.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and implement key aspects of his immigration agenda, was denied a swift confirmation vote in the Senate after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) put a hold on the nomination.

The hold required an extra procedural vote, which Mayorkas cleared on Thursday, and he is likely to get confirmed on Monday.

That unexpected delay may have contributed to the postponement of additional immigration orders that require DHS participation. One of those orders, which would reunite migrant families separated at the border, was among the items White House chief of staff Ron Klain pledged in a memo Biden would take action on by Feb. 1.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and former co-chair of the 2020 unity task force between the campaigns of Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said the orders need to be able to stand up to legal scrutiny once introduced.

"We want to make sure that the Biden administration avoids what the Trump administration did," she said.

In an initial blow on the legal front, a federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its 100 day deportation freeze while a lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) plays out.

A White House spokesperson expressed confidence that the legal review process would show the moratorium was "wholly appropriate."

"President Biden remains committed to taking immediate action to reform our immigration system to ensure it’s upholding American values while keeping our communities safe," the spokesperson said.

Immigration advocates and congressional Democrats have high hopes for Biden's plans after his predecessor spent four years reshaping the system, mostly via executive power.

Trump took a series of actions that lowered refugee admissions, banned entry for certain migrants and immigrants, increased domestic immigration enforcement and made it more difficult for those seeking asylum to enter and remain in the United States.

Biden made quick work of reversing some of Trump’s most controversial immigration policies on his first day in office. He signed orders rescinding Trump's travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries, terminating the national emergency declaration for the southern border and strengthening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump tried to rescind.

Attention will soon turn to Capitol Hill, where Biden has already sent a legislative proposal to overhaul the immigration system and where Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) plan to introduce legislation to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who meet certain work or education requirements.

An immigration deal has remained elusive for years in Congress. The Obama administration managed to garner bipartisan Senate support for a bill when Biden was vice president, but the legislation languished in the GOP-controlled House and never became law.

"I am under no illusions. I know from my time in the Gang of Eight that passing immigration reform through the Senate is a herculean task," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who will sponsor the Biden bill in the Senate, said last week.

Biden's proposal provides a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, includes additional funding for technology along the border, and aims to address the root causes of migration in Central America, where migrants have fled by the thousands to the U.S. in recent years.

Some Republicans have balked at the pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers and other protected groups. But one official familiar with the proposal said the bill was likely staking out left-leaning priorities, with the hope that Republicans will be willing to compromise in some areas.

"Reforming our immigration system is long due and we expect elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come to the table so we can finally get this done," a White House official said.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Former DHS heads blast Republicans for stalling Biden nominee Mayorkas


Former DHS heads blast Republicans for stalling Biden nominee Mayorkas
© Getty Images

Former Homeland Security officials on Wednesday criticized Senate Republicans as the party seeks to stall the confirmation of President Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Alejandro Mayorkas, who served as the department’s deputy during the Obama administration, is the last of the four major national security positions that has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Republicans forced Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to file cloture on Mayorkas's nomination, a procedural step that will eat up days of time, after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) placed a hold on the nominee.

The vote could come as soon as Friday, but former DHS Secretaries Janet Napolitano, who served in the Obama era, and Michael Chertoff, who served under former President George W. Bush, criticized Republicans for slow-walking an important nomination.  

“The tradition has been understandably that national security positions within the incoming administration are confirmed on the day of inauguration,” Chertoff said in a call with reporters.

“Certainly we're at a moment now where ... the challenges for DHS are about as crazy as they've ever been,” he said, citing international and domestic terrorism, the attack on the Capitol, the SolarWinds cyberattack, climate change and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Ali has been [Senate] confirmed three previous times,” Napolitano said, using Mayorkas’s nickname. “It really mystifies me. What benefit is being served by this continued delay in his confirmation?”

Republican lawmakers have argued Mayorkas’s alignment with Biden’s immigration plan and calls to stop the border wall deserve more scrutiny, while others have drawn attention to a 2015 inspector general report that found he intervened in immigration cases at the behest of some Democrats, though Mayorkas said he stepped into a broken process on behalf of lawmakers from both parties.

“Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination,” Hawley said when announcing his hold.

“Look, if members of Congress want to contest elements of the proposal they are free to do so,” Chertoff said of Republican opposition to Biden’s immigration proposal.

“But hostage-taking is not an appropriate way to use this, particularly if the result of that is to put the lives of Americans in jeopardy. It’s irresponsible and unconscionable,” Chertoff said of the Republican opposition.

In a floor speech Monday, Schumer called it the Senate’s responsibility “to make sure key national security officials are on the job, keeping our country safe.”

“The Senate must confirm his nomination in very short order, and we will make sure that happens," he said.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Biden open to breaking his immigration bill into pieces


When President Joe Biden unveiled an immigration bill on the first day in office, he sent a signal to advocates, the Democratic base, and Congress that the issue was a top priority for him.

But even as the president and Democrats on the Hill begin the heavy lift of turning a priority into law, the White House is weighing taking a secondary path: doing it piece by piece.

Multiple sources close to the administration said they expect the White House will let Congress take the lead on forging reform — even though Biden introduced his own bill. The White House will provide guidance. And, indeed, chief of staff Ron Klain and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are said to be hands-on and “feel a responsibility and an ownership” over the immigration push already, according to one of the sources close to the White House.

But the main objective is progress. And if that means moving components of reform through Congress one at a time, or in smaller packages, Biden will be fine with that, two sources close to the White House said.

“It's not an all-or-nothing approach,” said one source with knowledge of the White House discussions. “We aren’t saying you have to pass the Biden bill. But we are saying this is what we want to do and we are planning to move legalization forward.”

Biden’s immigration plan was an aggressive opening salvo embraced by the base, while Republicans, not surprisingly, gave it a cool reception. Some on the Hill privately questioned if Biden was simply checking a box to appease activists. Immigrant advocates, for their part, say they have no reason to believe — at this point — that Biden’s bill is ceremonial. But they warn that if substantial immigration reforms don’t reach his desk by the end of the year, Democrats and Biden would not only face an uproar from Dreamers and grassroots organizers — but the party could suffer politically as well.

“I want to be clear: There is nothing about the way they are behaving right now that suggests it is not a priority,” said Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action, a progressive grassroots group. “And in the event that it were not [a priority], they will lose the majority in 2022.”

Biden’s proposal, introduced hours after he was sworn in, includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, expanded refugee resettlement and more technology deployed to the border. Though he is leaving Congress to hash out the mechanics of passing his immigration plan, he’s also moving ahead with a slate of executive actions on Friday. Among the orders in the works are one that restores asylum protections and another that creates a task force to reunify families separated at the border.

Taken together, Biden’s legislative immigration plan and swift unilateral actions present a clear departure from the last time a Democrat was in the White House. At a minimum, Biden seems keen to avoid the missteps during former President Barack Obama’s first term, when Democrats controlled both chambers, but Obama didn’t pursue comprehensive immigration reform. Rather than wait until after the 2022 midterms or into a second term, Biden sent his plan to the Hill immediately.

“People forget that in 2009 and 2010 that the Obama administration was in the exact same situation and did not introduce an immigration bill,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney who worked in the Obama administration and sits on a Department of Homeland Security advisory board.

“For the next decade, people criticized the Obama administration for not having introduced a bill when they had control of the Senate and the House,” Fresco added. “Joe Biden is simply not going to repeat that mistake.”

As sources close to the administration put it, Biden wanted to make his immigration priorities clear, even if the process of getting passed into law will be arduous.

“He’s not starting at the 50-yard line” with a moderate proposal like Obama did, said the source close to the White House.

A White House official disputes that Biden is deferring to Congress and says the president is working with lawmakers to pass the larger bill. That proposal includes elements the president feels weren’t effectively addressed previously as the Trump administration’s policy was centered around building a border wall, the official said. “We expect elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come to the table so we can finally get this done,” the official said.

Additionally, other sources close to the White House and a number of immigrant advocates said Democrats must frame any immigration push as vital to the country’s economic recovery. But while the administration is actively monitoring and engaged in the reform effort, it’s stepping back while Congress works out the actual legislative language.

“We’re not going to just enforce our will,” Cedric Richmond, director of White House Office of Public Engagement said during an event with POLITICO last week. Congress should view Biden’s bill as “a statement of priority,” he said, but they have to “buy into it.”

Biden’s first priority is an immediate coronavirus response and related stimulus negotiations. Still, they’re holding briefings with Hill Democrats on immigration reform. White House policy advisers have held calls with Hispanic Caucus offices and chiefs for Border members.

“We would like to see them move forward quickly,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of congressional action on Biden’s immigration proposal last week.

Most lawmakers and staff who spoke to POLITICO say they think Biden is serious.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) described passing a comprehensive reform bill as a “herculean task.” But the Biden administration “will put political capital on the table to make it happen,” he said on a call organized by the American Business Immigration Coalition.

Undoubtedly the divisiveness stoked under former President Donald Trump is going to make cross-party support for any major immigration bill hard to come by. As one House chief of staff put it, “there really is no room for error.”

Despite early pushback from some Republicans, Menendez is optimistic more will come to the table. He’s spoken with Sen. Lindsey Graham, who in 2013 supported comprehensive reform, and Menendez thinks the South Carolina Republican will ultimately support reform measures. Menendez has not spoken to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) about the bill yet, but he’s talked to other Republicans who voted in favor of the effort in 2013. The additional Republicans still in office that supported immigration reform under Obama are Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine).

Menendez and a number of other Democratic lawmakers said they want to push a large immigration package at once, hopeful that it will provide more leverage in negotiations. But the realities of a split Senate make it harder, and other senators like Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin—who will be tasked with shepherding any immigration reforms through the Senate Judiciary Committee—have left the door open to a more step by step approach.

Though talks are early and fluid, some House members working on Biden’s immigration proposal said during a recent meeting that they want to take a shot at a comprehensive bill first. But they said they’re open to breaking off individual pieces if the larger bill stalls, according to a source with knowledge of discussions. A sweeping package could meet fierce resistance in the 50-50 Senate if Democrats don’t eliminate the legislative filibuster or find ways to include immigration proposals in the budget reconciliation process.

If, in fact, Congress does decide to break the bill down into components, they may find that advocates are receptive to that approach.

That’s because those advocates are eyeing a ticking clock: Bills that were passed last Congress can be moved to the floor directly without having to go through committee if they are voted on before April 1. If brought to the floor before the deadline, certain bills, such as those providing a pathway for so-called Dreamers, temporary protective status holders and Deferred Enforced Departure holders from war- and disaster-ravaged countries could move through the House more quickly.

“Certainly Democrats should do the work to build support for the president's larger-scale reform proposal,” said Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. “But they can't let any opportunity pass or any legislative tool go unused.” That includes using reconciliation to provide permanent protections for essential workers and their family members on the coronavirus relief and economic recovery packages currently in the works, he said.

Jawetz and other advocates have urged Democrats in Congress to take wins where they can get them, saying it could build goodwill and an appetite for even more action.

If Democrats don’t begin moving those components this spring then “there will be a lot of backlash coming because everyone knows that this is the moment,” said Marshall Fitz, managing director of immigration for the Emerson Collective, a social justice organization.

So far, advocates are taking Biden at his word, saying they have no reason to believe he sent his immigration bill to Congress on Day One simply as a symbolic gesture. Still, they’re watching closely and mounting pressure campaigns that include digital ad buys and readying grassroots organizing, to ensure Congress acts decisively. A number of immigrant rights groups are also participating in regular briefings with House staff.

“[We can] be cynical or skeptical about what the likelihood of Republicans coming to the table on some of this might be,” Fitz said. “But I think Biden really legitimately does want to see how far he can go.”

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Immigrant justice campaign launches to call on Congress to act on immigration


Immigrant justice campaign launches to call on Congress to act on immigration
© Getty Images

The We Are Home campaign, a nationwide immigrant justice campaign that includes labor unions and other advocate groups, launched on Tuesday to urge Congress to enact legislation to address the immigration system.

The eight-figure campaign that includes digital advertising is co-chaired by Community Change, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Farm Workers (UFW), and United We Dream. 

We Are Home campaign director Nathaly Arriola wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to kick off the campaign and ask for legislation that creates a road map to citizenship in 2021, including provisions such as establishing citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status holders, and farmworkers. 

Arriola also asked for a pathway to citizenship for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic and a provision that reunites families and welcomes asylum-seekers. 

“Our mission is to transform America’s inhumane immigration system. We must undo the damage of the last four years and build a new immigration system that is fair, humane, functional, and centered in racial justice, and respects all people, regardless of race, religion, or birthplace,” Arriola wrote to Pelosi and Schumer. 

Arriola also called on the Biden-Harris administration to complement Congress’s work by building on immigration executive actions they have already announced with actions like making major cuts to detention centers by releasing people and closing facilities and providing stability for immigrants without permanent status.

More than 100 organizations are part of We Are Home, including the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, National Immigration Law Center, UndocuBlack Network and UnidosUS.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Memo: Biden gambles that he can do it all


President Biden is seeking to push forward on multiple fronts right away, even as he grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has submitted an immigration reform plan to Congress already, and he aims to advance on other topics from climate change to racial justice.

There’s an argument for taking such a multipronged approach. Every president tends to have the greatest leverage at the start of their term, and momentum can be harder to generate as time goes on.

But there is also the question of political capital, which tends to be finite. If Biden proves to have less heft than he thinks to pass legislation, he will disappoint key constituencies.

“We’re going to need ... to be able to act on multiple fronts,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said in the White House briefing room Friday.

Deese was making that point in the context of the president’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package advancing even as the Senate conducts former President Trump’s impeachment trial next month. But the same principle applies to other issues.

Some Democrats are optimistic that across-the-board progress is possible. They suggest the pressure is on their Republican counterparts not to appear obstructionist.

“If Biden does well, then people will be very upset if it looks like the Republicans are obstructing, particularly on the economy and on health — that will be very bad for them,” said Democratic strategist Tad Devine.

“I’m not predicting that we are going to have immigration reform and all this stuff right at once,” Devine added. “But I do believe he has a very strong hand right now. There are a lot of votes out there for what Democrats want.”

The issue of political capital and how best to deploy it is always a vexing one for new presidents.

Former President Obama stuck to his commitment to enact health care reform even amid an economic catastrophe, persevering past the point when some advisers counseled him to settle for a more modest goal. He signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010, only to see his party suffer crushing losses in the midterm elections later that year.

Former President Clinton fared worse. His 1993 effort at health care reform ran aground, and other controversies also slowed his progress. Clinton early on sought to end the ban on LGBT people serving in the military and then backed off to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” compromise policy that didn’t really satisfy anyone.

Republicans suggest Biden could be vulnerable to comparable missteps.

“He has got a very slim majority in the House and no real majority in the Senate,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist and former GOP leadership aide who is also a columnist for The Hill. “I think the problem is when you throw a punch of spaghetti up on the wall and hope something sticks. You really want to be more targeted. Biden is going to be disappointing a lot of people if he is making promises he can’t keep.”

So far, Biden has utilized executive orders to advance parts of his agenda. He has announced the U.S. will rejoin the Paris climate accord, reversed Trump’s highly contentious travel ban and paused construction of the border wall, among other things.

But the rubber will really hit the road when it comes to legislation — and there is little indication so far that the GOP will be open to giving bipartisan support to anything important.

“On the Biden administration’s very first day, it took several big steps in the wrong direction,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Thursday, adding that Biden should “remember that he does not owe his election to the far left.”

Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new drilling on U.S. federal lands and waters drew a critical press release from more than 30 House Republicans, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Scalise branded the plan as a “day-one attack on American energy jobs.”

Still, liberal activists insist Biden is doing the right thing by seeking action across the board — whatever Republicans may say.

Frank Sharry, the founder and executive director of America’s Voice, which seeks liberal immigration reform, said that everyone understood both the tight political math and the need to blunt the pandemic.

“Look, there is no question [Biden] is going to prioritize COVID and the economy — that’s reducing the number of people who die and increasing the number of people who can support themselves and others,” Sharry said.

But he added that Biden’s “broad agenda” could work and that, when it came to immigration, “it’s all to play for.”

Biden’s immigration proposal provides for an eight-year path to citizenship for most people currently in the U.S. illegally. That alone makes it an extremely heavy lift in the Senate since it would require every Democrat and 10 Republicans to back it — unless the Senate filibuster is abolished.

Sharry said he would like to see the filibuster abolished. If it is not, he suggested that some kind of piecemeal approach to the immigration issue might prove more effective than working with Republicans.

“I have no hope that Republicans are going to do anything other than obstruct and dream of getting back in power. These are the guys who supported Trump!” he said.

“The idea that John Cornyn or Marco Rubio is going to take a chance to deliver for immigrants doesn’t pass the laugh test,” Sharry added, referring to two Republican senators who represent Texas and Florida, respectively.

For now, Democrats are betting that Biden’s deal-making abilities — forged during more than 30 years in the Senate — will help him make quick progress.

But if the public turns out to have limited appetite for anything beyond dealing with the pandemic and its economic impact, he could soon find himself in choppy waters.

The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Friday, January 22, 2021

Mexican president voices support for Biden plans on coronavirus, economy, migration


Mexican president voices support for Biden plans on coronavirus, economy, migration

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador voiced his support on Thursday for President Biden’s coronavirus, economy and migration plans.

“We agree with the agenda they presented, with what Biden is promising,” López Obrador said in a news conference according to Reuters.

Biden has signed a handful of executive orders since his inauguration, some of which undo some of the hard-line immigration policies instituted by former President Trump.

Among the orders includes one that halts the construction of Trump’s highly-touted “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as an order preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The Department of Homeland Security is also pausing removals of certain noncitizen for 100 days beginning Friday pending a review of current immigration policy.

Biden on Wednesday sent the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress shortly after being sworn in, which López Obrador described that bill as “very good,” according to Reuters.

If passed, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, prioritize border control measures and address the root cause of migration.

López Obrador had previously asked Biden to provide legal immigration status to Mexican nationals who are working in the U.S. 

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