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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, July 30, 2021

New USCIS Asylum Office to Open in Tampa on Aug. 2


TAMPA, Florida—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will open a new asylum office in Tampa on Aug. 2, in response to an increasing asylum workload in Florida. The new office becomes the 11th asylum office in the country and the second in Florida, joining the existing Miami Asylum Office. The Tampa and Miami asylum offices will divide the state’s  asylum workload.  

Florida currently leads the country in asylum applications filed with USCIS, and more than a quarter of the national pending caseload is from Florida residents. The addition of the Tampa Asylum Office will help USCIS resolve urgent cases quickly and better address the large number of asylum applications pending with USCIS in the state. 

USCIS has jurisdiction over the affirmative asylum process in which noncitizens in the United States may file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removalwithin one year of their arrival if they seek such protection. USCIS asylum officers interview applicants to determine if they are eligible.


The Tampa Asylum Office will adjudicate asylum claims filed by individuals residing in western and northern Florida as well as portions of central Florida. The Miami Asylum Office will continue to adjudicate asylum claims filed by individuals residing in south Florida and portions of central Florida. Asylum interviews are by appointment only, and appointment notices will direct all applicants to their designated office. USCIS began interviewing a small number of asylum applicants at the Tampa location in late June, but it officially opens on Aug. 2 to a larger workload. 

The Tampa Asylum Office, located at 5524 West Cypress Street, Suite B, is temporary until the permanent, stand-alone facility near the Florida State Fairgrounds becomes operational. This opening is currently anticipated for spring 2022. The USCIS Tampa Field Office located at 5629 Hoover Boulevard remains unchanged, and USCIS continues to adjudicate Green Card and naturalization applications at that location.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on TwitterInstagram, YouTubeFacebook, and LinkedIn

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

DHS Announces Registration Process for Temporary Protected Status for Haiti

 WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security today posted for public inspection a Federal Register notice that provides information about how to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas previously announced this 18-month designation of Haiti for TPS on May 22. 

The registration process will open next week when the FRN is published. All individuals who want to request TPS under this designation for Haiti must file an application.  

This includes approximately 55,000 current TPS Haiti beneficiaries, whose TPS-related documentation is automatically extended at least through Oct. 4, 2021, in compliance with court orders. These individuals must file a new application for TPS under this designation to ensure they retain their status.  

This designation of Haiti for TPS also enables an estimated 100,000 additional individuals to file initial applications for TPS, if otherwise eligible. To be eligible for TPS under this designation, individuals must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since July 29, 2021. In light of recent events in Haiti, including the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Secretary Mayorkas has modified this date from what was previously announced. Individuals who attempt to travel to the U.S. after July 29, 2021, will not be eligible for TPS and may be subject to expulsion or removal.

Individuals applying for Haiti TPS must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the 18-month initial registration period that runs from Aug. 3, 2021, through Feb. 3, 2023. Haiti TPS applicants are eligible to file Form I-821 online. When filing a TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821. Applicants may also submit Form I-765 online.  

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on TwitterInstagramYouTubeFacebook and LinkedIn

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Californian is second Democrat to say budget package must include immigration reform


Californian is second Democrat to say budget package must include immigration reform
© Greg Nash

California Rep. Lou Correa (D) has become the second House Democrat to say he will not vote for a budget reconciliation package unless Democrats include immigration reform provisions within it. 

"We must implement 'common sense' immigration reform to assure that these hard-working taxpayers are fully integrated into our economy. Our full economic recovery needs a strong workforce and a strong base of taxpayers,”  Correa said in a statement on Sunday.

“I will not support any budget reconciliation deal that continues to leave hard-working undocumented taxpayers in limbo. Anything less would be fiscally irresponsible.” 

Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.) was the first Democrat to say he would not back the budget package unless it included immigration reform, The Hill first reported.

Democrats have a slim majority in the House, and they cannot afford more than a handful of defections, giving each lawmaker leverage on the final package.

Democrats are exploring including immigration provisions in the package, though it is not clear they will meet Senate rules for what can be included in budget reconciliation. 

Earlier this year, the Senate parliamentarian ruled out including a $15 federal minimum wage in a similar bill.

The rules allow the package to avoid a filibuster, meaning Republicans cannot block the package if Democrats can stay unified around it. 

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation


A group of mayors from cities in 28 states called on President Biden, Vice President Harris and Democratic leaders in Congress to include immigration provisions in a budget package to be passed through reconciliation.

The 84 mayors represent cities throughout the country, including the nation's four largest in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Mayors from smaller cities such as Boise, Idaho, and Grand Rapids, Mich., also signed the letter.

"We, the undersigned mayors, respectfully request that you prioritize the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, essential workers, and their families in any economic recovery legislation including through budget reconciliation," wrote the mayors in a letter first reviewed by The Hill.

The mayors' request comes as Democrats grapple with the possibility of including a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the budget deal.

The biggest question is whether the Senate parliamentarian will rule that legalizations have enough of a budget impact to qualify for reconciliation, a budget procedure that would sidestep a potential Republican filibuster.

While it is a certainty that Democrats will use reconciliation as a maneuver to pass an expansive budget with provisions that haven't made it into bipartisan infrastructure negotiations, it's less certain which immigration provisions will fit into the bill.

Almost all immigration proposals include Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors — and TPS beneficiaries, but there is discussion among immigration advocates whether the best path to expand the number of legalizations includes essential workers, farm workers, or their family members.

The mayors chose to include essential workers and their families in their request, a wording that would likely deliver the greatest number of legalizations.

"As mayors we see every day the devastation that immigration uncertainty has on the entire family unit. The hesitancy of taking children to their doctors appointments or during this last year of getting tested or vaccinated for COVID," said Oakland, Calif. Mayor Libby Schaaf. 

"We know that providing this citizenship pathway is estimated to boost the GDP of our country by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. And we will not enjoy this economic prosperity unless we are providing that sense of security for the entire family," added Schaaf.

Depending on who qualifies and how the categories are phrased in the final bill, the process could grant a path to citizenship for anywhere between 5 million and 10 million people.

Barring impediment from the parliamentarian, inclusion of immigration provisions is gathering steam among Democrats.

Two House members, Reps. Chuy García (D-Ill.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.), have said they will not vote for a reconciliation bill without immigration provisions.

Others, like Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), have said immigration "must" be included in the bill, but have stopped short of drawing a red line.

The pressure from within the Democratic Caucus, advocacy groups and now mayors has put the weight of immigration reform on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the White House.

While congressional leaders have been more supportive of the need to act on immigration reform quickly, both Biden and Harris have been more circumspect about the chances of a broad legalization through reconciliation.

Biden on Sunday said it "remains to be seen" if immigration can be included in the bill, and Harris told immigration advocates last week she supports a path to citizenship, but it will be difficult to achieve.

Still, the mayors put their weight behind the growing push to hit for the fences on immigration.

"It’s time for Congress to act. The only way we can truly Build Back Better is to ensure that Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers are included in any economic recovery legislation including through budget reconciliation," wrote the mayors.

Updated 3:40 p.m.

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee


Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is stalling President Biden’s nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an effort to unearth more details about government surveillance of protesters in Portland last summer.

Biden nominated Tucson, Ariz., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead CBP in April, tapping a vocal critic of former President Trump’s immigration policies to lead the agency.

While Wyden congratulated Magnus on his nomination earlier this year, his role as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which conducts oversight of CBP, gives him a perch to push for answers amid reports the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) surveilled both protesters and journalists covering the demonstrations.

“Six months into the new administration, the Department[s] of Homeland Security and Justice have failed to answer basic questions about how the Trump administration misused federal resources to stoke violence against peaceful protesters in my hometown,” Wyden said in a statement.

“While it is clear that Customs and Border Protection faces pressing issues, as the senior senator from Oregon, I am unable to advance this nominee until DHS and DOJ give Oregonians some straight answers about what they were up to in Portland last year, and who was responsible,” he said.

Wyden had previously sent a letter to both DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking information about various efforts under the Trump administration as protesters were demonstrating following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

While the agencies sent some information to Wyden’s office, they deemed the response insufficient.

Wyden is not the first lawmakers to stall nominees under Biden, but he is the first Democrat. Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) have stalled DHS nominees due to concerns over the U.S-Mexico border. And Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) attempted to block Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

DHS, however, said it hopes Wyden will schedule the confirmation hearing soon.

“Secretary Mayorkas has directly communicated with Senator Wyden and looks forward to working with him to schedule a confirmation hearing for Chris Magnus, who is nominated to serve as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as soon as possible,” the agency said in a statement.

“Secretary Mayorkas has also directed a Department-wide review to ensure that all DHS law enforcement personnel receive appropriate training and operate pursuant to policies in keeping with best practices and law. DHS is committed to respecting the rights of all individuals who peacefully exercise their First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly,” it said.

Magnus is a somewhat unorthodox pick to lead a federal agency. White and gay, he has spent the majority of his career leading local police departments in several cities, previously serving in similar roles in Richmond, Calif., and Fargo, N.D., before landing in Tucson.

The longtime police chief made headlines during his time in California when he held a "Black lives matter" sign while on the job at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

The photographs of him holding the sign while chatting with protesters landed him in trouble with the Richmond Police Officers Association, which said the move violated state laws against politicking while in uniform.

“It certainly wasn’t intended to be a political statement,” Magnus told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. “It was intended to be a humane statement.”

During his time in Tucson, Magnus was also critical of Trump’s immigration policies.

“The administration’s crackdown on immigrants is already having a chilling effect on police-community relations here. Many community members have told me that Latinos are not turning to us for help or working with us as often as they have in the past. Their growing sense of fear and distrust is clearly a consequence of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” Magnus wrote in a 2017 op-ed in The New York Times

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

Kamala Harris is right about how to deal with root causes of migration


Kamala Harris is right about how to deal with root causes of migration
© Getty Images

The Biden administration is facing the tough, politically volatile task of dealing with an increasingly complicated immigration issue. To his credit, as one of his first acts in January, President Biden sent to Congress a comprehensive immigration reform bill. He later took an equally important, albeit longer-erm step, as part of his reform push when he asked Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the U.S. diplomatic effort to address the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  

An integral part of the bill sent to Congress acknowledges the root causes of immigration: “The bill codifies and funds the President’s $4 billion four-year inter-agency plan to address the underlying causes of migration in the region, including by increasing assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, conditioned on their ability to reduce the endemic corruption, violence and poverty that causes people to flee their home countries.”  

The last comprehensive immigration legislation, signed into law by President Reagan in 1986 — the Immigration Reform and Control Act — was a significant bipartisan effort that took several years to enact. It focused on the pull factors of immigration — i.e., making it illegal for businesses to hire undocumented persons, while legalizing those undocumented persons who had been living and working in the U.S. for a number of years. Although the bill was not a complete failure, it was by no means a success; undocumented immigration increased after it became law. One possible reason for this was that it did nothing to address the push factor of immigration, the reason so many people from these countries risk so much to come to the United States.

Harris has been criticized for her trip to Guatemala and Mexico in June, because she did not go to the U.S.-Mexico border (although she later did pay an official visit to the border). That criticism is not only unfair, but it misses the point of the importance of the humanitarian and political issues involved with her mission to the region. The long, hard trek from any of the Northern Triangle countries to the U.S. is treacherous and its success is far from assured. Yet a steady flow of people are willing to take the risk, because they view it as a better alternative than remaining at home. Migration from these countries will never be handled effectively unless the root causes are part of a comprehensive immigration effort. 

Gang violence, corruption and failing economies are significant reasons people leave home. For example, Honduran President Juan O. Hernández is alleged to be a co-conspirator in the case against Mexican drug kingpin “El Chapo” Guzman. There are allegations that the administration of El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has been negotiating with the notorious gang MS-13 about political support and other issues. He has restricted press freedom and stormed the parliament with security forces. Unfortunately, corruption is de rigueur for the region. In Guatemala, the government of President Alejandro Giammattei closed a successful United Nations-supported anti-impunity commission responsible for the indictment of more than 400 politicians, business people and ex-military officers.

The pandemic hit these nations particularly hard. Their economic situation had been improving, but that is not the case now. The International Monetary Fund projects that Central American economies shrunk by 6 percent in 2020. Honduras has the second highest poverty rate in Latin America after Haiti. Remittances — which, according to the World Bank, in 2018 accounted for 20.7 percent of El Salvador’s gross domestic product (GDP), 19.9 percent of Honduras’s GDP and 12.0 percent of Guatemala’s GDP — fell between 2019 and 2020, with El Salvador having the biggest reduction at 8 percent. Further complicating the situation, approximately 70 percent of those living in the Northern Triangle work in the informal sector of the economy without social protections.   

Poor governance exacerbates the problems facing these countries.  A Woodrow Wilson Center study emphasized that while foreign assistance is important to these countries, political reform — good governance — is even more essential. There is also the very real threat of China’s involvement in the region. As an important study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies points out, “China has also greatly expanded its influence and economic involvement in the Northern Triangle, bringing the dynamics of the great power competition into regional and international politics. As of mid-2019, China had invested $2 billion in Central American infrastructure projects.”

There must be an all-hands-on-deck effort if there is to be any chance of successfully dealing with the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle nations. The Biden administration’s $4 billion in assistance to the region can be augmented by funds from the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group. The UN and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development can help with governance issues.  

With her legal experience as former attorney general of a border state, and her involvement with national security matters as a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Vice President Harris is the right person to lead the effort. As she aptly put it, “In our focus on the Northern Triangle, [we are] looking at the fact that we have an opportunity — as the United States of America, with the resources and with the will that we have — to provide the people of the Northern Triangle with some hope that if they stay at home, help is on the way and they can have some hope that the opportunities and the needs that they have will be met in some way.”

William Danvers is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School and worked on national security issues for the Clinton and Obama administrations.

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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform


How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform
© Getty Images

Just as they are across the country, small businesses in South Carolina are facing a labor shortage that started before the pandemic. Our senator, Lindsey Graham (R), is key to the short and long-term solution by passing commonsense, bipartisan immigration solutions including his Dream Act, which is co-sponsored with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). We need Sen. Graham to work across the aisle for comprehensive immigration reform that South Carolina and the nation’s small businesses need right now.

Almost every small business owner with employees will tell you that they simply cannot find the workers they need to meet customer demand.

The “help wanted” signs are not only for lower-skilled workers such as in the hospitality industry. Professional and highly skilled employees are also being sought with limited success in this country.

The reasons given for the country’s labor shortage are numerous: childcare issues, college students not physically in school, underlying health conditions of workers, career changes, and federal unemployment benefits disincentivizing work.

The latter is the reason 24 governors have already terminated their federal unemployment benefits. Louisiana will join them this month. Yet, the “help wanted” signs are still up in those states and their local small-business economies have lost tens of millions in federal dollars.

The reality is that our country has been experiencing a growing labor shortage for some time. The pandemic simply accelerated and exposed the problem as a national crisis.

Brookings report analyzed available 2020 U.S. census data and concluded that we might be in “the smallest decade-long growth rate in America’s history” with a “rate at nearly zero.” 

We are an aging population that the report calls an “unprecedented demographic stagnation.”  We are simply not producing the young people we need for skilled and less-skilled jobs for today and in the future.

Other countries in Asia, Europe, and even Central America are also experiencing decreasing population growth and aging populations. Their economies are also being threatened by labor shortages.

However, the United States is more fortunate than these other countries in that we have a ready solution to the problem.  People around the world want to live and work in our country.

The Brookings report concludes, “One way to secure more rapid growth of the youth population would be to increase immigration…given our rapidly aging native-born population, immigration will ensure growth — especially among the critical youth and labor force populations.”

Our long-term answer to the U.S. labor shortage is a sensible immigration policy to allow for higher levels of legal immigration of youth and working-age adults.

However, while we wait for the politicians to agree on what the country’s immigration levels should be going forward, Congress can quickly move on bipartisan bills already filed to address immediate concerns.

There are about 1.8 million young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally when they were children. These Dreamers have lived here almost all their lives but continue to struggle today with the uncertainty of being deported despite the education they have managed to achieve and the jobs they hold.

The promise to our economy that these Dreamers offer cannot be fully realized until they are given permanent legal status and a pathway to citizenship. If passed, the Durbin/Graham Dream Act of 2021 would set in motion the full economic potential of these youth to help our economy.

There are other Senate bills to shore up our existing immigrant workforce. The SECURE Act addresses immigrants who have been given a Temporary Protected Status and the Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) Senate companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would address immigrant farmworkers. The House has already addressed most of these issues with the Dream and Promise Act, which passed with broad bipartisan support.

Our small businesses and economy need these Senate bills passed quickly. They are the low-hanging fruit in our needed commonsense immigration policy reform.

Unfortunately, politics is standing in the way of even the easiest actions.

The refugee problem on our southern border has now become the cited obstacle to any immigration reform.

Graham is reported to have said last month that he does not see any chance of any immigration reform right now given the country’s border problem. It is unclear if this would apply to his own Dream Act of 2021. It should not.

Solutions are within our grasp. If Republicans, including Graham, don't step up, Democrats should do it. There will be progress this year. The only question is whether it will include the Republicans. Bottom line — not doing anything before year’s end is not acceptable.

Businesses small and large are looking for problem solving in Congress on the issue of our labor shortage. We need individual members of Congress to be leaders, not followers of political consultants who are only concerned with creating wedge issues to win the next election.

The census tells us the real underlying reason for our labor shortage — demographic stagnation — and the best way forward — immigration reform.

Sen. Graham, South Carolina and all businesses are looking for you to lead.

Frank Knapp is the president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, a member of the American Business Immigration Coalition.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

TPS Applicants from Five Designated Countries Can Now File Initial Applications Online

 WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants who are eligible nationals of Burma, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela or Yemen, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those countries, can now file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online, if they are applying for TPS for the first time.

“USCIS is using innovation and technology to meet the needs of applicants, petitioners and employees,” said USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud. “Regardless of the paper or electronic format of an application or petition, USCIS is committed to ensuring a secure and efficient process for all.”

At this time, the option to file Form I-821 online is only available to initial TPS applicants from these five countries. USCIS is starting with these countries because they are either new designations or recently announced re-designations. When filing an initial TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document by submitting a completed Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821. These applications will be the first forms available for concurrent filing online.

All other TPS applicants and current beneficiaries who are re-registering under the extension of a TPS designation must continue to file a paper Form I-821. If an initial TPS applicant from a country other than Burma, Syria, Venezuela, or Yemen or a re-registrant files Form I-821 online, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee. USCIS is working to make online filing available for re-registrants and initial applicants for all TPS designations in the future.

During fiscal year (FY) 2020, USCIS received more than 7.4 million requests for immigration benefits, including 13,611 Forms I-821. Improvements to USCIS technology have enabled  applicants to submit forms online. Since launching online filing in 2017, the overall number of forms filed online has increased significantly. In FY 2018, 553,728 forms were filed online, compared to FY 2020 when we saw over one million filings, and we are now on track to surpass the one million filings for FY 2021.

Individuals can currently file 12 USCIS forms online, which can all be found on the Forms Available to File Online page. To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account. This free account allows them to:

  • Submit their forms;
  • Pay their fees;
  • Track the status of their case;
  • Communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox; and
  • Respond to Requests for Evidence.

USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of these forms by mail.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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