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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 20, 2022

Georgia immigration prisons will bring back social visits

Immigrant detention centers in Georgia will start opening their doors to visitors for the first time in over two years. Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signaled that detention facilities country wide would phase in the return of social visits, which had been suspended at the onset of the pandemic. It’s a policy change with significant implications for Georgia, home to the sprawling Stewart Detention Center. Stewart’s average daily population of 1,095 detainees makes it the busiest immigrant detention facility in the nation, according to federal data, slightly ahead of a detention complex in South Texas. ICE’s decision to ease its visitation restrictions is welcome news for Amilcar Valencia. Valencia leads El Refugio, a nonprofit founded in 2010 to support the family members of Stewart detainees. Given the detention center’s remote location in rural southwest Georgia, logistical hurdles could make visits complicated. El Refugio filled that gap by providing families free meals and lodging in a hospitality house just down the road from the detention complex in the town of Lumpkin. Its staff is looking forward to returning to that work. ICE’s move to once again allow visitation “is a good first step in the process to ensuring that people detained have real connections with their loved ones and people in the community,” Valencia said. “Visitation breaks down their isolation.” ICE noted that the return of social visits will happen gradually as part of a “fluid” process that takes into consideration local conditions and updates to CDC guidance. “Teams will continue to closely monitor conditions and alter phases based on new information as needed. This is how we will continue to deliver high-quality, evidence-based care to detained individuals in a dignified, respectful manner,” the executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations at ICE, Corey A. Price, said in a statement. For immigrant advocates, the return of social visits in immigration jails is a long time coming, with other types of penal institutions taking that step much earlier. Federal prisons, for instance, started allowing inmates’ loved ones to visit again in October 2020. “We are eager to return to our roots of providing hospitality and visitation in Lumpkin,” said PJ Edwards, board chair of El Refugio. “We have watched the world reopen with Covid-safe protocols while people in detention remain cruelly isolated and unable to receive visitors. Having witnessed the value of in-person visits for many years, we welcome the belated restoration of visitation.” Aside from buttressing detainees’ mental health, visitation can also help bring potential human rights violations to light. “Visitation is not only a crucial means of emotional support for people experiencing detention, it also provides a lifeline to advocates and a public window into these otherwise sealed-off prisons,” said Monica Whatley, project coordinator with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative. “The reinstatement of visitation is vital to protecting human rights and shining a light on the abuses at these detention centers.” For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

BREAKING: El Paso to declare immigration emergency

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Mayor Oscar Leeser are getting ready to issue emergency declarations as the number of migrant apprehensions continues to climb and the end of Title 42 looms. “(It’s) not necessarily because of inability to handle it – I don’t want anyone to believe it’s based on that – but so we are able to obtain funding that is necessary to continue a very humanitarian focus,” Samaniego said Thursday at a special meeting of County Commissioners Court. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego (courtesy El Paso County) Samaniego said the orders – the city and county will issue separate declarations – will allow each entity to solicit money now from the Federal Emergency Management Administration. “Worst-case scenario we would have to find a large place to address that issue instead of having it throughout the community,” he said. Samaniego and Leeser could issue the declarations as early as Thursday. Assistant County Attorney Christina Sanchez said the judge has authority under state law to issue an emergency declaration at “a moment’s notice,” but that the County Commission would have to approve at its next meeting or it would expire. The same applies to the city, where Leeser can sign an order today and the City Council would review next week. The item is already listed on Monday’s council work session agenda. Planning for a migrant emergency in El Paso has been ongoing since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that on May 23 they would be lifting Title 42. That’s the public health order that has allowed border agents to quickly expel newly arrived migrants since March 2020 to stem cross-border COVID-19 transmission. What you need to know Republican governors have sued to stop the end of Title 42, saying it’s the last line of defense to contain a historic wave of irregular migration. A judge has issued a temporary order to stop the end of Title 42, but the migrant surge has only kept swelling. Samaniego said the U.S. Border Patrol reported 1,500 apprehensions in the El Paso Sector two days ago. And last Sunday, immigration facilities and nonprofit shelters in the city were so overwhelmed that border agents had to release 119 migrants at a Downtown El Paso bus station. “Yesterday, we met with 150 agents at the command center. The strategy is ‘what if’ and how do we address it. Right now, the low-hanging fruit is we need a processing center … (help) the 35 percent of the people (released by immigration officers) so they can get their tickets and move on. We’re combining that with shelter” space, he said. El Paso bracing for migrant influx as end of Title 42 nears Just a day earlier, the head of the largest migrant shelter network in El Paso and Southern New Mexico called on local officials and the federal government for help. Ruben Garcia of Annunciation House says he’s low on volunteers and wants the city and county to take over his largest shelter, so his staff can operate church-run shelters more days of the week and receive more migrants. Annunciation House has received 4,400 migrants released by border agents in the past 10 days. And that’s with Title 42 still in place. On Thursday, city staff asked Leeser to sign an emergency declaration to obtain needed state and federal money ahead of the termination of Title 42. The Office of Emergency Management and city officials “have been looking to identify possible sites that non-government organizations, state and federal partners can utilize and that the city and OEM can augment,” the city said in a statement. Visit BorderReport.com for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the U.S.-Mexico border City officials characterized the migrant situation as “fluid” and said they continue to monitor it and plan their response accordingly. “We are extremely grateful to all our partners including the NGOs, the county, state and federal leaders who understand the extraordinary collaborative lift that is needed,” said Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Opinion: It's past time to end Title 42

Immigrants are a bedrock of our country. For years, the US has benefited in immeasurable ways from the energy, the ingenuity and the passion that immigrants bring to our country. We've seen these contributions firsthand as immigrants ourselves. We've also organized for immigrant rights for over two decades. We've protested, lobbied, marched and even gotten arrested to advance the immigrant cause. We do this work because we understand that in a country where, according to data compiled by the American Immigration Council, one in every seven US residents is an immigrant, and one in every eight is a native-born US citizen with at least one immigrant parent, immigrants are an undeniable part of who we are. They deserve dignity, opportunity and respect. We know from experience that America succeeds more by embracing immigrants, and as Democrats, we can affirm that by embracing immigrants instead of vilifying them. It's especially crucial to remember that now, when Republicans, and even some Democrats, wrongly criticize the Biden administration's overdue action to end Title 42, a xenophobic policy masquerading as a public health measure that has blocked people from seeking asylum in the United States since March 2020. Since its implementation, Title 42 has been criticized by leading epidemiologists and public health experts, who have pointed out that the order only applies to asylum-seekers coming from the southern border, not permanent residents, US citizens or tourists coming back into the country at the same time. Public health experts have many times said that there is no public health rationale for an asylum ban. Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the order would be terminated on May 23. But a federal judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked the end of Title 42 and heard arguments last Friday, saying he would issue a ruling before May 23. Meanwhile, a number of US senators have also introduced a new bill to prevent the Biden administration from lifting the policy. Although we've seen polling that suggests many Americans support the extension of Title 42, we believe it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the policy actually does than a support of the policy itself. To understand today's polarized debate, we must rewind the tape to review the damage done by the previous administration. Former President Donald Trump may have targeted undocumented immigrants in his public statements, but his administration often focused on closing pathways for legal migration. His administration reduced the number of refugees allowed to enter the US to a trickle and made it harder for people to get visas and become US citizens. Opinion: Good riddance to this terrible Trump-era policy decision Opinion: Good riddance to this terrible Trump-era policy decision But Trump didn't stop there -- he complicated asylum-seeking efforts too. Asylum must be understood as a critical part of the legal immigration system in America. Under both domestic and international law, people fearing persecution because of their membership in a marginalized group have a right to seek protection and residence in the United States. Those who are coming to the southern border at designated checkpoints are exercising that right -- and should be afforded fair treatment and have their cases heard. Trump used Title 42 to block that process on the grounds that people seeking asylum might pose a public health threat due to Covid-19. It was wrong when it was first implemented, and it is wrong now. Public health experts agreed that the policy failed to further public health and that the CDC failed to consider alternative measures that would protect public health without circumventing our legal obligation to asylum-seekers. Anticipating the end of Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security released a memo about surging resources at the border to ensure that people can seek asylum as they are entitled to do by law. Until Congress agrees to tackle a comprehensive overhaul of our broken and backlogged immigration system, this plan will implement a more humane approach to helping people who flee violence, famine and persecution to come to the United States. Under this plan, DHS will increase resources to support border operations, including transportation, medical support and operational facilities. They will also bolster the capacity of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to receive migrants after they've been processed. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas laid out DHS's plan to handle the expected influx of refugees at the border in a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing -- and we are eager for people to hear more about this plan. Though we wish the administration had acted sooner, we commend President Joe Biden for lifting Title 42 more than two years after the policy was first implemented. It's not surprising that Biden has been attacked by Republicans for doing so -- and that many Republican-led states have sought to fight this in court. But we are disturbed to see that some Democrats have also opposed the move to lift Title 42. This is wrong on moral and humanitarian grounds. Immigration continues to be an issue that dominates headlines. And we must not hesitate to communicate with voters our vision for how we can fix our broken immigration system with compassionate, people-centered solutions. After four years of the Trump administration, the so-called Muslim ban and harsh policies that saw thousands of kids separated from their families at the border, Americans are choosing to open their arms and hearts instead. According to Gallup, as of July of 2021, 75% of Americans thought immigration was a good thing for our country. And a majority supported creating more pathways to citizenship for DACA recipients and immigrants with temporary status in the US. If the overwhelmingly positive reception for Ukrainian refugees and Afghan refugees is indicative of US sentiment, in many cases Americans are willing to not only accept greater levels of immigration, but also to sponsor refugees and immigrants and welcome them into their communities and their homes. Even as the rhetoric around immigrants and immigration gets more divisive, we must remember that there are real people behind this issue. We cannot take our compassion and our empathy out of the process. We cannot allow hatred and fear of political retaliation to prevent us from doing the right thing. Immigration policy is not just about immigrants -- it defines our character and identity as a multiracial, inclusive democracy. It is clear now more than ever that Democrats need to stop running away from immigration at the slightest hint of pressure. Instead, we must use this moment to lean in and offer an alternative to Republican xenophobia by unapologetically embracing our vibrant immigrant communities. By taking a stand, we will stop many of today's prominent Republicans from using immigrants as political footballs and show the community that rallied behind us that we proudly support them. We are now at a defining crossroad in our country when it comes to immigration, and Democrats have a unique opportunity to finally deliver on immigration reform. The stakes couldn't be higher, or more important. Standing behind immigrants, their families and their friends isn't just the right and moral thing to do -- it is at the very foundation of who we are as a country. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Thousands of Migrants Have Been Waiting for Months to Enter U.S.

People from around the world have been lingering on the border, awaiting the end of pandemic restrictions. Their fate remains one of the Biden administration’s biggest challenges on immigration. Dinner time at the San Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico. NOGALES, Mexico — Guadalupe Garcia crossed the border into Arizona with her 11-year-old daughter early this year, saying she was fleeing the brutal beatings she was suffering at the hands of her husband in Guatemala. The Border Patrol informed her that the United States was not open for asylum, and quickly put the pair on a bus back to Mexico. Five months later, Ms. Garcia and her daughter are still in the Mexican border city of Nogales, where she has found work at a restaurant. “We are waiting patiently for the U.S. to open,” she said on a recent day while filling orders for breaded chicken, enchiladas and tacos. Isilda was in a side room, making collages from magazine cutouts while her mother worked. San Juan Bosco, a shelter in Nogales, where the two are staying, has hosted many migrants for “five, six, even 10 months,” said Maria Antonia Diaz, a longtime volunteer. They are among tens of thousands of migrants lingering now in Mexican outposts — some who have taken jobs and rented apartments — waiting for the day, expected soon, when the United States fully opens its doors again to asylum seekers. The situation on the southern border is reaching a critical stage, according to federal and state officials who must accommodate the incoming migrants. Even before the scheduled lifting next week of the Title 42 public health rule, which has allowed the government to swiftly expel nearly two million migrants over the past two years, U.S. Border Patrol agents are encountering near-record numbers of people who either crossed on their own or were allowed to enter under various Title 42 exemptions. A total of 234,088 migrants crossed the southern border in April, topping March’s 22-year high of 221,444, including a record 34,821 from Cuba and 20,118 from Ukraine. Lifting Title 42 could send an even bigger surge of up to 18,000 migrants a day, administration officials say. Though a federal court could temporarily halt the lifting of the public health order — postponing the day of reckoning — the key challenge for the Biden administration in the coming months is finding a way to deter the thousands of migrants who head for the United States not because of imminent threats of violence or persecution — threats which the United States is legally and morally obligated to address — but in search of jobs and a better future. The official intent of Title 42, originally put in place under the Trump administration, was to slow the transmission of the coronavirus across the border. But it quickly became a powerful tool to slow immigration. Continue reading the main story “There has never been a public health justification for using Title 42 authority in the battle to contain Covid-19,” said Wayne Cornelius, director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Read More About U.S. Immigration A New Wave: Cuban migrants are arriving to the United States in the highest numbers in four decades, as the conditions on the island grow more desperate. Documented Youths: Children of temporary visa holders risk losing their legal status in the United States when they turn 21. Some are joining calls for an immigration overhaul. At the Border: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has pursued an expensive effort to stop the flow of migrants. As results fail to show, he is weighing more radical measures. QAnon Vigilantes: Armed civilians, motivated by an unfounded conspiracy theory that migrant children are falling prey to sex-trafficking rings, have been intercepting minors at the border. Critical Incident Teams: The Biden administration will disband the U.S. Border Patrol’s secretive teams, after their role in inquiries into agent misconduct came under scrutiny. “It was an obscure rule,” he said, “part of a multipronged effort to curb immigration to the U.S.” The Biden administration has faced pressure from progressives to halt the expulsions and offer refuge to migrants who have legitimate claims of persecution in their home countries. It announced in April that the order would be lifted on May 23, with stepped-up plans to handle the new arrivals. But the large number of migrants predicted to cross in the weeks after the order is lifted has given pause, with even some Democrats advocating a go-slow approach. Whether the policy is terminated next week or not, the United States is likely to see large numbers of people at the border for the foreseeable future. Turmoil around the globe is pushing migrants from Venezuela to Colombia; from Nicaragua to Costa Rica; and from everywhere near and far to the United States, where jobs are plentiful and prosperity and security seem within reach. “Despite who is in charge and what policies are in place, there are global and regional forces that are going to lead to a continuation of migration,” said Eileen Díaz McConnell, professor of global migration at Arizona State University. These forces, she said, include climate change, economic and political upheaval, organized crime and domestic abuse, as well as the fallout from the global health crisis. To handle the expected surge, the Homeland Security Department has unveiled a plan to focus new resources on the border, and Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the agency’s chief, has vowed that people without a legal basis for entering the country will face detention, deportation and other consequences that have been frozen during Title 42. A new program to adjudicate border asylum cases within one year, rather than through the backlogged immigration courts that often take six to eight years, aims to discourage families with weak claims from journeying north. “We are elevating the enforcement consequences we bring to bear on individuals who don’t qualify” to remain in the United States under the law, Mr. Mayorkas said during a visit to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas on Tuesday. Any U.S. effort to prevent an overwhelming influx will depend on how well countries throughout the region, especially Mexico and Guatemala, manage their borders. Migrants from around the world travel through those countries en route to the United States. Mexico also plays a crucial role in deciding which migrants it takes back after their expulsion from the United States. In April, more than four out of 10 border encounters by agents were with migrants from countries beyond Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle, an unprecedented share. And many have been allowed to enter the United States despite Title 42, which has excluded about 60 percent of the migrants who crossed the border since it took effect in 2020. On a recent day, three busloads packed with male migrants, mainly from India, Senegal and Georgia, arrived at Casa Alitas shelter in Tucson within a three-hour span. Most of them had spent a few days in detention and then had been released with ankle monitors and orders to report to court later for deportation hearings. Among those standing in line for assistance booking tickets to destinations across the country was Bassir, 30. He had flown from Senegal to Brazil, where he began a trek over land to reach the Mexico-Arizona border, he said. As he traversed the Darien Gap, a lawless stretch of jungle near the border of Colombia and Panama, bandits put a pistol to his head, and stole his watch and $350. But after being intercepted by border agents and spending a few days in detention, he was finally looking at a chance to get a job in the United States, only wondering aloud, “How long will they keep this thing on my foot?” A 20-year-old man named Preet Singh, headed for Los Angeles, said that his parents in India had paid $16,000 to guides who ferried him through Europe and Mexico to the United States. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story The numbers at the U.S. border reflect an escalating range of global tumult that increasingly has ended up at America’s door, said Adam Isacson, a scholar at the Washington Office on Latin America, who started studying the border in 2000. “The world cratered during the pandemic,” Mr. Isacson said, “and this internationalization of crossers intensified.” It is a trend unlikely to reverse. “There is little reason to think the world will become more stable, peaceful and prosperous in the next 10 years,” he said. Because the rapid expulsions under Title 42 have enabled many single adults to make repeated tries until they succeed in eluding U.S. border authorities, administration officials have predicted that the total number of encounters by agents could decline after Title 42 is rescinded, despite the expected arrival of thousands of new asylum seekers who have been waiting on the other side. But deterring large numbers of people from arriving with dubious asylum claims will be one of the central challenges in the months after Title 42 is lifted. Even if many claims are quickly rejected under the administration’s new fast-track policies, it will take time for word to get back that people are being denied protection and deported. And any messaging by the U.S. government will compete with that of a sophisticated smuggling industry that adapts quickly to shifting policies. “It’s not just individual migrants; there is a system that responds to policy changes,” said Professor Díaz McConnell of Arizona State. The only certainty is that the longer it takes for Title 42 to be lifted, the more migrants will amass on the Mexican side, creating a bottleneck that raises the potential for overcrowding and disruption when it ultimately ends. A Mexican woman named Betzaida and her three children are among hundreds or more displaced families from Guerrero, a Mexican state convulsed by cartel violence, who have been waiting in Nogales for Title 42 to end. The family is renting an apartment and receiving assistance from the Kino Border Initiative, a nonprofit that provides meals, clothes and legal services to migrants. “We never considered leaving Mexico. We had a stable life,” said Betzaida, who did not want her last name published out of fears for her safety. That changed, she said, when gang members, determined to seize their property, kidnapped and beat her husband unconscious. “All we want to do is disappear from Mexico so that they can’t find us,” she said. Similar scenes are playing out in Mexican border towns from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico. Magdala Jean, 33, and her husband came from Haiti. They have been waiting with thousands of other migrants in the cartel-controlled border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas. In Port-au-Prince, they said, they felt unsafe amid a spate of shootouts by gangs that now control broad swaths of the capital. They also could not find jobs. Camping out in Mexico has been their best option, she said. “We want to wait, so that we’re not turned back,” she said. About 280 miles away, in the small town of Piedras Negras, Mexico, men, women and children in tattered clothes trickled into Primera Iglesia Bautista, a shelter in a nondescript building a block from the international bridge leading to Eagle Pass, Texas. They said that there were many people behind them. Israel Rodriguez, the pastor at the shelter, said that not only have more people been arriving in the past few weeks, but also they are coming from different countries than in the past. “People will continue coming. It’s the oldest story,” he said. “They have crossed mountains, lakes and rivers and they are not going to turn back because a law is lifted or added. Nothing stops them.” For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

‘Documented Dreamers’ fear deportation after aging out of visa protection

As the child of visa-holding parents, Ayaan Siddiqui does not face deportation to India – yet. But the BASIS Peoria senior, like an estimated 200,000 other “documented Dreamers” in the U.S., could be deported to a country he barely knows when he turns 21 and ages out of the protection of his parents’ visas. “I have lived all my memorable life here. I think I am American, through and through,” the 17-year-old said Wednesday, as he joined lawmakers and other documented Dreamers on Capitol Hill to push for a bill that would protect them from being deported when they age out. Ayaan Siddiqui, a senior at BASIS Peoria, was in Washington to lobby for passage of the America's CHILDREN Act, which would protect a reported 200,000 people like him, noncitizens who were brought to this country by visa-holding parents, but who are in danger of losing that protection. The America’s Cultivation of Hope and Inclusion for Long-term Dependents Raised and Educated Natively — or America’s CHILDREN — Act of 2021 would apply only to dependents of noncitizens who are in the U.S. on work visas. The bill would let them apply for permanent legal status if they have been in the U.S. at least 10 years and have graduated from “an institution of higher education,” among other requirements. It would also grant work permits to successful applicants. Without that protection, those young adults are supposed to self-deport after they turn 21, and then apply for readmission if they desire. For those already deported, the bill would allow them to return to the U.S. if they met certain requirements. “I want to help the documented dreamers who are here today,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. These teens will be Arizona's next voter:They're telling lawmakers to advocate for 'dreamers' “Their parents came to the United States on legal visas but they are caught in the trap while their parents are waiting for green cards year after year after year, and they may reach that age of 21 where they technically can’t stay here, because of their parents, and I want to take care of that,” Durbin said at Wednesday’s event at the Capitol. According to the American Immigration Council, there are more than 200,000 such documented dreamers who could face deportation after they turn 21. Numbers for Arizona were not immediately available Wednesday. But Robert Law, the director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the bill may not be necessary for people in Siddiqui’s situation. They have alternate ways to stay in the country, he said, such as getting a school or work visa. He also said the law would be unfair to others who do not have an H-1B visa and have to go home once their green card expires. “Everybody else has to wait overseas, so it is a very special treatment,” Law said of the proposal. He called the bill little more than an attempt by Congress to make up for failed immigration laws that force immigrants to be “perpetually in a waiting game” for permanent status. But Rep. Deborah Ross, D-N.C., and a co-sponsor of the House version of the bill, said it’s past time for action. The House bill was introduced in July, and the Senate version in September, but neither has yet to get a hearing. “Today I am proud to stand with this remarkable group that worked so hard to draw attention to the challenging circumstances and to advocate for a commonsense solution,” Ross said. Why relations are fraying among Republicans at Legislature What do you do if bitten by Gila monster? What Democrats running for governor would do at border Mysterious form of hepatitis possibly ID'd in Arizona kids The bills have drawn bipartisan support, with eight Senate co-sponsors evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and 10 Republicans among the 38 sponsors on the House bill. Arizona Democrats, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Rep. Greg Stanton of Phoenix, are co-sponsors in their respective chambers. Siddiqui, whose family brought him here from India when he was a year old, considers himself an American and urged passage of the bill that he said would “solidify how the government reflects whether we are American.” And said he intends to keep fighting for it. “We keep on lobbying, going to senators and representatives. As constituents we have the power to push something through,” said Siddiqui, who plans to study pre-law at Vanderbilt University this fall. For more information contact us http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Thursday, May 19, 2022

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

An alien’s conviction for corporal injury upon a child, in violation of California Penal Code §273d(a), is a crime of violence aggravated felony that made her ineligible for cancellation of removal. For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Great Replacement Theory Is a Grand Delusion

Since the massacre on Saturday, Americans have been talking, as the shooter probably wanted, about the “great replacement theory.” The 200-proof version of the theory, to which he reportedly subscribed, is that Jews are trying to destroy the old White majority of the country via immigration, and they are doing it to create a political order more to their liking. It is a vile and stupid stew of racism and anti-Semitism, as should be obvious to almost everyone. More from Bloomberg Opinion Is the SEC Unconstitutional? There's Good Reason for Tech Workers to Embrace the Office Stock Selloff May Be Entering a New Phase What Is Monkeypox and Should We Be Worried About It? Public argument has dwelt less on the actual shooter than on such Republicans as Fox News host Tucker Carlson and US Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who stand accused of selling a diluted version of the same ideology. Carlson has said that “the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the Third World.” Stefanik claims that granting “amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.” Their defenders say they are merely observing a real phenomenon among Democrats, and then condemning it. The kernels of truth in what these Republicans say are that immigration has aided the Democratic Party over the last generation, and that Democrats have noticed and applauded it. When Democrats boasted (and sympathetic analysts predicted) that they were leading a “coalition of the ascendant,” a growing immigrant population that leaned left was one of the things they were talking about. And as Democrats have grown convinced that immigration is key to the party’s future, their positions on immigration policy have moved further and further left. Democrats would have to be unusually immune to the temptation to seek advantage for there to be no connection between those two trends. (How many of the people who doubt this connection can see perfectly well that many Republicans have adopted their immigration views in part based on how they fear immigrants will vote?) Any theory built on this connection will, however, become less and less plausible as it grows more conspiratorial. In the real world, people have supported liberal immigration policies for a long list of reasons. Some people think these policies strengthen the US economy; some people associate them with tolerance; some people want the same opportunities they have found here for their cousins. Even the purely political motives of Democratic politicians and strategists are mixed. Granting citizenship to illegal immigrants is a way to win their votes, but it is also a way to win the votes of their friends and relatives who already have it. The major laws governing immigration policy were passed with large bipartisan majorities in 1965, 1986 and 1990, at a time when neither party saw the issue as a dividing line between them. To the extent that the limits on immigration have not been enforced since these laws were passed, it has had more to do with business opposition than with anyone’s desire to change the country’s political demography. To suggest that Democrats support amnesty and high immigration levels simply because they want a new electorate, or that this desire is the reason for the flaws of today’s immigration system, is to oversimplify to the point of falsity. No plan has been put in place to replace today’s voters, and especially its White working-class conservative voters, and it would be dangerous for the country’s civic health to maintain otherwise even if we had no armed lunatics in our midst. What Carlson and Stefanik are saying is irresponsible as well as wrong. Opinion. Data. More Data. Get the most important Bloomberg Opinion pieces in one email. Email Enter your email Sign Up By submitting my information, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and to receive offers and promotions from Bloomberg. Recent political history should discredit the theory even further, for two reasons. One is that the Democrats’ belief that immigration would contribute to a large and lasting majority has instead almost certainly put one further out of reach. If Hillary Clinton had felt the same imperative to win the votes of White voters without college degrees that her husband did in the 1990s, or moderated on immigration, she might well have won the additional states she needed in the 2016 election. The coalition of the ascendant hasn’t ascended. The second is that Republicans have been making significant gains among non-White Americans. “Replacement theory” has come to the fore of the conversation just as its most solid empirical pillar is disintegrating. Let’s not underestimate just how delusional, as well as evil, the murderer in Buffalo is. For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

ICE chief defends proposed cut in immigration detention beds

Biden administration asked for funding for 25,000 beds, down from the current level of 34,000 Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, maintained that more capacity in immigration detention centers is not the answer to rising migration levels. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images file photo) Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, maintained that more capacity in immigration detention centers is not the answer to rising migration levels. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images file photo) By Suzanne Monyak Posted May 17, 2022 at 5:49pm The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told a House committee Tuesday that the agency needs fewer detention beds for immigrants who face deportation and more funding for surveillance programs to allow them to stay at home instead. Tae Johnson defended the Biden administration’s request for so-called alternatives to detention programs as a “much more humane” and “an effective and significantly less costly option” for immigrants who don’t pose a threat to the public. Johnson, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, was defending the Biden administration’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal to Congress for $8 billion for ICE, which would keep funds relatively consistent with this fiscal year. The administration asked Congress to provide funding for just 25,000 detention beds — down from the current level of 34,000 — and requested an $87 million increase in funding for programs allowing for alternatives to detention. These proposed funding levels are “just reflective of the administration’s position that alternatives to detention is the more appropriate and humane way of dealing with segments of the population that don’t pose a public safety or national security threat,” Johnson told the committee. Committee Republicans criticized the proposed cut to detention bed capacity and questioned why the Biden administration would propose that ahead of an anticipated rise in migration to the southwest border. Homeland Security officials have projected that border agents could see as many as 18,000 migrants daily once the administration lifts pandemic-related asylum restrictions known as Title 42 as early as next week. “Once Title 42 goes away, we’re going to have an increased number of these people coming across, and instead of detaining them with those extra beds that you have, you’re cutting that and then going to be releasing those people into our country,” Iowa Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson said. “That’s what Americans are concerned about right now.” Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., also criticized the administration for failing to fill up the detention beds that Congress already funded this fiscal year. He blamed the empty beds on the administration’s decision to narrow its enforcement priorities to migrants who committed serious crimes or recently crossed the border. “Prosecutorial discretion does not mean you get to pick and choose what laws you will enforce. You get to pick and choose what order you will enforce them,” Rutherford said. Still, Johnson maintained that more capacity in immigration detention centers is not the answer to rising migration levels. “There’s not enough beds, you know, out in the private sector to detain our way out of this situation,” Johnson said. Oversight concerns Johnson also fielded concerns from Democrats over conditions and oversight efforts at the agency’s sprawling network of detention centers across the country. Subcommittee Chair Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., raised concerns about access to counsel for immigrants in detention, citing instances in which phones are not located in confidential areas or have limited minutes. Johnson said this issue is “certainly something that we’re aware of” but that it “is not all that prevalent in most of our facilities.” Johnson previously signed onto a report, submitted to Congress earlier this year and obtained by CQ Roll Call, that claimed access to counsel continued “unabated” in ICE detention facilities during the pandemic — a characterization legal service providers vigorously dispute. Responding to questions from Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., Johnson confirmed the agency’s policy under the Biden administration is not to detain immigrants who are pregnant or nursing and that “only in very rare occasions would anyone stay in custody for an extended period of time.” But he was unable to answer Underwood’s question on access to COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for those pregnant people who are in immigration detention, saying he had “no idea whether the vaccine is even acceptable for those that are pregnant.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all adults, including those who are pregnant, get vaccinated. And in one testy exchange with Roybal-Allard, Johnson doubled down on ICE’s disagreement with a recent inspector general report that excoriated ICE for substandard conditions at a New Mexico detention center. The March report found “excessive and avoidable unsanitary conditions” — including clogged toilets, mold and water leaks — along with severe staffing shortages, and called for the immediate transfer of individuals from the facility. In a striking response to that report, ICE’s acting chief of staff Jason Houser said ICE had “serious concerns about the accuracy and integrity” of the report and claimed a photo contained therein was “staged” and “knowingly given a false description.” Johnson told lawmakers Tuesday the agency continues to disagree with the inspector general’s recommendations. Moreover, he said ICE’s own investigators conducted a review of the facility just before the inspector general’s visit and rated it “excellent.” “You’re telling me that [ICE’s Office of Detention Oversight] came out with a rating of excellence at the same time?” Roybal-Allard said, sounding incredulous. She told Johnson after her questioning that she “would like to follow up on this review.” For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Most people released by immigration authorities do attend their court hearings

In a hearing over the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., asked Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about DHS’s capacity to detain immigrants entering the country illegally at the southern border. Mayorkas said detention capacity is limited, but authorities hold certain people if there is a belief that they will not show up to their court hearings. Lankford replied: "You say detention is used when you’re not sure if they’re going to show up for hearings. The vast majority of individuals that we’re releasing out are not showing up for hearings." Mayorkas pushed back, saying he "would respectfully disagree" with Lankford because "the data evidence is that the majority of people show up for their hearings." We reached out to Lankford’s office — and to DHS — for their respective data but did not hear back. We also sought information from the Executive Office for Immigration Review within the Department of Justice but did not get a response. That office is responsible for adjudicating the immigration cases of people placed in deportation proceedings. Debate on whether immigrants show up to their hearings is not new. The ways of measuring this number vary, but regardless of the metric, the numbers show a majority of immigrants do show up to their hearings. Why people are released from immigration custody Immigrants apprehended at U.S. borders receive from DHS a Notice to Appear, a charging document that explains why the U.S. government seeks to deport them. Immigrants who receive a Notice to Appear are either placed in detention or released. Due to limited detention space, immigration authorities generally release people they believe don’t pose a threat to public safety and are likely to show up to their court hearings. People who are released can travel to their final destination in the U.S. while they await their hearings, according to Jessica Bolter, a policy analyst at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. A majority of immigrants do show up to court, data shows During their first hearing, immigrants can tell a judge whether they will contest removal and seek a form of relief, like asylum. It can take years and multiple hearings before a person gets a final decision. If an immigrant fails to show up to any hearing, the immigration judge can issue what is known as an in absentia removal order. This means the immigrant is ordered to be deported without being present in court. For the most part, in absentia cases occur with non-detained immigrants because DHS is responsible for ensuring detained immigrants show up to all their hearings. The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review publishes immigration court data, including what’s known as the "in absentia rate." To get this number per fiscal year, the government divides the number of in absentia cases by the total number of cases completed that year. The in absentia rate for fiscal year 2021 was 10%; for the first quarter of 2022, October to December 2021, it was 18%. Court closures due to COVID-19 meant some hearings were postponed. Because non-detained immigrants weren’t scheduled to show up to court, the in absentia rate went down from 2020 to 2021. FEATURED FACT-CHECK National Republican Senatorial Committee stated on April 25, 2022 in an ad Sen. Mark Kelly voted “for benefits to illegals.” truefalse By Maria Ramirez Uribe • May 2, 2022 "It’s true that data show that the majority of people show up for their hearings," Bolter told PolitiFact via email. "And even more do so when they are represented." Overall, the government data do not support Lankford’s claim that "the vast majority" of people released from immigration custody "are not showing up for hearings." Other ways to calculate the in absentia rate, and related debate The way that the Justice Department’s office calculates the in absentia rate does not take into account cases that are pending completion or administrative closure cases, where immigration judges move non-priority cases to the court’s inactive docket indefinitely. Some experts say that leaving these cases out of the calculation leads to a higher in absentia rate that can be misleading. That’s because in absentia cases are completed faster than cases in which an immigrant shows up to multiple hearings, according to Bolter. An immigrant might show up to multiple hearings in a year, but if the case is not completed during that year, they will not be included in the in absentia rate calculation. On the other hand, if an immigrant doesn’t show up to one hearing that case could be quickly completed with an in absentia removal order, which would be included in the rate as a no-show. Cases are now taking even longer to complete due to the increasing backlog, now at 1.6 million cases. As the backlog grows, cases stay pending for longer. A 2020 study by the University of Pennsylvania measured the in absentia rate taking into consideration administrative closures and pending cases. Under either of these scenarios, the rate of immigrants who showed up to court still outweighed those who did not. Between 2008 and 2018, about 66% to 83% of immigrants released from custody attended their court hearings, according to the study. Andrew Arthur at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors low immigration levels, disputed the study’s ways of calculating the in absentia rate. These methods inflate the denominator by including administrative closures and pending cases, he said, making the in absentia rate appear lower. "At best, calculating in absentia rates is an art, not a science," Arthur said. "Because of course, it's always going to be a moving target." Our ruling Lankford said "the vast majority of individuals that we’re releasing out are not showing up for hearings." There are different ways to track how many immigrants don’t show up to immigration court hearings, and all indicate that a majority of immigrants, including those who are not detained, do attend their hearings. Data from the Justice Department show that in fiscal year 2021 and during the first quarter of 2022, most immigrants attended their hearings. We rate Lankford’s claim False. For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Opinion: Outdated U.S. Immigration Laws Force Top Entrepreneurs to Go Elsewhere

As an immigration lawyer in Silicon Valley, I work with clients in cutting-edge industries from artificial intelligence to climate technology. They routinely seek investors who are willing to finance their early-stage companies to the tune of $5 million to $40 million. For most, securing that eye-popping amount of funding is the easy part. Much harder is getting the visa or green card to put down permanent roots here. How can you focus on launching a business when you don’t know if you’ll be allowed to remain in the country? Opinion logo The avenues for international entrepreneurs are less than ideal. Right now, that’s harming America’s ability to be competitive with up-and-coming powers like China. Some countries have a special treaty with the United States. If you’re from one of them and have at least about $100,000 to invest, you can start a U.S.-based company. But here’s the catch — you’re only allowed to stay two years at a time. After that, the options aren’t great. You can leave and try to return, attempt to renew, close up shop, or leave the country and try to run your company from abroad. There’s no direct path to a green card. If you raise a significant amount of venture capital, then your own equity is diminished, which in turn can affect your eligibility for a visa! It makes no sense to the world’s best and brightest. Another option is the troubled EB-5 program. This is for international entrepreneurs who have committed to investing $500,000 to a $1 million and creating at least 10 jobs for Americans. Many years later, that can lead to a green card, but the business model requirements are antiquated. Even the most brilliant startup founders wouldn’t guarantee a staff of 10 as soon as they land on the ground. Investors want to see results within 18 months of funding; they can’t wait years for founders to get green cards. There are other hurdles too. It’s no wonder I see so many would-be founders taking their innovations and their capital to countries with more welcoming immigration policies. That’s why the new Bipartisan Innovation Act is so important. It includes the Startup Visa concept from the Let Immigrants Kickstart Employment (LIKE) Act — which I personally helped draft — where immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrants with PhDs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) would have immigration pathways that could potentially enable the creation of approximately 1 million to 3 million jobs in the next ten years. The government has taken small steps forward toward improving the situation, but our nation needs more if we’re going to stay competitive in fields like biotechnologies, hypersonics, quantum information technologies, nanomanufacturing and supercomputing. Without being able to stay out front, the United States doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to national security and critical technologies. In January, the Department of Homeland Security increased the categories of STEM grads who can work here temporarily after graduation. They’ve also made it easier for companies to bring in temporary STEM researchers from abroad and to let high-skilled workers start a company here if the venture is “in the national interest.” Yet most of these developments don’t increase the speed with which founders can start companies, or lead to permanent resident status; they are only available to a very select group of people. Many high-skilled immigrants currently in the United States would make entrepreneurial contributions if their visas allowed it. But they don’t. If you’re here on a high-skilled visa and waiting in line for a green card, you can’t leave your job to start a company. And if you do manage to launch something on the side, you cannot earn income from it. Think about the talented graduates of our first-rate universities who might like to one day use their American training and connections to found a business. Why would they study here knowing that option is likely unavailable to them? We need Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act. The Startup Visa is essential, allowing ambitious changemakers to develop and launch with real security — without a ton of red tape. It’s been consistently challenging and frustrating for my clients who want to be in the United States but get no answer from the government. And all the while, the clock is ticking for their companies and their investors. I’ve considered suing the federal government about delays in the Obama-era International Entrepreneur Parole process. But most founders hoping to move here and start a business, don’t want to start by suing the government of the country they’re hoping to join. The changes that the Bipartisan Innovation Act could bring about would have real and lasting benefits. When an immigrant entrepreneur starts a business, they eventually need to hire salespeople, accountants, engineers, marketers, and a whole slew of other positions that Americans will fill. Paving the way for the creation of new businesses — and therefore new jobs — is always a good thing. And immigrant entrepreneurs have an excellent track record. In 2017, immigrant-owned businesses employed 8 million people and did $1.3 trillion in sales. Nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant founder, according to the American Immigration Council, and more than half of America’s billion-dollar startups were founded by immigrants. That’s huge! Talented, driven immigrants once flocked to the United States, but our draconian immigration policies are making them think twice. Many of these entrepreneurs are now moving to Canada, Australia, and Europe, where they have specific programs and even tax breaks for startup founders. I have to be real with my immigration clients: while the United States holds unmatched potential for success, the hurdles and roadblocks created by our outdated immigration system can make it nearly impossible to launch here. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature, but the risks need to make sense. For more informationcontact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Democrats renew push for green cards for ‘documented Dreamers’

Democrats renewed their push Wednesday to provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of so-called documented Dreamers who grew up legally in the U.S. but risk deportation when they turn 21 years old. At a press conference, California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla touted his bill to permanently protect roughly 250,000 immigrants who grew up in the U.S. as dependents on their parents’ temporary visas, and graduated from American universities, but aged out of that dependent status. “For these young people, turning 21 means facing an impossible choice,” Padilla said. “Either to leave your family and self-deport to a country that you barely remember, or to stay in the United States living, undocumented, in the shadows.” Padilla, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, is among the Republicans and Democrats who have met regularly in recent weeks to find possible areas of agreement on the notoriously partisan subject of immigration. The Senate version of the documented Dreamers bill has four Republican co-sponsors — including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — while the House version of the bill has ten Republican co-sponsors. ADVERTISING Yet political tensions over immigration are elevated on Capitol Hill as the Biden administration prepares to end pandemic-era border expulsions, an issue that has divided Democrats and galvanized Republicans. Paul told CQ Roll Call there is “significant bipartisan support” for the bill, but accused Democrats of being unwilling to compromise on narrow legislation. “Most reforms on immigration have been held hostage by the Democrats wanting everything they want or nothing,” Paul said. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters that the documented Dreamers legislation would likely need to move as part of a broader package that addresses Republican concerns about border security. “I have heard no pushback on this bill,” Durbin said. “All they’ve said is, ‘we want to deal with the border challenges.’” ADVERTISING The renewal of bipartisan efforts on immigration comes months after Democrats fell short in an attempt to pass sweeping provisions to overhaul the immigration system in a budget reconciliation process. Since then, they have also upped pressure on the Biden administration to take executive actions, such as expanding the use of temporary protected status, which protects immigrants from deportation and makes them eligible to work legally for 18 months after the designation. Democrats hope to capitalize on bipartisan concerns about labor shortages and inflation to build support for immigration legislation as the midterm elections draw closer. Lawmakers are also working to build traction on a separate bill to revise guest worker visas — including H-2A seasonal agricultural visas and H-2B visas for nonagricultural labor, like hospitality and food processing. That bill passed the House with 30 Republican votes but has yet to be considered in the Senate. “Think about how many times we've been told we don't have the workforce we need,” Durbin said at the press conference. “These are young people, educated in the United States, who grew up in this country believing it was their home and are really looking forward to a future in this country.” For more information visit http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Monday, May 16, 2022

Essential Politics: Conspiracy theories and fear of immigrants — a toxic mix

BY DAVID LAUTERSENIOR EDITOR MAY 13, 2022 6:28 AM PT WASHINGTON — Long before Donald Trump descended the escalator to the Trump Tower lobby, where he launched his presidential campaign while labelling Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” immigration was playing a powerful role in motivating voters on the right. Along with opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the effort to stop immigration reform played a key role in mobilizing conservatives during President Obama‘s two terms in office. Trump’s candidacy further ramped up the political focus on immigration. It also allowed the spread of toxic falsehoods that had been largely relegated to the fringe. Newsletter Get our Essential Politics newsletter The latest news, analysis and insights from our politics teams from Sacramento to D.C. Enter email address Enter email address SIGN ME UP You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. One of the most pernicious is “replacement theory” — the belief that elites (big business, Democratic politicians, major cultural figures and so on) have conspired to bring large numbers of immigrants to the U.S. in a deliberate effort to replace the native-born population with more subservient people who will work for less and vote for whom they’re told. The conspiracy theory, which gained traction on the far right in Europe before being popularized in the U.S., has become a staple of some prominent cable television figures, like the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said last year that President Biden wanted to increase immigration “to reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the Third World.” Nearly 1 in 5 American adults believe at least a couple of major tenets of that theory, according to a new study by the National Opinion Research Center and the Associated Press. ADVERTISING Conspiracy theories shape debate Overall, the American public remains largely supportive of immigration, the new AP-NORC study found. Almost 40% of Americans say that the number of immigrants to the U.S. should remain at about its current level, while 25% think the number of immigrants should be larger. On the opposite side, 36% say the number of immigrants should be reduced, with 19% saying the number should be cut “a lot.” Support for immigration restriction continues as a major rallying cry for the Republican base. A lot of the rhetorical ire is aimed at illegal border crossing, but proposals to dramatically reduce legal immigration became official White House policy under Trump and remain important to a large segment of his core supporters. The AP-NORC study asked a number of questions about immigration, including two aimed specifically at gauging how many Americans believe key parts of the replacement theory. Ad Choices PAID CONTENT Innovative Medicines, Limitless Possibilities By AbbVie We've invested over​ $50 billion to develop medicines of the future. ​ One question asked whether “there is a group of people in this country who are trying to replace native-born Americans with immigrants who agree with their political views.” About 1 in 7 Americans said they “strongly agree” with that. A similar share said they were “very concerned” that “native-born Americans are losing economic, political, and cultural influence in this country because of the growing population of immigrants.” About 1 in 5 Americans agreed with both of those tenets of replacement theory to at least some extent. That finding was “the primary thing that got our attention” when analyzing the study results, said Jennifer Benz of NORC. The researchers were struck by “how widespread the belief in these core arguments of replacement theory are,” Benz said. “It’s a larger segment of the population than we may have expected going into this who have this fairly extreme view.” Viewers of right-wing media especially shared those ideas: Among people who said they most often watch OANN or Newsmax, 45% agreed with both of the replacement theory statements. So did 31% of Fox viewers, compared with 13% of CNN viewers. That reflects the partisan nature of America’s immigration debate, but something else as well: The most widespread support for ideas central to replacement theory came from Americans who believe generally in conspiracy theories. The AP-NORC study used a four-question scale to measure a person’s belief in conspiracies. The questions ask if people believe that major events are the result of plots executed in secret, whether events are directed by a small group of powerful people, whether those people are unknown to voters and whether that group controls the outcome of elections, wars, economic recessions and other major developments. People who scored high on the conspiracy scale were, in most respects, very similar to the general population. Comparing the 25% who scored highest on the conspiracy scale with the rest of America, the researchers found no significant difference by education, for example — people who believe events are controlled by a small, secret cabal are as likely to have graduated from college as people who don’t hold that view, Benz noted. There’s no gap by income either. There is a partisan gap — people who score high on the conspiracy scale tend more often to be Republicans and also tend to identify as evangelical Christians. That’s especially true of white conspiracy thinkers, who are heavily Republican and voted for Trump in 2020. By contrast, people of color who scored high on the conspiracy scale were more likely to identify as Democrats. They were as likely to have not voted as to have cast a ballot for Biden. Conspiratorial thinkers also are more likely to believe they have been discriminated against, the study found. That’s especially notable among white conspiracy thinkers: On a series of questions about whether people believe they have been discriminated against because of their race in seeking jobs, getting a house, obtaining healthcare or applying for a loan, about 30% of white conspiracy thinkers said yes, compared with about 10% of whites who aren’t conspiracy thinkers. That reflects a basic fact about people who believe in conspiracies, said political science professor Joe Uscinski of the University of Miami, who for the past decade has studied conspiracy theories and who developed the scale the AP-NORC study used to measure conspiratorial thinking. A certain set of personality traits seems to lead some people to believe in conspiracies, and belief that they belong to an oppressed group is a part of that, Uscinski said. The fact that belief in conspiracy grows out of personality types helps explain “why we find so much stability” in the share of the population that’s conspiracy minded, he said. A decade of work has produced no evidence for the widespread belief that conspiracy theories are on the rise, he noted. “A lot of people worry that people see these ideas on cable TV or on the internet and start believing in conspiracies, but that’s not really how this works,” Uscinski said. “People are either disposed to those particular kinds of ideas or they’re not.” The problem for American democracy is not so much the share of Americans who believe in conspiracies, but the political system’s weakened ability to keep those ideas at bay. Through most of U.S. history, “we’ve generally counted on our elites” not to exploit conspiratorial thinking among their followers, Uscinski noted. Some presidents “would dabble in conspiracy theories now and then,” but mostly, they steered clear of them. Trump changed all that. “The way that Trump used it was at a level and volume we haven’t seen,” he said. And other ambitious political figures have taken note. “They’ve seen the prototype,” he said. “It works.” The fight over abortion a crowd of mostly women holding candles stand together on a darkened street with lights in the background Abortion-rights advocates stage a protest outside the house of Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito in the Fort Hunt neighborhood on Monday, May 9, 2022 in Alexandria, Va.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) Senate Democrats failed to advance a bill to protect abortion rights nationwide, but as Jennifer Haberkorn reported, they hope the effort would draw a sharp political contrast with Republicans who largely support the Supreme Court’s expected ruling to undo the Roe vs. Wade decision. The effort received 49 votes — all the Senate’s Democrats except Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. It needed 60 votes to pass. The anticipated overturning of Roe has quickly became the focus of political ads coast to coast, Seema Mehta and Terry Castleman reported. Democrats and allies who support abortion rights have spent more money and focused more of their messaging on the issue than GOP candidates and antiabortion organizations have, according to AdImpact, a political ad tracking firm, and Meta’s Ad Library Report, which summarizes political advertising data on Facebook and Instagram. David Savage examined three key questions about what happens next with the high court, including whether its conservative majority is likely to reconsider its decision legalizing same-sex marriage. California would set aside $40 million for abortion service providers to help cover uninsured residents and an expected influx of women from other states seeking care if the court overturns Roe under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Melody Gutierrez reported. Newsom is expected to also announce new incentives for businesses wishing to relocate to California from states with abortion bans or anti-LGBTQ laws — with details expected during Friday’s budget announcement, according to the governor’s office. Several hotly contested congressional races in Orange County could be among the places where abortion politics helps Democrats, Mehta and Priscella Vega reported. The Orange County districts largely consist of suburban territory with large numbers of college-educated voters. Democrats believe that those voters, especially women, will be motivated to vote by concern over abortion rights. Ever since the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark ruling legalizing abortion, Barbara Smith has felt as if she were living in a time warp. An author and publisher who’s earned accolades for a lifetime of work as a Black feminist, LGBTQ activist and advocate for legal and safe abortions, Smith takes this new blow to women’s rights personally, Tyrone Beason wrote after interviewing Smith about the implications of overturning Roe. Our daily news podcast If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily podcast “The Times,” hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our App, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify. Covering Kamala Harris Al Gore came armed with policy memos, George H.W. Bush with jokes and Dan Quayle with requests from Cabinet secretaries. Mike Pence brought plenty of patience. For four decades, the weekly lunch with the president has been a key part of establishing successive vice presidents as bona fide players in their administrations. And that, as Noah Bierman reported, adds weight to the fact that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have lunched together only twice since January. Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber. The latest from the campaign trail Americans in all walks of life have been trying to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion. That includes political consultants. Mark Barabak reported on a recent 10-day trip to Ukraine that Mike Madrid, a longtime California consultant, took to help the country with its social media presence. The latest from Washington It’s been months since Biden’s $1.7-trillion Build Back Better plan stalled on Capitol Hill, including $555 billion to help move the nation away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy. As Anumita Kaur reported, climate activists continue to hope that some portion of Biden’s climate proposals can still get through Capitol Hill, but that prospect grows dimmer by the day. The House committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and four other prominent conservative members of Congress after they refused to voluntarily comply with requests for information. As Sarah Wire reported, the committee has debated privately for months about whether to subpoena representatives who refused to cooperate and whether it wanted to set such a precedent — particularly given time constraints, the chance of a lengthy legal battle and the likelihood that Republicans could regain control of the House after the midterm elections and shut down the committee. The latest from California California’s minimum wage will rise to $15.50 an hour in January, advisors to Newsom said Thursday, the first time that rising inflation has triggered a provision of a 6-year-old state law governing automatic pay increases. As John Myers reported, the wage law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 requires that any inflation growth above 7% triggers a higher minimum wage. The state’s minimum is currently $15 per hour for large employers and $14 for those that employ 25 or fewer people. Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino dropped out of the race for mayor Thursday and threw his support behind billionaire developer Rick Caruso. As Benjamin Oreskes and David Zahniser wrote, Buscaino, a former L.A. police officer, planned to run on a platform demanding tough action on homelessness and crime, but Caruso largely occupied that space after he entered the race in February, spending tens of millions of his personal fortune that Buscaino could not match. And on the topic of campaign money, check out this excellent interactive map that Sandhya Kambhampati and Iris Lee developed that shows where the Los Angeles mayoral candidates are getting their contributions. As the bank robber Willie Sutton was quoted as saying, they go “where the money is” — Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills are all top sources of campaign cash, but so are a few other neighborhoods less on the beaten path. Some activists on the left have denounced Rep. Karen Bass as insufficiently progressive, largely because of her public safety plan, which includes hiring additional LAPD officers. But, Erika Smith writes, the police union’s fierce opposition to Bass should remind progressives of what’s really at stake in a likely matchup between the congresswoman and Caruso. Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting. For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Border policy fight puts vulnerable Democrats at odds with Biden administration

(CNN)Where's the plan? That's the question at the heart of a deep divide inside the Democratic Party over immigration and the Biden administration's plan to end Title 42, the pandemic-era policy that allowed border patrol agents to turn migrants back to their home countries more than 1.7 million times. So far, says border state Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat -- who also happens to be up for reelection this fall -- there's no good answer. "There hasn't been enough preparation. There hasn't been a plan put in place," Kelly told CNN in an interview on Capitol Hill late last week He added, "We don't have the basics of, 'how are you going to handle 18,000 individuals a day safely and in accordance with our ethics and principles?' That plan I haven't seen yet." This intra-party fight pits progressives eager for a sharp break from draconian Trump-era immigration policies against vulnerable moderates up for reelection in swing states who've seen first hand how Republicans weaponize the issue in elections. Kelly is just one of over a dozen moderate Democrats who've disagreed in public with the administration's plan to end Title 42 by the end of May. "Right now some of the actions by the administration are not helping Democrats," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who was forced into a runoff against his progressive primary challenger for reelection to his House seat. But many of those concerned live thousands of miles from the southern border -- like Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, who took a selfie video in front of a section of the wall along the border in Nogales, Arizona. "I'm going to keep pushing the administration to develop a really strong strategic plan for how we will secure our border when Title 42 is lifted," she said to the camera. "And I'm going to keep pushing them to delay lifting Title 42 until that plan is in place." Hassan's situation helps explain the political bind the Biden administration finds itself in on the issue. She needs to win over independent voters in her reelection campaign this fall -- but her video sparked intense backlash from activists on the left in her home state. "What happened to you? You tokenized us to talk negatively about the previous administration, but now you're utilizing immigrants to win some votes. Shame on you," New Hampshire state Rep. Maria Perez said in a speech on the floor of the state House. "Shame on you for using humans just to try to get votes!" The Biden administration is getting that kind of pressure more broadly from national immigration activists and progressive members of Congress. "It is time to undo the United States' draconian immigration policies, particularly policies introduced under the Trump Administration, such as the use of Title 42, that circumvent our humanitarian obligations," a group of Democratic lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, wrote to the White House in February. There's already an immigration surge at the border, with the border patrol apprehending nearly 7,000 people every day. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that could double or even triple if Title 42 is lifted. Republicans are already using immigration as a political weapon against vulnerable Democrats seeking reelection. And images of tens of thousands of people coming over the border would make TV ads against Democrats harder to endure. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released a 20-page memo outlining its plans for a surge and also briefed members of Congress and their staff on those plans. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN's "State of the Union" the administration is prepared to handle that. "It is our responsibility to be prepared for different scenarios. That is what we are doing," he said. "There is no question that if, in fact, we reach that number, that is going to be an extraordinary strain on our system. But we are preparing for it." Immigration activists privately expect the nation's courts to keep Title 42 in place for months -- likely at least through the November midterm elections. A Louisiana judge has temporarily blocked the administration from lifting the policy and could decide to extend that. Other court battles loom. But that won't stop Republicans from attacking vulnerable Democrats in the meantime. "I spent 25 years in the Navy and at NASA doing some really complicated things. And we have the things we plan for and we expect. And then we also have plans for the unexpected," Kelly said. "Well, in this case they don't even have a sufficient plan for what we should expect." Visit us for more information at: http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

DHS Secretary Says US Is Prepared for Migrant Influx When Trump’s Pandemic Policy Ends

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on CNN on Sunday that the US is prepared to handle an increase of migrants and asylum seekers at the border once a pandemic closure policy is lifted later this month. Mayorkas said DHS has been planning since September for the end of Title 42, a Trump-era measure aimed at slowing the spread of Covid. He noted that the policy “is not going to be around forever because quite frankly we want to conquer the pandemic and put it behind us.” CNN’s Dana Bash highlighted concerns raised by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, who say DHS is not ready to handle a border no longer subject to Title 42 policy, but Mayorkas said he respectfully disagreed, pointing to a 20-page memo released last week that describes federal plans ahead of the scheduled end to Title 42 on May 23. He acknowledged that if border officials see the highest estimates of more than 15,000 people per day coming after that date, it would put an “extraordinary strain on our system,” but said that “we are preparing for it,” not just on the US side of the border, but with “partners” to the south. Back in March 2020, in the frightening first phase of the Covid pandemic, the Trump administration used an obscure health law known as Title 42 to close the border to migrants and asylum-seekers. It was used to quickly expel non-US citizens, without giving them proper asylum screening. (Seeking asylum is legal under US law.) Title 42 was supposed to be a temporary measure to stop the spread of Covid, the Trump administration said, though as I’ve reported before, it was much more than that: Trump and Stephen Miller were always on the lookout for ways to close the border to migrants. Before the pandemic, Miller, a supporter of white nationalism, had unsuccessfully tried to use public health code and diseases before as a way to stop migration into the United States. As Covid-19 descended, Trump and Miller seized on the opportunity to invoke Title 42 to achieve their goals. As the nonprofit Human Rights First stated in a report: Title 42 was used “to evade refugee law.” Much to the disappointment of immigrant and human rights groups, the Biden administration not only continued using Title 42 at the border even as pandemic restrictions eased, but it also defended the policy in court. As we’ve reported, public health experts have opposed Title 42, calling it xenophobic, cruel, and unlawful: And it has also been dangerous. The policy is partly the reason for the increase of apprehensions over the last two years along the US-Mexico border because so many people who are quickly turned back soon try again. The policy is also likely related to the increase of migrant deaths over the same time period. Prior to Title 42, asylum seekers who turned themselves in to Border Patrol in between ports of entry were not immediately expelled without being screened. Now, they’re immediately sent back to Mexico, forcing more people to try to cross in more remote areas and avoid border officials. Human Rights First has documented extensive evidence of crimes against migrants quickly expelled under Title 42. As of March 15, 2022, the nonprofit had collected almost 10,000 cases of kidnapping, torture, rape, assault, and other violent attacks on people stuck in Mexico under this policy. The policy has been used to turn back migrants and asylum seekers more than 1.5 million times in the last two years. US border officials have recently exempted Ukrainians from the policy, allowing them to enter. When Bash asked Mayorkas if he had an opinion on whether Title 42 should or shouldn’t be in place, he responded: “I do not, because I am not a public health expert. But it’s my responsibility to plan and execute as it is in place, and plan, prepare, and execute for the day when it won’t be.” Much of the criticism from those who oppose Title 42 is that it was never meant to be used as an immigration enforcement policy. It was a public health rule—yet, in recent weeks, the CDC and the Biden administration have lifted pandemic restrictions and said the US is “out of the pandemic phase.” Earlier this week, a federal judge in Louisiana said he planed to issue a temporary restraining order that would stop the Biden administration from winding down Title 42 in preparation for its shut down in late May. While Mayorkas said the US will be able to process more migrants arriving at the border, he remained on message with what Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have said to those who are planning the trek north: “Do not come…our border is not open.” However, the reality is that such messaging from US leaders rarely factors into the decision of migrants to flee their home countries. In 2019, a record high number of migrants arrived at the border, despite Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant messaging. Visit us for more information at: http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Monday, May 02, 2022

Democrats’ Mystery: How to Brighten a Presidency and a National Mood

Crucial left-leaning voters have soured on President Biden, and Americans of all stripes are angry. Democratic leaders can’t agree on what to tell them. LAKEWOOD, Ohio — At a Whole Foods in one moderate Cleveland suburb, shoppers recently worried about war, inflation, a “scary” political climate — and a Democratic Party some saw as slow to address the nation’s burning problems. At a house party for a left-wing congressional candidate across town, attendees fretted over the high cost of living and exorbitant student loan debt as they weighed their choices in Ohio’s primary elections on Tuesday. And at a campaign event for Representative Shontel Brown here in Lakewood, a liberal city near Cleveland, not everyone seemed impressed by President Biden. “He’s OK,” allowed Yolanda Pace-Owens, 46, who works in security. She said that she had voted for Mr. Biden and still admired him, but that she was alarmed by a pandemic-era rise in violent crime. “We just got to do better,” she said. Nearly six months before the midterm elections, Mr. Biden and the Democrats face staggering challenges and signs of dampened enthusiasm among nearly every constituency that powered their 2020 presidential and 2018 midterm victories, according to polls and more than two dozen interviews with voters, elected officials and party strategists across the country. Yet Democrats are still struggling with how to even discuss the nation’s greatest challenges — much less reach a consensus on how to right the ship. The party’s problems run deep, as Mr. Biden’s lead pollster has privately warned the White House for months. Independent voters backed Mr. Biden in 2020, but his approval rating with independents now hovers in the 30s. He has underperformed with voters of color in some surveys. Warning signs have emerged among suburban voters. And Mr. Biden’s approval rating has deteriorated with young people even though he won them overwhelmingly in 2020. In a midterm environment heavily shaped by the president’s approval rating, all of those numbers are gravely worrying for Democratic candidates, who are left with tough questions about how to engage unsettled voters and reinvigorate their base. How much time should they spend trying to show voters they grasp the pain of inflation, compared with efforts to remind them of low unemployment? Should they pursue ambitious policies that show Democrats are fighters, or is it enough to hope for more modest victories while emphasizing all that the party has passed already? And even when candidates try to tell that story, is anyone listening? “Voters hear us, but I don’t know that we have convinced voters as to how these things will affect them on a personal level,” Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat, said in a recent interview. “We’re not connecting with the voters on the level that they can connect with.” As Mr. Biden confronts the lingering pandemic, war in Ukraine and historical headwinds — the president’s party typically loses seats in midterm elections — he has acknowledged his party’s messaging challenges, worrying recently that amid crises, “we haven’t sold the American people what we’ve actually done.” The president, a consummate retail politician who some Democrats had hoped would be more visible, is now pursuing a more robust travel schedule to sell his party’s agenda and accomplishments, and he is highlighting some contrasts with Republicans. Allies and some voters note that polling is partially driven by anger over extraordinary events, including the war’s impact on gas prices, that the White House could not fully control. But Mr. Biden’s advisers say that the president is working to demonstrate that Democrats understand voters’ struggles and are moving to fix them, as the party’s lawmakers make a fresh push for a range of legislative priorities, especially concerning prices. On Thursday, Mr. Biden also said that he was considering wiping out some student loan debt. A new Washington Post-ABC poll also showed some positive signs for Mr. Biden and the Democrats, though Republicans retained significant advantages on issues including inflation, the economy and crime. “While President Biden and Democrats work to lower costs and continue the historic economic recovery made possible by the American Rescue Plan, Republicans have done everything they can to try to stand in the way,” Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. Yet months of national polls show that Americans have a vastly different perception of the party in power. Even in overwhelmingly liberal Los Angeles, private Democratic polling in April found Mr. Biden’s favorability rating at only 58 percent, according to a person with direct knowledge of the data. Democratic tensions over messaging have been on display in Ohio, where candidates in this week’s primaries reflect the full spectrum of competing views. Ms. Brown, who faces a contested primary in a safely Democratic seat and was endorsed by Mr. Biden, is running hard on the bipartisan infrastructure law. She echoed other House Democrats in promoting the message that “Democrats have been delivering.” But Biden advisers have privately indicated that pitch tests poorly as a party slogan. And at another Ohio event in late April, Nina Turner, a former state senator who is challenging Ms. Brown from the left in a rematch, suggested that Democrats had not delivered nearly enough. She urged, among other priorities, universal cancellation of student debt — or, at a minimum, canceling $10,000 in federal student debt per borrower (Ms. Brown also supports some student debt forgiveness measures). Mr. Biden, who endorsed the $10,000 goal in 2020, has postponed payments, and significant student debt has been erased during his tenure, but some have called on him to do much more. He may take further action, and there is still time to make more progress on the Democratic agenda. But for now, many on the left are disappointed that Democrats, despite controlling Washington, have run aground in the divided Senate on priorities like the climate and voting rights. “People can forgive you, even if you can’t get something done,” Ms. Turner said. “What they don’t like is when you’re not fighting. And we need to see more of a fighting spirit among the Democratic Party.” On the other end of the party’s ideological spectrum is Representative Tim Ryan, a moderate Ohio Democrat running for Senate in a state that has veered rightward. He is casting himself as a fighter for the working class and highlighting measures like the infrastructure law, while seeking some cultural and political distance from many others in his party. In an interview, Mr. Ryan cheered a ruling to eliminate mask mandates on airlines and public transportation, which is now being challenged. “Masks suck,” he said. “I think we’re all tired of it.” Asked which national Democratic surrogates he would welcome, he cited Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Senator Jon Tester of Montana and Senator Gary Peters of Michigan — but asked specifically about Mr. Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, Mr. Ryan said: “This is my race. I’m going to be the face of this.” (Biden advisers noted that the president has recently appeared with Democrats in competitive races.) And as of Friday, Mr. Ryan was one of seven Democratic candidates who have run ads this year that mentioned inflation, according to the media tracking firm AdImpact. By contrast, dozens of Republican candidates and allied groups have done the same. In polls, Americans have cited inflation as a top issue. “Burying your head in the sand,” Mr. Ryan said, “is not the way to approach it.” Asked about the biggest challenges facing his party, he replied, “A response to the inflation piece is a big hurdle.” He also cited “a national brand that is not seen as connected to the working-class people, whether they’re white or Black or brown.” Lou McMahon, a registered Democrat who said he did not vote in the last two presidential elections because he did not like his choices, sounded open to Mr. Ryan in an interview at Ms. Brown’s event. But asked to assess Democrats in Washington generally, he replied, “Promise, but not delivered,” citing both stalled legislative ambitions and Mr. Biden’s pledge to help heal partisan divisions. “The targets and the aspirations were maybe beyond the reach,” said Mr. McMahon, 58, an environmental lawyer. “The reuniting that was so much of the promise hasn’t played out in reality quite that way.” Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic strategist and a pollster on Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign, said that “there’s nobody in America more deeply disappointed in how divided America is than Joe Biden.” “He does communicate it, but I think it helps a lot when he’s on the road,” she said. Republicans face their own midterm difficulties. Many candidates have adopted former President Donald J. Trump’s relentless focus on the false notion of a stolen 2020 election, a stance that swing voters may dismiss as extreme. In some primaries, the party runs the risk of nominating seriously flawed general-election candidates. Democratic officials hope their prospects will brighten as primary contests are settled and candidates draw sharper direct contrasts with their opponents — and they are already trying to define that choice. On one side, they say, are bomb-throwing Republicans who are caught up in cultural battles, fealty to Trumpism and a controversial tax and social safety net proposal. On the other, Democrats argue, is a party that passed major infrastructure and pandemic relief measures, and spearheaded the confirmation of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Mr. Biden has also moved to combat gun violence, confronting Republican efforts to portray Democrats as weak on crime. Many Democratic candidates are also raising vast sums of money, a sign of voter engagement. “Our members have a great record of results, and the other side is offering nothing except anger and fear,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the chair of the House Democratic campaign arm. “My message is: We’re getting good things done. We’re part of the solution. Give us a little more time.” Time indeed remains, and Democrats could reverse their fortunes in an unpredictable environment — but it is also possible that in the fall, the outlook will be largely unchanged. “The problem with midterm elections is, they’re not really a choice,” said David Axelrod, who served as a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. “They tend to be a referendum on the party that controls the White House.” Visit us for more information at: http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html

Republicans return to politics of immigration as midterm strategy

Four years after Republicans embraced Donald Trump’s nativist and often racist playbook in an attempt to keep control of Congress, the party is once again placing the volatile politics of immigration at the center of its midterm election strategy. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona: ‘This is a crisis, and in my estimation, because of a lack of planning from the administration, it’s about to get worse.’ Biden ends Trump-era asylum curbs amid border-region Democrat backlash Read more From the US-Mexico border to the US Capitol, in hearing rooms and courtrooms, Republicans are hammering the issue. At the forefront of the debate is a once-obscure public health order invoked by the Trump administration in March 2020 ostensibly as a means for controlling the spread of the coronavirus along the south-western border. Seizing on a decision by the Biden administration to lift such “Title 42” border restrictions, Republicans have sought to paint Democrats as pursuing an extremist immigration agenda that they say has cost the nation its very sovereignty.The provocative and often misleading messaging campaign was on full display when Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, testified on Capitol Hill. For more than eight hours, across two days, Republicans pelted Mayorkas with accusations and insults, demanding he accept the blame for what they described as dangerous and dire conditions along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. “We’re all really border states now,” Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio said darkly. In another tense exchange, Ken Buck of Colorado said his constituents believed Mayorkas was guilty of treason and deserved to be impeached – something conservatives have vowed to pursue if they win the House. “What you have just said – it is so profoundly offensive on so many different levels, in so many different regards,” Mayorkas responded, visibly upset. Mayorkas forcefully defended the administration’s handling of the border and said it was up to Congress to act. “We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain,” Mayorkas said. “It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows. Only Congress can fix this.” The hearings laid bare the tensions within Democratic ranks over Biden’s immigration actions, particularly over Title 42. For months, immigration advocates and progressives have been pressuring Biden to lift Title 42, which gives officials the authority to swiftly expel migrants trying to enter the US instead of allowing them to seek asylum and remain in the country while their claim is evaluated. Advertisement “You’re essentially doing policymaking by crisis,” said Claudia Flores, an immigration policy expert at the left-leaning Center for American Progress thinktank. “And that’s just not effective.” As a matter of public policy, Flores said, it was dangerous to use a public health order to control immigration. Not only was the rule insufficient for addressing problems at the border, she added, but it had carried “grave humanitarian consequences” for asylum seekers. But some vulnerable Democrats have appealed to Biden to hold off on lifting the order, fearing it could be a political liability ahead of a difficult election cycle. Agreeing with Republicans, they have expressed concern that the administration lacks a comprehensive plan for dealing with the anticipated increase in migrants making asylum claims when the order is lifted in late May. “This is not good for Democrats in November,” the Texas congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat facing a progressive challenge for his border-district seat, told Fox News Digital. “You know, in talking with some of my Republican colleagues, they’re saying, ‘We can’t believe the White House is giving us this narrative. We can’t believe that they’re hurting Democrat candidates for the November election.’” In his testimony, Mayorkas argued that his department had a plan to handle the expected surge of migrants. He repeatedly directed lawmakers to a six-point plan, released in advance of the hearings, that outlined a more aggressive effort to enforce immigration laws after the public health rule is lifted. It also included efforts to partner with non-profits that help migrants in the US while their cases are processed and to work with countries across the region to address “root causes” of migration. “When the Title 42 public health order is lifted, we anticipate migration levels will increase, as smugglers will seek to take advantage of and profit from vulnerable migrants,” the memo stated. It did little to appease Republicans and some Democrats. “It’s clear to me that the federal government is not prepared – not even close,” Greg Stanton of Arizona, a border-state Democrat, said during the hearing. Biden has worked to reverse many hardline policies that were at the heart of Trump’s “zero tolerance” approach to immigration. The number of migrants attempting to cross the border has risen sharply. Biden has argued that the only way to address the migration is at the source – an ambitious plan that will probably take years to bear fruit. In the short term, his administration faces acute operational and political challenges. At a White House meeting last week, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus urged the president to stand firm behind the decision to end the public health order. “Title 42 must end on 23 May,” the California congresswoman Nanette Barragán, a deputy chair of the CHC, said she told the president, while urging him to “not support legislation to extend the end-date”. With the prospects of legislative action dim ahead of the midterms, the caucus is urging Biden to use his executive authority to make good on some of his promises to Latino voters on immigration, the environment, healthcare and the economy. They have argued that it is both good policy and good politics, as Latino support for Democrats is waning amid concern over the economy and inflation. “After four years of traumatic, xenophobic and inhumane immigration policies being forced on our most vulnerable communities, we have a duty to deliver them the protection and support they and their families so desperately need,” the Democratic congressman Adriano Espaillat, of New York, said after the meeting. Fears over Title 42 are only one element of the Republicans’ messaging. Republicans have sought to tie illegal immigration to other potent themes like voter fraud and crime. Allegations of undocumented migrants voting in large numbers have been repeatedly disproved. Studies have found that migrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born citizens. Republicans have long used immigration as a political weapon – with mixed results. In 2018, they lost the House in a wave election fueled in part by fury over Trump’s hardline policies that separated migrant children from their parents. The same year they expanded control in the Senate. Migrants wait on the Mexican side of the border after US customs and border protection officers detain people crossing the border on 26 January. US immigration courts struggle amid understaffing and backlog of cases The political winds have reversed. Republicans are heavily favored to take the House, and possibly the Senate. The national mood has soured on Biden and the Democrats as concerns over the economy and inflation deepen. But even as economic discontent dominates political debate, polling suggests immigration remains a pressing issue, particularly for Republicans. Four in 10 Americans, and nearly 70% of Republicans, say they worry a “great deal” about illegal immigration, according to a Gallup survey. During a tour of the border in Texas last week, the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, chided a reporter for asking about his false claim that he never urged Trump to resign after the January 6 insurrection – comments captured by an audio recording. “After all this, that’s what you want to ask?” he said. “I don’t think that’s what the American people are asking. I think they want to know about what’s going to happen here and how we’re going to secure the border.” Democrats blame Republicans for whipping up fear while standing in the way of reform. It has been almost a decade since Congress seriously considered immigration reform, a bipartisan plan that was derailed by House conservatives. “Let me tell you why our Republican colleagues don’t want to do their job – why they won’t work with us or vote for any of the bills that we have brought forward in the House,” the Texas congresswoman Veronica Escobar said. “It’s because the status quo works for them.” “They love Title 42,” she said, arguing that it “helps them push this xenophobic rage machine that they believe will help them get elected and re-elected”. It is unclear how the administration plans to proceed if a court rules it cannot lift Title 42. Biden declined to say whether he would sign legislation delaying the removal, which is under consideration by a bipartisan group in Congress. Vanessa Cardenas, deputy director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration group, said Democrats must be more aggressive in defending their vision for reform. Keeping Title 42, she said, would not only play into Republicans’ hands, but would be a major disappointment to voters, particularly Latino voters who helped Democrats win in 2018 and 2020. “In an election season where margins matter, in states like Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, where the presence and the vote of the Latino community can make a difference, it’s really important that Democrats are able to articulate a vision that is in contrast to the other side,” Cardenas said. Referring to Trump’s hardline adviser, she added: “A Stephen Miller-Lite approach to immigration is not going to motivate the base.” … we have a small favour to ask. Tens of millions have placed their trust in the Guardian’s fearless journalism since we started publishing 200 years ago, turning to us in moments of crisis, uncertainty, solidarity and hope. More than 1.5 million supporters, from 180 countries, now power us financially – keeping us open to all, and fiercely independent. 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