- Eli Kantor
- 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; email@example.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Alan Smolinisky is a Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner. This op-ed is adapted from his speech at a naturalization ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Monday, at which more than 2,100 immigrants from 120 countries became American citizens. This may seem like just a baseball stadium. But it’s not. Dodger Stadium is so much more. This is a place where stories meet. Immigrant stories. The American story. And now, your story – and mine. On Oct. 28, 1963, a poor 17-year-old boy landed in Los Angeles. He had skin discolorations across his face, no skills or education, and didn’t know a word of English. All he had was $4 in his pocket. But he was in America. By noon the next day, that boy had a job. He knocked on every door in the Garment District until someone handed him a broom. By the next year, that boy knew English. With the $1.25 he made per hour, he bought a radio, tuned it to Vin Scully and repeated the legendary Dodger announcer’s every word. A father and son in the cheap seats By the end of the next decade, that boy brought his own son to Dodger Stadium. They sat in the cheap seats, and saw the richness of America unfold. Their team was proof of their country’s promise – and its progress. The Dodgers had the first Black baseball player, Jackie Robinson, and one of the first Jewish baseball heroes, Sandy Koufax. They had Fernando Valenzuela, the original Mexican superstar, and Hideo Nomo, the Japanese pitcher who opened the door for so many others. Sitting here, that immigrant and his son saw America’s best. Opinions in your inbox: Get exclusive access to our columnists and the best of our columns every day That 17-year-old boy was Mario Alberto Smolinisky – my father. He and my mom left everything behind in Argentina. They sacrificed so my sister and I would have the opportunities they never did. They gave me many blessings. But the biggest blessing, by a mile, was raising their family in the land of the free. Where my parents came from, their story was uncommon, if not impossible. But here in America, their story is absolutely common, because impossible is un-American. And you will prove it. You’re about to be citizens of the freest country in human history, and free people are capable of extraordinary things. Now I know what you’re thinking. America isn’t perfect. In fact, it never has been. But we’ve always moved toward a more perfect union. Even now, we’re called to make America freer, fairer and better for all – to draw closer to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Don't bet against America Today, you will answer that call, in the oath you take. It is the same sacred oath my mother and father took, many years ago. I’d like to offer you the same advice they gave me when I was young. No matter what you do, no matter how bad things look, never ever bet against America. It’s always a losing bet. Now, plenty of people will tell you the opposite. These days we’re bombarded with naysayers who say we’re too divided, the system is broken, America’s best days are behind her. But tune out the doubters. They’ve been wrong since 1776. 'I don’t know what to do': A family in need is often just one job loss away The British bet against us. Then your Founders beat the world’s best military and built the first country founded on freedom. Germany and Japan bet against us, too. Then your heroes landed at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima and saved the world. The Soviets bet they could beat us in space. But it’s your flag on the moon. And when COVID-19 hit, plenty of nations bet they could beat us to the best vaccine. Your country won and saved millions of lives. Opinion alerts: Get columns from your favorite columnists + expert analysis on top issues, delivered straight to your device through the USA TODAY app. Don't have the app? Download it for free from your app store. Your country invented the airplane, the skyscraper, the internet. We’ve followed every achievement with something even more astounding, and now you will take us even further. Immigrants keep our country young and vibrant. You shake us from old ways of doing things. And you renew our pride and sense of purpose. For America doesn’t draw just anyone. We gather the best from across the world – people who dream big and do bigger, who leave everything behind and lead the world forward. I marvel at the courage it takes to start life over. And it takes a special kind of person to love a country that isn’t yet yours. You did. All of you. Especially those of you in uniform. You fought for America before you were Americans. I stand in awe. Thank you. What other country inspires such love, such pride? What other nation draws such good people, inspires them to make things better and turns their contributions into something truly great? It reminds me of the famous saying: “You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk or Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the earth, can come to live in America and become an American.” Today, you bear witness to this truth. And as we stand united, in Dodger Stadium, the heart of my immigrant story, I know that your immigrant story is just beginning. And I couldn’t be more excited as we carry on the American story, together. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration published a new rule codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for the first time into the formal regulatory code. Since President Obama announced DACA in 2012, it has provided hundreds of thousands of people who came to the United States as children—often referred to as “Dreamers”—temporary protection from deportation and work permits. Following litigation attempting to rescind the program’s protections in recent years, the Biden administration has presented the new regulation as a way to “preserve and fortify” DACA. But in the midst of ongoing legal battles, DACA remains on life support, and President Biden and Congress will need to do more to ensure a better future for Dreamers. The Biden administration moved to codify DACA in large part to try to moot an ongoing federal court case that places the program’s survival at risk. Last year, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas—a Trump appointee—held that DACA was unlawfully created, among other reasons, because it did not go through a formal rulemaking procedure known as “notice and comment.” This case is now on appeal, and a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is likely in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the Biden administration completed the notice and comment process, accepting more than 16,000 public comments as it drafted the final DACA regulation. As a result, at least one of the district court’s reasons for holding DACA unlawful is likely no longer an issue for the case on appeal. The new regulation might help defend DACA against the looming threat from the federal courts. But it might not. After all, Judge Hanen cited a litany of other reasons for striking down DACA under administrative and immigration law, which like-minded judges on the Court of Appeals may find compelling. While the Fifth Circuit’s next move remains uncertain, what is certain is that the new rule does little to strengthen DACA in any meaningful sense. Because the Biden administration chiefly focused on its battle with the courts, the new rule fails to adopt any substantive measures to expand or strengthen the DACA program. Most conspicuously, the government declined to extend the date that a young immigrant must have arrived in the United States to apply for DACA. That date remains June 15, 2007. This means that even if the program survives the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, undocumented youth that turned 15 this past June are the last Dreamers who can receive its protection. In principle, codifying DACA ought to provide a framework for the program to endure for the future. By keeping the original eligibility date, however, the administration effectively set an expiration date for DACA regardless of what the courts decide. . The regulation also passed over a number of smaller reforms that would have ensured an easier process for DACA applicants. As some commenters noted, DACA recipients must renew their status every two years. Given unpredictable processing times, it is common to lose work authorization if a renewal application is granted too late, leading to many Dreamers being fired from their jobs. Many applicants also struggle to provide evidence that they were living in the United States during the necessary time period to qualify for DACA. The administration declined to adopt procedures such as automatic renewals of work permits, or looser evidentiary standards, largely out of concern that these reforms would be interpreted by courts as limiting the government’s discretion to decide individual cases—a key component of the legal justification for DACA in the first place. Ultimately, given the context in which this regulation emerged, it was always unlikely that we would see a major expansion of DACA. As has been apparent from the beginning of the program more than a decade ago, the only sure way of protecting Dreamers in the long run is for Congress to adopt legislation granting them permanent status. While the Senate’s commitment to the filibuster rule and the Republican Party’s near-unanimous opposition to any immigration bill have long seemed like immovable obstacles to a legislative solution, this latest rulemaking process demonstrates that a defensive battle with the federal judiciary is hardly preferable. As President Biden and his allies have delivered on campaign promises such as gun control and canceling student debt—also once considered outside the realm of political possibility—they should not shrink from the opportunity to fulfill the promise to Dreamers. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
By the time Choco had crossed the Rio Grande with his family in July, he'd traveled through six countries, swum across a dozen rivers, and walked through one of the most dangerous jungles in the Western Hemisphere. Because Choco is a dog, he couldn't go with his family to be processed at a Border Patrol facility and had to be separated. Greisy, the matriarch of the family who asked that only her first name be used, said her two daughters immediately burst into tears when an agent told them they'd have to leave Choco at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas — they had come too far and survived too much only to lose Choco now. "I told him to please help us, I can't leave him here," Greisy said. "I don't think he could bring himself to separate us, so another five agents came to the van we were sitting in and told us Choco had to stay behind." In between tears Greisy, her husband, and her two daughters, ages 9 and 14, hugged Choco goodbye before being driven to a Border Patrol facility. During the three days the family spent in custody, Greisy asked agents about Choco's whereabouts but was told nothing. "We were all in bad shape," Greisy said. Unbeknownst to Greisy, though, the Buddy Foundation, an animal rescue in Eagle Pass, and a Border Patrol supervisor in the area had come up with an arrangement for situations where immigrants are separated from their pets. The dogs would be dropped off at the Buddy Foundation, where contact information would be exchanged so a reunification could take place at a later time. Sandy Tovar, president of the Buddy Foundation out of her home, said she started working with Border Patrol to help reunite immigrants with their dogs in 2021. In the beginning, some agents Tovar knew would drop off the dogs, usually one every month or two. But those numbers have increased in the last four months in the Eagle Pass area to about two or three a week and up to seven a day, and Tovar realized that nobody was really tracking where their owners went, prompting the need for better coordination. Eva Marie Uzcátegui for BuzzFeed News Greisy greets her family's dog Choco in Miami, Aug. 13, 2022. "They love their pups as much as we love our dogs, and if we were in their situation we would want someone to help us," Tovar said. "They cared for these pups through this horrific journey." Tovar knew a neighbor who was also a Border Patrol supervisor and offered to take in the dogs while their owners were processed. The families were to be given Tovar's information so they could call as soon as they were released, and the organization was given the owner’s information. A few days after people were released from Border Patrol custody, the owners would reach out to the Buddy Foundation. It's hard to say what was happening to dogs prior to the arrangement, Tovar said. Most of them likely ended up in shelters. Some may have stayed behind at the border. But the recent uptick in dogs at the border has been a new development that’s had all stakeholders scrambling for a solution, she said. "There wasn't really a plan as to what to do with these dogs. That's why we decided to step in," Tovar said. "It can't be that these dogs endured these horrific journeys only to just go missing without anybody knowing what happened to them." In a statement, CBP said the agency follows CDC guidance when it comes to the admission of dogs and other pets into the US. "If the pet’s owner is an inadmissible noncitizen in DHS custody and an animal’s owner does not transfer possession to family or friends, [CBP] works with local officials from animal health services, such as a local humane shelter, to see if there can be placement for the animal while its owner remains in custody," the agency said. Most of the time, the Buddy Foundation tries to reunite the families in Texas shortly after they're released from local shelters that help them get to their final destinations. Sometimes the timing doesn't work out and they have to meet the families in San Antonio. Other times they have to ship the pets, which can be expensive. The system appeared to work in the beginning, but more recently Tovar said she started receiving more dogs without the owner’s information resulting in the small rescue being forced to house them for months at a time. The foundation isn’t the first group to help immigrants and asylum-seekers reunite with their pets. Jordyn Rozensky, a communications worker, co-runs a volunteer group Mascotas Para Migrantes (Pets for Migrants) that launched last year to help immigrants reunite with their pets in the US, animals that they would have otherwise had to leave behind in Mexico. "Imagine being forced to leave everything you’ve ever known — my guess is for many individuals that level of grief is unfathomable," Rozensky said. "There is a universal reaction to the idea of leaving our pets behind. Thinking about one’s pet — and what it could feel like to have no choice but to abandon them — grounds this immense loss for many." Go Nakamura / Reuters An asylum-seeking immigrant embraces her dog while waiting to be transported by the US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande into the US in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 28, 2022. Rozensky and Taylor Levy, an immigration attorney who also runs the group, saw recent pictures of a crying immigrant couple in Eagle Pass saying goodbye to their dog before being separated. In one shot, the dog is in the back of a Border Patrol truck looking for its owners. Rozensky and Levy started asking about the dog's status to see if they could help, but soon realized the Buddy Foundation had already reunited them after working with Border Patrol. The pair started helping the Buddy Foundation raise funds to help pay for costs associated with shipping pets to states like Florida and New York. The Buddy Foundation said most of the dogs they're reuniting belong to Venezuelan immigrants. Most immigrants at the border are blocked from accessing the US immigration system under a Trump-era pandemic policy that quickly expels them to Mexico or their home countries. But the policy, known as Title 42, isn't being applied to Venezuelans because Mexico won't accept them like they do for other nationalities, and the US doesn't have deportation flights to their country due to a lack of diplomatic relations. The route to the US–Mexico border from Venezuela, though, is long, and for many it includes having to cross through the Darién Gap, a jungle that separates Colombia from Panama that has claimed the lives of many. UNICEF calls the dense jungle one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world. Immigrants walk through the Darién without knowing exactly what direction to go in and recall passing by the decomposing bodies of those who didn't make it. Armed men also regularly rob them and rape women and girls. After Mexico instituted a visa requirement in January that stopped Venezuelans from being able to fly to the country as tourists, the number seen by US border authorities dropped dramatically the following month. This only ended up pushing them to take a more dangerous route through the Darién Gap and the number of Venezuelans CBP encountered at the border started to slowly and then quickly increase in the summer. The number of Venezuelans crossing through the jungles of the Darién Gap is on the rise. From 2,819 total in 2021 to 44,943 as of July 2022, according to Panama. The fact that many of the dogs currently crossing in Eagle Pass traveled through the Darién Gap shows Levy just how deep the bonds are. "These dogs provide incredibly important emotional and psychological support," Levy said. Eva Marie Uzcátegui for BuzzFeed News Luis (left) holds Choco with his daughters Anny (center) and Mariangel (right) in Miami, Aug. 13, 2022. Greisy bought Choco for her oldest daughter, now 14, in Colombia, where they lived for three years after leaving Venezuela. But the family struggled to make a living there, so they decided to try to make it to the US by land with the little money they had. Greisy and her family embarked on their journey through the Darién Gap with a group of about 300 immigrants who had congregated at a camp on the border with Panama. Greisy said she saw a man holding his daughter around his neck slip on a muddy trail and fall off a steep cliff to their presumed deaths, leaving only the wife and mother behind. Choco would swim against the current of the rivers they crossed, Greisy said. When the group was unsure of which path to take, they'd follow Choco, assuming he could smell the people who had taken the path before them. In order to finally get out of the jungle after walking for nearly six days, the group had to climb up a steep and dangerous hill dubbed "La llorona," or “weeping woman,” named after a ghost that haunts areas near water. Mari, her oldest daughter, walked ahead of her family with Choco, which wasn't a problem because she never strayed far. But in the struggle to help her get up from a fall in the mud, her husband and other daughter lost sight of Mari. It was night and they were traveling without flashlights. Greisy wanted to call out for her daughter, but feared attracting the attention of gunmen or predatory animals. Every second seemed like an eternity. Suddenly Choco appeared, and led Greisy's husband 10 minutes away, where he found Mari safely on the trail. The family eventually crossed into Mexico on a raft. In the border city of Tapachula, Greisy and her family went to an immigration office to get documents that would allow them to travel through Mexico. But the National Institute of Migration told them they'd have to wait months. Drained and hopeless, Greisy and her family returned to the shelter they were packed into and tried to figure out their next move. A few days later, they were able to leave with a caravan of immigrants who travel in groups for safety and to increase their chances of evading agents. When Greisy and her family arrived at the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, it was dark, and despite seeing people cross the Rio Grande into the US, they decided to wait for daybreak because they had heard the river's currents were dangerously unpredictable. With the help of a local who advised them to cross after 9 a.m. when the current was lower, Greisy and the rest of the family crossed the river holding hands in waist-high waters. Greisy's daughter carried Choco. They were released from Border Patrol custody about three days later, but without Choco or any information on how to find him. After traveling to Miami to stay with a friend, Greisy immediately went online to look for groups that take in strays in Texas. One of the seven organizations Greisy messaged was the Buddy Foundation, which quickly let her know that they did in fact have Choco. "We were all in tears, we couldn't believe it," Greisy said. Eva Marie Uzcátegui for BuzzFeed News From left: Luis, Anny, Mariangel, and Greisy after reuniting with their dog Choco in Miami, Aug. 13, 2022. About six weeks after they had last seen Choco and more than 1,500 miles away in Miami, Greisy and her family waited in a parking lot next to a McDonald's and an emergency room. A van pulled up and the driver opened the passenger door revealing two rows of dog kennels. Inside one of them was Choco. At first, Greisy and her family just cautiously watched. When the driver opened the kennel, Choco didn't bark or jump out. Soon Choco appeared to have recognized them and started to wag his tail as his family hugged him. For the next 30 minutes, the family ran around the parking lot playing with Choco, still partly in disbelief that they had been reunited. "It was truly a great miracle," Greisy said. Choco was among the last group of dogs to be reunited by the Buddy Foundation. While at first the Buddy Foundation was given the owner's information by Border Patrol, the organization started receiving dogs without any way of knowing who they belonged to. This resulted in the foster-based rescue housing the dogs for months while they waited for the families to reach out to them. By then, their owners were in another state and the Buddy Foundation had to come up with the funding to transport them. "This put our time and efforts for local rescue work at a complete stop and quickly became counterproductive," said Tovar, the president of the Buddy Foundation. "We want to help, but the increased number of pets is just something we are not prepared for." For more informaiton, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The release of thousands of migrants from the custody of immigration agencies is placing a strain on Texas cities and is likely to get worse in months to come, a congressman who represents a big chunk of the U.S.-Mexico border says. U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, pointed to the recent busing of migrants out of El Paso and Del Rio, Texas, as a clear sign immigration processing centers and migrant advocacy nonprofits are overrun. In El Paso, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Central Processing Center built to accommodate up to 1,000 migrants held 2,400 last week; nonprofit shelters are also at or near capacity following the recent closing of Casa del Refugiado, the largest of such facilities. The state of Texas has stepped in to relieve the pressure by busing migrants from Del Rio to the East Coast since April, and then briefly from El Paso to New York City. ADVERTISING “This busing is not going to stop; they’re going to expand,” Gonzales told Border Report. “Every city in America is becoming a border city and every city is impacted by it (immigration). No one understands that better than our cities along the border. […] Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the numbers double.” He wasn’t just referring to the 9,000 migrants the state has transported to New York City and Washington, D.C., but also to the rising number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection encounters/apprehensions since Joe Biden was elected president in November 2020. CBP reports 2.2 million immigration enforcement actions since October 1, compared to 646,833 in all of 2020. Del Rio Sector emerges as busiest for migrant encounters in July Gonzales attributes the historic spike not just to the perennial high crime and poverty in regions from where migrants traditionally set out to the United States, such as Central America and rural Mexico. He says two other players are exacerbating the crisis. “The failed policies by (President) Biden are pulling these migrants to the United States. But what’s pushing them are the cartels, setting trade routes from all over the world in order to profit from them. Oftentimes (the cartels) make more money smuggling than they do narcotics,” he said. Proof of that is the sudden surge of Turkish nationals through the Juarez, Mexico-El Paso, Texas corridor, he said. Neither city has a substantial Turkish community. The same is true when it comes to an Ecuadorian community; apprehensions of Ecuadorian nationals spiked in 2021 here. Prior to that, the region saw a large influx of Brazilians. Illegal immigration, the ‘new normal’ Gonzales’ district stretches from El Paso’s Far East to the outskirts of San Antonio and to border communities in South Texas such as Eagle Pass and Del Rio. That’s a part of the country that has seen unauthorized migration since people were fleeing the Mexican Revolution of 1910. A spike in the early 2000s had presidents Vicente Fox of Mexico and George W. Bush talking about immigration reform before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 shut down talks for several years. Gang violence and rumors of easy immigration permits prompted another spike in 2014. The crisis prompted President Obama to request from Congress $1.4 billion in aid for Central America and for policymakers to address “the root causes of migration.” “This is not a new topic for us, but what we’re seeing is the influx of migrants taking away resources from our firefighters, our Emergency Medical Services, our police, our Border Patrol, our safety and security (funds), and it’s only going to get worse as long as this administration allows this to happen,” Gonzales said. He said he favors legal migration, but the mixed messages by the Biden administration and the lack of consequence for those who come over illegally and get to stay in the United States indefinitely is encouraging more to come. Biden ‘catch-and-release’ policies fomenting illegal immigration, former DHS boss says “I’d much rather see people coming over legally through a work visa process. We have vacancies all through the United States in various industries, but what’s happening is the Biden administration and House Democrats are encouraging people to come over illegally,” he said. “That is forcing people to live in the shadows, forcing them to continue to be exploited instead of allowing them to be part of the American dream.” Retaking control of Congress Gonzales recently brought a delegation of Republican House candidates to El Paso. After touring the border wall and a migrant processing center, the GOP members vowed to take immigration policy in a different direction as soon as their party wrestles control of the House of Representatives from Democrats, as the various national opinion polls suggest they will on Nov. 8. GOP on Texas busing migrants to New York: ‘Welcome to the party’ “The goal is to on Day 1 start governing and changing some things. You are going to see Republicans roll out this Commitment to America,” he said. “That’s securing the border and part of that is the appropriations process. Stone Garden funding has stayed the same for years; it’s time we increase that funding. The other part is enforcing the laws that are on the books.” U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, talks about the immigration crisis in a Zoom call with Julian Resendiz of Border Report. Responding to Democrats’ assertion that migration is a normal aspect of American life, Gonzales said that should not be so if it takes away money from taxpayers and results in loss of life for migrants. Visit BorderReport.com for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the U.S.-Mexico border “Nothing is normal about taking dead bodies out of the water, if Border Patrol or firefighters or sheriffs see that, it never leaves you. [….] They’re not robots, they’re men and women, mothers and fathers. To see all of this death going on at the border has really changed the agencies,” he said, adding the next Congress will appropriate resources for mental health assistance for first responders. Both Democrats and Republicans have filed immigration reform bills. The Democrats’ U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and the Republicans’ Dignity Act of 2022 remain stalled in Congress. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Hours before Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared “a major step forward to secure our border” with the installation of 130 double-stacked shipping containers, hundreds of migrants found their way around them, belying his claim. They walked through tribal lands to the edge of a towering wall built during Donald Trump’s presidency to surrender to border agents waiting outside the reservation, expecting to be released in the U.S. to pursue asylum. Families, young parents carrying toddlers, elderly people and others easily waded through the knee-deep Colorado River before dawn Wednesday, many in sandals with shopping bags slung over their shoulders. The wall isn’t the issue it was in 2018 when Congress denied Trump funding for one of his top priorities, prompting the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. But last week’s events in Yuma are a reminder of obstacles that the government faces with border barriers: difficulty building on tribal land, most notably in the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, and opposition from landowners, especially in Texas, where, unlike other border states, much property is privately owned. ADVERTISEMENT Ducey’s critics have seized on images from Univision network showing two containers that toppled during 11 days of construction for unknown reasons. Gary Restaino, the top federal prosecutor in Arizona, used a bilateral meeting in Mexico City to needle the governor Friday, tweeting, “We’re not dumping a bunch of shipping containers in the desert and calling it a wall to get cheap press.” Ducey retorted that ”we’ve taken matters into our own hands” because the federal government hasn’t done enough. Migrants continue to avoid barriers by going around them — in this case, through a 5-mile (8-kilometer) gap in the Cocopah Indian Reservation near Yuma, a desert city of about 100,000 people between San Diego and Phoenix that has become a major spot for illegal crossings. President Joe Biden halted wall construction his first day in office, leaving billions of dollars of work unfinished but still under contract. Trump worked feverishly in his final months to reach more than 450 miles (720 kilometers), nearly one-fourth of the entire border. Youtube video thumbnail The Biden administration has made rare exceptions for small projects at areas deemed unsafe for people to cross, including four gaps in Yuma. It expects to award a contract for Yuma this fall and take up to 28 months to complete work. When U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced its Yuma plans in July, Ducey said he couldn’t wait. Like fellow Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, he has sparred with the Democratic administration over immigration policies, often suing and recently offering free bus rides to the East Coast for asylum-seekers who are released in the United States to pursue their cases. “Arizona did the job the federal government has failed to do — and we showed them just how quickly and efficiently the border can be made more secure – if you want to,” Ducey said to celebrate installation of the containers, which run the length of 13 football fields in five locations combined. A string of 44 double-stacked containers ends abruptly in an open desert expanse. Farther north, at the Morelos Dam, containers plug several openings in an area that had become less traveled in recent months. The day Ducey declared his project complete, the Border Patrol encountered a fairly typical count of about 850 migrants entering the country illegally in its Yuma sector. Most were dropped off by bus or hired vehicle on the Mexican side and walked through the reservation in darkness under a crescent moon. Migrants used vehicle barriers, dirt roads and flashlights on their phones to guide them to Border Patrol agents outside tribal lands to be taken into custody. ADVERTISEMENT CBP hasn’t commented on Ducey’s containers but says its plan to plug gaps in the Trump-style barrier of steel poles topped with a metal plate up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) high will make a difference by funneling traffic to fewer areas. “If Yuma has 10 gaps and people were crossing all 10 gaps, it’s much more difficult for us to deal with than if Yuma has one or two gaps and the majority of traffic is crossing through those gaps,” said John Modlin, chief of the Border Patrol’s Tucson, Arizona, sector. Asked for comment, the Cocopah Indian Tribe referred to a May 2020 letter to CBP expressing strong opposition to a wall, saying it would cut access to the river and tribal members in Mexico. The tribe also released video showing its interim police chief, Arlene Martinez, outlining other cooperative measures with the Border Patrol, such as surveillance cameras and ground sensors. “Cocopah supports efforts to secure the border and always has,” she said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Just steps away from the U.S. Capitol, three buses filled with 140 asylum seekers rolled into Union Station at 6 a.m. on Aug. 26. For these migrants, the 30-hour journey from the Texas border concludes as they are met by a network of D.C.-based volunteers. But behind the scenes, a fierce political debate rages over one central question: Who is responsible for them now? Since April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) have bused thousands of migrants to the sanctuary cities of Washington, D.C., and New York. The politically motivated move comes in response to President Joe Biden’s May 2022 effort to lift Title 42, a pandemic-era order that allows U.S. border officials to quickly expel asylum seekers on public health grounds without a legal process. Now liberal, big-city mayors, conservative governors of border states and the Biden administration wrangle over how to provide aid to migrants who have basic needs upon arrival, like housing and food. Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has twice formally requested that the National Guard help with what she calls a “humanitarian crisis” in the nation’s capital. “We need to make sure that there is a national response, not an ad hoc, city-by-city, state-by-state response,” said Bowser during a July 28 press conference. The Department of Defense denied Bowser’s first request for the guard on Aug. 5, stating in a letter obtained by POLITICO that “sufficient EFSP [Emergency Food and Shelter Program] funds exist at this point to provide migrant assistance.” In her second request, Bowser added that the help would only be needed for 90 days. Again, the Pentagon declined her request. Amy Fisher, who volunteers her time with Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, says that the local and federal government is “exploiting” volunteers by not providing necessary resources for migrants. “While Mayor Bowser is pointing at the Biden administration and the Biden administration is pointing to Mayor Bowser, I am buying groceries for my family and buying groceries for the people that are making their lives here,” says Fisher, who helps connect migrants to resources weekly. Abbott’s pressure on the Biden administration for stricter border policies continues as he accelerates his plan to send more migrants to sanctuary cities. “The federal government denied Mayor Bowser’s second request for help because they deny the reality of Biden’s border crisis. DC is experiencing a fraction of what Texas faces every day,” Abbott tweeted on Aug. 23. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
The state of Texas has spent more than $12 million busing migrants to Washington, DC, and New York who crossed into the state from Mexico, according to figures from the Texas Division of Emergency Management. A state government spreadsheet obtained by CNN through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that, as of August 9, Texas has paid $12,707,720.92 to Wynne Transportation, the charter service that is taking migrants to the two cities. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's office has said migrants are transported out of state only with their written permission. It is not clear what other options have been offered to the migrants. Abbott's office did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CNN on Tuesday. In a news release Friday, Abbott's office said that "the busing mission is providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities." It is usually the responsibility of released migrants to cover the cost of their travel throughout the US as their asylum cases are pending in court. However the state-chartered border buses have been providing free rides to the north-bound asylum-seekers for months. Texas has solicited private donations to help pay for the cost of the bus trips, but the state had only received $167,828 as of August 17. At a news conference in April announcing the program, Abbott acknowledged taxpayers were likely to end up with part of the bill. "Because (President) Joe Biden is not securing the border, the state of Texas is having to step up and spend Texas taxpayers' money doing the federal government's job," the governor said at the time. State agencies have provided conflicting figures for the exact number of migrants that Texas has bused out of state, ranging from 8,051 to 9,033. That amounts to a cost of at least $1,400 per migrant to transport. A fierce critic of Biden's immigration policies, Abbott began sending hundreds of willing migrants on buses to Washington, DC, earlier this year as an affront to the administration. Abbott's office has said that "to board a bus or flight, a migrant must volunteer to be transported and show documentation from DHS." But Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN last week that Abbott's efforts are throwing the federal system for processing migrants "out of whack" and criticized the governor for not coordinating with federal authorities. Mayorkas said it's "problematic" when an official like Abbott works "unilaterally." "That lack of coordination wreaks problems in our very efficient processing," he said. Generally, once migrants are processed by federal authorities and released from custody, they are allowed to move throughout the country while they go through immigration court proceedings. They are often released in Texas and other border states, and then continue on journeys to other parts of the country. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration reaffirmed its commitment Tuesday to DACA, officially posting regulations to extend the 10-year-old program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants. The rule, which takes effect Oct. 31, makes few changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and it does not move it any closer to becoming law – a key shortcoming for advocates who lived through Trump administration efforts to overturn the program. “Any program that is created by one president can be undone by another,” said Jose Patiño, vice president of education and external affairs at Aliento. “That is an issue we have seen with DACA.” Patiño said groups like his “are looking at all avenues” to pressure Congress into passing comprehensive immigration reform that would enshrine and expand DACA. But critics said that is not likely to happen, noting that DACA had to be approved as a regulation because Congress could not reach agreement on immigration legislation. Matthew O’Brien, director of investigations at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, called DACA “a federal regulation that doesn’t have any statutory authority underlying it.” RELATED STORY A decade of DACA helped thousands in Arizona; advocates say more needed “The fact is that Congress put restrictions on immigration for a reason and the president, whether it is Obama or Biden, doesn’t have any authority to unilaterally change those because they don’t like the restrictions that are in place,” said O’Brien, a former immigration judge. It was during then-President Barack Obama’s first term that the Department of Homeland Security first enacted DACA as an administrative rule that said Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children – would not be priorities for removal. The program deferred deportation of those immigrants for up to two years, protection that is renewable. It did not provide a path to citizenship, instead granting them “lawfully present” status, which allowed them to legally obtain work permits, drivers’ licenses and more. Immigrants had to apply for the protection, paying fees and showing they had continuously been in the U.S., had a clean record and were in school or the military, among other requirements. As many as 776,000 people have been protected by the program, and there were 611,470 active DACA recipients in the U.S. at the end of 2021, with 23,090 of them in Arizona. Critics have said since the start that DACA is an abuse of executive power and former President Donald Trump vowed to overturn it. Those efforts ultimately failed, but legal challenges since have had some success stifling the program. The most recent ruling, from a federal district court in Texas, said DACA could continue to protect current recipients, who can reapply for coverage. But it said DHS cannot accept applications from Dreamers not previously covered. DACA stays DACA supporters protest in Phoenix on Sept. 5, 2017, the day the Trump administration said it planned to end the program. (File photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News) That injunction barring new applicants would still apply under the rule posted Tuesday. And the final rule does not expand on the requirements or eligibility for DACA recipients, some of whom are now reaching upward of 40 years old. Patiño called the final rule somewhat “disappointing.” “We have been advocating for the program to be expanded. By that we mean the opportunity dates,” he said. “We were hoping that with this new rule it would change some of those deadlines. “It seems that nothing really changed for DACA recipients or the community,” Patiño said. Andrew Arthur, resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, said that “all of this is really just kicking the can down the road in respect to DACA.” “The administration would be better off simply letting the court rule and sending it over to Congress who actually has the authority to grant amnesty – or not – to this population of people,” Arthur said. He called DACA something of a relic, a remnant of the Obama administration. Even though DACA has been beneficial to a large number of immigrants, he said, its practicality is starting to wane. “They are certainly a sympathetic population of people,” Arthur said of Dreamers. “Although I will note that many children covered under this are approaching middle age based on criteria for it.” Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, said that posting the new rule in the Federal Register is a way to give for the program to have a “strong legal footing” against ongoing court challenges. RELATED STORY Dreamer drama: Arizona man hopes play about his life drives DACA discussion But without action by Congress, she said, the program can only hold out for so long. “Ultimately, Congress should be legislating on immigration,” Gelatt said. “The only kind of real relief for Dreamers would be legislation offering them a path to legal status.” She agreed with Patiño that Congress should not only codify DACA but expand it, including a pathway to citizenship. She said “DACA has enabled beneficiaries to contribute a lot.” “We’ve seen them working all kinds of vital jobs in the pandemic, increasing their earnings, paying higher taxes, and really contributing to the country,” Gelatt said. While the two sides of the issue don’t agree on much, they all seem to agree that Congress needs to act on the question. Even though O’Brien does not think congressional action is likely, that does not mean it’s not possible. Arthur said Congress can act at “any time,” and that the Biden administration should focus its efforts there. “It would be better for the administration to propose some real changes that would pass with a bipartisan majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate that would beef up border security and make some meaningful changes to lawful immigration in the United States and at the same time provide real benefits that would allow the DACA population to move on with their lives,” Arthur said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Close to 15% of job openings that employ immigrant or foreign-born workers in the U.S. are still vacant, while the legal immigration system is in dire straits. From meat packing to home building to STEM professionals to nurses, the post-pandemic economy is reeling from a labor force decimated by restrictive immigration policies, which worsened under Donald Trump’s administration. The Halting of Immigration “From the middle of 2019 until the end of 2021, there has been essentially zero net immigration to the U.S,” said Giovanni Peri, Ph.D. Professor of Economics and Founder and Director of the UC Davis Global Migration Center, citing US Bureau census data. “Although in late 2021 and early 2022 these numbers started growing again, the fact that the inflow of immigrants stopped made the country lose more than 1.7 million (immigrants),” added Peri, noting that 900,000 of them would have been college educated who work in the STEM sector – doctors, computer scientists, biomedical engineers, bio experts — and 800,000 would have been non-college educated concentrated in sectors such as food, hospitality, elderly and child care. “We are talking about the 1.1% of the US labor force,” Peri added. Peri spoke during a media briefing on 8/26/22 hosted by Ethnic Media Services that sounded the alarm over how the lack of immigrants is hurting the economy. Meanwhile, public discussion focuses on an estimated 2 million border crossings for the fiscal year. Immigration Shortfall The halting of immigration coincides with more and more US citizens opting to work from home in online jobs, and people in their 50s and 60s opting for early retirement. When companies are struggling to hire people, wages go up and the rising cost of labor translates into inflation, Peri explained. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in July 2022, there were 10 million unfilled jobs in the US. Before COVID, in a similar period, that figure was 6 million. Experts agree that there should be a government effort to make the H1B visa program (sponsored by employers) stronger and more inclusive for all sectors, while addressing the monstrous backlog in green cards and asylum claims. Backlogs and Delays in the Immigration Processes “In the past six or seven years we have seen tremendous delays in the immigration processes across the country, both in the courts and also through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),” said Gregory Z. Chen, Senior Director of Government Relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Chen noted that when President Barack Obama left office, there were about 500,000 immigration cases in the backlog compared to 1.4 million cases during the Trump administration. “As of today we have about 1.6 million cases that are waiting to be heard, (each one) typically takes four to six years now,” Chen said. “Many businesses can’t wait to be operational.” Meanwhile, the Automated Export System (AES), the agency in charge of processing work permits, has increased its processing times from 180 days to up to seven months. These backlogs can be fixed through a comprehensive immigration reform. Although almost 70% of Americans are in favor of it, there has been no appetite in a polarized Congress to ease restrictions for even legal immigrants. Chen highlighted how President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act -recently signed into law- originally included provisions to legalize unauthorized immigrants, a provision that had to be abandoned to gain bipartisan support. “The concern about the benefits immigration provides to the country and the economy has been subsumed by the idea that it’s related to border national security issues,” said Chen, who doesn’t see a major immigration reform bill happening even in 2023. Shortage of Nursing Professionals For Julie Collins, perfusionist and Program Director Department of Cardiopulmonary Sciences in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University, one field where the absence of immigrants is acutely felt is medical care. Working on the COVID floor of her hospital for two years, Collins saw firsthand the impact of the critical shortage of nursing professionals. “I was helping to cover shifts and I saw how burnt out nurses were becoming taking care of patients in COVID units,” she said. “As COVID began slowing down, nurses sought early retirement, some of them changed professions, and some even died of COVID. This left us with fewer nurses to fill the open positions in our units.” Although COVID floors have been essentially shut down, hospitals are short staffed and one-on-one patient care is over, she said. “Oftentimes nurses are caring for multiple patients, which is increasing their chances of creating errors and causing emotional distress,” There are close to 194,000 open positions for nurses, and not enough US nurses to fill them. Since the 80s, when hospitals were understaffed, nurses from other countries have filled these roles. But today, annually, H1B visas are limited to 140,000 and family-sponsored visas are limited to 226,000. “I am seeing how tired and exhausted the nurses are and how frustrated they feel like their voices aren’t being heard,” Collins said.” If hospitals come up with a system so that they could keep bringing in (immigrant) nurses, they wouldn’t have problems filling their open positions,” she concluded. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual (https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual) to reorganize and expand on existing guidance related to special immigrant and nonimmigrant religious workers. This update reorganizes the special immigrant religious worker guidance for clarity and provides more comprehensive information about the special immigrant religious worker filing process, verification of evidence, and the site-inspection process. In addition, for both special immigrant and R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker petitions, this update clarifies the circumstances under which certain related petitioners may meet the compensation requirements even if the attesting employer will not directly compensate the religious worker. For more information, see the policy alert (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20220830-ReligiousWorkers.pdf) and visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Immigrants are key to addressing America’s labor shortage, lowering inflation, and growing our economy
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent this summer — the lowest level in more than 50 years. While that is good news to celebrate this Labor Day, there is another side to the nation’s historically low unemployment numbers. Across every sector, businesses can’t find workers to fill open positions, even when they increase pay and benefits or go so far as to pay candidates to attend job interviews. There are 10.7 million job openings in the U.S., but only 5.7 million unemployed workers. Even if every unemployed American found a job, we would still have five million jobs unfilled. But for America’s broken immigration system, immigrant workers could fill many of these jobs — and it is U.S.-born citizens who would benefit the most from their contributions. For consumers, the labor shortage means empty shelves, higher prices, and long waiting times, whether for a restaurant table or in the emergency room. The labor shortage is especially acute in services we need the most. As students return to school, the National Education Association estimates a shortage of 300,000 teachers and support staff across the nation. In a recent survey, 90 percent of nurses were considering leaving the profession in the next year. Nearly 1 million new STEM jobs will come open over the next decade, but it’s not clear that the U.S. educational system is preparing students to fill those jobs. In the agricultural sector, the labor shortage is causing sticker shock at the grocery store, with some families skipping meals due to inflation. Food prices are 10 percent higher than last year — the biggest increase in 40 years. At this year’s Labor Day barbecue, hamburgers will cost 36 percent more than last year, pork and beans will cost 33 percent more, and homemade potato salad 19 percent more, according to data from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Common sense immigration reforms would bring food prices down and address supply chain bottlenecks. In 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on a bipartisan basis. Democrats and Republicans compromised on this bill to allow undocumented farmworkers to earn legal status through continued employment in the agricultural sector and expand the H-2A guest worker program to allow for the year-round hiring of temporary farmworkers. Since then, Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Mike Bennet (D-Colo.) have taken the lead on negotiating improvements on the House’s solutions and moving the process forward. Now it is up to the Senate to continue bipartisan negotiations and pass their own bill before the end of the year. ADVERTISING A recent study by Texas A&M International University shows how much good fixing the farm labor shortage would do for farmers, workers, and American families who need nutritious meals at affordable prices. Researchers found that more migrant and H-2A guest workers are associated with lower inflation and lower food prices, including for milk, eggs, meat, fruits, and vegetables. More migrant and H-2A guest workers are also correlated with higher wages for American workers and lower unemployment. The Republicans’ opposition to elder support is decades in the making Could China invade South Korea after Taiwan? The CHIPS and Science Act, which passed this summer with bipartisan support, shows that Democrats and Republicans can still get together and solve some of America’s biggest issues. This bill will help the U.S. regain a leading position in semiconductor chip manufacturing, although policymakers missed the opportunity to include immigration provisions that could have opened America’s doors to highly trained, and urgently needed, foreign-born STEM professionals. Labor Day should be a day for recognizing the contributions of all workers, including the 11 million undocumented workers who have been contributing to our economy for years and decades. Employers need their energy, talents, and skills and they need the dignity and stability that comes with permanent legal status. From high inflation to an unprecedented labor crisis to declining global competitiveness, America faces a battery of serious challenges. The key to meeting those challenges depends on reaffirming America’s character as a beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity for all. Rebecca Shi is the Executive Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition and its c4 arm ABIC Action, a diverse, bipartisan group of over 1,200 CEOs, employers, and trade associations promoting common sense immigration solutions. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Members of the Texas State Guard on Monday morning could be seen inside a community center in Downtown El Paso that has served as a staging point to bus released migrants to New York City. El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has been taking care of the busing, but on Monday, officials at the scene told reporters that locals were handing it off to the state of Texas. An official who said he was not authorized to talk on the record, said El Paso’s OEM reached out to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, hence the state involvement. The official referred all press inquiries to TDEM. Texas National Guard troops set up inside El Paso’s Border Farm Workers Center on Monday morning. The center has been a staging point for buses chartered by the city of El Paso to take migrants released from immigration services custody to New York since last week. (Nigel Wickens/KTSM) In a statement to KTSM, the Texas Military Department said it, “in conjunction with our interagency partners, is assisting with escort functions as part of Operation Lone Star along the Texas-Mexico border.” Border Farm Workers Center Executive Director Carlos Marentes said he has been renting a portion of his organization’s building to the El Paso Opportunity Center for the Homeless. ADVERTISING Marentes said he had been working with city officials in assisting migrants with transportation but only recently became aware of Texas military personnel inside the building. Marentes has spoken out against Operation Lone Star and the use the National Guard for immigration enforcement but said he planned to meet with city officials to discuss the role of Texas military personnel. In an email late Monday, El Paso municipal officials said the city and the OEM are “working with the State of Texas to help augment efforts to provide transportation to migrants that do not have sponsors.” The city said it provides care packages and coordinates with other government officials and nonprofits to receive the released migrants regardless of who ends up transporting them to the interior of the country. “The City/OEM provides care packages and coordinates with officials and NGOs to receive them regardless of who is transporting. OEM and the City will continue to coordinate support as we have always done in current and previous migrant crises situations to prevent releases to the street,” the City of El Paso statement said. El Paso has sent four buses to New York City this month and one to Dallas in June, the statement said. City of El Paso buses migrants to New York A Border Report and KTSM crew on Monday witnessed the arrival of a white bus with a DHS (Department of Homeland Security) sign to the Border Farm Workers Center on Oregon Street. About a dozen females exited the bus one by one and were directed to tables inside the center where people dressed in civilian garb, with National Guard troops sitting in a nearby table, welcomed them and directed them to file or present paperwork. Visit BorderReport.com for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the U.S.-Mexico border In April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the TDEM to charter buses to transport migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C. The TDEM more recently has been busing some of those migrants released from DHS custody in Texas to New York City, according to the state website. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
More Than Half of America's Unicorns Have Immigrant Founders: Billion-dollar startups by those born outside the U.S. have grown more than 500 percent since 2018
In the discussion over the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy and job market, the effect of immigrant entrepreneurs is staggering: Fully 55 percent of billion-dollar startups were founded by immigrants. And when you include companies in which immigrants were co-founders alongside native-born Americans, the total climbs to nearly two-thirds, according to a new study. "Immigrants have fueled the rise in billion-dollar startups," reads the study from the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit research institution that focuses in part on immigration issues. The proportion of immigrant-founded unicorns has remained remarkably steady compared with a study the organization released four years ago, even as the number of unicorns has increased by roughly six times in that period. The study goes on to call out the highest-valued unicorns with immigrant founders from among the 319 immigrant-founded unicorns. You may have heard of them. Here are the largest and their valuations: SpaceX, $125 billion Stripe, $95 billion Instacart, $39 billion Databricks, $38 billion Epic Games, $31.5 billion Miro, $17.5 billion Discord, $15 billion And since the study is only counting unicorns that have yet to go public, its findings actually undercount the total impact of immigrants on the entrepreneurial landscape. The founders hail from 57 countries; India, with 66, has produced the most; the country had also produced the most in the 2018 report. As Wharton professor Ethan Mollick notes, it's not just unicorns, either: "Immigrants launch more companies per person than native-born Americans and their firms pay a bit higher wages," he wrote, citing other recent research. And then there are founders who are children of immigrants, which would add at least 51 unicorns to the total, according to the study. Around half of the immigrant founders of unicorns came to the U.S. on student visas. All of these numbers raise questions about U.S. immigration policy, and the trends on immigration in recent years. The group of entrepreneurs who launched these unicorns arrived years ago (you don't launch a company that achieves a billion-dollar valuation in just a year or two, after all). In recent years, the growth in immigration that the U.S. had relied on to create these unicorns has slowed down. Last year, for the first time in more than a decade, the percentage of the foreign-born population in the U.S. dropped. People are less interested in coming to the U.S., as is shown in the fact that net immigration has declined every year since 2016. While the NFAP doesn't make policy recommendations per se, the organization includes a pair of policy notes within its report. The first is about a startup visa, which would allow entrepreneurs to stay in the country specifically to launch and lead companies. Currently, if you found a company in the U.S., there's no visa program to remain in the country as an entrepreneur. As a result, according to the report, "Successful immigrant entrepreneurs in America are almost always refugees or family-sponsored and employer-sponsored immigrants." The second NFAP policy note is around increasing the number of immigrants allowed, and accelerating the processing of green card applications. As the report notes: "The Congressional Research Service estimates the backlog for employment-based green cards for Indians could exceed two million by 2030. In the most recent year, the U.S. rejected 82 percent of H-1B applications for exceeding the 85,000 annual limit." For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
There's a major detail missing from many conversations about the rising number of migrants coming to the US-Mexico border. Decades ago, the vast majority of migrants attempting to cross the border between ports of entry were Mexican. A few years ago, most came from the Central American countries known as the Northern Triangle: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. But now, according to Border Patrol statistics, the number of people coming from outside those places -- from countries such as Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela -- is growing fast. David Bier calls it a "radical shift" and a "new phenomenon that no one is talking about." Bier, the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, pointed out this change in a recent thread on Twitter. It's a telling detail, he says, that reveals a lot about what the Biden administration is facing at the border, and why the situation has been so difficult to solve. To better understand this trend, CNN dove into the data. Here's a look at what we're seeing, why this change is so significant, why it's happening, what this looks like on the ground and what could happen next. What we're seeing: There's a big change in who's coming to the US-Mexico border. A large number of migrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle are still making the journey. But the number of migrants from other countries, represented here in purple, has significantly increased. Back in 2007, the number of migrants in this "other" category was negligible. But since then, it's grown dramatically — 11,000% — with the sharpest increase in just the past two years. US Border Patrol encounters still show more migrants from Mexico attempting to cross the Southwest border in July than from any other individual country. But so far this fiscal year, for the first time, encounters with migrants from outside Mexico and the Northern Triangle are outpacing encounters with migrants from either of those regions. A handful of countries make up a large portion of this growing group at the border. The number of times US Border Patrol officials at the Southwest border encountered migrants from Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela has increased dramatically over the past two years. One word of caution about the numbers: For this analysis, we used US Customs and Border Protection statistics on Border Patrol encounters -- which include both migrants who are apprehended and detained, at least temporarily, at the border, and migrants who are immediately expelled to their home countries and Mexico. This data gives us the best overall picture of who is arriving and what's happening at the border. But officials have acknowledged the numbers can be inflated, because they include some migrants who were turned back under the "Title 42" public health policy, then tried to cross again. In other words, the same people can be counted multiple times. This is an issue that mostly affects migrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle, who are more likely to be subjected to Title 42 restrictions than migrants from other countries. Why this is significant: Doris Meissner, who directs US immigration policy work at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, says the rise in additional nationalities at the border "makes border enforcement all the more complicated." For decades, many border policies have been designed with Mexican migrants in mind, she says, but it's much more difficult to deport people to other countries. There are limits to which nationalities can be turned back under Title 42, for example. And frosty diplomatic relations can affect deportations, too. "These populations ... require different kinds of responses," Meissner says. "We have not established an asylum system that is in any way up to the level of the challenge that this change brought about." Bier says the groundwork for the trend was laid during the Trump administration. But the situation President Joe Biden is facing at the border is different from anything previous administrations have encountered. "What he's dealing with, in terms of trying to restrict entry to the country, is completely different than what any other president has had to deal with," Bier says. "Those realities are not really reflected in just the overall numbers. Looking at the number of people crossing, it's just not representative of the unique circumstances of having to handle flows from so many different countries and many countries outside of this continent." Administration officials argue they're working hard to address the root causes of migration. And Biden has described it as a "hemispheric challenge." But Bier says officials aren't doing enough. "The Biden administration can't respond to this new reality with the same old playbook," he said on Twitter. He told CNN that's exactly what the administration seems to be doing. "It's a lot of the same types of responses," he says. Why it's happening: There's no simple reason why this is occurring, Bier says. "There are as many answers," he says, "as there are countries represented in that group." CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus recently told CBS News it's impossible to pinpoint all the factors driving migrants to make the journey, given how complicated situations are in their home countries. "It's a very complex set of dynamics," he said. Meissner, who served as commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1993-2000, says the pandemic has played a major role by intensifying economic pressures. Other factors are also at play. An increase in Cubans making their way to the US, Meissner says, can be partially attributed to a new air route between Cuba and Nicaragua. CNN's Patrick Oppmann reported that after Nicaragua dropped its visa requirements for Cubans, people began posting online ads selling their homes with "everything inside" to pay for the expensive airfare. Deteriorating economic conditions, food shortages and limited access to health care are increasingly pushing Venezuelans to leave, and a growing Venezuelan community in the United States is also a draw, Meissner says. For Colombians and Nicaraguans, economic instability -- compounded by the pandemic — has been the main driver of migration, she says, but politics are also playing a role. "Rising repression under the Ortega regime, especially during the recent presidential election, has cemented the belief among many Nicaraguans that the country's political turmoil will not be resolved in the short term," Meissner says. And those who previously saw neighboring Costa Rica as a destination, she says, are more likely to look elsewhere due to decreasing job prospects there. Rising inflation and unemployment in Colombia are fueling more migration, Meissner says. Social unrest after a wave of protests in 2021 and political divisions that intensified during the recent presidential election are also likely influencing migrants' decisions, she says. What this looks like on the ground: This isn't just something we can see with statistics. Both migrants and Border Patrol officials say they're noticing the shift. More Cubans than ever are leaving the island. See where they're going 02:55 Yuma Border Patrol Sector Chief Chris Clem told CNN's Priscilla Alvarez last month that the large number of nationalities crossing the border was straining his agents. "The countries we're receiving now — those nationalities are flying in, arriving to the border, and they're having to be processed and there's just so many of them that it is posing a challenge to the workforce," he said. Speaking to CNN earlier this year, one Cuban migrant described a house in the Mexican desert where she'd waiting with others to cross the border. One room was packed with Cubans, she said. And another was full of people from different countries. "There were Colombians, Bangladeshis, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Haitians," she said. "It felt like the whole world was in there." What could happen next: Like everything connected with the border, there's a lot of debate about what officials should do about this. Biden administration officials have repeatedly emphasized that the border is not open. But those who favor increasing immigration restrictions argue that administration policies have incentivized more people to try their luck at crossing the border illegally. Some -- including more than 50% of Republicans, according to a recent NPR-Ipsos poll -- say they believe it's completely true that the "US is experiencing an invasion at the southern border." And some Republican candidates are emphasizing this message as midterm elections loom, pledging they'll do more if elected to crack down on illegal immigration. Bier and Meissner say the changing makeup of migrants at the border shows how badly the US immigration system needs an overhaul. "Many, if not most, of these people are not likely to be eligible for asylum, even though they're fleeing very difficult conditions," Meissner says. "We desperately need to have Congress address the immigration laws and make it possible for there to be other legal pathways to come to the US." And countries across the Western Hemisphere need to work together and address migration as a shared responsibility, she says. So far, there's no sign this trend is slowing down. And Bier and Meissner say they don't expect it will. "It's entirely plausible to think that this could continue for many years," Bier says, "because we don't have the infrastructure to expel people as fast as they come in." For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
The Biden administration took an important step this week to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era policy that shields undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. On Wednesday, the government issued a 450-page final rule set to go into effect on October 31 that codifies the program into federal regulation, replacing a guidance memo that created DACA in 2012 via executive action. Since then, more than 800,000 “Dreamers” have been allowed to stay in the country and received temporary work authorization. The new regulation maintains the eligibility criteria for the program and affirms that DACA recipients, of which there are currently about 600,000, should not be considered a priority for deportation. “Today, we are fulfilling our commitment to preserve and strengthen DACA by finalizing a rule that will reinforce protections, like work authorization, that allow Dreamers to live more freely and to invest in their communities more fully,” Biden said in an August 24 statement. MOTHER JONES TOP STORIES Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Faces “Monsoon on Steroids” As I’ve reported on previously, the DACA program has been under threat for years, leaving hundreds of thousands of people who have lived most of their lives in the United States in legal limbo. Last year, a federal judge in Texas sided with Republican-led states and ruled that the policy violated federal law, blocking the Biden administration from granting new applications. That ruling won’t be impacted by the newly announced regulation. And the program remains at risk while a challenge to its legality is pending with the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to strike down the policy altogether. Immigrant rights groups and advocates have long called for a more permanent solution for DACA in the form of legislative action. But in the 10 years that the program has been in effect, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass meaningful legislation that would offer Dreamers a path to lawful residency and citizenship, despite overwhelming support from the majority of Americans. Attempts at bipartisan talks have fallen flat, in large part because Republicans’ resistance to a comprehensive immigration bill that doesn’t include additional border enforcement. “I will do everything within my power to protect Dreamers, but Congressional Republicans should stop blocking a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers,” Biden stated on Wednesday. “It is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities.” Several immigration policy experts agreed that Biden’s codification of DACA will only go so far because it fails to expand eligibility criteria to include undocumented youth who, for instance, didn’t arrive to the country before 2007. “We need Congress to pass legislation permanently protecting all Dreamers—not just those who qualify for DACA under these regulations, but also the many others who have lived for years in legal limbo,” Jeremy McKinney, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a joint statement with the American Immigration Council. “That is the true solution here.” For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Monday, August 29, 2022
Hopes for abolishing one of U.S.’s most harmful immigration policies — deportation following incarceration in the criminal legal system, or “double punishment” — are withering as the Biden administration continues to snub immigration reform. According to a recent Syracuse University report, 3,481 immigrants are currently in removal proceedings because of criminal charges, and many of them were seized upon their release from prison, before they could take even a single breath in freedom. And while that number is on track to be less than last year, advocates warn that without changing the underlying laws, rules and policies, what goes down this reporting period can go up in the next. “The numbers are still astronomical in terms of the sheer number of people deported from their loved ones after a conviction or arrest,” Heidi Altman, director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), told Truthout. “There are many ways this could be done even without congressional action — through reversal of harmful Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, through rulemaking to allow greater access to bond hearings for those detained on the basis of criminal convictions, through processes to allow those unjustly deported to be returned, and/or through policy memos and training that requires officers to consider the racial bias inherent in the criminal legal system when making detention and deportation decisions. But none of that has happened.” Never miss another story Get the news you want, delivered to your inbox every day. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Instead of being returned to their families and communities for reentry to society, they are often held six months or more in private for-profit detention facilities, and then deported to countries where they may not have lived for decades, know no one, and do not speak the language. Besides the financial burden to taxpayers — $1.4 billion is budgeted in 2023 for 25,000 beds in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention — and the harms to the people being doubly deprived of their liberty, there is a social cost for punishing people based solely on where they were born. “You have two people who are arrested for the same thing and the sentencing judge says you both get X time in jail. But after that, one of those people gets to live the rest of their life with their loved ones and family, and the other one gets permanently exiled to a country they may not have seen since they were a baby — what does that say about our country?” Altman said. How many more immigrants are vulnerable to “double punishment” is hard to pin down. One estimate comes from the 2017 Cato Institute policy brief, which used Migrant Policy Institute data from 2015, which itself was extrapolated from a 2012 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report to Congress. The Cato report’s estimates of the total noncitizen population with criminal legal system involvement “vary widely, from about 820,000 according to the Migration Policy Institute to 1.9 million according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” According to a subsequent 2020 Cato Institute analysis of the U.S. prison population, 83,698 undocumented immigrants and 71,472 documented immigrants were incarcerated in the U.S. in 2018, some portion of whom could potentially become vulnerable to detention and deportation by ICE upon their release. It is nowhere reported how many of the over 600,000 people released from prison every year are noncitizens, and therefore vulnerable to deportation. As of July 21, an estimated 6,347 immigrants with criminal legal system involvement have been detained by ICE in 2022, a number that has been declining overall, but which reflects according to another Syracuse University report “[m]any [with]only minor offenses, including traffic violations.” Altman further notes that while overall detention numbers are lower than they were at their height under the Trump and Obama administrations, “they are still up significantly from where they were at inauguration (from 15,000 to 23 or 24,000) and the number of immigrants under surveillance programs the administration refers to as “Alternatives To Detention” have skyrocketed. What Happened to the New Way Forward? Since before it was introduced in the 117th Congress by U.S Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois), there was unity among many immigrant advocates that the New Way Forward Act is also the best way forward to eradicate the system’s racist and nativist biases. According to the Immigrant Justice Network, only 7 percent of noncitizens in the U.S. are Black, but Black immigrants make up 20 percent of people facing deportation on “criminal” grounds. As written, the act repeals some of the most onerous aspects of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), largely considered a relic from the “tough on crime” era that fueled destructive “war on drugs” policies. Among other things, the New Way Forward Act would remove drug possession as grounds for deportation; and end mandatory detention for people who are caregivers or categorized as “vulnerable,” which could mean pregnant, younger than 21 or older than 60, or other criteria laid out in the bill’s definition section (102 (2) (b) (7)). It would open up the discretion of immigration judges so that nobody would be entirely precluded from mounting a defense against deportation because of a criminal conviction, and would prohibit state and local officers from helping ICE apprehend people. In a memorandum dated September 30, 2021, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas provided Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law that laid out his priorities for deportation — namely, national security, public safety and border security. These were largely reiterated in his April 2022 “Prosecutorial Discretion” memorandum to the 1,100 attorneys in ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Adviser. “We had, in the Trump administration, this moment where it was revealed to the world that our immigration enforcement system is built entirely on racism and corruption,” Altman explained. “This is what it’s built on, this is the food that feeds it — and I think there was an opportunity for this administration to come in and say, ‘Look this has been revealed for all of us, let’s reflect on that and actually dismantle it and start again.’ But instead, they doubled down.” Even with 45 co-sponsors, the New Way Forward Act has been stalled in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship since March 2021, and has not yet been introduced in the Senate. Meanwhile, despite declining numbers of detentions and deportations in interior enforcement, Altman has observed a “hardening” in rhetoric and in policy under the Biden administration, Congress and the courts pertaining to people who have arrests or convictions on their record. Most recently, this was reflected in Congress’s narrow focus during the reconciliation debate on only moving anti-asylum measures. While those amendments were largely carried by Republicans, she notes how slow the administration has been to defend its plans to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (known as Remain in Mexico) and how long the administration allowed Title 42-based mass expulsions at the border to continue. “It’s tragic, you have these really important pieces of federal legislation that could actually undo so much of this bad prior legislation and bring some measure of justice and proportionality back to the system,” Altman lamented. The harmful amendments were defeated by a vote of 50-50 on August 7, and in the current environment, that was the only “win.” Nonetheless, NIJC tweeted its relief: “In the dark of night Senators tried to pass amendments that would fund the deadly border wall, codify Title 42 mass expulsions that undermine asylum rights, and increase enforcement tactics that destabilize immigrant communities. They failed!” But a deeply flawed system remains intact. On the interior enforcement side, Altman wants people to be aware that the majority of people doubly punished will never see an immigration judge to consider their custody. Low-level ICE deportation officers, who follow Mayorkas’s stated priorities, are more often than not the sole deciders. Mayorkas did not instruct officers to consider the whole of a person’s experience — including the harms they may have experienced before their criminal legal system involvement, or their accomplishments while being rehabilitated for reentry to society — and as a result, the officers don’t take any of it into account. They may not understand or know that there are millions of immigrants who came here as traumatized refugees from countries where the U.S. had perpetrated wars. They may not have learned that many refugees were resettled by the U.S. in low-income areas where as newcomers, especially in such large numbers, they were perceived as competition for already scarce and meager resources, or considered that these circumstances led to conflicts and sometimes bloodshed in oppressed communities. It’s not part of the job description as defined by the DHS secretary, but it could be. Nate Tan, a co-director at the Asian Prisoner Support Committee who was born in Cambodia, told Truthout that the way the Cambodian community was resettled, was a setup for criminalization: “The wars in Southeast Asia, the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge, displaced a lot of people and created this huge refugee wave in the United States from 1975-1979. A lot of Cambodian people were resettled in ‘high crime,’ high poverty neighborhoods; and what we know is that ‘high crime,’ high-poverty neighborhoods are over-policed neighborhoods, and serve as a funnel into the incarceration system.” As a result, even in recent years thousands of Cambodians and other Southeast Asian refugees are in receipt of deportation orders, the overwhelming number of which are based on old criminal records, according to a 2018 fact sheet published by The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. Tan said this is not necessarily “a result of failed U.S. resettlement policy,” but the consequence of opting to do it cheaply. “‘Where can we relocate refugees at the lowest cost?’ And Section 8 housing in poor neighborhoods was kind of an easy target.” Who Gets Deported Is Often a Coin Toss in a Sham System “The first thing that ICE officers do is look at a person’s rap sheet and, I think, many of them just stop there,” Altman explained. But digging deeper into police reports can make matters worse. A recent NIJC policy brief analyzed the use of police reports in immigration decision-making and found that despite widespread recognition that police reports are often prejudicial and unreliable, immigration decisionmakers take them to be accurate as written. There is a “case review” option on ICE’s website, but for NIJC clients trying to make the most of it, Altman said it’s been a “coin-toss.” Advocates have been pushing the Biden administration for a meaningful file review process designed to kick in automatically after a certain amount of days in detention. They are also asking for an independent reviewer from outside of ICE to be responsible for conducting the review. They’ve received the usual response from the administration, which is to say, no response at all. “If you’re in a detention center, without a lawyer and you can’t speak English, that system means nothing. It’s a sham,” Altman said. “Your liberty is entirely at the whim of this one deportation officer.” When Biden announced his clemency and pardon process on June 2, 2021, NIJC along with the National Immigration Project and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration urged the president to take an important additional step: Change through pardon or clemency on the criminal side must trigger an equivalent release order on the immigration side. This, Altman said, is “to ensure that clemency is not rendered meaningless through immigration detention and/or deportation.” But this request was ignored. Twenty long and frustrating months into this administration, advocates like Altman feel they’ve arrived at an impasse. “With every year it becomes increasingly clear that it’s the state legislatures that are going to have to do the heavy lifting to move the system toward justice,” she said, “because it’s not happening at the federal level.” Looking to the States for Action In June 2021, Illinois passed laws that banned police from assisting ICE in making arrests and ended private civil detention facilities in the state. Following its lead, other states are starting to move legislation to protect their immigrant communities from double punishment. Most notably, the California legislature is considering the VISION Act, and advocates far and wide are excited that its potential passage in a populous and politically important state could lead other states to close the prison-to-deportation pipeline, and further decriminalize immigration. The VISION Act would prohibit collaboration with ICE to remove people who are being released from prison or jail. Under it, immigration status will no longer be used as a determining factor in how people are treated by state and local agencies and the courts (whether they get probation or have access to mental health services, for example). It would also abolish certain discriminatory record keeping and reporting requirements. On July 28, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition — a statewide membership-based organization of over 80 immigrant, labor, youth, faith and ally organizations — wrote to California Gov. Gavin Newsom urging its passage, while also advocating for Californians detained by ICE in Aurora, Colorado: We are heartbroken that abysmal conditions and systemic injustices inside ICE detention at Aurora pushed Gabby Solano, a survivor of domestic violence and forced sterilization, to self-deportation. And we are deeply dismayed that Marisela Andrade, a domestic violence and human trafficking survivor whose life would be in danger if deported, has been detained for six months and counting as she awaits a decision in her asylum application. The VISION Act would have protected them. The California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) is doing everything in its power to assist Andrade, whose deportation is under appeal, according to Pam Fadem, a long-time CCWP member on Andrade’s support team. This includes circulating a petition seeking Governor Newsom’s pardon for her. The VISION Act would have protected Alex Murillo, a U.S. Navy veteran, father of four, co-founder of Unified U.S. Deported Veterans, and VISION Act activist who was recently repatriated after an 11-year exile in Mexico. An estimated 94,000 U.S. veterans have been deported since IIRIRA was passed in 1996, and Murillo’s group is committed to bringing them home. The VISION Act would have protected Cambodian-born Phoeun You, who after 26 years behind bars for a murder he committed when he was 20, was paroled from San Quentin State Prison by Governor Newsom in January, only to be transferred by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ICE custody on his release day. On August 16, ICE deported You to Cambodia. The VISION Act also would have protected Salesh Prasad, a queer immigrant who fears discrimination if deported to Fiji. Both men asked Newsom for a pardon in their attempts to avoid deportation just weeks before the California State Senate considers the VISION Act. Newsom can still pardon You and bring him home to the only country he has ever known. A fundraiser has been set up to support You in Cambodia. Further Criminalization After the Fall of Roe v. Wade Alejandra Pablos is an Arizona-based abortion doula and immigration activist who spent two years (2011 to 2013) in ICE detention, and is herself always at risk of deportation. Now that Roe v. Wade has fallen, she faces more state violence. “How interesting that all of my identities have been criminalized,” she told Truthout. Then-President Bill Clinton criminalized immigrant communities in 1996 with a stroke of his presidential pen in signing IIRIRA. The VISION Act would reverse much of its harm, and that’s why Pablos, vulnerable as she is to capture by ICE, says it’s worth the risk of supporting. “Passing [the VISION Act] could be so instrumental … what does the vision look like? We want people to come home, we have the tools, we’re ready to take care of one another, we don’t need to be incarcerated,” Pablos said. “I feel like it’s a bigger risk if I don’t speak up. We’re not even asking for citizenship anymore, at least not us, we’re asking for decriminalization.” She’s aware that her life and her liberty could be interrupted again and she could be dragged back into the “crimmigration” dragnet, but she keeps those thoughts at bay. “I really can’t grasp what it would mean for them to come knock on my door, pick me up because of my abortion work or because of my very out-loud and unapologetic denouncing of ICE,” confessed Pablos. “I’m always assessing risk: Am I willing to go to court for this, to face a judge in a court that is historically unjust, am I willing to defend this?” “I am, because I know what side of history I’m trying to stay on,” she said. Advocates note that passing the VISION Act in California could have a ripple effect. “I understand the concern about state-by-state approaches,” Altman said. “Ideally, the needed changes should happen through federal legislation, and absent that, Biden could make bold, affirmative protections through TPS [temporary protected status], or through more expansive pronouncements, or through the use of advanced parole mechanisms or other combinations of programs. None of that has happened.” “Passing the VISION Act in California sends a message to the federal government: This is how you move toward justice in the immigration space; this is what this very important politically progressive state was able to do to protect its immigrant communities from the federal government’s failing to do so,” Altman said. “The hope is it becomes a trend and eventually we can reach the tipping point where the federal government feels they have to respond.” For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
TIJUANA (Border Report) — Guillermina Fernandez has lived near the Mexico-U.S. border on Tijuana east side of Tijuana for 30 years. When she first moved into Colonia Las Torres, there wasn’t much of a barrier, and her neighborhood had no running water or electricity. Since then, utilities have been put in and she’s seen the border wall go up just a few meters from her home, which she shares with her two daughters and husband. Five years ago, she began selling plants and flowers out of a nursery she started on her property. Guillermina Fernandez stands in her nursery, in the land she was forced to sell to the Mexican government to make way for the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report) The business has thrived and has become her family’s primary source of income. Air quality will improve once new port of entry opens, eases border traffic, officials say Fernandez says recently, people from the Mexican government have approached her about selling some of her land to be used for the Mexican side of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. “They said it was progress and not to stand in the way of it,” she said in Spanish. “They said it was progress and not to stand in the way of it.” GUILLERMINA FERNANDEZ, WHO LIVES NEAR THE PLANNED OTAY MESA EAST PORT OF ENTRY Fernandez says she sold 10 meters of her land to the government. “Truth be told, they didn’t pay very much, they could’ve up paid a lot more,” she said. Now, she said, her neighbors are also being approached. “We worry, we’re very worried they are going to take everything away,” Fernandez said. New port of entry breaks ground in San Diego She’s been given till next month to clear out all her plants, flowers, pots, buckets and tables as construction crews are set to begin grading the land. “They said it was for the border crossing, then they said it was for the roadway … maybe a bridge,” said Fernandez. “Everyone is being asked to turn over some of their property” For Fernandez, the main concern is finding a good home for her plants and flowers currently in her yard, which she estimates is well over 1,000. “I have to hurry to vacate, I need help moving all my plants,” she said. “In fact, I’ve started giving them away.” Visit BorderReport.com for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the U.S.-Mexico border Border Report reached out to Mexico’s federal government about the border crossing and the planned border crossing project for the area, and whether it plans to buy more land from residents. No one has made themselves available for comment. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.
Immigration advocates call on federal, state and city agencies to increase aid for migrants bused from Texas
NEW YORK -- Immigration activists rallied Friday outside City Hall, calling for more support for the hundreds of migrants seeking asylum in New York City. The New York Immigration Coalition, allies and local leaders demanded more aid for those stepping off the buses from Texas at Port Authority Bus Terminal. "We're reaching out to our federal government, as well as state and the city, to do things differently and to be coordinated," New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh said at the rally. Advocates said they understand the difficulty in providing for so many, but stressed the importance of the basics, like food, shelter and clothing. "There are families -- the parents and the children, babies. So they need diapers, baby formula, clothing, housing of course," said Lorena Kourousias, executive director of Mixteca. In a sit-down interview with CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer on Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said with resources already being stretched thin, she is working on several solutions. NYPD on US Open security "We actually found another pot of money that we think can be deployed to help the situation when they arrive," Hochul told Kramer. "There is some federal money, that's another source of money that I've identified." The governor said she is also working to make the job process easier for arriving migrants, which activists say could be life-changing. "I put in a request for there to be some sort of possibly executive action that allows individuals who come here to have the ability to at least get a temporary work permit," she said. "It's super important to get the job, because it's going to be the way for these migrants to support themselves," Kourousias added. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending migrants to New York and other cities to protest the Biden administration's immigration policies, and officials predict he will continue to send buses until November. For more information visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.