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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, September 30, 2022

Americans want humane immigration policies, not cruel political stunts

In justifying their morally bankrupt and legally dubious busing of immigrants to liberal strongholds around the country, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) got one thing right: There are big differences in how states treat immigrants. In the last two decades, some states and cities have followed an enforcement forward approach championed by governors like DeSantis, Abbott and Ducey in the name of economic and cultural preservation. Others have taken a different tactic, enacting measures to include immigrants. If you look closely at the effect of these efforts, it’s clear that DeSantis, Abbot and Ducey have got it wrong. Including immigrants is not eroding our economy and culture. Instead, policies that help immigrants belong can make Americans feel like they belong too. While Capitol Hill has slept on immigration policy for two decades, states, counties and cities stepped into the void. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have enacted an average of 161 immigration laws per year since 2005. The most notorious of these measures emerged from roughly 2005 to 2012, when states like Arizona, Alabama and Georgia took extreme measures to exclude immigrants from accessing public institutions, like colleges and universities and empowered law enforcement to pick up people they suspected of being undocumented. According to data compiled in economist Pham Hoang Van’s Immigrant Climate Index, unwelcoming laws outnumbered welcoming laws by roughly two to one during that period. But since 2012, the number of welcoming laws passed has overwhelmed the unwelcoming sort, with states becoming far more likely to extend than to restrict rights, resources, and access to institutions for immigrants regardless of their legal status. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, 19 states allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, and seven states offer them financial aid at state colleges and universities. When federal immigration policy was arguably tougher on immigrants than ever during the Trump administration, the Immigrant Climate Index shows that state and local immigration policies became even more welcoming. ADVERTISING With so much political polarization, you might think more welcoming policies are as controversial as the unwelcoming sort. But that’s not the case. In our book, “States of Belonging: Policies, Attitudes, and Inclusion,” we used a range of social science research methods to understand how people respond to living under different kinds of state immigration policy regimes. Our research took us to Arizona — unequivocally the least welcoming policy state in the country — and New Mexico, a far more welcoming state and an early adopter of efforts to include immigrants regardless of legal status. We found that it was not just immigrant and U.S.-born Latino residents who responded more positively to welcoming immigration policies. So did white residents. Like immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos, whites displayed a more positive emotional response and felt like they belonged in their state more when immigration policies are more welcoming. We also found significant political divisions, with self-reported Democrats and Independents responding more positively and with a greater sense of belonging in their state than Republicans. These political divisions weighed heavier than racial ones. In both places, Democrats and Independents, together, constitute a majority, as is the case nationwide. We also spent hundreds of hours talking to everyday Arizona and New Mexico residents. They were hardly caricatures of the immigration debate, which seems to portray “deport-everyone” Republicans on one side and “open-borders” Democrats on the other. Both Latino and white Democrats and Independents supported government action that was more welcoming to immigrants. But they also saw a need for border security and told us that immigrants who come to the United States need to demonstrate their commitment to their new communities. Republicans were more interested in muscular border security. But they thought undocumented immigrants who have been acting like good citizens by following the laws, paying taxes and working hard deserved the opportunity to become citizens. What we heard reflects what Americans from across the political spectrum have been saying for more than a decade: They want a pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants. Even though differences between Republicans and Democrats around immigration have captured the most attention, there may be enough agreement on border security and legalization to build a bridge strong enough to cross the political divide on immigration. States across the nation have been experimenting with a range of immigration policies. As extreme weather pummels the nation, Democrats are pushing oil and gas deals How to talk about free speech — and why we should all care States across the nation have been experimenting with a range of immigration policies. Asylum seekers have a legal right to be in the United States until their claims are heard. Shuttling them to other states is a cynical political ploy that ignores the facts: Policies that are more welcoming to immigrants who are already here — including those that offer a pathway to citizenship — are good for immigrants, good for Americans, and therefore, good for the United States. Tomás Jiménez is a professor of Sociology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University and co-author of the recent book, “States of Belonging: Policies, Attitudes, and Inclusion.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Battle to Win the House Plays Out in 3 Key Border Districts in South Texas

The Republican Party's strategy and tactics in three pivotal south Texas Congressional races were on full display during a call convened by the Republican National Committee (RNC) this week. The call featured Representative Mayra Flores, who won the special election to face Representative Vicente Gonzalez in the 34th Congressional District; Monica De La Cruz, facing Michelle Vallejo in the 15th; and Cassy Garcia, looking to defeat longtime congressman Henry Cuellar in the 28th. The call began and ended with a focus on "Biden's border crisis," one that De La Cruz modified to "Biden's broken border crisis," adding that there were record apprehensions at the border and constituents in south Texas want the problem brought under control. "I'm deeply troubled by the impact the Biden broken border crisis is having on our people, our resources, and our local economy," De La Cruz said, while Flores called it a "humanitarian crisis." NEWSWEEK NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP > "Allow me to disabuse you of the notion that Hispanics are okay with this," Garcia added. "We're not." ADVERTISING The races will not just be critical in the battle for control of Congress, but should also reveal whether significant Republican investments aimed at Latinos in places like south Texas were effective, or whether, like a pendulum, the momentum has swung back toward Democrats. Ad ChoicesYOUR WARDROBE MVP SPONSORED CONTENT YOUR WARDROBE MVP BY VICTORIA'S SECRET Participants on the call emphasized that Republicans were offering voters three strong Latina women, and also highlighted the RNC investment in south Texas ahead of November. That increased outreach is part of a seven-figure investment in Texas, which had four of the first six community centers the RNC opened nationwide "earlier than ever before" to continue trying to make inroads in the Latino vote. NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS > The RNC also said it has more than 30 staffers and 17,000 volunteers on the ground in Texas, and claimed that they had made nearly 4 million voter contacts across the state. Democratic strategist Joaquin Guerra, who got his start in south Texas politics in Hidalgo county 22 years ago, has noticed the new levels of engagement. "Being from south Texas, this level of investment from Republicans, it's never been done before and it's a good thing," he said. "Voters should have a choice, and it has forced Democrats to step up, and we'll see what happens." mayra flores U.S. Rep Mayra Flores (R-TX) and Republican nominee for Arizona governor Kari Lake speak on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on August 05, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. BRANDON BELL//GETTY IMAGES But while Republicans have had Democrats on their heels since the 2020 election in south Texas, that doesn't necessarily mean they will win these three races. Democrats largely expect Gonzalez to be victorious, with the redrawn 34th District going from +4 Biden to a district he would have won by 16 points. While Cuellar has made enemies among progressives nationally, Texas Democrats say they won't bet against the nine-term congressman, and expect him to squeeze out a close win by a couple of points. "Will voters buy into the crazy fever dream narrative of Republicans?" Guerra asked, citing comments Flores and De La Cruz have been criticized for in the past over whether the 2020 election was stolen. "I think they will see the rationale side of things and stick with members of Congress who more closely resemble their values of practicality and honesty." While he and other Democrats see Garcia as a serious candidate, he argued that she isn't landing any punches on Cuellar with "fluffy" criticism of his flights to Washington D.C. every week, which is part of his job. But on the call Garcia hit Cuellar hard, tying the border woes to the fact that Cuellar is under investigation, which led to a raid on his Laredo home. "Cuellar is under very serious investigation, he can say whatever he wants on TV," Garcia said, arguing that he "can't focus on the border when he's worried about an investigation." Then she went further, using the kind of personal attacks that have marked the Flores-Gonzalez race. "He's a national disgrace, no one takes him seriously," Garcia said. "He's been in office since I was in kindergarten." henry cuellar Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (L), joined by Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas, speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. Graham and Cuellar urged the Biden administration to name former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as a border czar. KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES The race Democrats are really worried about, however, is TX-15, where Republicans redrew the map to add more conservative voters and create a district that Trump would have won by 2.8 points in 2020, and which is 74% Latino. Republicans have gone on the attack against Vallejo, saying she's too liberal for her district, citing positions she embraced during the primary but de-emphasized once the general election rolled around, and running negative ads calling her a socialist and puppet for Green New Deal extremists. Abel Prado, the executive director of the progressive organization Cambio Texas, told Newsweek that while Gonzalez and Cuellar have their faults, they answer the phone when he calls, even when he has criticisms of them. Vallejo, he says, has not been similarly accessible or open to criticism, and her team believes they know how to win more than local naysayers. With De La Cruz raising almost $3 million by the end of June while Vallejo took in near $700,000, Prado said he is judging the race by finance reports and who the campaign is hiring, while also arguing that she's spending too much money on TV and not enough on field efforts. For those reasons, he believes De La Cruz will win in November. "I hope it's a wakeup call for them," he said of the Vallejo campaign. "I want them to succeed, but its been frustrating." But Daniel Diaz, the political director of LUPE Votes, which helped recruit Vallejo into the race and is running independent expenditures on her behalf, told Newsweek that while the race is the one of the three where the Democrat is "most at risk," she can win if groups like his can help bring out Latino voters for Democrats at levels they voted at in the past. "We're targeting thousands of our members who are low-propensity voters that usually just turn out for presidential elections," Diaz said of voters in Hidalgo, Cameron, and even Starr counties. Trump over-performed in Mexican-American areas in west Hidalgo county, Diaz said, and his group is looking to turn those margins back to 65% to 70% in favor of Democrats. "Monica wins only if Mexican-American communities stay true to their voting for Trump in 2020," he said, adding that he is concerned that De La Cruz is outspending Vallejo with "super PAC money, dark money, and negative ads that are the talk of the town." For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Senate Democrats Introduce Immigration Registry Bill to Provide Pathway to Citizenship for Millions

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats introduced a bill on Wednesday that would provide a simple, sturdy pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have waited decades for relief, alongside millions of documented immigrants languishing in backlogs. “Our outdated immigration system is hurting countless people and holding back America’s economy,” said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), a cosponsor of the bill along with fellow Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (IL), Elizabeth Warren (MA), and Ben Ray Luján (NM). The companion bill to the “Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929” was introduced in the House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) back in July, where it now has 60 cosponsors—all Democrats. The immigration registry bill is just two pages long, but its social and economic impact would be immense. Eight million undocumented immigrants would be eligible for green cards. The bill would also help legal immigrants by clearing much of the green card backlog and protecting many documented dreamers, mostly from India. Registry was one of the three options put to the Senate Parliamentarian during last year’s negotiations around the Build Back Better Act, which ultimately didn’t pass. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Lou Correa (D-CA) led the charge for registry in the House as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) did in Senate. The new Senate bill would create a rolling registry for immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least seven years to come forward and register for a green card. Registry creates no new programs but instead provides immigrants the opportunity to achieve permanent legal status in the U.S. without the complexity and hassle of previous relief efforts that have ultimately failed in Congress over the last few decades. “The days of continuing to give Republicans a pound of flesh are over,” said Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), one of the bill’s cosponsors. “It’s a policy that has failed.” “Take a page from the Reagan administration,” Torres added, referring to the last major immigrant relief bill to pass Congress, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and gave a legal pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants during the late eighties. “This is an opportunity that we’re giving Congress to legalize our community,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. “It sets a framework so that we never are in a situation again, where we have this ballooning undocumented population.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Immigrants Increasingly Sucked Into Bureaucratic ‘Black Hole’

A growing number of immigrant workers already beset by government backlogs now face an additional hurdle—their applications at US consulates and embassies are being put on hold pending further review from the State Department. Those additional reviews, known as administrative processing, often come with no explanation for what the issues are with the applications, how applicants can address them, and no timetable for a resolution, immigration attorneys say. Immigrants already wait weeks or months for an appointment to get a passport stamp to travel to the US, which is supposed to be the last step after receiving visa approval from the Homeland Security Department. But the once-perfunctory process has become a nightmare for many. “What we’re hearing across the board from immigration attorneys is it’s an epidemic,” said Jonathan Wasden, a partner at Wasden Bless & Forney LLC. “No one has seen this before.” Consular offices can put visas on hold under Section 221g of the Immigration and Nationality Act because of missing paperwork, or if an application is tagged for additional security screening—especially workers in fields with access to sensitive technology that could have a potential military use for foreign powers. Delays in work visa processing can have an outsized impact on industries like tech—which claimed nearly 70% of H-1B specialty occupation visas in fiscal year 2020—or architecture, engineering, and surveying, which claimed more than 9% of the visas. Open-ended Process When a case is put into administrative processing, the agency technically considers it a visa denial, although applicants can overcome the issues that prompt additional screening. But it could take anywhere from weeks to months or a year to reach a resolution, said Fuji Whittenburg, managing partner at Whittenburg Immigration and chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s State Department liaison committee. “It’s a bit of a black hole,” she said. “You want to avoid it at all costs.” The State Department releases statistics on visa refusals, but not cases referred for administrative processing. The agency didn’t comment on the rate of cases referred for that additional scrutiny. The term “administrative processing” could refer to various additional steps needed to complete an assessment of a visa, an agency spokesperson said. “Before issuing any visa, we must ensure that applicants do not pose a security risk to the United States and otherwise are eligible for a visa,” the spokesperson said. “If an applicant requires additional screening for whatever reason, we will not issue a visa until that screening is complete.” The duration of additional reviews vary based on the individual circumstances in each case, and the State Department encourages travelers to submit visa applications well ahead of their expected travel dates, the spokesperson said. Ticking Clock While the DHS’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services determines eligibility for a visa, the State Department decides if an applicant is admissible to enter the US. For visas with a limited duration, such as H-1B visas and L-1 intracompany transferee visas, the clock starts ticking as soon as USCIS approves it, Wasden said. There is no regulation setting a deadline for the State Department to complete administrative processing, and the wait can significantly eat into the length of a visa. In some cases, the processing time even outlasts the visa itself, he said. “You’ll see people with H-1Bs and Ls who time out on the validity period and have those visas expire while they’re in 221g,” Wasden said. “That takes a huge chunk out of profitability out of the employers’ pocket when you can’t get that person in the country. It’s a huge loss.” Deepa Patil,originally from India, secured an O-1 extraordinary ability visa in July after she was hired as a senior research scientist at Boston-area biomedical startup Transcera. But what was supposed to be a weeks-long trip to Mumbai for a passport stamp in August has turned into an open-ended stay after a visa appointment at the consular office there ended with a referral to administrative processing. The delay, stemming from missing documents in the State Department’s case system, has disrupted research at a critical stage for Transcera, which aims to use naturally occurring molecules to deliver therapeutic drugs. “I have to be in the lab all the time to do that work,” Patil said. “It cannot be done remotely.” The visa delay has also separated Patil and her one-year-old daughter from her husband in the US. Lack of Transparency James Hollis, an immigration attorney at Siskind Susser PC, advises clients to take notes on anything said to them about potential issues during their visa interviews. “There’s no transparency in this process once they issue the 221g letter,” he said. Patil said she resubmitted documents she was told were missing from the State Department’s system within 24 hours of her visa interview, but weeks later, she’s received no update from the agency. Her unanticipated absence from work at Transcera has put stress on the rest of the team and could mean it will take longer to complete studies that are key to securing the startup’s next round of funding, said Hunter Goble, the company’s co-founder and CEO. Finding a researcher with Patil’s qualifications was extremely difficult, and the vast majority of candidates for the position required visa sponsorship. The biotech industry in Cambridge, Mass., where the company is based, is “highly dependent on brilliant scientists who come here from all over the world,” Goble said. “The fact that the US makes it more difficult for those people to get here and to stay here really does impede innovation in a very real and immediate way. It’s not an abstract concept,” he said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

‘It Was All a Hoax’

Why I left is no big secret. No one’s making any money in Venezuela. There isn’t enough food. It’s very difficult to care for your children. There are kidnappings, extortion. Someone tried to kill me. I left my two kids, my wife, my aunts, and my grandmother behind. I decided to leave June 15. I walked until I reached the border with Colombia. It took me two months and 15 days. I rode mules, asked truck drivers for rides, anything to move forward. In Colombia, I paid a boat $50 to drop me off in the Darién jungle, and there I started my journey toward Panama, walking. We just had to walk and walk and walk. I had three changes of clothes when I started, but I left the jungle with only one and no shoes. Eventually I got to Panama and then Costa Rica, where my brother lives. He helped me get into Nicaragua and then on to Honduras and Guatemala. The journey was hard, but it was also so beautiful and new to me. When you walk through those places, they are gorgeous. There are lots of old buildings, lots of tourists. Introducing On With Kara Swisher, a new interview podcast with New York Magazine. FOLLOW NOW When I reached Mexico, I turned myself in to the immigration authorities in Chiapas. They gave me a permit to leave Mexico in 20 days to the border of my choice. I didn’t know that Mexico was so big. The countries I had passed through were nothing; Mexico was seven times bigger than all of them. It took me 12 days of walking to get through Mexico to the border with the United States. It was August 18. The next day, I got up early and asked someone where the river to the United States was. They told me, and I walked. I filled an inflatable mattress — I had a friend with me who didn’t know how to swim. I dragged him across the border on the mattress. On the other side, I turned myself in to the U.S. Border Police in Brownsville, Texas. There I breathed easy. I was joyful, happy. I lasted 15 days in detention while they arranged my papers there too. The aluminum blanket they gave me made a funny sound when you moved it. A few of us shared one. The ICE people gave me papers, told me, “Sign and you’ll be free,” that I had to report on September 28 in Philadelphia. I went to the bus terminal. I lasted there four days. There was a lady who gave us breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, thank God. She helped some of us with the fare to San Antonio. At the terminal, there were some girls in blue vests who took us to a free shelter, but they offered us only three days of lodging. I started sleeping outside the shelter near a McDonald’s. I still hadn’t made enough money for the ticket to go to Philadelphia. My only goal was to show up on September 28 for my immigration hearing. Then, on September 8 — Thursday — a lady named Perla appeared. She said she could take 50 people to sanctuary states. She wore cowboy boots and had highlights in her hair. She spoke English and Spanish. They said they would give us work and housing for 90 days. And the migration papers, she said she was going to change it herself. She said she would change the address to where we were going to be taken. Of course we said yes. But that day she didn’t take anybody, so we were left wondering. Then on the 10th, a Saturday, at half past two in the afternoon, Perla came back with two vans. Everything was done behind the McDonald’s. She took us to a hotel, and during the course of the weekend, she started to bring more people, until she’d picked up 50 people. On Wednesday, we left at 5:30 in the morning. Perla told us we were going to Massachusetts, to Boston. I thought, Well, I’ll be six hours away from Philadelphia. Perla said, “Don’t worry, I will arrange everything for you. You’re going to make your court date in Philadelphia.” She formed two groups because there were two airplanes. They were small, exclusive private planes. Onboard, they gave us cookies, soft drinks. The flight attendant was very attentive. Everyone was kind to us because it was all a hoax. When we landed in Martha’s Vineyard, there was a black van waiting for us. The van took us to a house and the driver said, “There’s a doorbell. Ring it. They are waiting for you there.” When we rang the doorbell, a lady came out, and we told her, “Here we are. We’ve arrived.” The lady asked, “Who are you?” and we told her, “The gentleman brought us. He said to ring the doorbell.” But when we turned around, the black van was gone. We told the lady, “We’re from Venezuela. We came from Mrs. Perla.” We were terrified. We thought they would take us to jail or deport us. Many of us cried. On the plane, they had given us some red folders with a map, and we looked at the map and realized that we were surrounded by sea, that we were on an island. There was no bridge; there was nothing. How do we get out of here? Do we have to leave by ferry or in a private plane like we got here? We were so scared. Then a gentleman came out speaking Spanish. He told us that we should not worry, that they were going to look for a solution. It was 3:30 in the afternoon, but the weather was cold. I didn’t have a sweater; I didn’t have a coat. They took us to a school, where they gave us food, and then they took us to a church in the center of town — the center of the island, I imagine. We slept in the church that night. Some slept on mattresses on the floor and some in bed. I preferred the floor. If those people hadn’t offered us their hearts … We didn’t know where we were. I’m so thankful to those people on Martha’s Vineyard who reached out to us and treated us like their family. They moved my case to Massachusetts, but I haven’t gotten a date yet, so I’m still waiting. Everything is close by. Why go anywhere else when this place is brimming with opportunity? I want a normal life. In Venezuela, I did painting and construction, but I’ve worked a little bit of everything. What I’d really like is to be able to study. Maybe some electrician and construction classes but first English. Some people here have helped me with that. Even as just a distraction. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Bill would allow ‘Dreamers’ to join the military, become citizens

Rep. Ruben Gallego unveiled legislation Thursday that would allow participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to enlist in the military and ultimately obtain a pathway to citizenship. There is currently no way to join the military for the roughly 600,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children who receive protection through the Obama-era DACA program. The bill from the Arizona Democrat and Marine veteran would allow those recipients to join the military and ultimately apply for lawful permanent residency if they serve honorably. “We need more talented people in the military,” said Gallego, who serves on the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees. “These are a population of people that are already serving their country in different ways. They’re very patriotic.” Like most immigration bills, Gallego’s measure is unlikely to get a vote as a stand-alone measure, but it could be wrapped into the annual must-pass defense policy bill. A similar proposal has been attached to that defense bill before but was stripped out in negotiations. “While it is partly an immigration issue, it’s also a national security issue, especially right now,” Gallego said. The government did begin a program in 2008 that recruited noncitizens to the military, but it was suspended in 2017. That program, called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, has been the subject of political controversy and is not accepting new recruits while the military processes backlogged applications. The new bill could also help the military fix its current recruitment shortfalls, Gallego said. In July, the Army’s vice chief of staff, Gen. Joseph M. Martin, told a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing that the regular Army is poised to fall nearly 19,000 soldiers short of its staffing target in fiscal 2022. The shortfall stems from a variety of factors, including a challenging post-pandemic recruiting environment, signs of declining morale among those currently in the service, and a population of potential recruits that has shrunk because of factors such as obesity and lack of education. The number of participants in the DACA program has also been curbed by court challenges. In 2021, a court blocked the program from accepting new applications, although current participants can still renew their protection. Gallego’s legislation comes as the 117th Congress nears its end without passing any significant immigration bills. Democrats tried and failed to include sweeping immigration changes in their party-line budget reconciliation bill but ran into parliamentary issues. Republicans have largely been resistant to bipartisan negotiations amid record-high border crossings. Meanwhile, a House-passed bill to provide a pathway to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” more broadly has not been considered in the Senate. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Nonprofits help fund immigrants’ legal fights on deportation

As the number of immigrants seeking court permission to avoid deportation grows, foundations in Los Angeles have joined with local governments to direct millions of dollars to pay for lawyers to represent the immigrants, an effort they hope will be copied across the country. Unlike defendants in a criminal case who can be represented by a court-appointed lawyer, immigrants who face deportation are not provided legal counsel. Unaccompanied children and non-English speakers don’t stand much of a chance advocating for themselves. And for many immigrants facing the byzantine hearing process, paying for an advocate is out of reach. By responding to an emergency need, nonprofit leaders were able to build a case that legal counsel for potential deportees should be viewed as a right, says Miguel Santana, president of the Weingart Foundation. A sustained wave of deportations could cripple a city like Los Angeles that depends on immigrants as workers, employers, and civic leaders, he says. ADVERTISEMENT “It’s in our collective interest as Angelenos to provide support to immigrants who cannot defend themselves during this process, he says. “This is a service, like any other service, that the taxpayers should cover.” PHILANTHROPY Goodwill stores have a message: Please stop donating trash Bill Gates' leadership roles stay intact despite allegations Selena Gomez and J.Lo headline vax concert for poor nations Pandemic shifted how donors gave, but will it continue? The cost of a deportation case can go well above $10,000, according to Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles, a group that has received support from foundations. A family with a member facing deportation faces “cascading” problems, including massive debt to pay for a lawyer, missed time from work to go to hearings, and the possibility that it could lose its main breadwinner, Salas says. “There’s no way a low-income construction worker or domestic worker can actually pay for that,” she says. “This gives those families a fighting chance.” The combination of philanthropic and local government dollars, called the L.A. Justice Fund, was created by the California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation in 2017 after President Trump signed a series of executive orders that strengthened immigration enforcement and led to a sharp increase in deportations. In the years since, the L.A. Justice Fund has attracted nearly $7 million in philanthropic support and more than $16 million in combined support from Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles. Last summer, both jurisdictions and the foundations committed to continue the project for three more years. ADVERTISEMENT But the notion of using government money to represent undocumented residents strikes some as unfair. U.S. citizens who are parties in other civil proceedings aren’t provided a lawyer, so why should someone who is in the country illegally, asks Lora Ries, senior research fellow for homeland security at the Heritage Foundation. With 1.8 million cases pending nationally, using government money to pay for legal services isn’t sustainable, she says, particularly because people awaiting deportation hearings and their lawyers can ask for a series of delays before the case is heard on its merits. ADVERTISEMENT “If someone’s here unlawfully, they want to stay here as long as possible. So it is in their interest to drag out the proceedings because it buys them more time,” Ries says. “This is a bottomless fiscal pit.” Others say the free counsel is fiscally prudent. It makes sense for the county to provide legal help, says Rigoberto Reyes, executive director of the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs, because if a person is deported, especially a family’s main breadwinner, the county might have to pick up the tab for a whole range of other social services like food and help with rent that family would be more likely to qualify for. “Eventually the county has to bear the brunt of trying to address those issues,” Reyes says. The foundations backing the L.A. Justice Fund say their effort is unusual in how closely philanthropy worked with government to design the program and coordinate services. The government support is largely limited to the actual payments made to legal staff provided by a group of a dozen nonprofits, which in addition to the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles include Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, Kids in Need of Defense, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law’s immigration clinic. ADVERTISEMENT The grant makers support those nonprofits and other groups that provide legal training and evaluation, like the Vera Institute and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. They also established a shared workspace for lawyers near the Adelanto Detention Center, about two hours outside of the city of Los Angeles. Before the fund was established, foundations and the nonprofits they support helped call attention to the problems faced by families with members in line for deportation, making publicly supported deportation lawyers a priority for local elected officials, Reyes said. Philanthropy was also willing to quickly provide cash with fewer restrictions than those imposed by local governments to groups that train and hire lawyers. The early success of the foundation-supported effort, say nonprofit and government officials, helped unlock larger, sustained contributions from the city and county of Los Angeles. ADVERTISEMENT Working with the grant makers was a “no-brainer,” Reyes says, because the philanthropies and the groups they support have a thorough understanding of the needs of the people they serve. In addition to the legal representation paid for by the county, defendants and their families can receive wraparound services, like mental-health treatment, child care, and the provision of basic necessities that foundation-supported nonprofits provide. The philanthropic dollars also were directed to the general operations of the fund’s grantees, something the government dollars were not allowed to do. Private money “filled in gaps where we knew government funding was not able to stretch into, says Rosie Arroyo, senior program officer for immigration at the California Community Foundation. “It really gave us the flexibility to right-size the program to the needs of the community.” During the first year of its existence, the L.A. Justice Fund hired 34 lawyers and provided training to 143 attorneys and law students. The fund’s lawyers have taken on nearly 750 cases. Of those, 94 have been closed. In each case, the defendant has been allowed to remain in the United States. Nationally, only 5 percent of people in a deportation case are allowed to remain, according to the California Community Foundation. At their 2019 peak during the Trump administration, immigration courts initiated 658,000 deportation proceedings, not counting criminal and terrorism cases, according to data collected by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research center at Syracuse University. That number dropped the following two years. But fiscal 2022, which began in October, started with a surge of new cases. As cases mount, the Biden administration has taken steps to reduce the backlog. In April, Kerry Doyle, the legal adviser to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, urged federal prosecutors to mind their budgets when deciding whether to prosecute cases, provided that defendants aren’t suspected of being terrorists or criminals. “Sound prioritization of our litigation efforts through the appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion can preserve limited government resources (and) achieve just and fair outcomes in individual cases.” Doyle wrote in an April memo. Meanwhile, a group of 20 Democratic U.S. Senators has urged that Congress to direct $400 million to provide for legal counsel in deportation cases. Securing those funds is a long shot, as is passage of a broad immigration overhaul that would provide immigrants already in the country illegally with a form of amnesty or a path to citizenship. What that means, says Weingart’s Santana, is that hundreds of thousands of people will remain under threat of deportation without help. Says Santana: “Until the federal government passes comprehensive immigration reform, these kinds of efforts are going to be needed.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Newsom reverses course and signs farmworker bill backed by Biden

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Wednesday making it easier for farmworkers to unionize in California — a reversal from earlier threats to veto the bill that came after President Joe Biden and other Democratic heavyweights threw their support behind it. Newsom walked outside the sunbaked front steps of the state Capitol and signed the bill in front of a small gathering organized by the United Farm Workers, the iconic union founded by the late Cesar Chavez whose members had kept up a monthslong vigil in Sacramento in support of the bill. Advertisement “California’s farmworkers are the lifeblood of our state, and they have the fundamental right to unionize and advocate for themselves in the workplace,” Newsom said in a statement Wednesday. Newsom made no mention of the fact that he had said he could not support the bill in its current form just before it passed near the end of the legislative session. His office said it had reached a “supplemental agreement” with the UFW and the California Labor Federation on future legislation that would enable labor regulators to “adequately protect worker confidentiality.” The agreement with the governor’s office eliminates a provision of the bill that would allow mail-in union elections. In its place, workers will be allowed to join UFW by signing a card, a system long sought by organizers. Newsom had previously said he opposed mail-in voting because of security concerns, though California uses it to allow the public to vote in statewide elections. Advertisement The agreement would also set a cap of 75 certified union elections per year. The fate of Assembly Bill 2183 drew national attention in recent weeks after Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats threw their weight behind the measure. That wave of support came after a spokesperson for Newsom’s office issued a statement last month that the governor couldn’t “support an untested mail-in election process that lacks critical provisions to protect the integrity of the election.” His office issued that message the night before thousands of marchers organized by the United Farm Workers reached the Capitol. Newsom declined to personally meet with the union the following day. The embarrassing rebuke from the top levels of the Democratic Party landed as Newsom wades further into national politics, clashing with Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis. State law requires that farmworkers cast secret ballots in-person at a designated polling place, a system backed by Chavez and UFW leaders when farmworkers were first guaranteed the right to unionize in 1975. Worker advocates have since soured on that process, arguing that a change to state law is necessary as the number of farmworkers who are covered by collective bargaining agreements has plummeted since peaking in the 1970s. Less than 1 percent of California’s 800,000 farmworkers are unionized, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a fact that bill supporters link to fear among workers of being deported for supporting union efforts. The share of undocumented farmworkers has risen from 13 percent in the mid-1970s to more than 70 percent today. Farmers and business groups opposed the bill, dismissing it as an attempt by UFW to increase membership. “The California Farm Bureau is deeply disappointed in Gov. Newsom’s decision to sign the misguided union organizing legislation,” California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said in a statement. “Farm Bureau stands with California’s agricultural employees and will continue to defend their right to make uncoerced choices about union representation.” Advertisement The Democratic governor has maintained that while he supports expanding union access in the agricultural sector, mail-in voting rules should mirror federal standards established under the National Labor Relations Board. That system requires employers be given prior notice of an election date, which bill supporters say would put undocumented workers at risk of deportation prior to casting a vote. AB 2183, as currently written, will give agricultural businesses the option to sign an agreement to not interfere with a union’s attempt to organize and allow mail-in elections, or be subject to a process in which workers could vote simply by signing a union representation card. That first option will be erased once the planned amendment is passed. She invites lawmakers to work in the fields BY XIMENA BUSTILLO Newsom had revealed little publicly about his thinking before he signed the bill into law. Just three hours earlier, at a news conference in San Francisco, he deflected questions about the issue. “I’ve got four hundred bills on my desk, and I’ve got less than 72 hours,” Newsom said. “And so we’ll be working on that many other bills, and then the next one, when I get back to Sacramento.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Justice Department wants psychological examinations of parents suing after being separated from children at US-Mexico border

The Justice Department wants a federal judge to require psychological examinations of some families separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the US government. The request comes after the Biden administration walked away from settlement talks late last year and has raised concerns among attorneys about re-traumatizing parents whose kids were torn away from them under the controversial policy. “This is where the government was headed as soon as the announcement came down,” said Conchita Cruz, co-executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, which is representing separated families in similar cases. “They were headed toward re-traumatizing these families.” Ad Feedback In 2018, the Trump administration announced a so-called zero tolerance policy, in which the Justice Department initiated criminal prosecutions of every adult illegally crossing the border. The policy, which was ended after widespread opposition, resulted in the separation of thousands of families, including those with infants, some only a few months old, because children can’t be kept in federal jail with their parents. Video Ad Feedback 03:42 - Source: CNN Acosta presses ex-acting Trump DHS official about family separation policy. Hear his response The Physicians for Human Rights likened it to “torture,” and the American Academy of Pediatrics told CNN the Trump administration’s practice of separating families at the border was “child abuse.” Some families have since filed lawsuits seeking damages for the toll the separations took on them. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit in 2019 and attorneys representing families have filed separate claims as well. President Joe Biden, who’s condemned the Trump administration’s family separation policy, previously endorsed the idea of the US government compensating migrant families separated at the border, saying the previous administration’s “outrageous behavior” warrants cash payments – but he didn’t go into detail about specific amounts. Last December, the administration broke off settlement talks and went back to court. Now, in a case concerning five asylum-seeking mothers and their children, DOJ submitted its request for psychological examinations, calling it “standard practice” in its filing and citing a similar case pending in Florida where a parent and child were examined. In the filing, DOJ recognizes the anxiety, trauma and emotional distress separation caused on the parents, but says its selected expert should also examine them. “Plaintiffs intend to support their claims of injury through expert testimony and have each submitted to multiple mental health evaluations by their own expert. It is standard practice for plaintiffs alleging severe emotional injury to be examined by the opposing party’s expert; indeed, in a similar family-separation case pending in the Southern District of Florida, the adult plaintiff consented to an examination by the United States’ expert under the same terms that the United States proposes here,” the filing reads. The exam would consist of a clinical interview and a testing portion that includes a personality and emotional function test and a trauma-specific test, according to DOJ. The Justice Department’s response in the case may be a blueprint for similar cases from migrant families against the US government. “It’s bad enough that the Biden administration has not provided a meaningful settlement to the families separated under the Trump administration for the brutal treatment they received, but now the Biden administration is using taxpayer dollars to hire doctors to try and diminish the harm,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. “That is hardly consistent with President Biden’s statement that the separations were criminal and an historic moral blemish on the nation,” he added. The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project is representing six families who were separated at the border in similar cases and assisted hundreds of other lawyers who are filing monetary damages lawsuits. Attorneys have warned families who are part of these lawsuits that they may face depositions and potential examinations but viewed it as a worst-case scenario. “This is very aggressive. This is the thing that the Trump administration would’ve done and did do,” Cruz said, citing a case litigated under the Trump administration where a mother was deposed in a similar case. The trauma experienced by families has been extensively documented in studies by outside groups as well as by the federal government. The White House is seen on July 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Washington, DC prepares to host the annual Independence Day fireworks display on the National Mall on July 4 as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic First on CNN: White House hosts meeting of 19 Western Hemisphere nations to begin coordinated efforts on migrants Outside groups and a government watchdog have found over the years that children separated from their families under the “zero tolerance” policy experienced trauma. A 2019 Health and Human Services inspector general report included accounts of facility staff detailing the inconsolable crying of children when they were separated, confused and believing they had been abandoned by their parents. The Biden administration has committed to helping reunite families as part of a family reunification task force and providing services to help those affected by the policy. Since the creation of the task force, 487 children have been reunified with their parents in the United States, according to a September court filing. Attorneys are still searching for the parents of 151 children, the filing says. As part of the effort, the Department of Homeland Security has established a process for accepting parole requests, the Department of Health and Human Services is working on facilitating services to support families and the State Department is developing a streamlined system for processing in-country travel document requests. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

DHS says it won't conduct immigration enforcement at Hurricane Ian relief sites

The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that immigration enforcement activities will not be conducted at sites that provide emergency response and relief in light of Hurricane Ian's landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm. The big picture: A total of nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants live in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina — with Florida home to the largest population, at roughly 772,000, according to the Migrant Policy Institute. As Ian inundates densely populated coastal communities with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, many undocumented immigrants are now faced with the thought of arrest or safety. Details: These "protected areas" include evacuation routes; sites used for sheltering; distribution of emergency supplies, food or water; and registration sites for disaster-related assistance or the reunification of families and loved ones. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection will help with search and rescue, air traffic deconfliction and public safety missions at the request of FEMA or local and state authorities, but "DHS officials do not and will not pose as individuals providing emergency-related information as part of any enforcement activities," the department said in its notice. The move is routine practice, CBS news reports. What they're saying: "DHS is committed to ensuring that every individual who seeks shelter, aid, or other assistance as a result of Hurricane Ian is able to do so regardless of their immigration status." Worth noting: Immigrants are among the most vulnerable in a catastrophic climate event like Ian. In Florida, U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued three migrants who attempted to swim to shore after their vessel sank, officials said Wednesday. They were taken to a local hospital to treat symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration. Air crews are still searching for roughly 20 other migrants. State of play: Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, just a few miles per hour shy of Category 5 intensity on Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather Service has forecast potentially "catastrophic" flooding with widespread rainfall amounts of up to 18 inches across much of the state. For more informaiton, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

DeSantis' migrant flights grabbed headlines -- and now face legal scrutiny as questions swirl

On Sept. 14, two chartered planes carrying about 50 migrants arrived on Martha's Vineyard, an island enclave off the coast of Massachusetts that is famed for its seasonal visitors like the Obamas. Some of the migrants from Venezuela, including parents and children, thought they were being taken to communities with jobs for them and other resources, they or their attorneys later said. But local officials said they did not know about their arrival and scrambled to accommodate them. A day later, Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for transporting the migrants. He cast the flights -- which his state's government paid for out of funds originally tagged for COVID-19 relief -- as a necessary stunt in protest of Democrats' immigration policies. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, another leading Republican, has similarly been busing migrants from his state to Democratic-led areas far from the border to highlight the "crisis," including a record number of migrant arrests at the border this fiscal year. Advertisement "l'll tell you this: The border is now an issue in these elections," DeSantis said at a Wisconsin rally on Sept. 18. "It's on the ballot, and we got to make the most of it." But for as much attention as the flights drew to the issue of immigration -- and likewise drew praise from some conservative voters and lawmakers -- they have also drawn backlash and mounting legal scrutiny. Attorneys representing some of the migrants filed a class-action lawsuit last week claiming "material misrepresentations [were] made in furtherance of the unlawful scheme." And a Florida lawmaker filed his own complaint on Sept. 22, arguing the state monies for the flights were illegally used. PHOTO: A picture of the Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis is used in a protest sign posted on a podium during a rally and press conference against the relocation of migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Doral, Fla., Sept. 20, 2022. A picture of the Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis is used in a protest sign posted on a podium during a rally and press conference against the relocation of migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Doral, Fla., Sept. 20, 2022. Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock The sheriff in San Antonio, Texas, has also opened an investigation, telling ABC News: "We have to determine what exactly happened -- what was said, what was done, how were these people treated while they were here in my county? And if we can prove criminal intent, then we may be charging somebody with a crime." DeSantis, for his part, told ABC News that claims the migrants were "lured" from Texas are "false." Despite questions from ABC News and other outlets, DeSantis and his office have declined to discuss many of the specifics of the flights to Martha's Vineyard, such as the scope of the government's role in finding migrants and which state officials and outside entities were involved in the flights. Here is what is known and still unknown about DeSantis' headline-grabbing efforts to move migrants. What is known The Florida government worked with at least one third-party vendor to gather and transport the migrants earlier this month from Texas directly to Massachusetts. The migrants and their attorneys said in news reports and court papers that they are seeking asylum in the U.S. after leaving Venezuela to avoid violence. The migrants have been processed by the government and are awaiting court hearings on their immigration status, according to their attorneys. Recent Stories from ABC News Fewer people seek US unemployment aid amid solid hiring Florida officials funded the private flights via money that was originally authorized by Congress for COVID-19 relief, though the interest that the money accrued -- which was what technically paid for the migrant flights -- came with fewer strings, experts told ABC News. Democratic lawmakers in Washington have called on the Department of Justice to dig deeper: Forty-five House Democrats wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Sept. 23 to request a federal investigation into the flights, including whether there was a fraudulent scheme using federal funds to transport the migrants. PHOTO: Rafael Eduardo, an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela, hugs another immigrant outside of the Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, on Marthas Vineyard, Edgartown, Mass., Sept. 15, 2022. Rafael Eduardo, an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela, hugs another immigrant outside of the Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, on Marthas Vineyard, Edgartown, Mass., Sept. 15, 2022. Dominic Chavez for The Washington Post via Getty Images How Florida paid for the flights The Florida Legislature earlier this year approved $12 million from the state's budget for a program to "facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state," according to the language in the budget. "We're going to spend every penny of that to make sure that we're protecting the people of the state of Florida," DeSantis said on Sept. 16. That $12 million in the state's budget comes from the interest accrued on the $8.8 billion that Florida received as a part of the $350 billion federal fund for state and local governments to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. The fund is part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden. Recent Stories from ABC News States were directed to use their portion of the funds on pandemic-related issues such as providing pay bumps for essential workers and making up for shortfalls in lost revenue. But there are fewer restrictions and parameters on how the interest accrued from the funds can be used, said Alexis Tsoukalas, an analyst for the Florida Policy Institute. "Clearly, the fund was meant to help Floridians who are recovering from the persistent impacts of the pandemic, not for initiatives like these," Tsoukalas told ABC News. "It wasn't the intention for the federal government that these funds would be used in these manners." Who are the migrants Among the approximately 50 people who were flown to Martha's Vineyard from Texas are parents and children and sets of siblings, the attorneys representing them said in court papers. One woman, identified in the class-action suit filed against the state of Florida as "Yanet Doe," traveled from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard with her 11-year-old son and husband, the suit states. One woman, identified in the suit as "Yanet Doe," traveled from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard with her 11-year-old son and husband. "If Plaintiff Yanet Doe and her family had known that they would be deposited in Martha's Vineyard, or that the Defendants would use them as a political ploy in order to send a message about their political views on immigration, and force photographs of Plaintiff Yanet Doe and her family into the national media, Plaintiff Yanet Doe and her family would not ... have boarded the plane to Massachusetts," the suit states. Yanet Doe now worries she may miss key immigration hearings as a result of the travel, according to the suit. PHOTO: Migrant families say farewell to volunteers before boarding a bus that will take them to the ferry, on Martha's Vineyard in Edgartown, Mass., Sept. 16, 2022. Migrant families say farewell to volunteers before boarding a bus that will take them to the ferry, on Martha's Vineyard in Edgartown, Mass., Sept. 16, 2022. Migrants shipped to Martha's Vineyard by Florida's governor said that they had been misled about...Show more Matt Cosby/The New York Times via Redux Other migrants on the planes included "Pablo Doe" and his two brothers, according to the suit. The brothers were promised money, jobs, English classes and other aid, the suit alleges, but after arriving in Martha's Vineyard they "felt helpless, defrauded, and desperate." Pablo Doe "felt anxious and confused," the suit states. "As a result of the scheme, he suffers from lack of sleep." The migrants who are suing Florida "fled" their home country of Venezuela "in a desperate attempt to protect themselves and their families," according to the suit. "They are as deserving of dignity and empathy as anyone among us," their attorneys wrote. Who flew the migrants and how Florida's state government has given about $1.6 million of the $12 million allocated to transporting migrants to a helicopter operator named Vertol Systems, according to public records. More specifically, Florida first paid Vertol Systems $615,000 on Sept. 8, six days before the migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard. But how Vertol has itemized and spent that money for its operations is unclear. Neither the Destin, Florida-based company nor the governor's office have released records regarding their contracts or how Vertol has disbursed the funds. Airport industry experts say it's likely Vertol is operating as a middleman between Florida and the airline Ultimate Jet Charters, which carried the migrants. The state paid Vertol Systems another $950,000 on Sept. 19, one day before other migrants in San Antonio told The Miami Herald that they were scheduled to fly on a "clandestine" flight to Delaware -- Biden's home state. The Delaware-bound plane was canceled Sept. 20, the morning the migrants were supposed to depart, the Herald reported. DeSantis's office did not return ABC News' request for comment regarding whether Florida had plans to send migrants from Texas to Delaware on Sept. 20. DeSantis -- who has suggested that more migrant flights are coming -- was vague when asked last week about how the state's most recent payment was spent by Vertol Systems "The money is there. And then as expenses are done it'll get drawn down. But that has not been put to use necessarily. Remember there's a lot of other things that go on, other than just the transport," he said at a press conference on Sept. 22. Vertol Systems has been linked to other Republicans including Larry Keefe, the Florida chief public safety czar whom DeSantis appointed in 2021 to crack down on unauthorized immigration. Keefe, a lawyer, represented Vertol Systems in a series of lawsuits from 2010 through 2017. (NBC News first reported the connection.) Rep. Matt Gaetz, who represents the Panhandle district where Vertol Systems is based, was also listed as a lawyer for the company in a 2010 civil case, before he was elected to Congress. Vertol has a history of donating to Republicans. DeSantis has said the migrants were given informational brochures by a third-party vendor -- though it's unclear if that vendor was Vertol -- before they arrived in Martha's Vineyard. Photos of these brochures, provided to ABC News by DeSantis' office, show they contain information in both English and Spanish from the Massachusetts Office for Refugee and Immigrants about benefits that immigrants and refugees can receive. Attorneys for the migrants said in their class-action suit that the brochures were not produced by Massachusetts state officials. "They all signed consent forms to go," DeSantis said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Sept. 19. "And then the vendor that is doing this for Florida provided them with a packet that had a map of Martha's Vineyard, it had the numbers for different services on Martha's Vineyard and then it had numbers for the overall agencies in Massachusetts that handles immigration and refugees." DeSantis' office sent ABC News a redacted form with the title "Official Consent to Transport" and said it was "for the flight to MA." Whoever filled out the form wrote the abbreviation "TX" to indicate the place of departure and "MA" to indicate the place of arrival, according to the copy provided by DeSantis' office. The form was dated Sept. 13, the day before the flights to Martha's Vineyard DeSantis's office did not respond to questions about whether a migrant had filled out the redacted consent form that was sent to ABC News. His office also did not respond when asked if every single migrant who was transported to Martha's Vineyard had signed a consent form. "Nothing contained in this form -- even if every migrant signed it fully understanding the Spanish text -- makes it a consent to be flown to Martha's Vineyard if they were told they were going somewhere else," Rachel Self, an immigration attorney representing some of the migrants, told ABC News. The class-action suit alleges the migrants were told they were going to Boston or Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends a news conference in Miami, Sept. 22, 2022. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends a news conference in Miami, Sept. 22, 2022. Rebecca Blackwell/AP What is still unknown The two suits filed in response to the migrant flights and the San Antonio criminal investigation raise questions about whether the migrants were manipulated -- including by someone allegedly working with DeSantis who is identified in the class-action suit only as "Perla" -- and whether the money that helped transport them was illegally used. It also remains unclear if there will be future migrant flights; DeSantis had said he intended to keep highlighting the issue of migration. Are more migrant flights coming? The day after migrants arrived in Martha's Vineyard, DeSantis hinted that there were more flights coming. "We're not a sanctuary state, and it's better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction," he said at the Sept. 15 press conference. "And yes, we will help facilitate that transport." The next day, he doubled down, saying Florida would pay to relocate "more and more" migrants and also said there would be "buses like Texas." But no other migrants have yet been flown by Florida authorities. Who is 'Perla'? Among the defendants in the migrants' class-action suit is a woman identified only as "Perla," whom the migrants' attorneys allege was key in helping gather them for the flights to Martha's Vineyard. But the attorneys wrote in the suit that they don't believe they know her real name. The suit claims Perla "targeted many of the putative class members in San Antonio, Texas, to induce them onto the flights to Martha's Vineyard." According to the suit, Perla allegedly sought out migrants outside a shelter, asking "if they needed help" and then helped take some of the migrants to a local hotel and ultimately onto the chartered flights. Perla also allegedly had some of the migrants sign paperwork in exchange for McDonald's gift cards. "She did not explain what the document stated, and it was not completely translated to Spanish: an entire paragraph about liability and transport was not translated at all, and language specifying that the journey would take place from Texas to Massachusetts was not translated at all either," the suit claims. This account of Perla's conduct echoes what one of the migrants on the flights, a man named Jose, told The Washington Post. The Post report describes Perla as "a smiling blond-haired woman in a cowboy hat" who was using a "rented white SUV" as she looked for migrants in San Antonio. The legal challenges: Was the money illegally spent on non-Florida migrants? DeSantis and his administration are facing two lawsuits -- the class-action complaint filed on behalf of some of the migrants who were sent to Martha's Vineyard and another from a Florida lawmaker. The suit filed by Democratic state Sen. Jason Pizzo alleges that Florida misused state funds for transporting the migrants because the people were transported from Texas to Massachusetts rather than from Florida. PHOTO: Groups of migrants sit outside the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 19, 2022. Groups of migrants sit outside the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 19, 2022. The City of San Antonio Migrant Resource Center is the place of origin of the two planeloads of mostly Venezuelan migrants who were sent via Florida to...Show more Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images Pizzo pointed to language in a section of the state budget that says the earmarked $12 million is to implement "a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state." But because the migrants were not originally transported from Florida -- a fact DeSantis has also conceded -- that could support Pizzo's claim, outside experts say. "'From' is a reasonably specific word in English," Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow of the Migration Policy Institute at New York University's School of Law, told ABC News. "This has to be transportation of people from Florida." "There's at least on the face of it a clear showing that [DeSantis] violated the statute appropriating the money," Chishti added. DeSantis has said the choice to send migrants from Texas and not Florida was a way to prevent a large group of migrants from coming to his state. The governor maintains that many of the migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas plan to travel to Florida and that it's easier to meet them at the source. Chishti said if Pizzo's lawsuit is successful, the court can stop DeSantis from pulling further from the $12 million to transport migrants from other states. In wake of class-action suit allegations, were the migrants tricked? The federal class-action lawsuit filed on Sept. 20 by Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) is on behalf of at least three migrants who were sent to Martha's Vineyard. The suit claims the migrants were deprived of their rights through a conspiracy by Florida officials, including DeSantis. The suit describes an alleged pattern of deceit, with a group of unnamed defendants working with DeSantis and the state and "trolling streets outside of a migrant shelter in Texas and other similar locales, pretending to be good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance." The suit alleges the migrants were persuaded under "false promises and false representations" to board the planes to Martha's Vineyard. They were told the flights were headed to Boston or Washington, the suit states, and that they could expect to receive certain benefits upon arrival, including employment, housing and education opportunities. On Thursday, LCR sent letters to Vertol Systems and Ultimate JetCharters warning the companies to keep all evidence connected to the migrant flights. LCR told the companies to “preserve immediately any and all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things, stored in any medium, including but not limited to emails, video or audio footage, phone logs, visitor logs, payment records, manifests, text messages, and social media posts, that are or may potentially be relevant to the facts and claims” in LCR's suit. (Neither Vertol nor Ultimate JetCharters has responded to ABC News' requests for comment.) Chishti said the success of the class-action suit comes down to whether the migrants' attorneys can prove that they were harmed by being transported to Martha's Vineyard. "At the end of the day, what's the harm? What harm did it lead to? If they suffered a loss … that is actionable," he said. He also cautioned that DeSantis' conduct did not necessarily implicate him, even if the court confirms there was wrongdoing: "Even if it is true, it's going to be an official in a Florida agency who did it -- DeSantis is not going to be personally liable for luring people onto the flight. There's six degrees of separation between that luring and DeSantis." Ahilan Arulanantham, co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles' School of Law, said that "nobody can induce anybody to get on a bus and go travel long distances or a plane for that matter by lying to them. That is fraud. It is fraud under civil law. ... That is definitely potentially in play here, depending on the exact facts." Arulanantham was more skeptical of a potential claim of kidnapping -- which has been lobbed by some critics of the migrant flights. "It's not inconceivable, but it seems like quite a stretch from what I'm hearing, whereas fraud feels like it fits better," he said. He, Chishti and the legal experts who spoke with ABC News stressed that they were limited in assessing the situation as the facts were still emerging. "This is one of these cases where the optics are so bad. But there's a huge gap between terrible optics and legal liability," Chishti said. "A lot of this depends on evidence," he said. David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said he had "serious ethical and moral concerns about what's going on here" but noted, "I don't think we know enough yet." "I think a lot of questions have to be answered," he said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Biden White House preparing to take executive action to protect DACA 'Dreamers'

The White House is preparing to take executive action to protect hundreds of thousands of immigrants known as “Dreamers,” people close to the White House told NBC News, as the Biden administration braces for a potential court defeat that could end the decade-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Planning has intensified in recent days ahead of a decision on the program’s future from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, possibly within days. At stake is the ability of more than 600,000 people protected under the program, known as DACA, to continue living and working in the U.S. without fear of deportation. The conservative panel of judges is all but certain to rule that DACA is illegal. Although the Biden administration is likely to appeal the order, the Supreme Court has indicated it would agree with a 5th Circuit ruling that ends the Obama-era program. With few options to act on its own, the Biden administration is readying steps that could continue to shield from deportation — at least temporarily — immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children but lack legal status and were granted protections under the DACA program. The order would direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deprioritize deporting DACA recipients and refrain from deporting them if they aren’t deemed threats to public safety or national security. But the order could easily be reversed by another administration. When the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 to prevent the Trump administration from ending DACA, the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the Trump administration had gone about ending the program the wrong way. Legal experts believe the court, now more conservative, will ultimately rule that DACA itself is illegal, particularly because it allows for work authorization for undocumented migrants. Without action from Congress, the program’s work authorizations are all but certain to end. Immigration experts say thousands could abruptly lose their ability to earn a living in the U.S. “DACA has been threatened in the past, but the current case ahead of the 5th Circuit Court is the most severe threat to date,” said Todd Schulte, the president and executive director of FWD.US, a bipartisan political organization that advocates for progressive immigration reform. “If Congress does not pass legislation this year, it is likely that nearly 700,000 DACA recipients will be at risk of being forced out of their jobs and subjected to the threat of deportation. If the 5th Circuit rules against DACA, 1,000 existing DACA recipients will be at risk of losing their legal ability to work every single business day for the next 24 months.” The planning for a possible court defeat echoes a strategy the administration tried to use after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade three months ago. After that decision, President Joe Biden signed an executive order and federal agencies took steps to try to preserve access to abortion where possible, although some abortion rights activists still criticized the White House for seeming unprepared. In the DACA case, a disappointing ruling for supporters seems more likely than not, immigration advocates said. Not only has the 5th Circuit ruled unfavorably toward the Biden administration’s position previously in a related case, but any decision is also likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority would be expected to rule against DACA. The Biden White House has repeatedly urged lawmakers to act to protect DACA recipients, who are commonly referred to as “Dreamers” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act, and to overhaul immigration laws more broadly, but there are no signs that Congress will take up the matter seriously in the near future. Ad Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday that he had recently spoken to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the coming DACA decision. He didn’t say what Congress was prepared to do if DACA is terminated. “I think national sentiment is strong in favor of the ‘Dreamers’ and DACA protectees. And if something terrible comes out of the 5th Circuit, I think it could be an issue in November,” said Durbin, referring to the midterm elections. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Extension of Temporary Waiver of 60-Day Rule for Civil Surgeon Signatures on Form I-693

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending our temporary waiver of the requirement that civil surgeons must sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, no more than 60 days before an individual applies for the underlying immigration benefit (including Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). The waiver was originally effective until Sept. 30, 2022, but we have extended it to March 31, 2023, to further ease processing delays and associated difficulties in timely completing the immigration medical examination. This waiver applies to all Forms I-693 associated with applications for underlying immigration benefits that have not been adjudicated, regardless of when the application was submitted to USCIS or when a civil surgeon signed the Form I-693. This waiver will help applicants who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related processing delays, which have sometimes delayed immigration medical examinations. It also will help many applicants, including Afghan nationals evacuated under Operation Allies Welcome, who completed immigration medical examinations but could not apply for adjustment of status within 60 days of a civil surgeon signing their Form I-693. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

USCIS Stops Accepting CW-1 Petitions Under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act

USCIS will no longer accept CW-1 petitions filed by employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (the CNMI) under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act on or after Oct. 1, 2022. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 included the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act, Title IX, Div. P, Pub. L. 116-94 (48 U.S.C. 1801 note). The Disaster Recovery Workforce Act increased the CW-1 cap by 3,000 for fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022, for construction and extraction occupations for certain workers performing service or labor directly connected to, or associated with recovery from a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or for preparation for a future disaster or emergency. As a CW-1 petition filed under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act must request a start date no later than Sept. 30, 2022. USCIS cannot accept petitions under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act filed after Sept. 30, and any such petitions will be denied. Starting Oct. 1, construction and extraction occupations are prohibited under the CW-1 program, except for long-term workers. USCIS continues to accept CW-1 petitions other than those seeking approval under the Disaster Recovery Workforce Act. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

USCIS Extends Green Card Validity Extension to 24 Months for Green Card Renewals

Effective Sept. 26, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is automatically extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Lawful permanent residents who properly file Form I-90 to renew an expiring or expired Green Card may receive this extension. Form I-90 receipt notices had previously provided a 12-month extension of the validity of a Green Card. USCIS has updated the language on Form I-90 receipt notices to extend the validity of a Green Card for 24 months for individuals with a newly filed Form I-90. On Sept. 26, USCIS began printing amended receipt notices for individuals with a pending Form I-90. These receipt notices can be presented with an expired Green Card as evidence of continued status. This extension is expected to help applicants who experience longer processing times, because they will receive proof of lawful permanent resident status as they await their renewed Green Card. If you no longer have your Green Card and you need evidence of your lawful permanent resident status while waiting to receive your replacement Green Card, you may request an appointment at a USCIS Field Office by contacting the USCIS Contact Center, and we may issue you an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp after you file Form I-90. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Let’s Talk About Ron DeSantis’s “Reason” for Kidnapping Migrants

lorida Governor Ron DeSantis’s excuse for kidnapping Venezuelan immigrants and sending them to Martha’s Vineyard is certifiably ludicrous. Yet most people haven’t heard his attempted defense, either for the kidnapping charge or for the circumstances that led him to send lawful asylum seekers to the Massachusetts island. The corporate both-sides media has largely buried his lies and excuses, instead using this situation to launch another debate about the immigration system in this country—which is what Republicans want us to focus on. They certainly don’t want us talking about their revocation of reproductive rights or cultish support of a former president who is being investigated for espionage. Luckily, I am not desperate to secure pillow advertisements, so let’s get into it. The first and most obvious question that every reporter should be asking is: How did these immigrants get into DeSantis’s clutches in the first place? Remember, we’re talking about mainly Venezuelan immigrants who were in this country lawfully seeking asylum in Texas. They were staying in San Antonio. How did DeSantis get two planeloads of people to Martha’s Vineyard, by way of Florida? DeSantis has an answer for that and, once you wring English out of the gobbledygook, his explanation is shocking. Here’s the answer he gave to the threshold question of where these people came from, as reported by local Florida news outlets: The War in Ukraine Is at a Decisive Turning Point DeSantis said that “we’re not seeing a mass movement of [migrants] into Florida.” Instead, the state is using “intelligence” to identify people who enter the U.S. and want to come to Florida and diverting them to “sanctuary cities.” “We have to go and figure out, ‘OK, who are those people likely to be,’ and if you can do it at the source and divert to sanctuary jurisdictions, the chance they end up in Florida is much less,” the governor said. That’s the verbal equivalent of a guy selling TVs out of a truck trying to gloss over where he got the goods. So you need to do a close read to figure out what he’s actually implying. “We’re not seeing a mass movement of migrants into Florida” is DeSantis’s way of admitting that his state is not dealing with a mass influx of undocumented border crossings. Politically, this is important for DeSantis to say, because, while Florida does receive a fair number of immigrants entering the country without official status, a lot of those people come by boat and a number of them come from Cuba. People of Cuban descent are a huge part of the Republican base in Florida, so DeSantis has to assure that constituency that he’s only treating other immigrants like unwanted trash, not Cuban immigrants. But in so doing, DeSantis admits that Florida doesn’t have a problem with illegal border crossings, so he has to invent a different problem. His solution is to say that there are people who enter the United States but “want to come to Florida.” He says he’s using “intelligence” to figure out who these people “are likely to be.” Folks, I don’t know what “intelligence” is available to DeSantis that lets him know that a person plans to come to Florida one day, but it sure sounds like all DeSantis is doing is racially profiling people. He didn’t go to Chicago and steal two planeloads of Ukrainians to send them to Martha’s Vineyard. An able media would be demanding to see what, if any, evidence DeSantis had suggesting that the 48 people who were in San Antonio intended to migrate to Florida. My guess is that he has none, not a stitch, and that his “intelligence” was based entirely on the ethnicity of the people he stole from Texas and not any evidence that they wanted to come to Florida. But even focusing on DeSantis’s lack of intelligence buries the lede, because the other problem with the statement is that there is nothing necessarily illegal or improper about immigrants’ traveling to Florida. The idea that DeSantis can just decide who can visit or move to his state and then “intercept” those he doesn’t want is fascist. It’s not like the governor of New York can identify which Republican, MAGA, forced-birth fanatics are likely to want to come to New York and then block them from getting here. Kathy Hochul cannot “intercept” Lindsey Graham before he comes to prostrate himself in front of Trump Tower. An investigation into these events has been opened by Bexar County, Tex., Sheriff Javier Salazar. San Antonio is in Bexar County, so Salazar has jurisdiction over any of DeSantis’s agents on the ground who participated in the scheme to lure these people out of San Antonio. We must now turn to what DeSantis did with the people he lured out of Texas. To help combat the charges that he kidnapped these people, DeSantis went on Sean Hannity’s program. Hannity began with a monologue about how the victims were put up in hotels, fed, and “offered haircuts” by DeSantis’s people. It reminded me of that time former Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended slavery by saying the enslaved people who built the White House were “well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” Then again, the things the average white Fox viewer believes haven’t changed much since 1787. When Hannity stopped defending DeSantis long enough to allow DeSantis to defend himself, the governor said this: “And not only that—they all signed consent forms to go. And then the vendor that is doing this for Florida provided them with a packet that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard. It had the numbers for different services on Martha’s Vineyard. And then it had numbers for the overall agencies in Massachusetts that handle things involving immigration and refugees. So it was voluntary. And all of the other nonsense you’re hearing is just not true.” I have already written about why telling people they’re going to one place and sending them to another is not a “voluntary trip.” It should be common sense that consent given under false pretenses is not consent at all. If DeSantis consents to come to my house for dinner, but once he gets here I give him a bucket of water and set my house on fire, DeSantis does not suddenly become a volunteer firefighter. He becomes a victim in my insurance fraud scheme. All the signed consent forms in the world are meaningless pieces of paper if those signatures were induced with lies and false representations. Amazingly, in the Hannity interview DeSantis confirms a piece of evidence that can be used to show the false representations he and his agents made to these immigrants. He says the people were given a “packet” that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard and other relevant information. We know about that packet, because it’s a key part of the class-action lawsuit some of the immigrants have filed against Florida. According to the immigrants and DeSantis himself, that packet contained a brochure about the services offered in Massachusetts. The problem is that the brochure was fake. The brochure was not produced by any official or group in Martha’s Vineyard or Massachusetts, and it touted services that are not available to immigrants. Instead, the brochure was made up by somebody who was somehow involved in this plot, and they appear to have cribbed some of the claims made in the fake brochure from a Massachusetts refugee program. MORE FROM MYSTAL TISH JAMES GOT THE GOODS ON THE TRUMP FAMILY GRIFT—NOW WHAT? Elie Mystal LET’S CALL DESANTIS’S MIGRANT STUNT WHAT IT IS—KIDNAPPING Elie Mystal I know that the people who are most likely to support DeSantis are also the kind of people who think “refugee,” “asylum seeker,” “illegal alien,” “foreign brown person,” and “rapist and criminals” are all the same thing. But DeSantis, a Harvard Law School graduate, damn well knows the legal difference. He knows that refugees are entitled to resettlement benefits and asylum seekers are not. He knows that telling asylum seekers about benefits given to refugees is misleading, and he knows that the immigrants in question would have likely relied on his false representations. To pull everything together: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis orchestrated a plot to lure 48 lawful asylum seekers out of their lodgings in Texas and onto a plane, using false inducements and outright lies. And he did it as a cheap political stunt to excite a base of despicable people who are okay with using brown people as weapons. If we had a real media, more people would be outraged by this, and if we had a real Justice Department, DeSantis wouldn’t get away with it. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Tech Job Openings Remain High, But Congress Is Not Taking Action

New data on job openings in the United States show the lack of workers to fill technology-related jobs continues, contributing to inflation and the production of fewer goods and services in the economy. The new data come soon after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) blocked efforts to provide more employment-based green cards for high-skilled foreign nationals. The number of job vacancy postings in computer occupations in America exceeds 804,000, according to a National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis of data from Lightcast Job Posting Analytics (formerly Emsi). The data show over 326,000 job vacancy postings in the U.S. for software developers (and software quality assurance analysts), 64,712 postings for computer systems analysts, 57,307 for database administrators, 44,073 for information security analysts, 40,492 for electrical engineers and nearly 300,000 job vacancies in various other computer occupations (as of September 22, 2022.) The numbers (unique job postings) likely underestimate job openings since employers do not post every opening or may abandon listings for positions that remain open too long. The unemployment rate in computer and math occupations was a low 2.3% in August 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That follows an average unemployment rate of 2.4% in 2021 for computer and math occupations. The unemployment rate for architecture and engineering occupations was 1.9% in August 2022. MORE FOR YOU 5 Cognitive Biases Blocking Your Success Preparing To Go Public: An Overview Of The IPO Process Immigrants Hope Registry Saves Immigration Bill U.S. professionals in computer fields earn higher salaries than nearly all Americans except for professional athletes, doctors, lawyers and a few other professions. The median earnings of IT (information technology) professionals were 40% higher than the median earnings of other professionals between 2002 and 2020, according to data on U.S.-born workers analyzed by Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of North Florida and formerly an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The policy question is simple: Would America benefit from more open policies to admit highly skilled foreign-born individuals to work in computer and information science, engineering and other technical fields? Analysts have found people with a poor grasp of economics or an aversion to people born in other countries would answer “no.” Mark Regets, a labor economist and an NFAP senior fellow, notes that there is overwhelming evidence of high employer demand for people with technical skills, but that ultimately it is not fruitful to debate whether there is a shortage or surplus of computer specialists, scientists and engineers. “Markets tend to clear, and it is in all of our interests that we have more high-skilled individuals that contribute to a high level of research and development and business creation.” Regets explains that admitting more high-skilled professionals (and more workers at all skill levels) would benefit the United States in multiple ways. “We are still re-inventing how we do things in this economy after Covid, and technical skills are particularly needed for that redesign,” he said in an interview. “But in addition to that, reductions in immigration have been a huge supply shock to the economy. Inflation occurs when the demand for goods and services grows faster than supply. Increasing our ability to produce is the least painful way to control inflation. Increasing the supply of labor increases production, but immigrants also adapt to our needs in ways that add dynamism to the economy.” Due to the lack of employment-based immigrant visas, an H-1B petition is often the only practical way for a high-skilled foreign national to work long-term in the United States. Congress has not increased the annual limit on H-1B visa levels since 2004. As a result, the supply of H-1B visas has been exhausted for the past 20 consecutive fiscal years. In April 2022, the annual limit of, in effect, 85,000 new H-1B visas for employers—about 0.05% of the U.S. labor force—caused U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reject about 400,000 (80% of) applicants for new H-1B petitions. Since only about 56,000 new H-1B petitions are in computer occupations annually, that means there are about 14 times more job vacancy postings in computer occupations (804,344) as new H-1B petitions used by companies in computer occupations in a given year (even adopting a zero-sum approach). Despite what economists see as the significant benefits to the United States of immigrants with technical skills, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) stopped the inclusion of a key immigration measure in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which became law on August 9, 2022. Grassley blocked an exemption from annual green card limits and backlogs for foreign nationals with a Ph.D. in STEM fields and those with a master’s degree “in a critical industry.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave Grassley, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a veto, in practice, over any immigration measure in the bill. During a House-Senate conference committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) urged the Senate to accept the House’s measures, which included a startup visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. The Biden administration, businesses and universities hoped at least the exemption for individuals with Ph.D.s in STEM fields would become law. Economists note members of Congress cannot repeal the law of supply and demand, which means employers will likely continue to find it difficult to hire enough scientists and engineers for their businesses to innovate and grow in the United States. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

What’s happening to the migrants being bussed north?

Salimata, her husband Moussa, and their baby son, Ibrahim, fled violence in their home country of Ivory Coast. They arrived in Texas this year, seeking asylum in the United States. After a day at a shelter, they were put on a bus and dropped off in Washington, D.C. They’re three of the thousands of migrants who have been bussed to northern cities from Texas, Arizona, and Florida. The Republican governors say left-leaning cities and states should share in the responsibility of taking care of the record number of migrants coming over the border. After Salimata and her family got off the bus in D.C., they found a home with Sue Kenney-Pfalzer, an immigration attorney looking for a way to help. They spent nearly three months living together before Sue had to move to California for work. Now, Salimata’s family is living in a New York City homeless shelter. “Asylum seekers coming from the border are human beings that just need help,” Sue told us. She set up a GoFundMe to raise funds to support Salimata’s family. We talk to Salimata and Sue, then turn to a panel of experts on immigration to talk about the situation at large. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

US expands, extends Myanmar immigration status to May 2024

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Biden administration said Monday it is expanding and extending temporary legal status in the United States for several thousand people from Myanmar after a military coup last year in the Asian country. The decision extends Temporary Protected Status for 18 months for an estimated 970 people of Myanmar until May 25, 2024, and makes an additional 2,290 eligible to live and work until that date if they were in the United States on Sunday. People of Myanmar “are continuing to suffer a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis due to a military coup, upheaval, and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Myanmar, also called Burma, has been ruled by the military for most of the past 70 years. The army’s takeover interrupted a gradual transition toward democratic civilian government and a more modern, open economy and resulted in a slew of sanctions against the military, which controls many industries as well as army family members and cronies. About 150,000 immigrants from Myanmar lived in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Migration Policy Institute analysis of census data. The largest concentrations were in Marion County, Indiana, with 8,800; Los Angeles County, California, with 7,600; and Ramsey County, Minnesota, with 6,800. ASIA Top Asian News 2:57 p.m. GMT Harris focuses Asia trip on security, adds tour to Korea DMZ ADB to devote $14B to help ease food crisis in Asia-Pacific Washington announces more aid for floods-ravaged Pakistan Congress created the Temporary Protected Status program in 1990 to provide a safe haven for people unable to return to their countries due to natural disasters or civil strife. About 350,000 people from more than a dozen countries benefit from the status, which can be extended in increments of up to 18 months. People of El Salvador are the largest beneficiaries. The Trump administration attempted to end the status for many countries but faced legal challenges. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.