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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, December 23, 2022

In Legal Limbo, Biden Has No Clear Path To An Immigration Fix

Title 42, implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the pandemic, has been used by the Trump and Biden administrations to expel millions of asylum seekers from the country. Mired in legal battles from both ends of the political spectrum over the policy, the Biden administration acknowledges that changes have to be made to the nation's immigration system — but reform appears to still be politically impossible. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Migrants at US-Mexico border await ruling on asylum limits

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Francisco Palacios waited for four hours with his wife and 3-year-old daughter at a border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego early Wednesday before going to a nearby hotel for a three-hour nap. They came back, bags packed, only to be disappointed again. But the family from the western Mexican city of Morelia is prepared to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether and when to lift pandemic-era restrictions that have prevented many from seeking asylum, said Palacios. “We don’t have a choice,” Palacios said in Spanish, explaining that his family arrived in Tijuana two weeks ago to escape violence and gangs that extorted them for years for a chunk of their income selling fruit from a street cart. They’re among thousands of migrants gathered along the Mexican side of the border, camping outside or packing into shelters as the weather grows colder. The limits on border crossings had been set to expire Wednesday before conservative-leaning states sought the top court’s help to keep them in place. The Biden administration asked the court to lift the restrictions, but not before Christmas. It’s not clear when the court’s decision will come. ADVERTISEMENT Texas National Guard members took up positions in El Paso at the behest of the state, while volunteers and law enforcement officers worried that some migrants could succumb to the cold. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 30s and will be even colder in coming days. The Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso, where nighttime temperatures could drop into the 20s this week, planned to open two more shelters for up to 1,000 people at area churches. HEALTH Flu starting to wane in US after brutal start to season 'A very hard road ahead' for China as COVID-19 cases spiral Group urges feds to investigate Snapchat over fentanyl sales New label law has unintended effect: Sesame in more foods Jhorman Morey, a 38-year-old mechanic from Venezuela, warmed his hands by a campfire with a half-dozen other migrants on the southern side of the Rio Grande. He said he was waiting for a decision on the restrictions before attempting to cross into the U.S. Other migrants waded through shallow waters toward a gate in the border fence. “I want them to decide” on the public health rule known as Title 42, said Morey, who arrived six weeks ago in the Mexican city of Juarez, across the border from El Paso. He now rarely eats after exhausting his savings. Hundreds of migrants remained in line in Juarez. Others slept along the concrete embankments of the Rio Grande. ADVERTISEMENT As crowds gathered on the riverbanks, 1st Sgt. Suzanne Ringle said one woman went into labor and was assisted by Border Patrol agents. She added that many children were among the crowd. In Tijuana, an estimated 5,000 migrants were staying in more than 30 shelters and many more renting rooms and apartments. Layered, razor-topped walls rising 30 feet (9 meters) along the border with San Diego make the area daunting for illegal crossings. A mood of resignation prevailed in Tijuana’s Agape shelter, which housed 560 predominantly Mexican migrants on Wednesday. Maricruz Martinez, who arrived with her 13-year-old daughter five weeks ago after fleeing violence in Mexico’s Michoacan state, said rumors were rampant that migrants should line up at the border crossing to San Diego Monday. ADVERTISEMENT Albert Rivera, the pastor and shelter director, convened a meeting to tell people migrants that they should only trust official U.S. sources. He convinced most occupants, but said he would like the U.S. government to provide more detailed updates. A Mexican woman staying at the shelter with her husband and 11-year-old son, who declined to give her name because she is being pursued by a gang, said she fled her village of about 40 homes in Michoacan state after a gang forced her brother to join, killed him, and then burned her house down. The last straw came after the gang forced her 15-year-old son to join them under threat of killing the family and demanded her husband join, sending photos of chopped limbs as a message of the price for resistance. The woman said the gang took her husband’s refusal as an insult. “They think we are making fun of them for not wanting to join them,” she said, fighting back tears. ADVERTISEMENT The pastor said psychologists had interviewed the woman and he hoped for her to be exempted from Title 42. A Mexican man who asked that he be identified by his first name, Brian, for safety reasons, said his refusal to join a gang after seven years in the army prompted him to flee his home in Guerrero state with his wife and two sons two months ago. He avoids leaving the shelter except for quick shopping trips. Brian said he applied for an exemption to the asylum ban. “Desperate, sad,” he said when describing his thoughts when he learned that Title 42 would be extended beyond Wednesday. “It’s dangerous because you don’t know who could be following you.” Under Title 42, officials have expelled asylum-seekers inside the United States 2.5 million times, and turned away most people who requested asylum at the border, on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Immigration advocates have said the restrictions go against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution, and that the pretext is outdated as coronavirus treatments improve. They sued to end the use of Title 42; a federal judge sided with them in November and set the Dec. 21 deadline. ADVERTISEMENT Conservative-leaning states appealed to the Supreme Court, warning that an increase in migration would take a toll on public services and cause an “unprecedented calamity” that they said the federal government had no plan to deal with. In response, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order to keep the restrictions in place. The federal government then asked the Supreme Court to reject the states’ effort while also acknowledging that ending the restrictions abruptly will likely lead to “disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings.” States filed a response early Wednesday, arguing that letting the restrictions expire while the court reviews the lower court decision would cause “immediate, severe, and irreversible harms” to the states. Though the Wednesday expiration date was set weeks ago, the U.S. government asked for more time to prepare — while saying that it has sent more resources to the border. About 23,000 agents are deployed to the southern border, according to the White House. The Biden administration said it has sent more Border Patrol processing coordinators and more surveillance and has increased security at ports of entry. Should the Supreme Court act before Friday, the government wants the restrictions in place until the end of Dec. 27. If the court acts on Friday or later, the government wants the limits to remain until the second business day following such an order. Title 42 allows the government to expel asylum-seekers of all nationalities, but it’s disproportionately affected people from countries whose citizens Mexico has agreed to take: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and, more recently, Venezuela, in addition to Mexico. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Immigration reformers’ hopes dashed as Senate fails to act

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders who wanted to strike a deal on immigration reform before the end of the year saw their hopes dashed Thursday. Democrats saw the lame-duck session between the November election and the start of the new Congress as the last chance to pass significant legislation before they lose their majority in the House. They had hoped to attach immigration reforms to a $1.7-trillion package to fund the government that passed the Senate Thursday afternoon. Lawmakers considered bills that would have offered pathways to citizenship for farmworkers, for Afghans evacuated to the U.S. since last year and for so-called Dreamers brought to the United States as children. Another proposal would have removed caps on the number of green cards granted each year to people from any given country. ADVERTISEMENT None of those bills advanced. Instead, supporters of immigration reform found themselves playing defense. On Thursday morning, senators only narrowly defeated an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have indefinitely extended the use of Title 42, the public-health code measure that allows border agents to expel migrants without considering their claims for asylum. “I am not giving up on you — don’t give up on me. We are going to fight for you to win,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) told dozens of Dreamers at a rally last week, his voice cracking with emotion. The moment illustrated the frustration some lawmakers felt as another opportunity to bring changes to the immigration system came and went. ADVERTISEMENT Perhaps the broadest and highest-profile of the reform proposals that failed to advance came from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a former Democrat who is now an independent, and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Their legislation would have bolstered border security funding and expanded the use of detention facilities in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for roughly 2 million immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Tillis and Sinema had reportedly been in talks for months about the deal, which also would have extended Title 42. Although some immigrant advocates had been cautiously optimistic about the draft legislation, House Democrats including Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said they could not support it, and House Republicans including Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said securing the border should not be coupled with any pathway to citizenship. The bill’s text was never made public, and time ran out for a floor vote. ADVERTISEMENT The Border Patrol union’s support for Tillis and Sinema’s framework showed promise for achieving a compromise, said Cris Ramón, an independent global migration analyst. “One of the major things getting in the way is there’s a sense that whatever they introduce has to fix the border on the first try,” Ramón said. “The border is incredibly dynamic — it’s always changing and shifting.” After a federal judge ordered that Title 42 be lifted by Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security braced for a rise in migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. But on Monday the Supreme Court issued an order temporarily keeping the Trump-era pandemic measure in place. ADVERTISEMENT At the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington on Dec. 15, Durbin told Dreamers gathered for a rally that he had tried to find the votes for legislation to protect their status, but that he had fallen short with Republicans. Durbin wrote the first version of the DREAM Act in 2001 in an effort to establish a path to permanent residency for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. More than a decade later, then-President Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, widely known as DACA, to temporarily protect qualified immigrants from deportation. DACA supporters rally outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Phoenix earlier this year. POLITICS ‘I can’t keep fighting the system’: DACA recipients are leaving the U.S., disheartened by years of instability Nov. 12, 2022 ADVERTISEMENT Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, deputy director of federal advocacy for United We Dream and a DACA recipient herself, said she was disappointed in the lack of progress during the lame-duck session. A federal court case challenging DACA is expected to reach the Supreme Court, where advocates predict the conservative majority will declare the program illegal. Macedo do Nascimento said she worries Congress will wait until the last minute to act to protect people like her. “I feel like they sometimes forget that they’re dealing with real people’s lives,” she said. “It feels really dehumanizing.” Another bill that never got a floor vote would have phased out annual limits on the number of employment-based green cards awarded per country of origin, while doubling the per-country cap on family-based green cards. ADVERTISEMENT The current limits have disproportionately affected people from India and China, who make up a significant portion of immigrants with visas for high-skill work and often wait decades to become permanent residents; as well as people from Mexico and the Philippines, who face backlogs for family sponsorship. A blue, orange, purple, black geometric illustration POLITICS More than a million could die waiting for green cards as U.S. immigration buckles amid COVID Aug. 4, 2022 Critics warned that eliminating the per-country caps without increasing the number of green cards available each year would result in most going to applicants from a few countries at the expense of those from all other countries. In a letter to her Congressional Black Caucus colleagues this month, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) wrote: “I cannot support efforts that would perpetuate the current inequities in our immigration system.” ADVERTISEMENT During House floor debate on Dec. 13, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said the Congressional Research Service had concluded the bill would have no adverse effect on applicants from Africa or the Caribbean, and called on Congress to move the immigration system “away from its racist origins.” The bill was removed from the voting schedule the next day. One bill that did make it to a vote was the Veteran Service Recognition Act, which would have protected immigrants who served in the U.S. military from deportation and made it easier for those who were deported to return. But after the bill cleared the House early this month, the Senate did not take it up. Efforts to include significant immigration provisions in the federal defense bill were also unsuccessful, including a proposal to protect so-called documented Dreamers when they turn 21 from aging out of qualifying for lawful status under their parents’ visas. ADVERTISEMENT IOWA CITY, IOWA JUNE 27, 2022 - Laurens van Beek with his dog Mocha at his family's home in Iowa City, Iowa on Monday, June 27, 2022. (Nick Rohlman / For The Times) WORLD & NATION He’s self-deporting after ‘aging out’ of his parents’ visa. Will Congress help other immigrants stay? July 5, 2022 Another proposal that didn’t advance was the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would have provided additional security vetting and a pathway to citizenship for more than 70,000 Afghans resettled in the U.S. under temporary status that expires after two years. That bill garnered broad bipartisan support, as well as the backing of more than 40 well-known retired military officers, who wrote in a letter to Congress on Saturday that failing to enact it would make the U.S. less secure. “Potential allies will remember what happens now with our Afghan allies,” they wrote. ADVERTISEMENT Advocates had held out hope that protections for Afghans would be included in the $1.7-trillion funding measure. Lawmakers attempted to fold in as many items on their legislative wish lists as possible without hindering the omnibus package from advancing. The Senate package provides more than $86 billion to the Homeland Security Department, with increased funding for border technology, maritime security and migrant apprehensions, according to a summary released by House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). The bill includes money to hire 300 more BorderPatrol agents, provides $133 million to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for refugee processing, rejects the Biden administration’s attempt to cut immigrant detention capacity by more than 25% — instead maintaining 34,000 beds — and earmarks $800 million to help nonprofits and local governments with the arrival of migrants in places such as El Paso. ADVERTISEMENT The omnibus also extended the Special Immigrant Visa program, which offers green cards to Afghans who worked with the U.S. government, and raises the cap on those visas by 4,000, to 38,500 total. But it doesn’t include protections for Afghans already here, many of whom don’t qualify for the program and must apply for asylum or risk deportation. Advocates also hoped to slide a last-minute Senate bill into the omnibus package to offer a pathway to citizenship to people who have worked as farmworkers for more than a decade. The Affordable and Secure Food Act, unveiled last week, would have modified and expanded the H-2A visa program that U.S. employers can use to hire seasonal migrant laborers — allowing them to employ some workers year-round. It would have also required agricultural employers to use E-Verify, the electronic system that screens employees for legal work authorization. ADVERTISEMENT But the bill lacked public Republican support and was opposed by the American Farm Bureau. In a speech Monday night on the Senate floor, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) urged his colleagues to take action. “Are we really going to accept, as a definitional matter for this country, that we want fields filled with indentured servants?” he said. Supporters of the Afghan Adjustment Act pushed for a long-shot floor amendment to include its protections in the omnibus package, but it didn’t get a vote. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Republicans talk of 'chaos' at the border without Title 42 but don't have better plan: Padilla

California Sen. Alex Padilla on Sunday pushed back against what he called "Republican rhetoric" around the expected expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy which allows the expulsion of migrants on public health grounds. "Here's the biggest frustration for all the Republicans rhetoric about chaos at the border: No. 1, they have yet to come forward with a plan of how to better handle this scenario," Padilla, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration, citizenship and border safety subcommittee and the first Latino to represent California in the chamber, told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz. "No. 2, they have not been willing to commit the additional resources that the departments and agencies say that they need to handle this big influx," Padilla said. While Republicans say President Joe Biden has not been clear and forceful enough in his immigration policies, Padilla argued otherwise -- while calling Title 42 a health policy that no longer served its purpose. MORE: What is Title 42 -- the Trump-era immigration order at the US-Mexico border? "It's past time for Title 42 to be gone," he said. "The administration has made it clear that while Title 42 is technically lifted, they're ready to put in place a system at the border that keeps them fairer but also more orderly and more safe." Recent Stories from ABC News Raddatz asked Padilla about immigration comments from his state's governor, Gavin Newsom, that California is overwhelmed, with systems that will "break" without Title 42. "The fact is, what we've got right now is not working and it's about to break in a post-42 world unless we take some responsibility and ownership," Newsom told ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman earlier this month. PHOTO: A video grab show Alex Padilla in an interview with Martha Raddatz, not seen, on This Week. A video grab show Alex Padilla in an interview with Martha Raddatz, not seen, on This Week. ABC News On "This Week," Padilla admitted that the rollback will be a challenge and hinges in part on the funding and operations of the departments that oversee immigration at the southern border. He also directed some blame at former President Donald Trump, claiming Trump's administration underfunded immigration agencies. "I appreciate Gov. Newsom's frustration. He and I spoke just a couple of days ago," Padilla said. Raddatz pressed Padilla several times for clarity about what he thinks conditions will look like after Title 42. "Do you expect everything to just go smoothly on Wednesday? Give us a sense of what will happen in your state, given what Gavin Newsom has said, for these first couple of weeks when they do expect 18,000 people a day crossing the southern border," Raddatz said. "We will, I'm sure, see the departments begin to make every effort to maintain the safety, the orderliness, the fairness of people seeking asylum or having other determinations that they're coming for other reasons or in other places," Padilla said. MORE: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says end of Title 42 will bring 'total chaos' Conservatives like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have said Title 42 -- which has been used to remove people more than 2.4 million times -- should remain in place or risk an overwhelming amount of immigration at the southern border. The policy ending "will likely increase" migration flows, the Department of Homeland Security said last week. Critics of the restriction say it prevents people from lawfully making asylum claims as they try to enter the U.S. Last month, a judge ruled Title 42 should be lifted by Wednesday, finding that it had minimal impact on public health. Recent Stories from ABC News On Friday, a federal appeals court turned down some GOP-led states' efforts to force the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place. The states, including Texas, are expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. PHOTO: A video grab show Alex Padilla in an interview with Martha Raddatz on This Week. A video grab show Alex Padilla in an interview with Martha Raddatz on This Week. ABC News Padilla told Raddatz on Sunday that "we do need to invest more in border safety and security." But, he said, "we've got to do it in a smart way" in contrast with Republican calls to focus on erecting massive, continuous physical barriers. "The years we lost to the 'build the wall' debate was foolish," he said. "We know that whether it's migrants -- whether it's you know, whatever the Republicans are afraid of, contraband, etc. -- comes primarily through ports of entry. And so that's got to be the first and foremost focus on border safety dollars," Padilla said. He has authored a number of immigration reform measures and has led efforts to try to get an immigration fix into an omnibus spending bill that Congress is currently considering. On "This Week," Padilla said that immigration policy should continue to be discussed by lawmakers. Recent Stories from ABC News "An individual, a family, coming to the border seeking asylum today is very different than the millions of immigrants who are in the United States already and have been here for years. Yes, in many cases undocumented, but working, paying taxes, raising families, contributing to the success of our economy, working in essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic," Padilla said. "They deserve better than to live in fear of deportation." "Can we separate the need to do right by them from addressing somebody coming to the southern border next week?" he continued. "Republicans, are they willing to do that as well?" Raddatz asked Padilla if bipartisan compromise on immigration, which has repeatedly failed in Congress before, was possible. He noted the current political climate but said, "God, I hope so, because the ideas are already there." For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Sinema Says Immigration Talks ‘Coming Back Strong’ Next Year (1)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is planning to keep the pressure on immigration talks in the next Congress, starting with a trip to the US-Mexico border with other lawmakers. The Arizona senator, who left the Democratic Party to become an independent earlier this month, outlined her plans Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Government. She and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) recently hashed out an immigration framework that failed to come together during the lame-duck session. “We ran out of time in these last couple days before the holidays, but we will be coming back strong in January, continuing to build bipartisan support for our framework,” Sinema said. Immigration and border security, always thorny topics on Capitol Hill, have become even more complicated in recent weeks. The Biden administration is preparing to end pandemic-era asylum restrictions known as Title 42—though the Supreme Court is now weighing the policy’s fate. The framework Sinema crafted with Tillis proposes spending more than $25 billion on border security, providing pay raises to Border Patrol agents, extending Title 42 for at least a year, creating regional centers to swiftly process asylum claims, and providing a pathway to citizenship for 2 million immigrant “Dreamers” who came to the US as children. Senate colleagues were wary of the proposal earlier this month, with some expressing interest but refusing to pledge support until they learned more details. Sinema and Tillis spoke with lawmakers again about the proposal on the Senate floor on Tuesday, and are planning a congressional delegation with Democrats and Republicans to the border next month, she said. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks at a news conference on Nov. 29, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Getting House Traction Any legislation that seeks to offer a citizenship path to undocumented immigrants faces a steep climb next year in the GOP-controlled House, where leaders have pledged to focus on border security. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who helped strike an unsuccessful deal on Dreamers in 2018, said Sinema and Tillis would need to get House Republicans on board early for their proposal to get traction. “This is too big for something to just go over like, ‘Take it or leave it,’” he said. He added, however, that he’s open to the discussions despite political headwinds. “You can’t give up when you’re talking about archaic laws right now that need to be repaired.” Sinema said she’s already engaged with Republicans and Democrats in the House on the immigration framework. Immigration Pitch Gets Cautious Reception With Details in Flux “We are preparing for what we expect to be a growing crisis in the next coming weeks, and we want America to understand that there is a bipartisan coalition that is looking for solutions, and we intend to grow support and ask for a vote on our measure,” Sinema said, referring to the potential expiration of Title 42. The Biden administration anticipates at least a temporary spike in migrant crossings when the public health authority ends. Bipartisan Track Record Sinema added lawmakers can build on their success in passing bipartisan measures during this session of Congress. She was a key player in negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure law and gun safety legislation, among other measures. Still, getting bipartisan immigration legislation off the ground in a divided Congress would be a herculean task. “I’m not optimistic,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who previously raised concerns about the Title 42 extension and other provisions in the Sinema-Tillis framework. A group of three House Democrats also spoke out against the proposal. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who played a leading role in previous immigration talks, said he wants House Republicans to pass a border security plan first, and then “I’d be willing to sit down and talk to people.” Sinema framed border security and status for Dreamers as a package deal but indicated she was open-minded about strategy. “I am always agnostic in terms of strategy,” she said. “I will do whatever it takes to get things done and solve problems.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Biden expands immigration tool that doesn’t require Congress

Two years into an administration that faces legislative inaction and numerous legal challenges to its immigration agenda, the Temporary Protected Status program has emerged as a key tool for President Joe Biden. The program allows immigrants who cannot safely return to their home countries to work legally and avoid deportation for 18-month periods. And it allows Biden to unilaterally designate which countries are eligible, bypassing Congress. That has enabled Biden’s Department of Homeland Security to deliver immigration relief to hundreds of thousands of people, even as lawmakers fail to advance other immigration policies and Republican-led states use lawsuits to hamper other initiatives, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Biden has more than doubled the number of immigrants eligible for TPS, according to an analysis from the Cato Institute. In January 2021, 411,326 people were eligible. That number has since risen to 986,881. And in 2023 — when a Republican-controlled House is unlikely to pursue any immigration overhaul — advocates and lawmakers want Biden to go even further. “He has the power and the legal authority to expand TPS,” said José Palma, a TPS recipient from Massachusetts who immigrated from Honduras more than 20 years ago and advocates for broader TPS protections. “We feel that he should use it as an opportunity to say, ‘While we continue the conversation on finding a permanent solution, at least for people who are here, for people who qualify — we're going to provide TPS.’” Turnaround from Trump The TPS program has not always enjoyed support from the White House. Former President Donald Trump attempted to terminate TPS status for roughly 400,000 people, but his efforts were frustrated in court. “The Trump administration's goal with the TPS program was to mostly shut it down,” said David Bier, associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. Trump tried to end TPS designations for Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, Nepal, Honduras and Nicaragua. TPS holders from those countries then sued the government and won temporary relief. In October of this year, settlement talks between the Biden administration and the immigrant plaintiffs in that case collapsed, but the Biden administration subsequently announced it would preserve TPS for the 300,000 immigrants whose fate had been at risk. In the past two years, Biden’s DHS has broadened existing TPS designations for Somalia, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen, allowing more recently arrived immigrants to apply. It has also made new designations for Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Cameroon, Sudan, Ukraine and Venezuela, opening up protection to entirely new categories of immigrants. TPS has been “an absolutely essential tool, as part of his overall immigration strategy, to make sure he doesn't need to deport people who would be going back to countries in turmoil,” Bier said. Legislative morass Advocates and progressive lawmakers have spent months urging the Biden administration to use TPS more broadly in the absence of legislative progress on immigration. Shortly after his inauguration, Biden unveiled a sweeping immigration proposal that would have legalized 11 million undocumented immigrants. In 2021, Democrats tried and failed to include many of those provisions in a party-line budget reconciliation bill, which ran into parliamentary problems and intraparty opposition from a handful of key moderates. More recently, a narrower bipartisan deal between Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., did not materialize in time for consideration before the end of the 117th Congress. And a House bill that would allow TPS recipients a path to citizenship has yet to advance in the Senate. Biden’s immigration policies have also encountered near-constant legal challenges from Republican-led states. GOP lawsuits in the past two years have blocked his narrowed immigration enforcement priorities and attempts to end the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" program. A Trump-appointed judge also ruled against the DACA program, which protects roughly 600,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The program has been barred from considering new applicants for more than a year, and its overall fate remains uncertain. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

No immigration ‘fix’ and Congress isn’t really trying

CNN — The strange reality of the dysfunctional, duct-taped US border policy is that a key portion was written by former President Donald Trump’s administration during the pandemic, enforced under pressure by the administration of President Joe Biden and is now at the whim of the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, CNN reporters on both sides of the border with Mexico on Tuesday encountered people who have already risked their lives on thousand-mile journeys to make it into the US. The plodding end of Title 42, as the Trump-era policy is known, has the government bracing for a surge of migrants it has long known would be coming. The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court for more time Tuesday night to prepare for the end of a policy it officially opposes. ADVERTISING The Department of Homeland Security has projected between 9,000 and 14,000 migrants could attempt crossing the Southern border each day. Read more about Title 42 from CNN’s Catherine Shoichet. The first step is admitting the problem Rather than fix things over the past two years, Republican governors have engaged in a game of one-upsmanship, staging ever-more elaborate public displays to proclaim themselves the biggest champion of border security. Democrats, meanwhile, have seemed to refuse to acknowledge there is a crisis at the border and now the White House is scrambling at the last minute to vocalize a plan to deal with things. All the while, businesses – from the high-tech to the labor-intensive – are in need of workers to combat a labor shortage. And people who want to come to the US legally wait in line for years. It’s not possible to just ‘fix’ this “We’re not going to fix it immediately,” Theresa Cardinal Brown told me. She is managing director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center and said solutions will take time. “There’s not a button to push or switch or a single policy that will suddenly quote unquote ‘fix’ what is happening.” The major problem with US border policy over the past few decades is that Congress has failed to change policy. “Congress should be working on tweaking immigration on a regular basis – every few years,” she said, arguing that used to occur in the ’80s and ‘90s with tweaks to programs that responded to developments. Immigration is not a static thing. The motivations and situations of people who want to migrate change. And so do the needs of the US. “The longer they don’t act and the worse the problems get, the longer it will take to right the ship, to get order back, to manage it appropriately,” she said. Congress can make big things happen. But not on immigration Lawmakers are quickly coming together around a $1.7 trillion spending bill with extraneous bipartisan measures thrown in. But the bill left out a bipartisan proposal from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, the erstwhile Arizona Democrat who’s now registered as an independent, and Thom Tillis, the North Carolina Republican, that would have given many of the 11 million undocumented people living in the US a pathway to legal status while also extending Title 42. We know what solutions look like Every president for a generation has tried, and failed, to enact some kind of comprehensive immigration reform. Experts argue that only a holistic approach will work and it needs to address two main problems: The millions of undocumented people living in the US The antiquated and broken legal immigration system, which does not appropriately acknowledge labor needs of the country and drives people to seek unlawful routes. “There’s not even a bipartisan agreement on whether there’s a crisis,” Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s New York office, said. “That, to me, is the beginning of the dysfunction of immigration.” This week proves the dysfunction, he said, as the future of Title 42 swirled and images of migrants were plastered on TV screens. “Here are clear images, clear facts, that there’s a crisis, and members of Congress choose nothing to do about it,” Chishti told me. Immediate problems on both sides of the border CNN’s Ed Lavandera, reporting from El Paso, described soldiers from the Texas National Guard deploying fence and barbed wire in areas where migrants have been crossing. The city’s Democratic mayor has declared a state of emergency and the city is looking for warehouse space to use as temporary shelter. “We’re also seeing where the politics of border security is taking over,” Lavandera told CNN’s Ana Cabrera Tuesday, noting the state has deployed those National Guard troops in a way that frustrates local officials, who Lavandera said want more help with food, shelter and transportation for migrants. “Right now officials are saying that they are going to continue moving ahead as if Title 42 is going to be lifted tomorrow,” Lavandera said on CNN Tuesday. Migrants have changed The profile of migrants has changed in the years during which Congress did little other than throw money at border security. What used to be individual men from Mexico coming to the US to work has turned into a tide of families coming from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, risking their lives for a dangerous journey over thousands of miles. That the immigration system is broken is not up for dispute. Whether it is fixable is a real question. Just across the border from El Paso in Ciudad Juarez, CNN’s David Culver has been talking to migrants who spent weeks traveling hundreds of miles, often on foot, and are now confused as they hope for asylum in the US. He kept in touch with migrants he met a month ago. One family found its way to Indianapolis and is waiting for a January court date. One man was driven all the way from El Paso to California and then deported into Tijuana. Another family is renting a house without a kitchen in Juarez and has tried twice to cross into the US. The current system can’t handle this “The system is already overwhelmed,” Ron Vitiello, the former acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Trump administration, told Cabrera. The end of Title 42 will mean more work for border officials, who have expelled migrants in half an hour under Title 42. When that policy is gone, it will take more than three hours per individual. Vitiello said a Trump-era policy whereby people seeking asylum should wait for a hearing in Mexico or be detained should be reinstated. Anything less, he argued, is the equivalent of an open border. Extend the stopgap policy or not? The Biden administration has a six-pillar approach to increase border resources, send additional agents to the border and crack down on unlawful entry. What the administration has not done is embrace an extension of Title 42, even as it asked the Supreme Court for more time Tuesday. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat whose district includes portions of the border, said on CNN the US should maintain Title 42 as an ongoing policy and create a safe zone on the southern border of Mexico with Guatemala for asylum seekers to have their cases adjudicated before they arrive. “Until we build long-term immigration infrastructure further away from the border, we will always be dealing with this issue,” Gonzalez said. “People are running from poverty around the world and coming in very high numbers,” he added. “I think our laws are antiquated and we need to fix them and create legislation that fits modern day.” Sit down and talk Ruben Garcia is director of Annunciation House in El Paso, an organization that serves migrants. He told Lavandera lawmakers must acknowledge the changing nature of migrants. “Right now the state and federal government are fighting each other,” Garcia said. “One of the reasons we are facing moments like this is because our political leadership does not sit down and work out comprehensive reform that takes into account the phenomenon of refugees.” Democratic Rep. Andrew Espaillat of New York, himself a formerly undocumented immigrant, said the US fell “asleep at the wheel” over the past decade as countries elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere faltered. “The hemisphere is facing a crisis of democracy,” he said, noting that migrants are fleeing regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, as well as violence and natural disaster. “We have to address what is going on in the hemisphere,” he said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Spending package won’t include ‘Dreamer’ protections

The deal to fund the federal government through fiscal 2023 will not include protections for “Dreamers,” the name given to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors. Congress is set to vote this week on the $1.7 trillion spending package that will keep the government open through September of 2023, avoiding a budget fight during the early days of the incoming GOP House majority. Democrats especially have been keen to pass a long-term funding bill while they still hold the majority, blocking the path for provisions without ample bipartisan support. But Democrats are also wary of provisions that a GOP-led budget could include, especially on immigration policy. “While I am relieved that this omnibus government spending package didn’t include anti-immigrant provisions, I am incredibly disappointed to see that protections for our nation’s Dreamers didn’t make it into the final agreement,” said Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), a top promoter of Dreamer protections. ADVERTISING Some Democrats made a hard push to include a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million Dreamers in any lame-duck bill, and in the process opening the door to immigration policy concessions they had rejected in past negotiations. A potential deal between Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) provided that framework, protecting 2 million Dreamers in exchange for, among other things, supercharged interior enforcement that could imperil the other 9 million undocumented immigrants in the country. That deal — the only one to gain real bipartisan traction — crashed last week, leaving House Democrats clamoring for a solution emanating from the Senate. The House during this Congress passed two significant immigration reform bills, one dealing with Dreamers and beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status and another expanding immigration options for agricultural workers, but neither bill showed signs of attracting the 10 Senate Republicans necessary to overcome a filibuster. Correa last week led a letter along with Reps. Jesús García (D-Ill.) and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) — collectively known as the “Three Amigos” for their efforts to include immigration provisions in key legislation — in which they called on the Senate to include Dreamer protections in the budget. Dreamers face a twofold challenge, given constant GOP-led lawsuits to quash the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Texas governor tells Biden flow of migrants is ‘a catastrophe of your own making’ Biden administration asks chief justice to allow Title 42 to end On one hand, nearly 600,000 Dreamers who currently have DACA protections are at risk of losing their work permits and protections from deportation if the program is fully nixed by the Supreme Court. On the other, the nearly 1.5 million Dreamers who don’t currently have DACA protections find themselves in limbo, with no recourse to apply for legal status in the country where many of them have grown up. “This is just another example of the political malpractice that has been waged against our immigrant communities for decades, perpetuating cycles of false hope for millions. We can, and must, pass meaningful immigration reform—and I won’t stop fighting until we fulfill that promise,” Correa said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

How will asylum work after Title 42 ends? No one knows yet

AN DIEGO (AP) — Show up at a border crossing with Mexico and ask a U.S. official for asylum? Sign up online? Go to a U.S. embassy or consulate? The Biden administration has been conspicuously silent about how migrants who plan to claim should enter the United States when Trump-era limits end, fueling rumors, confusion and doubts about the government’s readiness despite more than two years to prepare. “I absolutely wish that we had more information to share with folks,” said Kate Clark, senior director for immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which has facilitated travel within the United States for more than 110,000 migrants released from custody since October 2018. Migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 on grounds of preventing COVID-19 under a public-health rule that was scheduled to expire Wednesday until U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary hold. Title 42 has been applied disproportionately to those from countries that Mexico agrees to take back: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and more recently Venezuela, in addition to Mexico. People from those countries are expected to drive an anticipated increase in asylum claims once the rule is lifted. HEALTH New label law has unintended effect: Sesame in more foods China limits how it defines COVID deaths in official count Don't get drunk: UK govt urges caution amid ambulance strike As flu rages, US releases medicine from national stockpile ADVERTISEMENT Many expect the government to use CBPOne, an online platform for appointment registration that was introduced in 2020. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection mobile app has had limited use for people applying for travel permits and for those tracking U.S. immigration court hearings under the now-defunct “Remain in Mexico” policy. It’s expected migrants using the app would make appointments to seek asylum in the United States, but would have to remain outside the country until their slotted time and date. CBPOne, which some advocacy groups oppose over data privacy concerns, may be impractical for migrants without internet access or language skills. The agency also must get the word out. Nicolas Palazzo, an attorney with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas, said he worries scammers will charge migrants to sign them up and that CBP’s limited processing capacity will result in intolerable waits. ADVERTISEMENT “Unless they plan to ramp that up significantly, someone applying for admission on CBPOne is going to be given a date that is like a year out,” Palazzo said. “Realistically, can they tell me with a straight face that they expect people to wait that long?” Mohamad Reza Taran, 56, left Iran on Nov. 26 after converting to Christianity and flew to Tijuana, Mexico, where U.S. border inspectors at a San Diego crossing turned him away when he asked for asylum. The computer technician planned to wait to see if he would get in immediately after Title 42 is lifted and, if not, said he would cross the border illegally, perhaps by climbing the border wall in San Diego or walking across flat desert in Yuma, Arizona. He has family in Los Angeles and sees the United States as his only option. ADVERTISEMENT “I have nothing here,” Taran said in an interview outside a church in Tijuana, where he was searching for people who could instruct him on U.S. policies. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, said CBP officials told him last week they hoped to funnel asylum-seekers through official crossings and turn back to Mexico anyone who crosses the border illegally to the greatest possible extent. Doing so would likely be challenged in court because asylum law says people who enter illegally are entitled to seek protection. No one disputes that the Border Patrol is woefully ill-equipped for processing — even while Title 42 kept a lid on numbers. The Border Patrol paroled nearly 450,000 migrants in the United States through October — including 68,837 in October and 95,191 in September — sparing its agents the time-consuming work of issuing orders to appear in immigration court. According to a Government Accountability Office report, it typically takes at least two hours to prepare a court case, compared to a half-hour to release someone on parole. ADVERTISEMENT Migrants paroled by Border Patrol agents are allowed to move freely within the United States and told to report to an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices at their final destinations, typically in two months. The GAO report, released in September, details how the processing work dumped on ICE has hamstrung employees. As of March, ICE scheduled 15,100 appointments for families to complete processing as far out as March 2024. One ICE office reported up to 500 people a day showing up in person, most without appointments. After families get a court appearance, they contend with a court system that is backlogged by more than 2 million cases, resulting in waits of several years for judges to reach decisions. Waiting two years to just get on the court docket reflects a “totally collapsed” system, said Theresa Cardinal Brown, managing director of immigration and cross-border policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center. Online registration using CBPOne would be “antithetical to the whole concept of asylum” because it could force people to wait in unsafe places, said Melissa Crow, litigation director for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. ADVERTISEMENT Crow and others believe CBP could process far more people than they have been. Earlier this year, the agency processed up to about 1,000 Ukrainians a day at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, about three times its custody capacity. Since the pandemic, migrants released in San Diego have been housed in motels until leaving, usually on a flight to family and friends east of the Mississippi River, Clark said. To prepare for the end of Title 42, Jewish Family Service opened a building for families to snack, watch television and play in a courtyard after they book travel, freeing up motel rooms for new arrivals. Clark likens it to an “airport lounge.” CBP has been releasing more migrants to Jewish Family Service through exemptions to the asylum limits — about 200 to 250 a day, Clark said. Others are housed by the Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. “It’s a day we’ve been working toward for some time,” Clark said Monday, having heard nothing from CBP about how migrants will be processed after asylum limits end. She anticipates more releases but doesn’t know how many. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Biden to travel to Mexico in January for meeting with AMLO amid migrant crisis

President Joe Biden will travel to Mexico next month to meet with Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Biden will be in Mexico City on Jan. 9-10 for the North American Leaders’ Summit, National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby confirmed Tuesday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to attend. The announcement comes amid a surge in migrants that has taxed border communities. Local authorities worry resources will be strained further if the U.S. lifts the Title 42 health order that allowed the Biden administration to expedite the removal of migrants throughout the pandemic. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency on Saturday in anticipation of the demise of the Trump-era policy. A lower court ordered the measure to be lifted on Dec. 21, but the Supreme Court intervened on Monday, potentially delaying changes to immigration enforcement. US President Joe Biden meets with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Oval Office of the White House on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC. The White House had stressed on Monday, prior to the intervention, that even if Title 42 is lifted, the U.S. will continue to enforce border security, yet officials declined to say whether Biden would travel to Mexico to deliver the message in person. Kirby said Biden's summit agenda would focus on climate and environmental challenges, policies meant to increase the North American nations' competitiveness, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, health and safety measures and migration issues. In a snub of Biden, López Obrador skipped a summit the U.S. hosted in Los Angeles for Latin American leaders in June after the U.S. president refused to invite leaders from non-democratic countries. Biden later hosted López Obrador, who also goes by his initials AMLO, at the White House. At the July meeting the U.S. president emphasized the importance of the alliance to addressing migration and combating drug smuggling at the border. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Biden administration wants Supreme Court to end Title 42 — just not yet

The Biden administration said it could no longer wind down the so-called Title 42 policy by Wednesday, even if the Supreme Court allowed it to follow through on a lower court’s ruling to effectively terminate the border directive that has prevented the entry of millions of migrants. The response on Tuesday from the Department of Justice comes a day after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay of a federal district court judge’s order that required the Biden administration to lift the implementation of Title 42 by Wednesday morning. Roberts’ order came in response to an emergency application filed by 19 Republican-led states to keep in place the Title 42 policy, a federal directive that has allowed border officials to “expel” millions of asylum-seeking migrants on public health grounds during both the Trump and Biden administrations. Roberts gave the Justice Department until Tuesday evening to respond while the high court decides whether to fulfill the states’ request for longer-term relief. In its response, the Justice Department said it opposed the bid by the GOP-led states to keep the Title 42 limits in place while litigation over the issue proceeded. But at the same time, the federal government made a plea for additional time to prepare for a transition. The request comes as critics have been warning that the Biden administration was ill-prepared to handle an anticipated surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. “The government recognizes that the end of the Title 42 orders will likely lead to disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings. The government in no way seeks to minimize the seriousness of that problem,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the Tuesday afternoon submission. “But the solution to that immigration problem cannot be to extend indefinitely a public-health measure that all now acknowledge has outlived its public-health justification.” The Supreme Court is expected to move quickly on the matter. A ruling that could have a sweeping impact at the border is likely to come within a matter of days. Already, thousands of migrants appeared to have gathered along the southern border, knowing border officials will not be able to remove them as quickly as they could under the Title 42 restrictions first imposed by the Trump administration in March 2020 as the coronavirus began its global spread. This week’s legal uncertainty over the fate of the border directive is yet another chapter in the Biden administration’s rocky journey in bringing to an end Trump-era immigration policies. Even as administration officials project preparedness, the situation at the southern border has become a political mess for the White House, and the request for additional time is yet another signal the administration is scrambling to implement a back-up plan to replace Title 42. In Tuesday’s Supreme Court filing, the Justice Department conceded that the administration expected a temporary increase in border crossings, while asking that justices keep Title 42 in place at least until the end of the day on Dec. 27. And if the Supreme Court doesn’t reach a decision until Dec. 23 or later, the administration is asking for two business days to implement new policies. Administration officials are still finalizing plans to deal with the impending surge, people familiar with the planning told POLITICO last week. DHS is weighing a revival of a “transit ban” model, ramping up new training for asylum officers to help them understand who qualifies under the international Convention Against Torture and considering an expansion of humanitarian parole programs for Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans. “Although the end of the Title 42 orders likely will likely lead to a temporary increase in border crossings, the government is prepared to address that serious problem under its Title 8 authorities, including by adopting new policies to respond to the temporary disruption that will occur whenever the Title 42 orders end,” Prelogar said, alluding to the traditional immigration authorities the administration was expected to return to in handling — and limiting — asylum claims. “If applicants are dissatisfied with the immigration system Congress has prescribed in Title 8, their remedy is to ask Congress to change the law — not to ask this Court to compel the government to continue relying on an extraordinary and now obsolete public-health measure as de facto immigration policy,” the solicitor general wrote. The Biden administration’s stance on the issue is murky. When U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the Title 42 restrictions last month and ordered the policy to end by Dec. 21, the Justice Department appealed. The government argued that it did not need the policy in place because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that formally issues the directive, had already determined it wasn’t necessary with Covid cases far lower than when Title 42 was first reinstated in March 2020. But federal authorities said in their appeal they wanted to preserve the ability to use the health-related powers of Title 42 in the future, if the situation merits it. So even though the Justice Department appealed Sullivan’s ruling, it found itself Tuesday in the position of asking the high court to leave the judge’s order in place for now — and deny the states’ attempt to prevent the order from taking effect. Prelogar explains this seeming contradiction by arguing the GOP-led states are not entitled to emergency relief because they lack legal standing this late in the game. The litigation that led to Sullivan’s order was underway for nearly two years before the states launched their unsuccessful bid to intervene. But the states contend the Biden administration is trying to capitalize on Sullivan’s order to advance the administration’s broader goals to end the Title 42 policy. For more informaiton, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Scoop: Biden's inflation-immigration pitch

The Biden administration is plotting to make a fresh push on immigration reform in the new year, looking for ways to provide legal status for so-called "Dreamers" and increase the labor supply to help lower inflation, according to people familiar with the matter. Why it matters: Biden’s political advisers know the situation at the border — with up to 14,000 migrants expected to be crossing every day if Title 42 ends — presents an urgent humanitarian emergency and a long-term political dilemma. At the same time, top economic aides are concerned that the lack of immigrant workers is leading to labor shortages, which will continue to keep inflation high. But finding a legislative compromise that’s acceptable to the GOP-controlled House, as well as the president’s progressive base, will be a massive challenge. Biden officials are willing to try. What they're saying: Immigration reform is "harder in the divided Congress, but it's so clearly necessary in light of what we're seeing in the job market," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Axios. “The thing that's underpinning inflation still — that’s driving inflation still — is this tight labor market,” she said. "Immigration is a lever,” she stressed. "We're down a million immigrants a year. That's a workforce that we need." What we're watching: The president, like the rest of Washington, doesn’t know who the next speaker of the House will be — and how much space he or she will have to maneuver on immigration or any other legislation. Leading up to next year’s State of the Union, Biden officials will continue to mill and refine the president's 2023 agenda, considering what's legislatively possible and what they need to include to please their progressive base. By the numbers: Inflation has cooled from its June high of 9.1%, with the Consumer Price Index reading 7.1% in November. Job growth continues to be robust, with employers adding 263,000 jobs last month. But wage growth has also accelerated: Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers were up 0.6% in November, translating to a 5.8% annual rate over the past three months. That will make the Fed's job of taming inflation more difficult. The big picture: The contours of a grand immigration bargain have been in view for several years, but only if you squint. Republicans would receive increased funding for border security; Democrats would win permanent protection for the roughly 2 million undocumented migrants who were brought here as minors, and the business and agricultural communities would get more visas for high- and low-skilled workers. An actual political compromise has been maddeningly difficult. The most recent bipartisan effort by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) foundered late in the legislative cycle, after some hope that their framework could find 60 votes in the Senate and pass the House while Democrats still controlled it. Go deeper: Biden outlined his plan to modernize the immigration system on the first day of his presidency and has continued to call it a priority. Asked about the prospects for immigration reform in the new Congress, Jared Bernstein, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CNBC that "the legislative agenda can always surprise you.” “And President Joe Biden is pretty masterful at pulling legislative rabbits out of hats,” he added. "So I wouldn't count anything out." Between the lines: The White House also wants to increase the labor supply by convincing Congress to provide billions in new programs for elder and child care, two planks of Biden's Build Back Better agenda that were knocked out by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). In addition, the administration is seeking to expand the workforce by helping younger Americans learn skilled labor and enabling older workers to retrain in new fields. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Biden meets Ecuador's president as immigration crisis grows

3 minute readDecember 20, 20226:43 AM PSTLast Updated 10 hours ago Biden meets Ecuador's president as immigration crisis grows By Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ecuador President Lasso [1/5] U.S. President Joe Biden has a bilateral meeting with Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden met Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso on Monday to discuss efforts to stem the flow of migrants to the United States as the White House faces increased pressure over its immigration policies. The Biden administration is required this week to lift Title 42, a public health order first issued under former President Donald Trump that allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to rapidly expel migrants to Mexico or back to their home countries to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in U.S. holding facilities. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report an ad Lifting the order, as required by a judge who said it was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated federal regulatory law, could lead to thousands of asylum-seeking migrants being released in border state communities and a greater influx of migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border. article-prompt-devices Register for free to Reuters and know the full story Biden and Lasso sat beside each other in the Oval Office to begin their discussions. "Today we're going to keep building on the progress we've made. Together we've made historic strides on migration," Biden told reporters. Latest Updates Peruvian electoral jury gives provisional OK for late 2023 elections Snowstorm halts flights at Canada's second busiest airport in Vancouver Lula, Putin talk on 'strategic' Brazil-Russia relations Brother of one of Mexico's most wanted drug capos arrested Endangered pink iguana hatchlings seen for first time on Galapagos island Lasso said he and Biden would affirm democratic values of liberty and respect for human rights. After the meeting, he told reporters that migration did come up in their talks. "We have talked about migration and migration as a consequence of the economic problems of many countries in Latin America. We have ratified our commitment to continue supporting, as we have done, the migration phenomenon, especially (migrants) from Venezuela in Ecuador," he said. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report an ad U.S. lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, on Sunday pressed Biden to take action to manage an expected wave of asylum seekers at America's southern border. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, appearing on the CBS News "Face the Nation" program on Sunday, urged Biden to ask for an extension of Title 42. "The president needs to find a way," Manchin said. Lasso visited the White House after former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, who is Biden's special adviser for the Americas, extended an invitation on the president's behalf during a recent visit to Ecuador. Lasso attended the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last summer after a number of key presidents opted to skip it and send delegations instead. The Biden administration has sought to tackle what it calls the "root causes" of immigration, including poor economic conditions and political instability. "We are obviously invested in Ecuador's success and the president of Ecuador, democratically elected as he is, is working hard to deliver prosperity and security for his people," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a call with reporters on Friday. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

POLITICS Chief Justice temporarily blocks end of Trump-era immigration policy

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday placed a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that would end a Trump-era immigration policy implemented during the pandemic to allow asylum-seekers to be quickly turned away at the border. The brief order came after Republican-led states asked the Supreme Court to keep the policy in place. Roberts ordered that the federal district court ruling, which was due to go into effect on Wednesday, be put on hold until the Supreme Court acts. He asked the Biden administration and groups challenging the policy to file a response to the states’ request by Tuesday afternoon. Nineteen states led by Arizona and Louisiana filed an emergency request after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week rejected their request to intervene in the case in a bid to prevent the policy, known as Title 42, being wound down. “Getting rid of Title 42 will recklessly and needlessly endanger more Americans and migrants by exacerbating the catastrophe that is occurring at our southern border,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement. Read more from NBC News: Jan. 6 committee summary: Ivanka Trump not ‘forthcoming’; Giuliani changed tone on stolen election during deposition Biden releases plan to reduce homelessness as numbers match pre-pandemic Biden to condemn rising antisemitism in U.S. at Hanukkah reception The states say President Joe Biden’s administration had “abandoned meaningful defense” of the rule, saying it effectively engineered, with the help of lawyers challenging the policy, a ruling that would end it. As a result, the states are seeking to intervene in order to keep it in place. The appeals court said in its order last week that the states had waited too long before attempting to intervene. In a separate case, the administration’s previous effort to unwind the policy had been blocked by a federal judge. Title 42, named after a section of U.S. law, gives the federal government power to take emergency action to keep diseases out of the country. Former President Donald Trump invoked it when the pandemic broke out, and it has remained in effect during the Biden administration. More than 2 million people have been expelled from the country as a result. Various civil rights groups, including the Americans Civil Liberties Union, challenged the policy on behalf of people covered by it. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Faith leaders prep for border changes amid tension, hope

REYNOSA, Mexico (AP) — Two long lines of migrants waited for blessings from visiting Catholic priests celebrating Mass at the Casa del Migrante shelter in this border city, just across the bank of the Rio Grande River from Texas. After services ended last week, several crammed around the three Jesuits again, asking about upcoming U.S. policy changes that would end pandemic-era asylum restrictions. That’s expected to result in even more people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, adding to the already unusually high apprehension numbers. “All of you will be able to cross at some point,” the Rev. Brian Strassburger told the nearly 100 Mass goers in Spanish while a Haitian migrant translated in Creole. “Our hope is that with this change, it will mean less time. My advice is, be patient.” It is getting harder to deliver that message of hope and patience not only for Strassburger, but also for the Catholic nuns running this shelter and leaders from numerous faith organizations who have long shouldered most of the care for tens of thousands of migrants on both sides of the border. ADVERTISEMENT Migrants here — mostly from Haiti, but also Central and South America and more recently from Russia — are deeply mistrustful of swirling policy rumors. A judge has ordered the restriction known as Title 42, which only affect certain nationalities, to end Wednesday. But the asylum restriction, which was supposed to lift in May, is still being litigated. AP TOP NEWS Ukraine's Zelenskyy preparing to visit DC on Wednesday Trump taxes: House panel mulls releasing long-sought returns US asks court to end asylum limits, with a short delay Peru Congress tentatively OKs early election amid unrest Faith leaders working on the border are wary of what’s to come. They expect tensions will keep rising if new restrictions are imposed. And if not, they will struggle to host ever larger numbers of arrivals at already over-capacity shelters and quickly resettle them in a volatile political environment. “People are coming because it’s not long before the bridge will be opened. But I don’t think that the United States is going to say, ‘OK, all!’” said the Rev. Hector Silva. The evangelical pastor has 4,200 migrants packed in his two Reynosa shelters, and more thronging their gates. Pregnant women, a staggering number in shelters, have the best chance of legally entering the U.S. to apply for asylum. It takes up to three weeks, under humanitarian parole. Families wait up to eight weeks and it can take single adults three months, Strassburger explained at Casa del Migrante, where he travels from his Texas parish to celebrate Mass twice a week. ADVERTISEMENT Last week, the shelter housed nearly 300 people, mostly women and children, in tightly packed bunk beds with sleeping pads between them. Men wait in the streets, exposed to cartel violence, said Sister Maria Tello, who runs Casa del Migrante. “Our challenge is to be able to serve all those who keep coming, that they may find a place worthy of them. …Twenty leave and 30 enter. And there are many outside we can’t assist,” said Tello, a Sisters of Mercy nun. Edimar Valera, 23, fled Venezuela with family, including her two-year-old daughter. They crossed the notoriously dangerous Darien Gap, where Valera nearly drowned and went without food. After arriving in Reynosa and escaping a kidnapping, she found refuge at Casa del Migrante, where she’s been since November despite having a sponsor ten miles away in McAllen, Texas. ADVERTISEMENT “We need to wait, and it could be good for some and bad for others. One doesn’t know what to do,” she said, finding some comfort in Mass and daily prayers, where she begs God for help and patience. So does Eslande, 31, who left Haiti for Chile. She is on her second attempt to cross into the U.S. after not finding there the right help for her young son’s learning disability. At Casa del Migrante just a day, she read the Gospel aloud in Creole during Mass, a reminder of happier times when her father distributed Communion. “I have faith that I will be going in,” she said in the Spanish she’s learned en route. Like many migrants, she only gave a first name fearing for her safety. Tensions are rising faster than hope as it’s unclear who will be able to cross first. “Any change could grow the bottleneck,” said the Rev. Louie Hotop, dropping off hygiene donations at one of Silva’s shelters — a guarded, walled camp with rows of tents pitched tightly together. ADVERTISEMENT Even if Title 42 is lifted and thousands more are allowed to enter the U.S., asylum seekers would still face enormous backlogs and slim approval chances. Asylum is granted to those who cannot return to their countries for fear of persecution on specific grounds — starvation, poverty and violence don’t usually count. It’s a long, uncertain road ahead even for the roughly 150 migrants at a barebones welcome center in McAllen, Texas, where the Jesuit priests stop after their Reynosa visits. Families legally admitted to the United States, or apprehended and released, rested in the large Catholic Charities-run hall before traveling to join sponsors. Lugging their Mass kit and heavy speakers, the priests offered migrants spiritual and practical help– like writing “I’m pregnant. Can you ask for a wheelchair to bring me to my gate?” on a paper for a Honduran woman eight months pregnant with her first child and terrified about airport travel. ADVERTISEMENT “It’s a way of listening, of supporting, it’s not so much resolving the immediate problem,” the Rev. Flavio Bravo said. “They bring stories of trauma, of life, that we must give value to.” Sister Norma Pimentel, a prominent migrant rights advocate who first helped border crossers four decades ago and now runs Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said religious people should push for centrist reform to help migrants — not make them political pawns. “Policies don’t respond to the realities we’re facing,” said Pimentel, who opened the welcome center in 2014 for the first big asylum surge of this century. “It’s impossible to help everyone … but who are we to limit the grace of God?” Now, the busiest crossing is some 800 miles away in El Paso, Texas, and neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Ronny, 26, turned himself into U.S. authorities there and was flown to McAllen because “around Juarez it was collapsing,” he said last week at Pimentel’s shelter. He and his family left Venezuela on foot in September because he opposed his country’s regime and his wages were too low to afford food. He has a U.S. immigration appointment next month in New York where his sponsor lives, but no money to get there. On his first free night in the U.S., he turned to God, following Mass from a distance so he wouldn’t leave the thin mat where his children slept. “We ask God for everything. Always,” he said. ___ For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Harris says Congress needs to lead on immigration after Title 42 restrictions end

Vice President Harris says the Biden administration is prepared to do what it can to manage an expected surge of people trying to seek asylum at the southern U.S. border when pandemic border restrictions end, but said it's up to Congress to put in place broader reforms to deal with the issue. Title 42, the Trump-era public health order that restricted migrants from crossing the southern border, had been set to expire on Wednesday, until the Supreme Court issued a temporary halt on the expiration late on Monday. Republican attorneys general from 19 states have argued that lifting the restrictions would likely cause a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border. There has already been an increase of people attempting to migrate to the U.S. in recent weeks. "I think that there is so much that needs to happen to address the issue," Harris said in an interview with NPR, hours before the Supreme Court issued its stay. "And sadly, what we have seen in particular, I am sad to say, from Republicans in Congress is an unwillingness to engage in any meaningful reform that could actually fix a lot of what we are witnessing," Harris said. Sponsor Message U.S. Supreme Court extends border restrictions just before they were set to end NATIONAL U.S. Supreme Court extends border restrictions just before they were set to end With Title 42 set to end, questions loom about the future of migrants and asylum LAW With Title 42 set to end, questions loom about the future of migrants and asylum Harris, who has the role of addressing the root causes of migration at the southern border, said the White House plans to boost technology to help process asylum cases more efficiently, and add more agents at the southern border. But she emphasized that Congress needs to lead on the larger issues. "Reform of our immigration system can only happen through Congress in terms of the passage of an immigration bill that allows for a legal pathway to citizenship and a legal presence in the country," she said. Harris also criticized some Republicans for using migrants to try to score political points. In recent months, Republican governors including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have bused thousands of migrants in their states to more liberal-leaning parts of the country, including Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, New York and to Washington, D.C., right outside the vice president's residence. Harris also says Congress should act on protecting abortion rights Democrats' success in the Georgia runoff election that took place earlier this month meant the party gained a bit of a cushion in passing their agenda through the Senate. That win also frees up Harris, who has served as a tie-breaking vote in the upper chamber 26 times since becoming vice president. She said she expects that means she will be able to travel more next year, now that she's not on call for Senate votes. VP Harris calls for abortion-rights supporters to channel frustration into action REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN AMERICA VP Harris calls for abortion-rights supporters to channel frustration into action How Harris is listening — and speaking — about abortion rights before the midterms POLITICS How Harris is listening — and speaking — about abortion rights before the midterms In 2022, she invested significant time meeting with advocates and state legislators from around the country to talk about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade. But on that issue, Democrats still don't have enough votes in the Senate to make good on President Biden's pledge to codify abortion rights. Harris said she sees the issue as a "movement" where the focus has to be on supporting state and local leaders who are trying to protect reproductive rights — and on pushing Congress to act. Sponsor Message "The work cannot be anything other than a matter of urgency to protect and fight for these rights, for all people to put pressure on the United States Congress to do what is the right thing to do and put the protections of Roe v Wade into law to codify it," she said. With social media companies like Twitter, Harris' chief concern is disinformation Since Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has taken charge of Twitter, the website's rules and operations have been up-ended. Over the weekend, Musk suspended the accounts of several journalists who have reported about his ownership of the company. The accounts were mostly all reinstated after a few days. Asked whether she saw a point where she would stop using the platform, Harris did not directly comment. But she said she is concerned about the rapid spread of disinformation on social media platforms, something she investigated when she was on the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I fully expect and would require that leaders in that sector cooperate and work with us who are concerned about national security and concerned about upholding and protecting our democracy to do everything in their power to ensure that there is not a manipulation that is allowed or overlooked," Harris said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

US asks court to end asylum limits, with a short delay

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Tensions remained high at the U.S-Mexico border Tuesday amid uncertainty over the future of restrictions on asylum-seekers, with the Biden administration asking the Supreme Court not to lift the limits before Christmas. The U.S. government made its plea in a filing a day after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order to keep the pandemic-era limits on migrants in place. Before Roberts issued that order, the restrictions had been slated to expire Wednesday. The federal government acknowledged that ending the restrictions will likely lead to “disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings.” But the government asked the court to reject efforts by a group of conservative-leaning states to maintain a measure that allows officials to expel many but not all asylum-seekers. Migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 under a public-health rule called Title 42. ADVERTISEMENT With the decision on what comes next going down to the wire, pressure is building in communities along both sides of the U.S-Mexico border. In El Paso, Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser warned that shelters across the border in Ciudad Juárez were packed to capacity with an estimated 20,000 migrants who are prepared to cross into the U.S. HEALTH US starts grappling with 'travesty' of untreated hepatitis C Police seize on COVID-19 tech to expand global surveillance Loved or hated, Fauci’s parting advice: Stick to the science EXPLAINER: Undoing of Roe quickly shifts abortion in states The city rushed to expand its ability to accommodate more migrants by converting large buildings into shelters, as the Red Cross brings in 10,000 cots. Local officials also hope to relieve pressure on area shelters by chartering buses to other large cities in Texas or nearby states, bringing migrants a step closer to relatives and sponsors in coordination with nonprofit groups. “We will continue to be prepared for whatever is coming through,” Leeser said. Texas National Guard members, deployed by the state to El Paso this week, used razor wire on Tuesday to cordon off a gap in the border fence along a bank of the Rio Grande that became a popular crossing point in recent days for migrants who waded through shallow waters to approach immigration officials. They used a loudspeaker to announce in Spanish that it’s illegal to cross there. ADVERTISEMENT Texas said it was sending 400 National Guard personnel to the border city after local officials declared a state of emergency. Leeser said the declaration was aimed largely at protecting vulnerable migrants, while the deployment included forces used to “repel and turn-back illegal immigrants,” according to a Texas National Guard statement. Conservative-leaning states argued in their last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court that an increased numbers of migrants would take a toll on public services such as law enforcement and health care and warned of an “unprecedented calamity” at the southern border. The federal government told the court Tuesday that it has marshaled more resources to the southern border in preparation for the end of Title 42. That includes more Border Patrol processing coordinators, more surveillance and increased security at ports of entry, according to President Joe Biden’s administration. ADVERTISEMENT About 23,000 agents are currently deployed to the southern border, according to the White House. “The government in no way seeks to minimize the seriousness of that problem,” the Biden administration wrote in its filing the Supreme Court. “But the solution to that immigration problem cannot be to extend indefinitely a public-health measure that all now acknowledge has outlived its public-health justification.” Yet the government also asked the court to give it some time to prepare if it decides to allow the restrictions to be lifted. Should the Supreme Court act before Friday, the government wants the restrictions in place until the end of Dec. 27. If the court acts on Friday or later, the government wants the limits to remain until the second business day following such an order. Either timeline — if granted — would mean Title 42 would be in place until after Christmas. ADVERTISEMENT States seeking to maintain the restrictions argued in their last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court that the federal government has no plan to deal with an increase in migrants — while in Washington, Republicans are set to take control of the House and make immigration a key issue. Immigration advocates have said that the Title 42 restrictions, imposed under provisions of a 1944 health law, go against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution — and that the pretext is outdated as coronavirus treatments improve. They sued to end the use of Title 42; a federal judge in November sided with them and set the Dec. 21 deadline. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups pushing to end the use of Title 42 told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that keeping the restrictions in place threatens “further harm to noncitizens.” Like the government, the faulted the states’ timing, saying they waited too long to try to intervene and that by their very delay they were threatening “disruption.” ADVERTISEMENT At a church-affiliated shelter in El Paso a few blocks from the border, the Rev. Michael Gallagher said local faith leaders have been trying to pool resources and open up empty space. On Tuesday, a gym at Sacred Heart Church gave shelter to 200 migrants — mostly women and children. Outside the church Monday, Jose Natera, a 48-year-old handyman from the Venezuelan town of Guaicaipuro, said he traveled for three months to reach El Paso, sometimes on foot, with no money or sponsors to take him further. “I have to stop here until I can get a ticket” out, he said. The Roman Catholic bishop of El Paso, Mark Seitz, expressed concern that the delay in ending the limits would keep migrants who had to flee their homes from even making a case for protection in the U.S., after years of pent-up need. “What happens now with all those on their way?” he said. Title 42 restrictions have applied to all nationalities but have fallen disproportionately on those from countries that Mexico has agreed to take back: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and, more recently Venezuela, in addition to Mexico. ___ Santana reported from Washington, D.C. Juan Lozano in Houston and Alicia Fernández in Ciudad Juárez contributed to this report. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Title 42 to remain in place for now as Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily freezes order meant to end it

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday put a temporary hold on the termination of a controversial Trump-era immigration policy known as Title 42 that was set to end on December 21, leaving it in place for now. But in a brief order Roberts signaled that the court wants to act quickly and asked the Biden administration to respond by 5 p.m. ET Tuesday to an emergency appeal filed by a group of Republican-led states. The brief order from Roberts means the policy that allows officials to swiftly expel migrants at the US border will stay in effect at least until the justices decide the emergency application. The order does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of the case. ADVERTISING The states had raced to the Supreme Court earlier in the day in an emergency bid to keep in place a Trump-era immigration policy that is set to go off the books Wednesday. CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO - DECEMBER 18: Immigrants seeking asylum turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after wading across the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas on December 18, 2022 from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The city of El Paso declared a state of emergency one week after a surge of asylum seekers began crossing the border, quickly overwhelming federal immigration and city authorities. U.S. border authorities predict an even larger influx of migrants with the court-ordered end of Title 42 on December 21. Biden administration finalizing its plans as it braces for end of Title 42 and a rush at the border A federal district court judge had vacated the policy last month, calling Title 42 “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge said the program could remain in effect until December 21. Already, federal officials and border communities have been bracing for an expected increase in migrant arrivals as early as this week, as the issue of immigration continues to ignite both sides of the political divide. The Department of Homeland Security has been putting in place a plan for the end of the program that includes surging resources to the border, targeting smugglers and working with international partners. “As required by the Supreme Court’s administrative stay order, the Title 42 public health order will remain in effect at this time and individuals who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to be expelled to Mexico,” the department said in a statement following Roberts’ order. “While this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts.” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich – who took the lead for the states – said in a statement earlier Monday that “getting rid of Title 42 will recklessly and needlessly endanger more Americans and migrants by exacerbating the catastrophe that is occurring at our southern border,” adding: “Unlawful crossings are estimated to surge from 7,000 per day to as many as 18,000.” Brnovich had told the justices in court papers that they should put the lower court ruling on hold. As an alternative, he said that the justices should grant an “immediate” temporary injunction to maintain the status quo and also consider whether to skip over the appeals court and agree to hear arguments on the merits of the issue themselves. “Failure to grant a stay here will inflict massive irreparable harms on the States, particularly as the States bear many of the consequences of unlawful immigration,” Brnovich argued. Late Friday night, the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled against the states, holding that they waited an “inordinate” amount of time before trying to get involved in the case. That order triggered the emergency application at the high court, which was addressed to Roberts, who oversees the DC-based appellate appeals court that ruled in the case. Roberts is likely to refer the matter to the full court. “This is a longstanding problem, more people are fleeing persecution, gang violence, failed states and climate change than ever before,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr of Cornell Law School, who has been critical of the policy. “Even without Title 42, we would have more people than ever before trying to enter the United States,” he added. “Title 42 is not an effective way to manage our borders, instead, we need to both enact immigration reform in the United States and work with other countries so that people don’t feel so desperate to leave in the first place,” Yale-Loehr said. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a public health order that officials said aimed to stop the spread of Covid-19. The border restrictions were controversial from the moment the Trump administration announced them. In the case at hand, six families that unlawfully crossed the US-Mexico border and were subject to the Title 42 process brought the original challenge. In court papers, their lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union argue that Covid-19 was always a thinly veiled pretense to increase immigration control. “There is no legal basis to use a purported public health measure to displace the immigration laws long after any public health justification has lapsed,” said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU lawyer representing the migrant families in the suit. The Biden administration objects to the states’ attempt to intervene in the ongoing dispute and has said it is prepared to allow the program to end, but stresses it is still appealing the district court opinion to preserve the authority of the government to impose public health orders in the future. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier Monday that the administration would have more details Tuesday on its plans ahead of the rule’s planned expiration and reiterated the US would continue to enforce its immigration laws amid the current influx. Inside the White House, the pause on the termination will not have any effect on what have been intensive behind-the-scenes preparations for the end of the authority, according to a White House official. While the Department of Homeland Security serves as the lead agency on the issue, it has been a central focus for the last several weeks inside the West Wing, with senior White House officials playing a significant role in the internal debates over policy options to address an expected surge of migrants at the border. There are no plans to slow the ongoing effort, the official said, given the possibility any delay is only brief in nature. “We’ve always been aware of the role the courts have in this process, but it’s not something that changes the approach,” the official said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Monday, December 19, 2022

America Needs More Immigration to Defeat Inflation

Consumer prices in the United States rose at an annualized rate of 7.7 percent in October, the ninth straight month above seven percent, thanks to still surging demand and stumbling supply. All eyes are fixed on the U.S. Federal Reserve to cool demand by hiking interest rates. But monetary policy has always worked with long and variable lags, which makes the Fed’s job of trying to shape the decisions of the country’s 122.4 million households, 164.5 million workers, and 35.1 million businesses even more daunting. There is something else that U.S. policymakers could do to battle inflation, however. They could expand immigration for both skilled and less skilled workers to boost the supply capacity of the U.S. economy. More immigration would help meet today’s excess demand for labor, which over time would limit wage and price growth. In October, there were an astonishing 10.3 million job openings in the United States, 4.3 million more than the total number of unemployed Americans. In the short term, expanding the number of H-1B visas for skilled professionals and H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers would help employers overcome this acute labor shortage. In the longer term, doing so would also help cool inflation. THE GREAT IMMIGRATION SLOWDOWN Despite the sensational headlines about chaos along the U.S.-Mexican border, immigration to the United States has been effectively flat for the last decade. Between 2011 and 2021, the share of the U.S. population that was foreign born nudged up only slightly, from 13.0 percent to 13.6 percent, reflecting a dramatic falloff in foreign labor inflows. Whereas net immigration to the United States was 890,000 arrivals per year during the first decade of the millennium, that number fell by nearly half to 480,000 per year in the succeeding decade. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. The immigration slowdown was caused in part by the Great Recession that began in 2007 and the sluggish recovery that followed, which deterred some foreign workers from coming to the United States. But U.S. immigration policy also made it harder for aspiring migrants to enter the country. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States cracked down on undocumented immigration but kept the supply of temporary work visas fixed. Because each new cohort of temporary visa holders replaces a previous cohort, and because the U.S. economy grows every year, a constant supply of visas is a recipe for an increasingly native workforce. In 2019, the United States issued roughly the same number of H-1B and H-2B visas as it did a decade earlier. The same is true of J-1 visas for sponsored foreign visitors, many of whom end up working at U.S. universities or research facilities. The only visa category that has grown substantially since 2010 is the H-2A, which grants temporary admission to agricultural workers. After the outbreak of COVID-19, all these programs were temporarily halted as U.S. embassies around the world paused most consular services. Today, most U.S. embassies are slowly restoring their visa-processing efforts, but consular staffing has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. The rapid decline in immigration has made it harder for U.S. labor markets to function properly. In addition to offsetting the long-term decline of U.S. birthrates, foreign-born workers have the virtue of being much more mobile than native-born workers. When job growth picks up in one region or drops off in another, workers born abroad are the first to respond, helping reduce regional misallocations in the U.S. labor supply. Without these workers, the U.S. economy can find itself tied in knots, as it has during the pandemic. The U.S. hospitality industry is a case in point. In 2019, 22.0 percent of job holders in entertainment, accommodation, and food services were foreign born. The pandemic has been particularly hard on businesses in these sectors, making it difficult for them to find workers. And because the supply of U.S. visas has remained stagnant, these businesses have not been able to rely on immigrants to fill their vacancies. By the end of 2021, the share of entertainment, accommodation, and food service workers who were foreign born had slipped to 18.4 percent—a drop of more than 3.5 percentage points. Meanwhile, the job vacancy rate in the hospitality industry has increased markedly; in October 2022, 9.2 percent of jobs in accommodation and food services were vacant, well above the economy-wide rate of 6.3 percent. WHERE ARE THE WORKERS? Expanding the H-2B visa program, which authorizes the temporary employment of nonagricultural foreign workers for up to nine months, would be an obvious solution to this problem. Common jobs for H-2B visa holders include restaurant worker, meat processor, and construction laborer—precisely the jobs for which U.S. companies are desperate to hire and for which American workers seem to be chronically scarce. Yet Congress has set a limit of just 66,000 H-2B visas per year—a tiny fraction of the current 1.8 million job openings in construction and food services alone. For the 2021 fiscal year, an additional 22,000 visas were made available to U.S. employers willing to attest that no American workers were “willing, qualified, or able” to perform the jobs they wished to fill. But with millions more jobs sitting vacant than there are unemployed Americans, this one-time supplement was a drop in the bucket. A much higher cap, as much as ten times the current one, should be authorized for 2023. Increasing the number of H-2B visas will not crowd out U.S.-born workers. According to research by the economists Michael Clemens and Ethan Lewis, firms that win the H-2B visa lottery and hire foreign workers tend to also slightly increase the number of American workers they employ—and boost their revenues. In other words, foreign workers on H-2B visas complement, rather than replace, U.S.-born workers in less skilled jobs. This finding resonates with a larger body of research showing that immigrant workers have at most a modest effect on the wages of native-born workers. Why not congratulate every foreign-born graduate with the gift of a visa? The United States should also dramatically expand the H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. companies to create new jobs for highly educated foreigners for three to six years. Right now, the United States caps the number of new private-sector visas at 85,000—65,000 for workers who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher and 20,000 for workers with at least a master’s degree. For decades, demand for H-1B visas has far exceeded supply. In the 2022 fiscal year, 308,613 people sought H-1B visas before the U.S. government stopped accepting applications. The low cap on H-1B visas constrains not just the U.S. labor supply but also U.S. productivity growth. Highly skilled immigrants boost innovation in several ways. They generate more patentable ideas and technologies than do U.S.-born workers, and they are more likely to found companies. Companies that scale up their hiring of skilled immigrants also tend to scale up their hiring of native-born workers, underscoring once again that the two categories of workers complement each other. Moreover, skilled immigrants tend to boost the wages not just of skilled native-born workers but also of less skilled native-born workers. Expanding the number of H-1B visas issued each year would increase U.S. supply capacity by both addressing labor shortages and spurring productivity growth. Perhaps one of the simplest ways to do this would be to give more H-1B visas to foreign-born individuals who have already self-identified as both highly skilled and willing to live in the United States: foreign-born students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Last academic year, there were 914,095 such international students in the United States. This coming spring, why not congratulate every one of these foreign-born students who graduates with the gift of a new H-1B visa? A POLITICAL WINNER Given how politically divisive immigration is in the United States, any plan to expand visa programs may seem unrealistic. Critics will inevitably ask how the United States can consider admitting more foreigners when it appears to have lost control of its borders. But the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexican border is hardly unrestrained. Although the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended or expelled a record number of migrants in 2021 and 2022, these numbers give a highly misleading impression of how many people are actually entering the country. In the 2022 fiscal year, for instance, the Border Patrol recorded 2.4 million “encounters” on the U.S.-Mexican border. But of these, 1.1 million resulted in the deportation of migrants to Mexico under Title 42, a provision that the United States has used to summarily expel migrants during the pandemic. Ironically, because Title 42 expulsions leave no record of an entry attempt—and therefore no legal repercussion that might prevent a migrant from trying to cross the border again or even applying for a U.S. visa—its use may have encouraged migrants to rush to the border. The number of encounters therefore likely substantially exceeds the number of individual migrants who have attempted to cross into the United States and, by an even larger margin, the number who have succeeded. Expanding H-2B visas would create an alternative legal entry route. Those Border Patrol encounters that did not result in expulsion (1.3 million of them in the 2022 fiscal year) largely involved migrants seeking asylum, which the United States grants to those with a credible fear of persecution at home. Some applicants are now in the United States awaiting immigration hearings, which are likely years away; many others have already been denied entry and remain abroad. In another irony, the United States’ success in impeding illegal entry has left asylum as the only viable option for many would-be migrants, probably contributing to the recent surge in asylum applications. For this reason, increasing the number of H-1B and H-2B visas could have the additional benefit of unburdening the asylum system. Perhaps surprisingly, expanding immigration could also be a political winner. Most Americans are broadly supportive of immigration, although Democrats are more supportive than Republicans. In a national survey in July 2022, Gallup asked respondents, “On the whole, do you think immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?” Seventy percent said “a good thing.” This positive sentiment was widely shared by men (71 percent) and women (68 percent); across major age groups (especially the young—83 percent of those aged 18 to 34); and across all educational cohorts, even among those without any college education (64 percent). Republicans were close to evenly split on the question (46 percent said immigration was a good thing and 45 percent said it was a bad thing), whereas large majorities of independents (75 percent) and Democrats (86 percent) had a positive view. But much of this partisan difference seems to stem from Republican worries about illegal immigration, not legal immigration through channels such as the H-1B and H-2B visa programs. Support for allowing highly skilled immigrants to enter the United States is even greater and more bipartisan. An August 2022 survey by the Economic Innovation Group found that 71 percent of registered U.S. voters supported more skilled immigrants coming to the country—including 83 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Republicans, and 72 percent of independents. And a majority of Americans from both parties—82 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats—said that immigration reform should be a top priority in the next 12 months. Expanding the H-1B and H-2B visa programs should be at the center of any such reform. EVERY TOOL IN THE TOOLKIT The sharp increase in inflation and its stubborn persistence have commanded the attention of economic policymakers worldwide. Although there is little agreement over who is to blame, there is widespread acceptance that central bankers will be the ones to slow price increases now. Yet just as the pandemic has exposed new vulnerabilities in the labor market, it has highlighted the need for more expansive policy solutions to resolve supply bottlenecks and labor shortages. Immigration policy should be part of the anti-inflation toolkit. Expanding the H-1B and H-2B visa programs would immediately ease U.S. labor shortages, which make it more costly to produce goods and provide services—cost increases that companies pass on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The exact extent to which this dynamic is driving the current inflationary trend is difficult to quantify, but there is no question that it is playing a major role and that addressing labor shortages would help. The U.S. government needs to fight inflation with everything it has. More immigration can be part of the solution—if policymakers let it. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.