About Me

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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


Monday, March 20, 2023

Immigration restrictions are leading US employers to send more jobs offshore

close up of female hands typing on keyboard There’s a common misconception that immigration “takes away” jobs from Americans. Yet, in the age of remote work, that’s less true than ever. On the contrary, restricting immigration can actually result in jobs leaving the U.S., a new survey of human resources professionals at top corporate employers reveals. The Envoy Global-Cint survey finds that “86% of companies hired employees outside the U.S. for roles originally intended to be based inside the country because of visa-related uncertainties.” TO LIBERALIZE IMMIGRATION, STEP UP ENFORCEMENT That’s right: Companies couldn’t bring in the talent they needed because of immigration restrictions, so they decided to just take the job out of the U.S. entirely. That’s a result of immigration restrictions, such as our cap on H-1B visas for high-skill immigrants, that are supposed to be “protecting” jobs in the U.S. This trend looks likely to continue. The survey further reveals that “93% of companies expect to turn to nearshoring or offshoring to fill positions abroad due to immigration barriers and labor shortages in the U.S.” Meanwhile, other countries without such restrictive immigration systems are reaping the benefits of our foolish policies. The companies surveyed said they most commonly relocated employees to Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. This survey isn’t the only evidence we have in support of this trend. Another study from the Wharton School of Business found that “restrictions on H-1B immigration caused increases in foreign affiliate employment … concentrated in Canada, India, and China.” Do we really want an immigration system that boosts our biggest rivals, such as China? “Any policies that are motivated by concerns about the loss of native jobs should consider that these same policies have the unintended consequence of encouraging firms to offshore jobs abroad,” study author Britta Glennon concluded. It’s true that Americans do lose out on job opportunities due to H-1B visas in some cases. But they’re often used to bring in talent where there aren’t any Americans to fill the jobs. And their net effect on the economy is usually so positive that it outweighs any job losses that do occur. That’s why research has found that immigrants on net create 1.2 jobs for every job they “take.” It’s not hard to see why when you remember that entrepreneurial legends such as Elon Musk originally came to the U.S. via H-1B visas. He may well have “taken” someone’s job, but his companies have since created too many thousands of jobs for Americans to count. High-skill immigration is a win-win, not a zero-sum trade-off. Yet, ironically, those who support limiting H-1B visas in the U.S. and otherwise limiting high-skill employment-based immigration claim that doing so puts “America first.” It actually does the opposite, reducing competitiveness and even giving jobs to our biggest rival nations. That’s what I call “America last.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Border crossings from Canada into New York, Vermont and N.H. are up tenfold. Local cops want help.

On the snowy border between New York and Canada, the local sheriff’s office is calling for the U.S. Border Patrol to put more manpower behind what the locals call a growing crisis: The number of illegal border crossings in the area over the last five months is nearly 10 times what it was over the same time last year, and the border crossers are in danger of freezing to death. From Oct. 1 to Feb. 28, about 2,000 migrants crossed the border between Canada and New Hampshire, Vermont and New York south through the forests, compared to just 200 crossings in the same period the previous year. The migrants are mainly from Mexico, and they can travel to Canada without visas before they cross illegally into the U.S., often to reunite with their families. Last weekend, Clinton County, New York, Sheriff David Favro’s team assisted Border Patrol in rescuing 39 migrants, some whose clothes had frozen to their bodies. A U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehends seven Mexican citizens near Mooers, N.Y., who had crossed into the U.S. from Canada illegally on March 7, 2023. A U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehends seven Mexican citizens near Mooers, N.Y., who had crossed into the U.S. from Canada illegally on March 7.U.S. Border Patrol Swanton Sector “We are seeing more and more people, and it can be a deadly terrain if you’re not familiar with it," Favro said. He said responding to rescues like that has taxed the resources of his department, already stretched thin to cover the residents of his rural county, population 80,000, which shares about 30 miles of border with the Canadian province of Quebec. “The only way to really be able to cover and protect [the northern border] is boots on the ground,” Favro said. Just last week, Customs and Border Protection added 25 agents to the area, the Swanton Sector, to deter migration. But Favro and other locals who spoke to NBC News in Mooers, New York, said that’s not enough. Mooers Fire Chief Todd Gumlaw said he recently helped rescue two Mexican women stuck in an icy swamp in the middle of the night. Gumlaw, along with Border Patrol, local police and EMS workers, was able to render first aid and get the women to a hospital to be treated for frostbite and mild hypothermia after they lost their shoes in the swamp, he said. Locals and U.S. Border Patrol in Mooers, N.Y., use human snow tracks, seen here on March 13, 2023, to determine whether migrants had recently crossed the area. Locals and the U.S. Border Patrol in Mooers, N.Y., use human snow tracks, pictured Monday, to determine whether migrants had recently crossed the area.NBC News “Preservation of human life is first and foremost with my department. We put [immigration status] to the back of our mind,” Gumlaw said. The Mooers/Champlain region is a clump of small blue-collar residences and farms, where, according to locals, “everyone knows everyone” and properties can be several blocks apart, adding a sense of unease among some of the locals witnessing the mass migration in the region. According to local first responders, southbound migrants often seek shelter in empty sheds and barns to shield themselves from the cold. Recommended U.S. NEWS American aid worker held captive for over 6 years in West Africa is released, officials say JUSTICE DEPARTMENT Four Oath Keepers members found guilty of obstruction in the far-right group's third Jan. 6 trial April Barcomb, a Mooers resident, said she has had migrants show up at her doorstep and is now saving up for security cameras. “It’s not something I would usually do,” she said. “But it makes me think twice. And with the kids and the family, I gotta install cameras.” While most locals who spoke to NBC News said they understood that most migrants crossing the region aren’t threats, neighbors are keeping their eyes open for unusual activity. “People are scared,” a Champlain County resident said. “It’s the fear of the unknown. They’re [neighbors] worried about their safety, because they don’t know these people.” Most of the migrants are Mexicans, who are frequently blocked from crossing the southern U.S. border and believe they will have an easier time if they fly to Canada and then cross into the U.S. from the north. According to a CBP spokesperson, the Swanton Sector has been the site of more than 67% of all migrant crossings at the northern border across all eight sectors through February. Unlike the southern border, where over 16,000 Border Patrol agents are responsible for staffing roughly 2,000 miles, about 2,000 border agents patrol the 5,000-mile border between the U.S. and Canada, which includes Alaska’s land boundaries, making it the longest international land border in the world. Growing number of migrants cross into U.S. from northern border MARCH 15, 202303:23 New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a letter Tuesday to step up enforcement along his state’s 51-mile border with Canada or allow his police forces more authority to do so. “Over the last few months, the State of New Hampshire has attempted to assist the federal government in securing our northern border. These offers of assistance have been repeatedly rejected. The Biden administration has cut funding and hindered the state’s ability to assist in patrolling the northern border,” Sununu said. A spokesperson for CBP said the additional agents who were just sent to the Swanton Sector will help deter migration. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Few Guatemalan children are reunited with parents through U.S. program, report finds

Few, if any, Guatemalan children have made it to the U.S. under an expanded program to reunite children with their parents in the U.S., according to a report published Wednesday by the nonprofit organization Refugees International. President Joe Biden restarted the Central American Minors program, known as CAM, in March 2021. It was launched by the Obama administration in 2014 and terminated by the Trump administration in 2018. The program originally allowed parents who were in the U.S. legally through parole or Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, to apply and request refugee status for their children and certain children's family members in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Recommended WORLD Macron’s government survives no-confidence vote over contentious pension plan U.S. NEWS Two aircraft narrowly avoided a collision over the weekend, FAA says days after safety summit But the U.S. has never granted TPS to people from Guatemala; it has granted it to people from El Salvador and Honduras after natural disasters in those countries. During the Obama administration, only 2% of applicants to the CAM program were Guatemalan. In September 2021, the Biden administration expanded the pool of eligible applicants to include parents who have applied for asylum or U visas, usually given to victims of crimes. The second phase was supposed to open the door for more Guatemalan children, said Yael Schacher, the director of the Americas and Europe at Refugees International, which advocates for refugee rights and protections. Yet a report by the nonprofit advocacy group found few Guatemalan children have arrived under the application expansion. In stark contrast, almost half of all unaccompanied children who crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. last year were from Guatemala, including children trying to reunite with their parents in the U.S. “We wanted to focus on Guatemalans just because this is really the first time they are eligible,” said Rachel Schmidtke, the senior advocate for Latin America at Refugees International. “The U.S. government is kind of building up a bit more of the infrastructure to process CAM cases in Guatemala, as well as outreach to Guatemalan families in the U.S.” Statistics on Phase 2 of the program are not publicly available. Refugees International relied on information from U.S. government officials, resettlement agencies that handle applications, local non-governmental organizations and families. Since the start of Phase 2, the program has received about 1,000 applications, according to the report. Around 25% of the applicants were from Guatemalan parents; the majority were from Hondurans and Salvadorans combined. Schacher said it's "a tiny number for all three nationalities — 250 applications for Guatemalans in the last year and a half," adding, "That’s very little.” Boosting outreach and resources A lack of outreach to Guatemalan parents who are eligible to apply keeps the application numbers low, according to the report. In addition, difficulty getting children in Guatemala to CAM interviews to support their application claims means few are granted refugee status. The report also found that those granted parole have a difficult time getting passports to leave the country. Under Guatemalan law, both parents have to give consent for a passport. “This requirement disproportionately negatively affects kids who are under 18 and women who have fled domestic violence situations, because a lot of times the father is either absent from the picture or is actually the aggressor,” Schmidtke said. “The passport requirement is definitely something that should be changed in order to ease the process and make more people available for the CAM program.” In an emailed statement, a State Department spokesperson said that since the CAM program restarted in March 2021, "the United States has strived to provide a safe, legal alternative to irregular migration for minors from the region." The statement went on to say, "We continue to evaluate the program to make improvements that will better serve the intended beneficiaries, such as the fall 2022 award to new NGO partners dedicated to streamlining application intake and expanding outreach efforts." The report recommended federal agencies invest more resources in the CAM program, including more collaboration with officials in Guatemala and Mexico and more outreach to Guatemalan families. It also recommended that the federal government make information about the program more easily available and that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have an online “check case status” feature so families can check the progress of their cases. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Texas, Florida push border laws as governors eye presidency

PHOENIX (AP) — Led by tough-talking Republican governors weighing presidential runs, Texas and Florida are debating especially strict legislation on border security as the GOP tests federal authority over immigration. The moves in the two GOP-controlled statehouses come against a backdrop of polarization in Congress that makes any national immigration legislation seem unlikely as President Joe Biden tries to drive down migrant arrivals at the border while eyeing his own reelection bid. Republican proposals in Texas build on Gov. Greg Abbott’s $4 billion project Operation Lone Star, with its construction of more barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border and busing of migrants to Democratic-led cities, including Washington, D.C., and New York. Abbott’s aides confirm he’s considering running for president. Operation Lone Star already has added more officers along Texas’ border with Mexico to detain migrants who trespass on private property. Now, Texas lawmakers have proposed creating a new border police force that could deputize private citizens, as well as making it a state felony to enter the state without authorization, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. ADVERTISEMENT “Texas is taking historic action to secure the border and stop guns, drugs, and cartel gangs from assailing our state,” Abbott said in a tweet this week. “As President Biden abandons his constitutional duty, Texas continues to step up.” POLITICS Biden issues first veto, defending Labor Dept. 'ESG' rule Trump ally to appear before NYC grand jury eyeing charges Some Trump supporters ambivalent on calls for protests US: War crimes on all sides in Ethiopia's Tigray conflict Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered Donald Trump’s strongest possible GOP competitor so far in next year’s presidential primary, has proposed making human smuggling in the state a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Hospitals would be required to collect data on patients’ immigration status and people in the U.S. illegally would be denied state government ID cards. “Texas and Florida are places with politically ambitious governors who are hoping to use immigrants in the furtherance of their agendas,” said attorney Tanya Broder of the National Immigration Law Center, which promotes immigrant rights. Despite the hardline rhetoric, Broder said advancements in immigrant rights have been quietly made in recent years. State-level organization has improved immigrants’ access to health care, higher education, professional licenses and driver’s licenses, according to a recent study Broder co-authored. ADVERTISEMENT The study noted Colorado became the first state to enact an alternative to unemployment insurance for excluded workers. Arizona voters last year approved in-state tuition for all students who attended high school in the state, regardless of their immigration status. Abbott and DeSantis blame Biden for a big increase last year in illegal crossings into the U.S. But a plunge this year in illegal crossing numbers could throw cold water on the GOP’s attacks against Biden’s handling of border issues. The sharp drop along the Southwest border followed the Biden administration’s announcement of stricter immigration measures. The U.S. Border Patrol said it encountered migrants 128,877 times trying to cross the border in February between the legal ports of entry, the lowest monthly number since February 2021. Agents detained migrants more than 2.5 million times at the southern border in 2022, including more than 250,000 in December, the highest on record. ADVERTISEMENT “Florida will not turn a blind eye to the dangers of Biden’s Border Crisis,” DeSantis said in a tweet last month announcing Florida’s legislation. “We are proposing additional steps to protect Floridians from these reckless federal policies, including mandatory E-Verify and prohibiting local government from issuing ID cards to illegal aliens.” While Texas and Florida officials ballyhoo their border tightening efforts, no major immigration legislation has emerged this year in Arizona, where some of the nation’s toughest laws targeting immigrants have been devised. Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, passed in 2010, required law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of a person stopped or arrested if the officers suspected the person may be in the U.S. unlawfully, a practice detractors said encouraged racial profiling. Courts eventually struck down several of the law’s provisions. ADVERTISEMENT Arizona’s Republican lawmakers are up against Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, who this year has vetoed a GOP-backed budget and a bill that bans teaching public schoolchildren subject matter its authors describe as “critical race theory.” New Mexico, which also shares a border with Mexico, has since 2021 steadily removed barriers for migrants without legal status to access public benefits, student financial aid and licensure in credentialed professions. After taking office in 2019, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham withdrew the majority of National Guard troops her Republican predecessor sent to the border, denouncing a “charade of border fear-mongering.” New Mexico’s Legislature is also controlled by Democrats. Nevertheless, legislators this week rejected a proposal to bar state and local government agencies from contracting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants as they seek asylum. ADVERTISEMENT In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers last month launched a new attempt to require sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration agents interested in picking up certain jail inmates believed to be in the U.S. unlawfully. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper twice vetoed earlier versions of the measure, but Republican majorities in the General Assembly have since increased. A similar Idaho effort so far has failed to make it beyond its legislative introduction. Immigration-related legislation in other states includes: — A Georgia bill that failed to advance that would give in-state college tuition to immigrant students who arrived in the U.S. as children and who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Bills are advancing that would ban companies and some people from certain foreign countries from buying farmland within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of any military base. — A Colorado bill aimed at allowing immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and are protected from deportation to own a firearm so they can become law-enforcement officers. ____ Associated Press writers Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida: Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; Jeff Amy in Atlanta; Jesse Bedayn in Denver; and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

He was freed from a Nicaraguan prison and now urges Biden admin to protect migrants like him

Last month, the door to Yubrank Suazo's cell in a Nicaraguan prison flung open in the middle of the night as officers told him to put on his clothes and gather his personal items. Recalling that moment in a recent interview, Suazo said the officers did not tell him or the other 221 prisoners they gathered in similar fashion where they were going, even as they put them on busses with covered windows. "I thought I was going to be transferred to another cell or another prison," Suazo told ABC News this week. "I never imagined I was going to be liberated." Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's government released those 222 people and sent them to the U.S. on Feb. 9. The group included political prisoners like Suazo, an opposition leader who was detained after organizing protests. A senior Biden administration official said at the time that the Nicaraguan government had "decided unilaterally" to end their detention and the U.S. "facilitated transportation of those individuals once released." The release of the prisoners has reignited calls from advocates for President Joe Biden's administration to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for thousands of Nicaraguans who may be at risk of being deported back to their country at a time of political turbulence there. Advertisement Suazo was jailed in Nicaragua in 2018 after participating in and organizing anti-government protests. He was released nine months later but was arrested again in 2022 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for undermining national integrity and spreading misinformation. He told ABC News he was subjected to physical and psychological torture in detention. PHOTO: Juan Sebastian Chamorro speaks with reporters after arriving in the United States, in Herndon, Va., Feb. 9, 2023. Juan Sebastian Chamorro speaks with reporters after arriving in the United States, in Herndon, Va., Feb. 9, 2023. Nicaragua's president, his wife and top members of the government committed human rights abuses -- including torture and murder -- so seriou...Show more Pete Marovich/The New York Times, FILE In recent weeks, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, at least 272 organizations and Suazo have urged the administration to protect Nicaraguans through TPS. "I'm going to continue to raise my voice for the Nicaraguan community that has had to leave home because of oppression and persecution," Suazo said. "I've lived through that pain, and that's why I'm calling on the Biden administration to approve TPS for Nicaraguans who have no guarantee of returning to our county safely." TPS is issued by the secretary of Homeland Security when countries are deemed too unsafe for their citizens to return -- like in Afghanistan, after the Taliban took control of the national government there in 2021. The protections, which prevent deportation but don't lead to citizenship, were first granted to Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998. In 2017, the Trump administration moved to end TPS for Nicaragua and several other countries, saying it wasn't necessary any longer because those countries were recovering. That prompted a series of legal challenges on behalf of current TPS holders and the designation for Nicaragua, Sudan, Haiti, and El Salvador has been extended while a preliminary injunction in the case remains in place pending further judicial review. Only those Nicaraguan immigrants who physically resided in the U.S. before Jan. 5, 1999, are shielded under the program from the threat of deportation. There were 4,250 Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries in the U.S. as of 2021, according to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services congressional report. Suazo and others who support extending the protections are calling on the Biden administration to redesignate the program with a later eligibility cutoff date, which they say would extend it to thousands of more Nicaraguans. In a February letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 16 Republican and Democratic lawmakers from multiple states noted that more than 500 Nicaraguans have been killed in Nicaragua since 2018 and tens of thousands have fled the country, which the lawmakers linked to the opposition to Ortega and resulting crackdown. Recent Stories from ABC News The lawmakers warned that failure to protect Nicaraguans through TPS would mean some would have to leave the U.S. for life under "President Ortega's authoritarian regime," which they called an "unconscionable reality." Both the White House and Department of Homeland Security declined to comment when asked if they're considering redesignating TPS for Nicaragua. PHOTO: Yubrank Suazo, a prominent figure in the student protests against the government, embraces a friend as he is awaited by friends and relatives in front of his house after his release from prison, June 11, 2019 in Nicaragua, Managua. Yubrank Suazo, a prominent figure in the student protests against the government, embraces a friend as he is awaited by friends and relatives in front of his house after his release from prison, June 11, 2019 in Nicaragua, Managua. Getty Images, FILE Biden's immigration policies have been a point of contention, among Republicans and some advocates, as the administration has sought to mitigate a record number of migrants arriving in the country at the southern border. While the White House says it wants to roll back the hardline stances of predecessor Donald Trump, conservatives have assailed some of its policies as "reckless" and immigration supporters have criticized other decisions, such as restrictions to asylum claims. In fiscal year 2022, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered migrants over 2.7 million times. At the southern border, CBP had 163,876 encounters with Nicaraguan migrants, more than triple the year before. The Biden administration recently announced a new parole program to accept up to 30,000 total asylum-seekers each month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. However, the program was coupled with an agreement from Mexico to accept migrants who are expelled by the U.S. when they fail to meet the strict parole requirements, such as having a sponsor in the U.S. who can be financially responsible for them. Some Republican-led states are challenging the parole program, saying it incentivizes more migrants to come to the U.S. Ahilan Arulanantham, an attorney representing TPS holders under the preliminary injunction, said that if the Biden administration thinks immigrants fleeing a specific country warrant parole, they should also warrant protection through TPS. "The administration obviously recognizes that Nicaragua is not safe for, at least, many people," Arulanantham said. PHOTO: Yubrank Suazo, Freind of jailed student leaders Aleman and Jerez, attends a press conference July 6, 2021, Nicaragua, Caracas. Yubrank Suazo, Freind of jailed student leaders Aleman and Jerez, attends a press conference July 6, 2021, Nicaragua, Caracas. Picture Alliance/Getty Images, FILE Advocates argue that with ex-President Trump running for reelection, Biden is running out of time to act on an issue that has for decades stymied Congress. "In the absence of congressional action, this is one of the most valuable tools that they can use at this moment to offer protections to people who really call America their home at this point and can't return to some to these countries which are in deteriorating conditions," said Beatriz Lopez, chief political and communications officer at Immigration Hub. Now in the U.S., Suazo has humanitarian parole for about two years but may be at risk of removal if the administration does not redesignate TPS for Nicaragua. The fear of not being able to safely return to his homeland to see his elderly parents is what worries him the most, he said. "I pray each day that I'll return one day and find them alive waiting to give me a hug," he said. "All of us who have left our country due to a cowardly dictatorship share that feeling." For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Biden administration quietly resumes deportations to Russia

The Biden administration has quietly resumed deportations to Russia, an apparent reversal of the position adopted after Russia invaded Ukraine just over a year ago, when such removals were suspended, the Guardian has learned. Immigration advocates were taken by surprise when a young Russian man, who came to the US fleeing Vladimir Putin’s efforts to mobilize citizens to fight in Ukraine, was abruptly deported at the weekend from the US back to Russia. Biden and Putin both implicitly tie their futures to the outcome in Ukraine Read more He was among several Russian asylum seekers, many of whom have made their way to the US in the last year, who are now terrified the US government will return them to Russia where they could face prison or be sent rapidly to the frontline, where Russia has seen tens of thousands of casualties. “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) remains committed to enforcing immigration laws humanely, effectively and with professionalism. Ice facilitates the transfer and removal of non-citizens via commercial airlines and chartered flights in support of mission requirements,” the federal agency said this week, adding: “Ice conducts removals to countries, including Russia, in accordance with country removal guidelines.” News of resumed deportations to Russia came just over a year after reports that the Biden administration had suspended deportation flights to Russia, Ukraine and seven other countries in Europe during Russia’s attack on Ukraine. It is unclear when deportations to Russia resumed. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Migrants from Russia came to the US thinking they could seek asylum and be protected from deportation because of the stated government position. Now the apparent change in policy has caused confusion for migrants and their advocates who are left with little time to plan. Jennifer Scarborough, a Texas-based attorney whose clients include four Russian men who entered the US across the border from Mexico and sought asylum, is among those contending with policy confusion. These men cited fear of being drafted to fight in petitioning for asylum. Scarborough said she was told by Ice officials that one of her clients was deported at the weekend and she explained that his legal and residency status mean she has no doubt he was taken to Russia. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to him,” Scarborough said. “Russia has been incredibly vocal about their feelings towards opposition. Just the fact that they fled Russia to come to the United States puts them at risk.” Two of Scarborough’s other clients remain in legal limbo as they are effectively out of options in their requests for asylum. The men stated during their respective “credible fear” interviews – meetings with immigration officers where asylum seekers must explain ​​there is “significant possibility” of persecution or torture if returned home – that they feared being drafted to fight in Ukraine and repercussions if they did not comply. The Guardian is withholding the identities of the clients concerned, due to fears of retribution. A young girl with blond hair being carried by her father holds her hand to her face, looking through the circle formed by her fingers. ‘We had no choice’: over 8,000 Russians seek US refuge in six-month period Read more Immigration officers ruled that fear of conscription did not meet the criteria for a “credible fear” determination and they each appealed before an immigration judge, who agreed that they did not meet the criteria, Scarborough said. Scarborough said that these two men were not aware they only had seven days to request a new “credible fear interview” following the judge’s decision. These two men did not make their request by this deadline, so they were not able to get another interview, Scarborough said. These two men now have pending removal orders – that is, they could potentially be deported to Russia at any time. One is presently in immigration detention in Louisiana while the other was released after going on hunger strike, Scarborough said. One of Scarborough’s three remaining US clients in this situation did manage to file paperwork in time – and subsequently received an opportunity for a new “credible fear” interview. During this second interview, immigration officers did determine that fear of being drafted was a valid asylum claim that established “credible fear”, Scarborough said. While receiving a credible fear determination is just an initial step in having a potentially successful asylum claim, it is important for asylum seekers, as immigration officials have largely been releasing migrants who meet this criteria as they go through the application process, Scarborough explained. “Fleeing the draft can actually be a valid claim for asylum,” Scarborough said, later adding that she did not understand how the resumption of deportation flights squared with the US stance on Russia. “If we’re against this war, then why are we saying that Russia has a right to conduct this draft and deport people to fight in this draft and to fight in Ukraine? President of Russia Twitter account on a screen Russia disinformation looks to US far right to weaken Ukraine support Read more “I don’t understand how you put those two policies side by side,” she said. “I just have questions about when they restarted this and why. In March of 2022, the US said they were stopping deportations to Russia because of the political situation – so I don’t understand why they restarted it and they did it so quietly.” Meanwhile, Ice noted to the Guardian that: “US immigration laws allow non-citizens to pursue relief from removal – including credible fear proceedings; however, once all due process and appeals have been exhausted, and non-citizens remain subject to a final order of removal from an immigration judge, Ice officers may carry out the removal.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Update to Filing Location for U Nonimmigrant-Based Form I-485

U nonimmigrants applying to become lawful permanent residents must now file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, only at the Nebraska Service Center and not at the Vermont Service Center. USCIS Nebraska Service Center U.S. Postal Service (USPS): USCIS P.O. Box 87426 Lincoln, NE 68501-7526 FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries: USCIS P.O. Box 87426 Lincoln, NE 68501-7526 We have updated the filing address on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, page. Applications filed at the Vermont Service Center must be postmarked on or before April 12, 2023. After that date, we will reject and return any application, secure identity documents, and other correspondence to the safe address, preferred address, or the address of the attorney or accredited representative if any is listed on an accompanying Form G-28.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Ron DeSantis' Immigration Playbook Is All About Big Government

Five years ago, Ron DeSantis was laying out his border policy bona fides on his living room floor. "Build the wall!" he encouraged his young daughter as the two stacked colorful cardboard blocks in a campaign ad. At that point, DeSantis was Florida's top candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (and then-President Donald Trump's man in the race). These days, his tone is less playful. "You have a total disaster that's unfolded on that border for over two years," DeSantis said in a February press conference. "They could easily institute different policies. They could finish building the border wall." DeSantis has taken many notes on the Trump playbook as he prepares for a likely presidential bid. The border wall is a fitting physical analog for the governor's approach to immigration: showy, ineffective, and needlessly cruel. Once you scratch away the rhetoric of fiscal conservatism that surrounds DeSantis' immigration policies, you're left with a dramatic expansion of government power and spending—the sort of thing the governor wastes no time in criticizing when the other side does it. His approach harms immigrants and Floridians alike. In his new book, The Courage To Be Free, DeSantis blasts Republicans for being too soft on immigration during his congressional tenure, claiming that they "ignored their voters…more consistently and more flagrantly" on that issue than any other. Rep. DeSantis himself co-sponsored a batch of immigration bills that would have increased penalties for first-time illegal entry into the U.S., enhanced penalties and fines for businesses that hired undocumented workers, and directed the secretary of homeland security to build or acquire more migrant detention facilities. In 2015, he introduced a bill that would've barred the U.S. from accepting refugees who were from or had "habitually resided in…any country containing terrorist-controlled territory," with few exceptions. In 2017, DeSantis defended Trump's authority to institute his so-called Muslim ban, saying that he himself would "err on the side of caution because nobody has a right to come here." After he became governor, DeSantis followed through on a campaign promise to ban sanctuary cities in the state, even though Florida didn't have a single sanctuary city. In 2020, he signed legislation expanding the use of the federal E-Verify system, which checks the immigration status of hired workers; compliance costs employers a significant number of man-hours without yielding much clear benefit. As Reason's Eric Boehm reported in January, DeSantis' administration has already cracked down on businesses that failed to comply with E-Verify requirements, directing state agencies to revoke their licenses. That move—which singled out a property management company and an online portal that serves nurses—will affect native-born Floridians as well as undocumented immigrants. That isn't the only time DeSantis has overridden local decision making in the name of immigration enforcement. Last June, he signed legislation that would force every law enforcement agency in Florida that operates a county detention facility to enter into a so-called 287(g) partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While most Florida counties were already in the 287(g) program, communities have valid reasons not to participate—including the huge cost. Some counties have had to raise property taxes or endure budget deficits to afford 287(g) costs. What's more, research from the Cato Institute has indicated that 287(g) agreements don't reduce crime but do lead to more assaults against police officers. DeSantis' splashiest immigration moment was less about policy and more about posturing. In September, the governor arranged for dozens of migrants, mostly Venezuelans, to be flown from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. State lawmakers, federal investigators, and the migrants themselves have issued several accusations about the flights since then, including misuse of state funds, deception, and human trafficking. Still battling legal action over the September scheme, DeSantis recently signed a budget authorizing more funds for migrant transportation. On top of the $35,000 his administration spent to relocate each migrant, the state will pay two law firms up to $1 million as it deals with a class-action lawsuit. DeSantis' track record has managed to convert at least one erstwhile Trump ally. Ken Cuccinelli, a top official in the Trump-era Department of Homeland Security, announced last week that he was launching a PAC to support DeSantis. "In addition to fighting Joe Biden and the immigration failure he's got on the border, I'm proud to announce that we're starting the Never Back Down PAC to build the way and call on Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024," Cuccinelli said on Fox News. "I've talked to people across the country, including people who care an awful lot about this issue, who've been very impressed with Gov. DeSantis' accomplishment in putting a spotlight on the failures of the Biden administration." In DeSantis' telling, Americans are voting with their feet, favoring Florida's strong economy and track record during the pandemic. "Florida is the fastest growing state in the nation," he said in his State of the State address this month. "We rank number one for net in-migration." But as much as the governor praises Florida's ability to attract people seeking more freedom and better economic opportunities, "he can't, or won't, apply those lessons to the nation as a whole," as Boehm wrote in a Reason profile of DeSantis. For the governor, Americans moving to Florida represent growth and prosperity, while undocumented immigrants moving to Florida, and to the U.S. more broadly, represent "threats" and a "burden" to taxpayers. As Florida lawmakers return for the legislative session, DeSantis is continuing to develop his tough-on-illegal-immigration image. Just last month, he announced a legislative package that would keep local governments from issuing ID cards to undocumented immigrants and invalidate out-of-state licenses issued to them; require hospitals to collect data on patients' immigration status; prohibit out-of-state tuition waivers for undocumented college students; and make it a felony, punishable by up to five years in jail, to knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor an undocumented immigrant (punishable by up to 15 years in jail if the immigrant is a minor). Per Politico, the package rolls back "protections that less than a decade ago were popular with many Florida Republicans, including DeSantis' own lieutenant governor." For DeSantis, keeping out immigrants is clearly more important than protecting the rights of either migrants or native-born Floridians. That would make for a costly, intrusive, big-government presidential platform—one that dehumanizes peaceful migrants who could be valuable participants in local communities and local economies. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Here Dems are, stuck in the middle with Biden

President Joe Biden is taking a number of steps to negate potential Republican attacks and he’s telling progressives they’ll have to stomach some tough policy compromises. But the White House insists you not call it triangulation. Over the past few weeks, the president has said he would not stop a bill overriding changes to D.C. criminal code, announced a historic new drilling initiative in Alaska, and entertained reinstating family detention to deter migration along the southern border. The White House argues that there has not been a coordinated, deliberate strategy to move to the center as a likely reelection campaign approaches. Rather, it says the series of moves were the product of inadvertent timing or simply Biden acting on long-held positions, like on crime. Aides have also pointed to his previous willingness to break with progressives, such as during his 2020 primary campaign or even his first two-plus years in office. But the president’s political advisers are also calculating that liberals in his party will have no choice but to stick with him when it’s time to hit the polls. So far, they’ve been right. But some lawmakers are still growing agitated. “I think the devil is in the details and we will see what happens,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in an interview. “But has he made decisions that progressives disagree with? Absolutely. We will see what comes up in the next year.” The emerging gulf between the president and his progressive base provides a window into how Biden world views the looming presidential campaign. As Democrats adjust to divided government, the president — who has watched Democratic predecessors, including one for whom he served as vice president, make similar machinations before — seems comfortable defying some of the wishes of his own party. Biden teases reporters: I'll announce reelection 'when I announce it' SharePlay Video The most significant intra-party flashpoints have come over crime, which looms as a defining issue ahead of next year’s election. Initially, the White House announced it would oppose a GOP-led crime resolution for the District of Columbia on the grounds that it was an infringement on the city’s autonomy. A majority of House Democrats voted against the measure. Then Biden did a sudden about-face earlier this month, saying he would sign the bill if it reached his desk. The president said he continued to back D.C. statehood and home rule, but could not support the city council’s sweeping reforms, which included lowering statutory maximum penalties for robbery, carjacking and other offenses. The uproar from progressives was sudden and fierce, with many saying they felt blindsided by Biden’s decision after the House had already held its vote. “If the President supports DC statehood, he should govern like it,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted. “Plenty of places pass laws the President may disagree with. He should respect the people’s gov of DC just as he does elsewhere.” But Biden’s change echoed a growing worry among Democrats who feared being labeled as soft on crime. Last November, several House races in New York that centered on crime concerns went to Republicans. And just days before the president signaled his opposition to the D.C. bill, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her reelection bid, largely due to the perception she had not done enough to fight crime in the nation’s third-largest city. Biden’s team has long been wary of charges of being soft on the issue. He has long denounced any liberal call to “defund the police” and has always made sure to twin calls for police reform with support for law enforcement. The D.C. bill, White House aides believed, was too extreme and not reflective of the public’s current mood. Don Bacon speaks to reporters. CONGRESS D.C. crime rollback energizes House GOP efforts to squeeze Dems BY MARIANNE LEVINE AND SARAH FERRIS AND NICHOLAS WU Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat facing his own reelection for his Virginia seat in 2024, defended Biden’s recent decision on signing legislation that would reverse the reform on the D.C. criminal code. He noted even the city’s mayor vetoed the measure when it passed the council. “I don’t view it as a big political strategy or an election strategy [for Biden]. I just view it on the merits,” Kaine said. “I can understand why he’s doing those things.” The White House downplayed the disagreement, saying Democrats remain aligned on significant issues like protecting Social Security and Medicare and noting how progressives rallied around the budget Biden unveiled last week. Louisa Terrell, White House director of the office of legislative affairs, made clear the president “is consistent, he’s the same guy from the campaign to the White House.” “We’re in constant communication with the Hill,” Terrell said. “We’re trying to be respectful, we’re all in the family. Sometimes we hear ‘this could have been done differently’ and we get that. And then we move on and work together.” But some Democrats fear the president has also begun to shift to the right on the thorny issue of immigration, which also looms as a political vulnerability. The Biden administration last year struggled to contain a record surge of migration at the border. Although illegal border crossings for the past two months have plummeted under new rules, administration officials fear that the lifting of a key pandemic-era immigration restriction in May could fuel another rush of migrants. Read between the lines: What Biden actually meant at his State of the Union SharePlay Video Some Democrats already are alarmed by stricter rules the Biden administration plans to implement for asylum-seeking migrants. Now they’re upset he’s considering restarting family detention at the border, a policy the administration had largely ended at the beginning of Biden’s term. MOST READ election-2024-williamson-44761.jpg Marianne Williamson’s ‘abusive’ treatment of 2020 campaign staff, revealed Ron DeSantis has a Florida problem ‘Hunting rifles’ — really? China ships assault weapons and body armor to Russia DeSantis’ anti-woke law remains blocked in Florida colleges ‘You think I’m crazy?’ Florida GOP sweats Trump vs. DeSantis Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) — respectively the chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — issued a joint statement calling on the Biden administration to dismiss “this wrongheaded approach.” “We should not return to the failed policies of the past,” the lawmakers said. “There is no safe or humane way to detain families and children, and such detention does not serve as a deterrent to migration.” The White House quickly pointed out that no final decision has been made on family detention. They added that Biden has not changed his position on immigration but is instead responding to changing migration patterns and court orders stemming from GOP lawsuits. Other Democrats were enraged that earlier this week Biden went back on a campaign pledge to halt drilling on federal land by approving a massive $8 billion plan to extract 600 million barrels of oil from federal land in Alaska. The Alaska site, known as the Willow Project, would be one of the few drilling agreements Biden has approved freely, without a court order or a congressional mandate. But, officials note, ConocoPhillips has held leases to the prospective site for more than two decades, and administration attorneys argued that refusing a permit would trigger a lawsuit that could cost the government as much as $5 billion. That did little to assuage anger on the left. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first Gen Z member of Congress, said he was “very disappointed” Biden broke his promise to both environmentalists and young voters. “Youth voter turnout was at its highest in 2020 & young folks supported him because of commitments such as ‘no more drilling on federal land,’” Frost, 26, tweeted this week. “That commitment has been broken.” Some progressives have voiced concern that one of their top links to Biden, former chief of staff Ron Klain, has left the White House. But others believe that their relationship with the White House would remain strong, with some on the left praising Biden’s move to aid Silicon Valley Bank. ‘Your deposits are safe’: Biden assures public after Silicon Valley Bank collapse SharePlay Video “What I see the president doing is maintaining a steady hand in the middle of a financial crisis,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), when asked by POLITICO about Biden’s decisions on crime and drilling. The art of the compromise comes naturally to Biden, a longtime senator who prioritized bipartisanship even when Democrats controlled both congressional branches during his first two years in office. Ignoring some howls of protest from within his own party, Biden often reached across the aisle and was rewarded with some bipartisan victories, including a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a modest gun reform package. The ability to pass much legislation going forward was sharply curtailed by the November midterms, in which Republicans secured a narrow victory in the House. And Biden’s budget was perceived as largely aspirational, while another liberal priority — student loan relief — seems destined to be struck down by the Supreme Court. The percolating progressive resentment comes as Democrats continue to wait for Biden to make his intentions about 2024 official. The president has both declared publicly and privately told confidants he plans to run for reelection. But the timeline for his final decision appears to continually slip as aides note Biden does not face a serious primary challenger from the left while the Republican field has been slow to form. Advisers had initially looked at an announcement around February’s State of the Union, or perhaps next month, timed to campaign finance reporting deadlines. But while April is still in play, members of the president’s inner circle have begun to discuss May or June for a decision. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Russian family struggling to support themselves in Seattle after crossing border

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A young Russian family who legally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States earlier this year have made their way to Seattle where a Russian-speaking church has taken them in and are helping them. But Mikhail Manzurin, 25, tells Border Report he is struggling to bring in enough income to support his family because he doesn’t have a U.S. work permit. U.S. ‘abandoned’ Venezuelans in Mexico, activist says Manzurin, who is a Christian pastor and foreign language teacher, and his wife, Nellie, 27, and their two young sons, Filip and Mark, spent 40 days living in Reynosa, Mexico, before being allowed to legally cross into South Texas in January. They left Russia fearful that Mikhail would be conscripted into the Russian army, they said. Mikhail Manzurin is a pastor and language teacher. His wife, Nellie, is a dancer. They left Russia with their two sons, Filip, left, and Mark, right, after fearing Mikhail would be conscripted in the Russian army to fight against Ukraine. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photo) Border Report first caught up with them while they lived in the basement of a McAllen church for two weeks after arriving. They then set out for Austin and then eventually made their way to Seattle where they have put down roots. Young Russian family escaped Russian war to South Texas border on ‘miracle’ journey Border Report recently spoke with Mikhail via Zoom, where he said they were “blessed” to be in America. ADVERTISING He said other Russians, as well as Ukrainians and other immigrants from that region who live in Seattle, have donated items for the apartment that they helped them to rent. They bring toys and clothing for the boys. A Moldovan couple even brought them a coffeemaker, he said. “It is such a heartwarming to feel like there are people here who can support you, who can feel you. And it’s a huge blessing for us,” Mikhail said. The family chose to fly from Russia to Mexico in late 2022 after being outspoken opponents of Russia’s war against Ukraine. They made it to the northern Mexican border with the help of the nonprofit Practice Mercy Foundation, but waited for over 40 days in the crime-ridden cartel-controlled border city before U.S. Customs and Border Protection called them for an interview at a South Texas port of entry and they were legally allowed into the United States. 3 South Texas women missing in Mexico, police say But being allowed to live in the United States and being allowed to work in the United States are two entirely different things. An asylum-seeker who is in the country on humanitarian parole “is not supposed to be working without a work permit,” Priscilla Orta, a supervising attorney for the nonprofit Lawyers For Good Government, told Border Report. But Orta says that makes it tough — and sometimes impossible — for thousands of immigrants, like Mikhail, to support their families. Mikhail does not yet have a U.S. work permit, he told Border Report on Tuesday. However, he contracts language services online where he teaches English and Chinese language classes. Migrants struggle to get work permits in Mexico He does not have to prove that he is authorized to work in the United States to contract online services. But he cannot be hired by a U.S. company until he gets a work permit, legal experts tell Border Report. “Generally speaking, it’s not a crime to work in the U.S. without authorization, although it is a crime to hire someone without authorization,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy council for the American Immigration Council, told Border Report on Tuesday. “Many undocumented people work without work permits. How can this be? Well, there is no law that says working without a work permit is illegal. Rather, the law says that hiring a person without a work permit is illegal,” Orta said. Mikhail says he is trying not to break any laws while trying to feed his family. Mikhail Manzurin, 25, is struggling to support his family in Seattle after immigrating from Russia. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File … Read More “It’s so difficult because you need to pay your bills. You need to pay for your housing. And it’s challenging. I’m trying to find work online, because if I do the work online, I do not break American laws. I don’t want to work illegally. So that’s, that’s quite challenging,” Mikhail said. But even finding work online is sometimes tough. He says he has lost students after clients find out his political opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine. “I shared on Instagram that we still support Ukraine, and we pray for Ukraine, and we wish Ukraine could win this war. One mom of one of my students, she told me that ‘we don’t want to have classes with you anymore, because you support (Ukraine). So this is still what’s happened. And you know, Russian propaganda works. And it works very, very effectively,” he said. But they have saved enough money to buy a car. And he says they are grateful for every little thing they have and for their safety in America. Thousands of Russians waiting south of the border to claim asylum in U.S. He says he knows many Russian families who are trying to cross the border from Mexico, but who are being stopped and detained at airports in Cancun and Mexico City, because officials fear they will head north to the border to go to the United States. “People in Russia, they understand that nothing is becoming better. And I think most people, they don’t believe that the war will be over soon. So people are making these kinds of decisions,” he said. Russia has just entered its second year of war against Ukraine. On Monday, the Biden administration announced it was extending humanitarian parole protections for qualifying Ukrainians who entered the United States between Feb. 24, 2022, and April 25, 2022. That was before the United for Ukraine parole program was implemented. Clock is ticking for Ukrainian refugees in America as war rages on The extension will allow up to 20,000 Ukrainians who came through the southern border — many from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego, California — to legally remain in the United States. As many as 100,000 Ukrainians have entered the United States through the United for Ukraine program, offered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program allows Ukrainians to work while in the United States, without a work permit, according to the American Immigration Council. Ukrainian migrants feel ‘American love’ as donations pile up at California port of entry Mikhail says he has met a Ukrainian couple in Seattle who came through the southern border during that time frame. “Praise the Lord if these things work for them,” he said. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

House GOP quietly preps take two of its border push

House Republicans’ ambitious promises to overhaul border security fizzled as soon as they assumed the majority. They’re preparing for a second attempt anyway. GOP lawmakers have reinitiated their hunt for border and immigration policy changes, hoping to bridge the divide between the conference’s gung-ho conservatives and more cautious centrists. Those competing sides already forced party leaders to torpedo plans for quick passage of legislation in the first weeks of the new Congress, turning a potential political advantage against Democrats into an early lesson about the pitfalls of their own slim majority. They’ve kept the latest efforts out of the spotlight. Even so, senior members — including Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairs of the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, respectively — are quietly working on a slate of border-related bills, according to four GOP lawmakers and aides, that could be ready to begin moving as soon as the end of the month. Republicans have pitched ideas like reviving the border wall and cracking down on asylum seekers, policies that stand no chance in the Senate but would let them claim a messaging victory — if they can manage to push them through the House. Underscoring how quickly one of Republicans’ biggest election talking points turned into a sore spot for old tensions, even those at the center of the intra-party debate aren’t willing to publicly bet against another derailment ... at least, not yet. “I can’t read minds. I can’t tell fortunes,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who chairs Judiciary’s immigration subpanel, said in a brief interview about the chances House Republicans pass a bill if they can get it out of committee and to the floor. The GOP’s struggle to unite on border and immigration bills isn’t new — it’s approaching a congressional cliché at this point, as both parties continuously struggle to come to any sort of agreement on comprehensive changes. But the lack of agreement sparked a bitter feud between two Texas members particularly and prompted questions from reporters over Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership. And it could easily cut against a perennial GOP talking point that Democrats are weak on border security, which the party is sure to reuse in 2024. Publicly, Republicans have tried to put that message at the heart of their still-nascent majority. They’ve taken a series of trips to the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight its manifold security challenges, lambasting the Biden administration as their Democratic colleagues boycott some of their field hearings. The strategy has scored some wins. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz generated headlines Wednesday when asked by Green if DHS had operational control over the entire southern border, he responded: “No.” Green followed up with a brief clip of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas telling House lawmakers that DHS did have operational control. Ortiz declined to say if he believed the secretary was lying — a charge conservatives have made as they’ve called for Mayorkas’ impeachment. Mayorkas credits new immigration policy for decline in illegal crossings SharePlay Video A DHS official, after Wednesday’s hearing, pointed to Mayorkas’ comments during a separate Senate hearing last year. He said then that based on the statutory definition of “operational control,” which Green showed during his hearing, “this country has never had operational control.” (Democrats, and even some Republicans, have defended Mayorkas arguing that the impeachment calls chalk up to policy disagreements.) But as Republicans publicly keep their rhetorical fire aimed at the Biden administration, they still want to pursue legislative overhauls. A leadership aide, granted anonymity to describe the private discussions, told POLITICO that there are “ongoing talks with members … and leadership about what a border package would look like.” And they appear to have learned a lesson from their first misstep when their attempts to quickly vote on a border bill in the first weeks of the term imploded. Instead of trying to go straight to the floor, Republicans are expected to first take their next slate of border-related bills through two committees — the Homeland Security and Judiciary panels. Neither committee has formally scheduled votes as the negotiations continue behind the scenes. But Green is expected to roll out a border bill within weeks, aiming to hold a panel vote in April. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that his goal is to start moving legislation through Judiciary by the end of March — though some aides are privately betting that it will slip into April given Congress’ typical pace. “We’ve got a number of bills we’re gonna look at,” Jordan said in a brief interview. “We’re just trying to be ready.” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference. IMMIGRATION Mayorkas not fazed by McCarthy impeachment threat BY DAVID COHEN Jordan pointed to bills by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Tom Tiffany (Wis.) and Chip Roy (Texas) as options for a border security package that his committee is expected to soon consider. Roy’s bill, which critics even in his own party fear would bar asylum claims as currently known, fueled his party’s legislative heartburn earlier this year by sparking pushback from more centrist conference colleagues. That included Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who is now openly feuding with Roy over border and immigration policies. MOST READ election-2024-williamson-44761.jpg Marianne Williamson’s ‘abusive’ treatment of 2020 campaign staff, revealed Ron DeSantis has a Florida problem ‘Hunting rifles’ — really? China ships assault weapons and body armor to Russia DeSantis’ anti-woke law remains blocked in Florida colleges ‘You think I’m crazy?’ Florida GOP sweats Trump vs. DeSantis Roy rejected his critics’ asylum interpretation but signaled he’s willing to give leadership space, at least for now. He’s not currently asking them to move a border package to the floor, instead saying “the plan” was to take it through the Judiciary Committee. (The Homeland Security panel, where it was also sent, isn’t expected to vote on it.) But even if the bill clears Jordan’s panel, it’s no guarantee it can withstand scrutiny of the wider conference. Even Republican members admit the committee is more conservatively slanted than the whole of the GOP House, and leadership can only afford to lose a few members in a floor vote if all Democrats oppose any legislation. If committees are able to advance legislation, leadership will have to decide whether to move the bills to the floor separately or as one package. Some members have floated merging whatever comes out of the Judiciary and the Homeland Security panels into one bill, a risky move that could test Washington’s favorite deal-solving tactic of trying to give everyone buy-in by making a package too big to fail. But the math, GOP aides privately acknowledge, could be tricky. More border security, at a 30,000-foot rhetorical level, generally unites Republicans — until you drill down into the details. Making hardline changes to asylum policies or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could peel off votes that Republicans can’t afford to lose. Meanwhile, Roy drew his own red line, warning he won’t support just throwing money at DHS: “We’re going to change the policies or we’re not going to move anything through here.” Another GOP aide described the effort to unite the conference on border policy as trying to collect “frogs in a bucket.” In further evidence of the challenge, no decisions have been made about when bills would come to the floor, or if it would be one package or several separate votes, according to a leadership aide. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as well as the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, predicted both panels will vote on border legislation within weeks, saying that he didn’t believe there was “friction” within the conference — at least when it came to timing. But Bishop added that he would want leadership to put a bill on the floor, even if it might fail. “I’m indifferent as to whether it will pass or not,” Bishop said. “I think we need to put the right bills on the floor.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Biden Has Now Embraced Republican Restrictionism on Immigration

The Biden administration will soon implement a policy that will “encourage migrants to avail themselves of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways into the United States, or otherwise to seek asylum or other protection in countries through which they travel, thereby reducing reliance on human smuggling networks that exploit migrants for financial gain.” One could be forgiven for thinking that this regulation, slated to go into effect in mid-May, expands access to the asylum process. In fact, it does the opposite. The new policy “encourages” lawful pathways by further criminalizing the most common existing pathways. Once the rule goes into effect, anyone who passes through another country on their way to the United States and crosses the border between official entry points will be deemed ineligible for asylum unless they applied for asylum in that other country first. There are a few exceptions, but the new policy will affect virtually all non-Mexican nationals who arrive at the border. Migrants can still ask for asylum at ports of entry, but the Biden administration recently made that process harder as well. Since January, all asylum seekers are required to schedule appointments with Customs and Border Protection via the CBP One app rather than going to the port of entry and asking for protection. CBP One limits access to asylum to people who have smartphones; can read English, Spanish, or Haitian Creole, the only languages in which the app is available; and can spend days or weeks checking the app for available appointments and weeks or months on top of that waiting for an interview date. Migrants who manage to clear these hurdles have to contend with a glitchy app that crashes often and that, advocates say, fails to recognize darker skin tones (migrants have to submit “video selfies” with their applications). Put in the simplest terms possible, Biden made it harder for migrants to ask for asylum at official border crossings and is now trying to punish them for crossing between ports of entry. In doing so, the administration is enshrining several Trump-era border policies—even though, three years ago, Biden promised to undo the damage that Trump had done to the immigration system. It’s Republican restrictionism dressed up in the technocratic, social-justice-inflected language that has become endemic among Democrats of a certain type. “To be clear, this was not our first preference, or even our second,” an administration official told reporters in late February. The official added that Congress’s inability to pass an immigration-reform bill forced the president’s hand. But Congress hasn’t passed any immigration laws in decades, and that didn’t stop Trump from his first- and second-choice immigration policies: building a wall, banning travel from Muslim-majority countries, and limiting asylum at the border. RELATED ARTICLE The Nation ICE IS SUBJECTING A RECORD NUMBER OF ASYLUM SEEKERS TO ELECTRONIC MONITORING Gaby Del Valle Biden kept Title 42 in place, which since the onset of the pandemic has let border officials rapidly “expel” migrants to Mexico, ostensibly on public health grounds. Now that the pandemic emergency is set to end, and with it the pretext for Title 42, he’s bringing back two other restrictions: the third-country transit ban, imposed by Trump in 2019, which made anyone who passed through another country en route to the US ineligible for asylum; and metering, a practice by which CBP officers limited the number of people allowed to ask for asylum at ports of entry. Administration officials have argued that these are needed to manage the projected surge in asylum seekers once Title 42 ends in mid-May, estimating that border apprehensions may reach 13,000 a day. A three-judge panel declared the transit ban illegal in 2020, not because Trump lacked authority to impose such a policy but because the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to go through the customary notice-and-comment period. Time and time again, the Trump administration’s downfall was not its brutality but rather its incompetence. For Biden and his advisers, it all comes down to optics. “Electoral politics trump values when it comes to access to asylum,” an anonymous administration official told the Los Angeles Times. “The desire to keep the border quiet resulted in compromising what I previously thought were deeply held Democratic beliefs.” In late 2021, several high-profile officials left the Biden administration. Some had signed on to undo Trump’s immigration policies, only to find themselves stymied by more senior officials. Andrea Flores, a young staffer, told The New Yorker that her policy recommendations were ignored because top White House officials “do not want to hear about more people coming in.” What Biden apparently failed to consider is that he’s not winning anyone over by embracing Trump’s immigration policies. In her memoir about her time in the Obama White House, Flores recalled working on an immigration-reform bill during Obama’s second term. Democrats agreed to fund an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents in exchange for a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, but the bill failed anyway. “No amount of harsh enforcement from Democrats would convince Republicans,” Flores wrote. A decade later, it appears that Biden’s senior advisers still haven’t learned that lesson. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Thousands oppose asylum ‘travel ban’ rule

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Immigration advocates are mobilizing supporters to stop a proposed Biden administration rule disqualifying asylum-seekers who cross the border without appointments or fail to apply for protection in countries they traveled through on the way to the U.S. The advocates say between 12,000 and 14,000 people so far have submitted written comments to the Department of Homeland Security in opposition to the proposed “Circumvention of lawful pathways” rule. Public comment on what advocacy groups call an asylum “travel ban” ends on March 27. “Our objection comes down to a couple of things,” said Imelda Maynard, legal services director for Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso. “We were only given 30 days instead of the typical 60 days to comment on a rule that essentially shuts down the ability for most folks to seek asylum. […] For most non-Mexicans, it means applying for asylum in Mexico and be denied asylum before they can apply in the U.S. That causes a lot of problems because they are incredibly vulnerable in Mexico, where they are targeted by human smugglers and the cartels.” ADVERTISING DHS plans to implement the rule in anticipation of a migrant surge once the Title 42 public health rule that has allowed border agents to promptly expel people crossing the border illegally expires on May 11. Migrant apprehensions remain steady along Southwest border “The (proposed rule) is designed to address the current and anticipated surge in migration and further discourage illegal migration by encouraging lawful, safe and orderly processes for entering the United States and partner nations,” DHS said in justifying the rule. The rule provides exemptions based on extreme health or endangerment threats and opens to expulsion those who cannot supply such proof to deportation under longstanding Title 8 authority. The advocates say the new process relies heavily on technology, which many people in need throughout the world lack access to or are not proficient with. Those individuals and families fleeing poverty, crime or political oppression will continue to come to the U.S. any way they can. “What this rule is going to end up doing is creating more chaos,” Maynard said. “It creates restrictions against a lot of people who don’t have access to technology. […] We have people who are desperate, and we will continue to see them pushing to come in through irregular ways. Instead of solving the problem of people crossing irregularly, I think it’s going to make it worse.” DHS tweaks CBP One app after reports of family separations, agency says El Paso’s Hope Border Institute is also urging people to participate in the rule’s public comment period, said Mayte Elizalde, the group’s communications director. “We have informed the public about the public comment period through our newsletter and on social media. We have also provided the link for people to add their comments along with other national organizations,” Elizalde said. El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz said the new rule places additional burdens in neighboring countries, primarily Mexico, which are dealing with violence and regional instability that forces their own citizens to migrante. “We can expect an increase in both the exploitation of migrants by traffickers and migrant deaths – now at record levels – which occur whenever legal pathways at the border are restricted,” Seitz wrote last week in America/Jesuit Review. “Government must regulate the border and guarantee the rights of asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. Policies that fail to secure protections for the vulnerable are morally deficient. Death simply cannot be an acceptable part of the overhead costs of our immigration policies.” For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

USCIS Relocates Lockbox From Phoenix To Tempe, Arizona for Courier Delivery Services

On March 31, applicants and petitioners filing at the Phoenix lockbox will see a new filing location for courier delivery services such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. We will move our Phoenix lockbox to Tempe, AZ, for courier delivery services. When using the U.S. Postal Service, the filing location will remain the same. We will forward any applications, petitions, or requests received via courier delivery services between March 31 and April 28. After April 28, we will not accept courier delivery services at the previous address. Our Lockbox Filing Location Updates page provides an up-to-date summary of changes we make to any lockbox filing location. For the most current information on where to file, please see the Where to File section on the webpage for your form. You can also subscribe to the Forms Updates GovDelivery distribution list to receive an email each time we update a filing location. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

USCIS Announces Additional Mail Delivery Process for Receiving ADIT Stamp

Lawful permanent residents may receive temporary evidence of their lawful permanent resident status by mail rather than physically visiting a field office to receive an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) stamp (also known as an I-551 stamp). Lawful permanent residents are entitled to evidence of status and may require temporary evidence of their status in the form of an ADIT stamp if: · They do not have their Green Card; or · Their Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is still pending adjudication and their Green Card and extension notice have expired. When lawful permanent residents call the USCIS Contact Center to request temporary evidence of status, an immigration services officer will verify their identity, their physical mailing address, and whether that address can receive UPS or FedEx express mail. They will then either schedule an in-person appointment for the lawful permanent resident, if needed, or submit a request to the USCIS field office to issue the ADIT stamp. If an in-person appointment is not needed, the USCIS field office will review the request for temporary evidence and mail the applicant a Form I-94 with ADIT stamp, DHS seal, and a printed photo of the lawful permanent resident obtained from USCIS systems. USCIS may issue temporary evidence of status in the form of an ADIT stamp. USCIS determines if the requestor should receive an ADIT stamp and has the discretion to determine the validity period based on the lawful permanent resident’s situation (not to exceed one year, unless specified otherwise by regulation or policy). Some lawful permanent residents will still need to appear in person at a USCIS field office to receive temporary evidence of their status, including those who have urgent needs, do not have a useable photo in USCIS systems, or whose address or identity cannot be confirmed. The new process will allow USCIS to issue temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status in a timely way without requiring a scheduled appointment at the field office, thereby reducing the burden on our applicants and increasing availability of field office resources. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Opinion: What history reveals about the DeSantis playbook

CNN — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a clear strategy for building support for his presidential bid: chum the waters with red meat for the Republican base, then follow his rhetorical punches with legislative and executive action. From banning books in school libraries to flying migrants to blue states to firing a progressive prosecutor, DeSantis has displayed a Trumpian knack for driving media coverage. 01 Nicole Hemmer Headshot But his agenda in Florida — which he now envisions as a blueprint for the rest of the United States — is not just about PR stunts: He has used his power as governor to translate provocation into policy with alarming speed. In doing so, he has emerged as a new kind of Republican governor: one who has used his state to demonstrate that he can institute a more effective and aggressive version of former President Donald Trump’s politics. And in pursuit of these so-called culture wars, DeSantis has vastly expanded the power of the executive in Florida, which has been one of his central goals since taking office. “I want you to give me a binder of all the authorities of the governor,” he says he told the state’s general counsel shortly after becoming governor. “What can I do as a matter of constitutional right without anybody checking me?” ADVERTISING It turns out, quite a lot. In addition to filing complaints to shut down drag shows and firing a prosecutor he disagrees with, DeSantis has leaned on a pliant legislature, which has signed off on an agenda that allows him to seize control of municipal services and development for Disney and ban subjects taught in schools. Such significant power grabs signal an attitude toward government power that goes far beyond fights over culture, playing instead into an embrace of illiberalism that has increasingly defined much of the Republican Party. AURORA, OR - OCTOBER 18: A supporter wears a "Make America Great Again" hat at a rally for Oregon gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan on October 18, 2022 in Aurora, Oregon. Drazan was joined by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to help drum up support in a hotly contested gubernatorial race in Oregon, a state that has not elected a Republican governor since 1982. (Photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images) Republicans are having a 'malaise' moment A decade ago, Republican governors emerged as the party’s potential bridge-builders and saviors. More moderate in general than their Tea Party counterparts in Congress, more effective in pursuing popular agendas, a number of Republican governors — particularly those in blue and purple states — were lauded at the time by politicos and pundits as politicians who could build national majorities capable of effective governance. This image never provided a complete picture of what Republican governors were doing — in Wisconsin, for example, Scott Walker spent two terms demolishing unions and public universities in the state — but for those looking for a source of popular conservative governance, the governors seemed like a lifeboat in a sea of insurgent populism. In the 2020s, Republican governors remain a rich source of party leadership, but in the post-Trump era, they look more like DeSantis than former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. The governor’s seat is now a perch to prove that you can manipulate all the levers of power to feed the party’s base, both in-state and nationally. DeSantis has done this with a particular flair, picking high-profile fights with Disney and Martha’s Vineyard, while also seizing on the moral panics of the moment, from “wokeness” to critical race theory to trans rights. He’s not alone. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, whose penchant for fleece vests seems to have confused commentators into thinking he is cut from the same cloth as the purple-state Republican governors of the 2010s, has also reportedly been eyeing a presidential bid. But rumors of his moderate politics are greatly exaggerated. Youngkin’s rise to office ran through a panic about critical race theory and trans students. Students from New College of Florida stage a walkout from the public liberal arts college to protest against a proposed wide-reaching legislation that would ban gender studies majors and diversity programs at Florida universities, in Sarasota, Florida, U.S., February 28, 2023. REUTERS/Octavio Jones New College of Florida trustees vote to abolish DEI programs, even as students protest against conservative overhaul of school While DeSantis made headlines by targeting the leadership of New College, a small public liberal arts college in Sarasota, Youngkin has been stacking the board of governors at the University of Virginia with antagonistic members devoted to remaking the school. While DeSantis grabbed the spotlight by signing legislation that restricted instruction on racism in schools and workplaces, Youngkin issued an executive order banning the teaching of critical race theory. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced her bid for president last month, has tracked this change as well, attempting to remake her image from the governor of South Carolina who took down the Confederate flag at the statehouse to the one who insists “wokeness is a virus more deadly than any pandemic.” On some level, there’s not much new here: These governors are engaging in rebranded political fights that dominated politics in the 1990s. The decade witnessed history wars, with battles over what versions of the nation’s past were taught in classrooms and displayed in museums. It popularized “political correctness” as a way to dismiss concerns over language and representation. It gave rise to a new nativism that sought to bar undocumented immigrants from accessing social goods like public education. And it saw an organized movement to stop “the homosexual agenda,” as right-wing groups attempted to roll back gay-rights laws in a dozen states. Ron DeSantis State of the State 0307 SCREENGRAB VIDEO DeSantis tells Florida 'You ain't seen nothing yet' Some Republican governors of the era sought to ride those issues to the White House. California Gov. Pete Wilson campaigned for reelection in 1994 by stoking fears of undocumented immigrants. He went on to seek a ban on affirmative action programs and bilingual education in the state. His 1996 presidential bid made little headway, though, and in 2000 the party opted for a Republican governor who promised to pursue immigration reform and campaigned under the banner of compassionate conservatism. The 1990s also offered a way of thinking about these political fights that remains with us today: culture wars. Journalists covering DeSantis have reached for the phrase again and again, seeing his focus on incendiary issues as a strategy to stir the base by focusing on intensely emotional topics. But the culture-wars framework has flaws. It suggests that the issues are a distraction from real politics, a sleight of hand to draw attention away from economic policy and focus instead on less substantive, more emotive cultural concerns. That framing misses that the issues at the heart of the so-called culture wars are often economic issues as well. DeSantis’ attacks on public education come paired with efforts to weaken teachers’ unions (while access to public education itself has been a core part of the US economy for over a century). Limits on reproductive health care are limits on earning power and economic freedom for both women and men. Scaling back resources to address workplace discrimination cuts off opportunities for Black and other non-White workers. GET OUR FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER Sign up for CNN Opinion’s newsletter. Join us on Twitter and Facebook Beyond that, DeSantis has framed his politics around an anti-elitist rhetoric that has significant power in US politics and culture. The introduction to his new book, “The Courage to Be Free,” is a broadside against elites that repeatedly invokes populism while avoiding the word conservatism. He positions himself as someone outside the establishment of the Republican Party, much the same way Trump, and before him, Pat Buchanan, did as well. For now, DeSantis and Trump lead early polls for the Republican presidential nomination; around 80% of Republicans support either Trump or DeSantis. But rather than representing different visions of the Republican Party, different strands of ideology or different approaches to power, they present a united front for a party that has embraced a cruel-edged, power-hungry right-wing politics – and now is weighing who will be the most effective messenger for that brand. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Marjorie Taylor Greene's 'Confidential' Border Bomb Was Actually a Fake

Marjorie Taylor Greene leaked "confidential" information during a public hearing about a bomb discovered by U.S. Border Patrol agents in a lightly monitored area of the U.S-Mexico border this winter she claimed was proof the U.S. military should send troops to the country's southern border. The "bomb," however, turned out to be nothing more than a ball of dirt wrapped in duct tape. In a field hearing with U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz in Texas Wednesday, the Georgia Republican congresswoman grilled the Biden administration's top law enforcement official on the border about how the agency was working to address an apparent escalation by Mexican drug cartels transporting vast quantities of the deadly drug fentanyl across the country's southern border. In her line of questioning, she claimed that U.S. Border Patrol agents in January had discovered a "bomb" in a lightly patrolled sector of the country's southern border she claimed was evidence the cartels were actively waging war against border patrol agents. ADVERTISING NEWSWEEK NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP > She later posted a photo of the alleged device on Twitter, saying its discovery "changes everything" about the dynamic of debate around the future of the border, and could warrant military intervention to address it. "Not only are the Cartels murdering Americans everyday through drugs and crime, but now they are planting bombs on our land in our country," Greene wrote. "Our US military needs to take action against the Mexican Cartels. End this Cartel led war against America!" Ortiz declined to discuss specifics of the incident, saying that information about the bomb's discovery was considered "confidential," and that he would be hesitant to share what he knew about the incident. NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS > Greene, however, was apparently not. "I'm not going to be confidential, because I think people deserve to know our border patrol agents should not be in those type of conditions where they are at risk of being blown to pieces by the cartels who, by the way, are criminals and should be treated as such," Greene said. Reports after the hearing however appeared to confirm that the "bomb" in question was, in fact, a fake. According to Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin, while the device Greene posted appeared nefarious, a "high-level CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] official" confirmed the object did not actually contain any explosives. The CBP confirmed his reporting to Newsweek. "Today, Chief Raul L. Ortiz testified before the Committee on Homeland Security in Pharr, Texas," according to a CBP spokesperson. "During the testimony, it was alleged that U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered an explosive device planted by the cartel along the border on January 17, 2023. The object in question, found on January 17, was determined to be sand wrapped in duct tape with a rope protruding from the top to resemble a wick. Leadership was briefed on the incident during daily internal executive team meetings who conveyed the object was fake and posed no threat towards U.S. Border Patrol agents or the public." However, Greene's evidence is more than just a prop. During the hearing, she used the anecdote of the "bomb" to highlight legislation she'd co-sponsored with other Republican members of Congress to "declare war" on the cartels, using the so-called device as evidence that the cartels were conversely "definitely declaring war on us." "The American people and our border patrol agents have had enough of it, and I know Americans have had enough of it," she said. MTg Marjorie Taylor Greene, pictured here with an "explosive device" found by border patrol agents earlier this year. ANNA MONEYMAKER/NEWSWEEK PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/GETTY IMAGES/TWITTER Newsweek has reached out to Greene for comment, including details of where she obtained the photograph. She acknowledged the mistake in a tweet later that evening, placing blame on Ortiz and his agency for not being forthcoming with information about the border. Greene wrote: "If the device in question was just filled with sand then why would Chief Ortiz tell me during his testimony that he was briefed about it in a SCIF and couldn't comment on classified information, then turn around afterwards and tweet a picture of it claiming it was filled with sand?" "With thousands of people and huge amounts of drugs flooding across the border everyday, they don't brief the Chief of Border Patrol in a SCIF about a ball of sand. They only brief us about dangerous things in classified briefings," she added. Greene's talking points are nothing new: After the kidnapping of several Americans south of the border in the spring, Greene called for the U.S. military to station troops at the southern border, saying the military should "strategically strike and take out the Mexican Cartels." Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador later rebuffed those calls, saying in a news conference, "We are not going to permit any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less that a government's armed forces intervene." Mexico, he said, was its own sovereign state and "not a protectorate of the United States, nor a colony of the United States." Other top officials claimed the move was an "obvious" effort to score political points. House Democrats claimed that was the goal of Wednesday's hearing as well. Wednesday's meeting of the Homeland Security Committee was considered by many to be something of a Republican political stunt to highlight the failures of the Biden Administration's border policies. Ahead of Wednesday's hearing, Tennessee Republican Representative Mark Green, the committee's chairman, claimed all 15 Democratic members of the committee were planning to boycott the hearing following the boycott of a similar hearing in Arizona last month. "They said coming here was just a political stunt," Green said ahead of the hearing. "You tell me." At least one Democratic member of the committee—Representative Lou Correa—did travel to the border Wednesday, however, where he called on colleagues to consider other measures to address the surge including stronger surveillance measures, more personnel and above all, reforms to the country's current immigration protocols. "A lot of issues, a lot of challenges," he said. "Let's get busy." For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.

Border Patrol Chief Admits Biden Official Wrong About 'Operational Control'

The U.S. Border Patrol chief made a statement on border security Wednesday that directly conflicts with a past assurance made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing in McAllen, Texas, in an effort by committee Republicans to show that "the crisis at the southwest border is a direct result of Secretary Mayorkas' failure to enforce the laws of our country." All 15 Democrats on the committee boycotted the hearing. Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson told the Washington Examiner in a statement that Republicans politicized the hearing and broke with longstanding bipartisan tradition. NEWSWEEK NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP > U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz was one of five witnesses. ADVERTISING Committee Chairman Representative Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, asked Ortiz, "Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?" Ortiz responded, "No, sir." The term "operational control" is defined by Congress as "the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband." Last year, Mayorkas was questioned by Texas Republican Chip Roy about whether the U.S. has operational control. Mayorkas replied, "Yes, we do." Ortiz told Green that about 10 years ago his unit used operational control as a "measuring stick" with a new strategy geared toward mission advantage. Asked again by Green if the definition of operational control is being followed by DHS, Ortiz again said it's not but would not say whether Mayorkas was lying or not. "It's either ignorance [on Mayorkas' part], which is unacceptable, or it's lying," Green said. As of last September, data compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that the number of encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border was three times higher under President Joe Biden than it was under former President Donald Trump, with Biden's totals reaching nearly 189,000 per month compared to Trump's approximate 51,000 number. Numbers during Biden's term have already exceeded those throughout Trump's entire four-year term, including over 2 million crossings in 2022 alone. The total number of illegal crossings remains unknown. In February, House Republican Andy Biggs filed impeachment articles against Mayorkas for what he said in a Newsweek op-ed is a violation of public trust and "mere gross incompetence." A DHS spokesperson told Newsweek that the hearing "highlights the vital work the Department of Homeland Security does every day to enforce our laws, secure our border, and combat cartels and smugglers." They highlighted the second straight month of the lowest number of border crossings since February 2021. Operational data from last month showed that individuals who entered the U.S. between ports of entry at the southwest border totaled 128,877—a nearly identical number to January's 128,913 encounters. "Despite inheriting a dismantled immigration system and facing unprecedented migration that is affecting nations throughout the Western Hemisphere, this administration has surged resources to the border, reducing the number of encounters between ports of entry, disrupting more smuggling operations than ever before, and interdicting more drugs in the last two years than had been stopped in the five years prior," the spokesperson said. "The department welcomes input from Congress and looks forward to working with members on legislative solutions for our broken immigration system, which Congress has not reformed for more than forty years," they added. The DHS response included no comment regarding the differing statements made by Mayorkas and Ortiz. Representative Green wished Democrats would have taken part in Wednesday's hearing. "It's deeply disappointing that the minority members of the committee have chosen to bail on this week's full committee field hearing in Texas, only after they invited and confirmed a minority witness for one of the panels," Green said in a statement to Newsweek. migrants Venezuelan and Nicaraguan migrants are transferred by agents of the Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, US to ask for political asylum on December 27, 2022. HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES The Democrats' absence sends a message that they don't care, Green added, saying the party's members are in a "D.C. echo chamber" regarding the issue of border security. A spokesperson for Green had no additional comment regarding Ruiz's response on operational control, telling Newsweek that his comments during the hearing suffice. The other four witnesses part of Wednesday's hearing included Steven Cagen, assistant director of Countering Transnational Organized Crime Homeland Security Investigations; Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety; Sheriff Brad Coe, of Kinney County, Texas; and Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council. Newsweek reached out via email to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Representative Thompson for comment. For more information, visit us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/index.html.