- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; email@example.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Monday, November 27, 2023
In response to high border crossings, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress appear ready to at least partially cave to demands to restrict asylum in negotiations on the contours of an ongoing deal. This would be a grave mistake. It would hurt asylum-seekers but won’t stop illegal migration. Biden already has the right plan for the border. He just hasn’t fully implemented it. The best way to reduce pressure on the border from illegal migration is to make legal entry easier, and Biden’s 2023 immigration agenda included many of the necessary measures. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made them available widely enough, and this failure is leading to people entering illegally. Asylum-seekers walk along the border wall on Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, Calif. Migrants at the southern border are no longer just from Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. Increasingly they're from other continents that include countries such as Russia, China and India. Arbitrary legal immigration caps create massive backlogs The primary initiative is parole sponsorship, under which immigrants sponsored by Americans could receive authorization to enter legally straight from their home country and live and work in the United States for at least two years. Migrants who couldn’t find sponsors could go to the U.S.-Mexico border and apply to enter legally using a Customs and Border Protection phone app called CBP One. Those who get interviews can potentially get asylum (albeit only under very restrictive criteria) or parole for a period of up to two years. However, arbitrarily low caps have effectively eliminated legal pathways for most immigrants who want to use them. This has transformed what were originally straightforward processes into random lotteries, where the lucky few win golden tickets and the rest are left out in the cold. Biden’s plan achieved great initial success, simultaneously helping many thousands of people escape violence and repression and reducing disorder at the border. After the January announcement of these measures, Border Patrol encounters dropped 42% from December. Illegal migration from nations covered by the sponsorship program dropped even more. Even so, further progress was stymied because parole sponsorship was limited to migrants from just five countries: Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Participation from the Latin American nations (the “CHNV” countries) is capped at just 30,000 migrants a month from all four countries combined. The CHNV program covers people escaping horrific violence and oppression at the hands of the socialist dictatorships that rule Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and the gangs that infest Haiti. But many migrants from uncovered nations are also fleeing horrific conditions. Is Texas ending parole sponsorship?We welcomed refugees into our home. Now Texas wants to stop us supporting anyone else. Thanks to the cap, less than 2% of CHNV applicants are granted entry every month. There is now a backlog of hundreds of thousands of applicants. The average new applicant will need to wait nearly five years to be processed. The legal process worked initially, but now it has largely been shut down. The backup option – applying for legal entry at the U.S.-Mexico border using the CBP One phone app – might have mitigated the fallout. But arbitrary caps and flawed agency procedures have ruined this option as well. Appointments are capped at 1,450 a day – though there were nearly 9,000 daily migrant encounters in September. Through truly bizarre requirements, agencies have turned this problem into a disaster. First, applicants must be in central or northern Mexico to make appointments. They can’t apply in their home country. Second, appointments cannot be booked more than three weeks out. Once immigrants get to Mexico, they find all appointments are booked. Now they are stuck in the most dangerous cities in Mexico with no way to enter the United States legally. Operation Lone Star wasteful, dangerous:If Texas governor signs new border law, it will be open season on people who look like me Expanding legal migration would cut black market in immigration Biden never mentioned this cap in his January announcement. He said anyone could go on CBP One and get an appointment. But bureaucracy has made this literally untrue at any point in time almost from the moment the app opened. The combination of horrific poverty and oppression in their home countries and labor shortages in the United States lead people seeking opportunity and freedom to enter illegally if there is no other way to do so. “We all tried, but we couldn’t get an appointment,” one Venezuelan said in September before crossing illegally. Asylum-seekers wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande on Sept. 30, 2023, into Eagle Pass, Texas. It's the same dynamic by which alcohol prohibition led people to illegally obtain smuggled booze from the likes of Al Capone. Barring legal markets in much-wanted goods or services predictably creates vast black markets to which millions of people seek access. When Prohibition was abolished, alcohol smuggling and associated organized crime greatly diminished. Legalizing migration would have similar effects on the black market in immigration. Expanding legal migration would also save more people from violence, poverty and oppression – and bolster the U.S. economy. Immigrants disproportionately contribute to American innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby greatly enhancing economic freedom, wealth and opportunity for native-born Americans as well. Slow population growth may hurt US:No, America is not seeing an unprecedented surge in immigration. New Census data prove it. Biden should order the agencies to eliminate the arbitrary country limitations and numerical caps on parole sponsorship and CBP One. He should also allow migrants to book CBP appointments in their home countries many weeks in advance. These options would eliminate the vast majority of illegal immigration, restoring order to a chaotic border. Biden shouldn’t give up on his policies and give in to the demands from the other side. He has already implemented severe asylum restrictions for those who cross illegally, and illegal migration is as high as ever. Now there are just more people here with no path to legalize their status. David J. Bier is the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. Increased deportations aren't the answer, either. Indeed, over his first two years in office, President Biden has actually removed more border crossers than former President Donald Trump did during his last two years in office, and done it in a slightly higher percentage of cases. Biden has already laid out a better path forward than imitating Trump. It is time to start following it. Ilya Somin is the B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. David Bier is associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. Ilya Somin, law professor at George Mason University, is the B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and author of "Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration and Political Freedom." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Migrants in Chicago huddle on the floors of police stations and sleep in city buses kept running overnight to block out the cold. In Massachusetts, where the emergency shelter system hit capacity earlier this month, the state is converting office space into shelters and at least one local group is stockpiling sleeping bags. And in New York, where shelters are also full, the city has taken the extraordinary steps of providing migrants one-way plane tickets to as far away as Morocco and have contemplated handing out tents to newly-arriving migrants so they can sleep in parks. Northern cities and states that have been overwhelmed by a surge in migrants are now out of room to house them just as the weather turns cold — a potentially life-threatening situation that’s inflaming local political tensions as the Biden administration largely leaves these Democratic strongholds to fend for themselves. “The state that took my ancestors in fleeing from pogroms in Ukraine will not allow asylum seekers to freeze to death on our doorsteps,” Gov. JB Pritzker said last week, referring to his family’s immigration to Illinois. The dual crises of lowering temperatures and a lack of shelter space are forcing some jurisdictions to tighten long-standing policies that previously ensured people without homes would have a place to stay — and in some cases, confront simmering racial divides. Federal Homeland Security officials have held legal clinics in all three states to help process thousands of migrants’ work permits more quickly. It’s a step local and state officials say is key to helping migrants provide for their families — and move out of the city and state-run shelters where they’ve been living in some cases for more than a year. The White House also included $1.4 billion for grants to local governments and nonprofits providing services for recently arrived migrants as part of a larger spending bill for Israel and Ukraine. A DHS official not authorized to speak publicly said about $800 million has been allocated for temporary shelter and other services through various emergency food and shelter programs. But that’s not enough for Democratic mayors and governors who have been publicly and privately pleading with the Biden administration for help bolstering and expanding their maxed-out shelter systems, calls that are taking on new urgency as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. Pritzker said at least $65 million of the new $160 million the state is investing to address its migrant surge will go toward a “winterized soft shelter site” to house up to 2,000 migrants. Migrants are camped outside of the 1st District police station in Chicago. Migrants are camped outside of the 1st District police station on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Chicago. | Erin Hooley/AP Pritzker repeated his concern that the migrant crisis is an issue requiring broader federal coordination and said Chicago officials haven’t “moved fast enough” to deal with it: “We’re stepping in here to try to help and accelerate this process.” It’s an unprecedented problem in northern cities and states that, unlike their southern-border counterparts, are unaccustomed to dealing with tens of thousands of migrants. Officials in New York City, which now houses more than 65,600 migrants, acknowledge that it’s out of space and in October issued 60-day notices to families with children to find new accommodations. Adults without kids have only 30 days to find housing outside the city shelter system — unwelcomed pressure to find their own housing as winter settles in. Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is continuing to press the Biden administration to provide more help — as it has done for months. “As the temperature starts to drop, it is crucial — now more than ever — that the federal government finish the job they started,” Adams’ spokesperson Kayla Mamelak Altus said in a statement. “We need meaningful financial help and a national decompression strategy. New York City cannot continue to manage a national crisis almost entirely on its own.” Some advocacy groups are concerned about whether New York City’s massive tents that can sometimes hold 2,000 people will hold up through winter. Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said recent flooding created an unhealthy situation at some locations, saying there needs to be more permanent solution for people. “I think for us it really is everything coming to bear at a time when the weather is really cold,” Awawdeh said. Chicago’s looming frigid winter is pushing lawmakers to get migrants indoors — but the effort has exposed a divide between city officials and Black and brown residents, who have resisted the city’s attempt to build heated base camps for migrants in their neighborhoods. That in turn has delayed the process to get migrants out of the elements. “There’s a huge urgency, and it’s been a challenge because of the emotions,” Jason Lee, the top adviser to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, told POLITICO. Parts of Chicago’s South Side, known for its large Black community, are particularly uneasy about the attention to caring for migrants. “Residents are seeing that after all this time of promising something for us, nothing has come of it. Now you have folks who have just come to this country, and they’re being serviced,” said South Side Alderperson Ronnie Mosley. Chicago is also imposing a 60-day limit for shelter stays, mirroring New York, and working to construct two camps for the winter that can house migrants currently sleeping on floors or in tents. More than 24,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, with about 2,200 of those new arrivals huddled on the floors of police stations and at O’Hare International Airport waiting to get into a shelter. MOST READ house-judiciary-committee-86885.jpg Ken Buck blasts his party’s hardliners for ‘lying to America’ Would JFK Have Lost Had He Lived? China says surge in respiratory illnesses caused by flu and other known pathogens University of Florida turns against Joe Ladapo Christie: Trump deserves blame for rise in antisemitism Time is key in Chicago and other northern cities preparing for winter. The efforts, however, are complicated by the racial dynamics of Chicago. Traditionally underserved Black and brown communities are sensitive to the plight of immigrants on the streets, but they are also upset when they feel their needs, such as jobs and housing for people in their communities, are being ignored. “We know that people are people and anyone coming to seek refuge here shouldn’t be turned away or told that we can’t help,” Alderperson Andre Vasquez, who heads the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in an interview. “Neighbors on the ground understand it, as complex as it is.” In Massachusetts, migrant families could also face nights in the streets. The state is supposed to guarantee many homeless families and pregnant women are sheltered under its “right-to-shelter” law. Haitian immigrants step out of a van as they arrive at a shelter. Haitian immigrants step out of a van as they arrive at a shelter on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Quincy, Mass. | Steven Senne/AP But Gov. Maura Healey instituted a 7,500-family — or roughly 24,000-person — capacity limit on the state’s emergency shelter system because the first-term Democrat said the state is out of space, money and providers to safely house anyone else. The state hit that cap on Nov. 9. Now, migrant and homeless families seeking emergency assistance are being put on a waitlist for housing — an unprecedented move that has drawn backlash from homelessness-prevention advocates and an unsuccessful lawsuit from a nonprofit civil-rights advocacy group to stop it. The state estimates that about half of the homeless families being housed under the program are migrants. Families arriving at the state’s “welcome centers” are now being screened for medical and safety risks — such as high-risk pregnancies or exposure to threats of domestic violence — and, if there’s no shelter space available that day, turned away and told to return to the “last safe place” they stayed. The Healey administration seeded the United Way of Massachusetts Bay with $5 million to mete out to faith-based and community groups to open up temporary overnight shelters. The first site, for up to 27 families, or around 81 people, launched this week. But there were none operational for nearly two weeks after the waitlist went into effect, leading at least one Boston-based service provider to stockpile sleeping bags in case families needed to sleep in its office. Migrants, including children, were taken to Logan Airport only to be told they couldn’t sleep there, either. On Monday, Healey administration officials temporarily converted office space at a state transportation building into a shelter for up to 25 families a night. But the shelter is only expected to operate for two weeks. The move comes as the Biden administration has so far rebuffed the governor’s pleas for help standing up a larger group shelter for waitlisted families. Federal officials have, however, partnered with the state on a legal clinic to more quickly process migrants’ work permits, serving more than 1,000 migrants last week as it runs through month’s end. With additional federal dollars largely out of reach, Healey has instead been forced to return to state lawmakers — who already infused the shelter system with $410 million this year — for another $250 million. But two months after she requested it, the money remains mired in an inter-chamber battle between a Democratic-controlled House and Senate that can’t agree on whether to specify how Healey can use the funds. Advocacy groups have taken to the State House in recent days to protest lawmakers’ lack of a deal. “There is obviously a huge concern about the health and safety of people who are going to have no place to sleep and no place to turn,” said Andrea Park of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute that does housing advocacy work. ”I think that we’re going to see some very desperate situations.” Kelly Garrity contributed to this report. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Even though Americans support immigration, they have been willing to accept tougher prescriptions for enforcement — and their willingness could test how far hard-liners can go in 2024 with anti-immigrant proposals. Democrats, like Republicans, have been joining the drumbeat that there is a "crisis" at the border as the numbers of people the Border Patrol says it encounters hit record levels. Amid all this, former President Donald Trump promises to expand on the hard-line immigration policies of his first term, setting off alarm bells among immigration advocates and even some Republican conservatives. Trump has escalated his language with declarations that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country,” echoing Nazi rhetoric; proposing such drastic measures as a massive deportation sweep modeled after the Eisenhower-era “Operation Wetback”; and calling for detention camps that some see as similar to Japanese internment camps. Trump’s plans include ending the constitutional right to birthright citizenship, invoking a World War II law that allows the president to unilaterally detain and deport people who are not U.S. citizens and cutting off funding for transportation and shelter for people who lack legal status in the country, The Associated Press reported. All of it seems to be happening as there are signs of cracks in Americans' historic support for immigration. A June Gallup poll found Americans still think immigration is good for the country, at 68%, but that is the lowest percentage since 2014, when it was 63%, and down from 77% in 2020. A recent NBC News poll found that 3 in 4 registered voters favored Congress’ spending more money on border security to address immigration. Meanwhile, leaders in blue cities that have long welcomed immigrants complain of stretched resources with the influx of newcomers shuttled from Texas and other states. Dividing lines are emerging as immigrants who have worked for years without legal status see newly arrived asylum-seekers from countries like Venezuela get work permits. This month a number of immigration advocacy and progressive groups warned that Americans should take a breather and be careful what they wish for as they demand that something be done about the “border crisis.” “Trump’s immigration plan is not just about immigrants. Citizens are at risk, too,” said Tom Jawetz, the senior fellow for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. With immigration a top issue for voters in the 2024 elections, hard-liners already have been testing whether they can slip into those cracks in voters’ support for immigration, while progressives worry that Americans do not understand the wider impact of some of the policies. “What Trump is describing is not just about immigration policy. He’s not just firing up his voters for a primary season. He’s openly talking about changing who we are as a nation, who is considered American, who belongs to this country,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy group. “This is not normal, and we collectively cannot become desensitized to his rhetoric, because we already know the dangerous consequences of words and his actions.” Swept up in an immigration dragnet Todd Schulte, the president and executive director of FWD.us, an immigration advocacy group, said that “when you are talking about going after 1 million, 2 million, 3 million people a year based on their immigration status, you are talking about violating the civil liberties and basic rights of Americans who were born in this country and tens of millions of immigrants who come to this country every year." That happened in Arizona. Recommended CULTURE & TRENDS Jennifer Lopez announces new album and movie. Here are the latest details. Arizona’s SB 1070 law, signed in 2010, allows officers enforcing other laws to investigate the citizenship or immigration statuses of suspects and people they have stopped. The law initially went further, requiring officers to investigate the citizenship and immigration statuses of everyone they stopped, arrested or detained, leading to lawsuits as mostly Latino residents said they were unfairly targeted. Eventually, the courts struck down parts of SB 1070. But some states may test whether the conservative Supreme Court would be more open to revisiting the Arizona law to allow states to enforce immigration laws, a jurisdiction reserved for the federal government. In Texas, where Hispanics outnumber whites, and in Florida, where Hispanics are about a third of the population, Republican governors have enacted hard-line immigration policies, and communities are already seeing the impact. A law Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May invalidates out-of-state driver's licenses for undocumented people, makes hospitals ask for patients’ immigration statuses, sets a 15-year punishment for anyone found transporting undocumented people from outside the state into Florida and requires businesses to use an electronic system to verify employees are eligible to work in the U.S. The law has led workers and families to flee, including some citizens with family members who are not citizens. It has interfered with some of the work of religious people whose faith requires them to assist people regardless of their immigration status. In Texas, the state is trying to create its own immigration arrest force. A bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature would allow all peace officers in the state to arrest people they say entered the country illegally. Also awaiting Abbott’s signature are bills that would provide $1.54 billion for border security, including for border wall construction, and one that would assess 10-year penalties for smuggling or transporting people without legal status. The latter bill worries faith leaders who minister to congregations regardless of their immigration status, as is the case in Florida. "This language of an immigrant crisis is really the result of inaction. Congress refuses to act and then says we have a crisis. You can't have it both ways. You can't say we aren't going to do anything and then say we have a crisis," said Gabriel Salguero, the pastor of The Gathering Place, an Assemblies of God congregation in Orlando, Florida, and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. The Gallup poll found Americans' desire for less immigration has ticked up to 41%, the highest since 2014. Policy vs. politics Amid Republican criticism of Biden's handling of border and immigration issues, the Biden administration has touted its efforts to stem illegal immigration through enforcement and an expansion of legal pathways for those who are eligible. A commentary by the conservative Cato Institute based on its analysis of immigration actions under Trump and Biden found "Mr. Trump’s policies resulted in far fewer removals in absolute terms and a slightly higher percentage of released border crossers than Mr. Biden’s," and it posited that no administration can really eradicate migration. But Mike Madrid, a Latino political consultant who is a registered Republican, said immigration is being framed as a security issue and a security threat and that when it is coupled with constant images from the border, these factors "are clearly having an impact when Americans are already feeling crime is an issue already and they view the border as something that can and should be controlled." Madrid said that with voters, including Latino voters, demanding more border security, the door opens for some of Trump’s rhetoric and positions, along with those of the Republican governors. "If Joe Biden doesn't start articulating a clear, precise border security policy," he said, "they will continue to lose Latino voters and all voters at a time when they can't afford to lose any." José Parra, a political consultant who was an aide to the late Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, said that while there has been a slight shift in Americans' support for immigration, "I think it is a perception that the border is a bit out of control," adding, "I think Americans still support handling immigration in an orderly and humane way.” Parra said Trump is overreaching, as he did when he approved intentionally taking and separating migrant children from their mothers and fathers. Any "show me your papers" policies or Operation Wetback-like roundups could easily ensnare Latino Americans. They could also galvanize Americans against him and Republicans, which happened in Arizona and, long before that, in California, when the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 was implemented, he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
The number of people seeking asylum at the United States-Canada border or trying to cross into America has increased in the last year, which experts say is part of the larger global migration patterns they're seeing. U.S. authorities have repeatedly warned of the perils of crossing the northern border, especially in the winter months when temperatures can drop below zero and storms can aggravate the conditions. “It’s extremely dangerous with the cold weather, the cold water,” Brady Waikel, in charge of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in Niagara Falls, told WIVB-TV of Buffalo. Despite the dangers, more migrants, mostly Mexicans, decide to try and cross the northern border, the longest in the world at 5,525 miles. The border with Mexico measures 1,900 miles; then-President Donald Trump built 450 miles of border wall for about $1 billion. The most up-to-date figures from CBP recorded 189,402 encounters at the northern border in fiscal year 2023. This includes people who arrive at legal points of entry and turn themselves in to request asylum, as well as those who are captured after illegally crossing into the U.S. There were 10,021 arrests for illegal crossings in that period. According to an analysis by Noticias Telemundo, migrants from Mexico lead the number of illegal crossings from Canada, with 4,868 interceptions, up from 882 arrests in 2022. Other countries with the most migrant interceptions were India, at 1,630, compared to 237 arrests in 2022, and Venezuela, at 753, as opposed to five arrests the year before. “We have exceeded 6,700 apprehensions in less than 1 year, exceeding the previous 11 years combined,” Robert García, head of the Border Patrol in the Swanton, Vermont sector, said in early September on X. As of press time, CBP had not responded to Noticias Telemundo’s requests for an interview with García. Although the figures on the northern border are modest compared to the 2,045,838 encounters that CBP recorded on the border with Mexico during 2023, experts told Noticias Telemundo the numbers are rising. “Government immigration policies don't change the need or reasoning of people who decide to cross in one direction or another," said Shauna Labman, director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Winnipeg, Canada, who added that some people are fleeing and seeking protection and thus making "dangerous decisions." Migration Policy Institute analyst Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh said they're seeing high levels of migration around the world, the highest since World War II. "People are moving at a faster rate than in the past, and that is also seen in the north," she said. For more from NBC Latino, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy published a series of TikTok videos in October where he walked along hiking trails in Canada near Pittsburg, New Hampshire and crossed a stream into the U.S., saying it was easier than crossing the Rio Grande. “Don’t just build the wall. Build both walls,” he said during the Nov. 8 Republican primary debate. Regarding Ramaswamy’s proposal to build two border walls in the U.S., experts said it would be an extremely expensive — and ineffective — solution. “I think it would not be viable for several reasons. One of them is that the barriers on the border between the United States and Mexico have been shown to not slow migration but, in fact, push migration into certain corridors where people can cross," Putzel-Kavanaugh said. "The other point is that the northern border has a variety of geographies with rivers, lakes, forests and that would be a challenge because of the environmental impacts." Crossings turn deadly Sometimes, the risk that immigration agents warn about is illustrated tragically: José Leos Cervantes, 45, originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, collapsed after crossing the border into the U.S. from Quebec at the end of February and was pronounced dead at a hospital. In March, eight people from two families, one from Romania and one from India, died while trying to cross the St. Lawrence River. Their bodies were found in Akwesasne Mohawk territory, which straddles the Canada-U.S. border. “It also happens that many people cannot find work in Canada and try to go to the United States. But it is very dangerous, there are always very tragic cases of people who lose their fingers, their clothes stick to their skin, and some die from freezing or for other reasons,” Camelia Tigau, a visiting professor at the University of Toronto and a scholar at the Center for Research on North America at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Noticias Telemundo. Another aspect that complicates the situation along the northern border is that states have transferred migrants who entered through Mexico to areas near Canada, so they can request asylum in the neighboring country in search of better job opportunities, health benefits and a more nimble immigration system. Recommended LIVE UPDATES Source says there will be a truce extension; details being finalized ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR Suspect in Burlington shooting allegedly told ATF agent: 'I've been waiting for you' Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez, a Venezuelan migrant who was transferred in February from Arizona to Plattsburgh, New York, told Noticias Telemundo that being sent north hasn't been easy. "Well, we have to get to Canada and start producing to send to our family; I left Venezuela months ago," he said. "A shelter organization — in Denver paid for our ticket, but here we've been practically stranded. ... We weren't counting on them to leave us here." The increased presence of border agents along the northern border has had repercussions for Latino communities living in Vermont where migrants often work in the dairy industry. "Immigration’s response is to mobilize more agents to these border places with Canada like Vermont and New York — now they ask everyone for documents and there are more deportations, too," said Nacho de la Cruz, a community leader in Vermont. He said it has impacted Latinos who have legal status "but are discriminated against because they speak Spanish." Canadian asylum numbers rise after changes Canada is seeing more claims for asylum: Figures released by Canada’s immigration, refugee and citizenship agency show that 7,270 asylum applications were processed in September alone. In 2022, by contrast, the monthly average was 3,600 applications and it was fewer than 1,100 in 2021. The increase in asylum claims, experts say, is due to more global migration, as well as changes the country did to help clear a post-Covid backlog of visa cases that was disrupting trade and tourism. The Canadian government recently waived certain visa requirements, specifically the one that ensured a person left at the end of an authorized stay, according to Fernando Torres, an immigration lawyer based in Vancouver, Canada. Also since March, after an agreement between Canada and the U.S., a person entering Canada through an unofficial point of entry from the U.S. would lose the right to request asylum. Since then, while irregular land crossings to Quebec have dropped to double digits, the number of asylum-seekers arriving legally at airports across the country has more than tripled, from 1,595 in March to 5,435 in September. “It is illegal to enter between ports of entry and it's not safe. We encourage asylum seekers to cross the border at designated ports of entry. The Safe Third Country Agreement applies to the entire land border,” Karine Martel, spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, said in a statement to Noticias Telemundo. Migrant smuggling increases A Times Union investigation reviewed dozens of court records that showed that the boom in northern border crossings has become a lucrative opportunity for smuggling rings that earn tens of thousands of dollars for each group they transport across the border. The cases reveal that New York has rapidly grown as an immigration corridor and a human trafficking node. Migrants take a flight from Mexico to travel to Toronto or Montreal. Some stay there for a few months to work, but then often contact a smuggler and agree to pay for their services to cross the U.S. border. Despite the harsh weather conditions, for many people the northern border is more attractive since they don't deal with the gangs that kidnap and exploit migrants arriving in the southern region. In addition, Mexicans don't need a visa to enter Canada, which various experts said can encourage the current rise in migration. Noticias Telemundo conducted searches on social networks such as TikTok with key terms such as “crossing from Canada to the US”, “passing to the United States from Canada”, and counted more than 40 videos of people explaining what their experience was like when crossing the border illegally and even offer their services as “guides” by direct message. “The coyotes (smugglers) are now worse. Now there are coyotes online who have YouTube channels, Instagram and TikTok accounts that promote this type of absolutely irregular immigration," said Torres, the immigration lawyer in Vancouver. "As a lawyer, I do not recommend anyone to cross illegally, that only brings them problems." Diana Cruz, a Mexican migrant, shared her experience on TikTok and said smugglers charged her and other family members more than $5,000 to cross the U.S. border from Canada. She was detained for several days by U.S. immigration authorities. “From the beginning everything was bad — the people who are dedicated to dropping you off at the point in Canada lost us twice," she said of the smugglers. "They made us get off and enter the forest at a point where it wasn’t supposed to be. ... We got lost and when we got to the highway in the United States, we heard voices and they were from immigration." “I spent Dec. 24 locked up, without communication, without my family," Cruz warned about her experience. Even after she was released, she warned people thinking of crossing illegally to "think about it, because they throw you like a dog in the street and they don’t care if you have a way to communicate." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — In New York, migrants at a city-run shelter grumble that relatives who settled before them refuse to offer a bed. In Chicago, a provider of mental health services to people in the country illegally pivoted to new arrivals sleeping at a police station across the street. In South Florida, some immigrants complain that people who came later get work permits that are out of reach for them. Across the country, mayors, governors and others have been forceful advocates for newly arrived migrants seeking shelter and work permits. Their efforts and existing laws have exposed tensions among immigrants who have been in the country for years, even decades, and don’t have the same benefits, notably work permits. And some new arrivals feel established immigrants have given them cold shoulders. Thousands of immigrants marched this month in Washington to ask that President Joe Biden extend work authorization to longtime residents as well. Signs read, “Work permits for all!” and “I have been waiting 34 years for a permit.” ADVERTISEMENT Despite a brief lull when new asylum restrictions took effect in May, arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico topped 2 million for the second year in a row in the government’s budget year ending Sept. 30. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been legally admitted to the country over the last year under new policies aimed at discouraging illegal crossings. OTHER NEWS US Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his aircraft prior to departure, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he travels to Brussels for a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP) Ukraine and the Western Balkans top Blinken’s agenda for NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Georgia running back Daijun Edwards (30) is chased by Georgia Tech defensive lineman Kevin Harris (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP Top 25 Reality: Time for upsets has passed with little chaos and ranked teams with gaudy records Washington's Grady Gross is carried off the field after kicking the winning field goal against Washington State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Seattle. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP) AP Top 25: No. 3 Washington, No. 5 Oregon move up, give Pac-12 2 in top 5 for 1st time since 2016 “The growing wave of arrivals make our immigration advocacy more challenging. Their arrival has created some tensions, some questioning,” said U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, a Chicago Democrat whose largely Latino district includes a large immigrant population. People have been “waiting for decades for an opportunity to get a green card to legalize and have a pathway to citizenship.” Asylum-seekers must wait six months for work authorization. Processing takes no more than 1.5 months for 80% of applicants, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those who cross the border on the Biden administration’s new legal pathways have no required waiting period at all. Under temporary legal status known as parole, 270,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela arrived through October by applying online with a financial sponsor. Another 324,000 got appointments to enter at a land crossing with Mexico by using a mobile app called CBP One. The administration said in September that it would work to reduce wait times for work permits to 30 days for those using the new pathways. By late September, it had blasted 1.4 million emails and texts reminding who was eligible to work. ADVERTISEMENT José Guerrero, who worked in construction after arriving 27 years ago from Mexico, acknowledged many new arrivals felt compelled to flee their countries. He says he wants the same treatment. “All these immigrants come and they give them everything so easily, and nothing to us that have been working for years and paying taxes,” Guerrero, now a landscaper in Homestead, Florida, about 39 miles (63 kilometers) south of Miami. “They give these people everything in their hands.” The White House is asking Congress for $1.4 billion for food, shelter and other services for new arrivals. The mayors of New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston wrote to Biden last month to seek $5 billion, noting the influx has drained budgets and cut essential services. The mayors also support temporary status — and work permits — for people who have been in the U.S. longer but have focused on new arrivals. “All of the newcomers arriving in our cities are looking for the chance to work, and every day we get calls from business leaders who have unfilled jobs and want to hire these newcomers,” the mayors wrote. “We can successfully welcome and integrate these newcomers and help them pursue the American Dream if they have a chance to work.” ADVERTISEMENT Many new arrivals are indisputably in dire circumstances, including some who hoped to join relatives and friends but find their calls blocked and messages unreturned. Angel Hernandez, a Venezuelan who walked through Panama’s notorious Darién Gap rainforest, where he witnessed corpses, was sorely disappointed when he reached New York. The construction worker said he and his aunt, uncle and their two children left Colombia after more than three years because work dried up. Hernandez, 20, planned to settle with his uncle’s brother, who settled in the United States about a year earlier and lives in a house with a steady job. His job search has been fruitless. “Everyone is out for themselves,” he said outside the Roosevelt Hotel, a Midtown Manhattan property that was closed until the city opened it for migrants in May. The influx has put many immigrant services groups in a financial bind. ADVERTISEMENT For decades, the Latino Treatment Center has provided help with drug abuse to many immigrants living in Chicago without legal status. It started helping new arrivals sleeping at the police station across the street, fixing a shower in the office for migrants to use a few days a week and offering counseling. “It is such a unique situation that we weren’t set up for,” said Adriana Trino, the group’s executive director. “This has been a whole different wheelhouse, the needs are so different.” Many organizations deny friction and say they have been able to make ends meet. “We’re trying to keep a balance of doing both — people who have been here for years and people who are arriving, and so far we have been able to serve everybody,” said Diego Torres of the Latin American Coalition, which assists immigrants in Charlotte, North Carolina. In Atlanta, the Latin American Association says it has spent $50,000 this year on temporary housing and other aid for new arrivals. Santiago Marquez, the organization’s chief executive, hasn’t sensed resentment. ADVERTISEMENT “Our core clients – most of them are immigrants – they understand the plight,” he said. “They’ve gone through it. They understand.” Still, it’s easy to find immigrants with deep roots in the United States who chafe about unequal treatment. A 45-year-old Mexican woman who came to the United States 25 years ago and has three U.S.-born children said it was unfair that new arrivals get work permits over her. She earns $150 a week picking sweet potatoes in Homestead. “For a humanitarian reason, they are giving opportunities to those who are arriving, and what is the humanity with us?” said the woman, who asked that she be identified by her last name only, Hernandez, because she fears being deported. The Washington rally reflected an effort by advocates to push for work permits for all, regardless of when they came. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
For all the chaos at the border, the one thing that President Biden has been credited for is his aggressive use of executive action to decrease the need for immigrants to enter at the border. Lacking any congressional action on immigration, Biden has paroled people in the United States so long as they apply from abroad and do not cross over the border illegally. This expansion initially resulted in a dramatic decrease of persons seeking entry at the border, with sources reporting as much as a 95 percent decrease in the first month of the program. This contributed to an overall decrease of persons at the border significant enough to bring border encounters to its lowest number in two years by the summer. Yet for all its success, this program is the foundation of a coming immigration crisis. The program, started in January 2023, is set to expire around the time that either Biden or former President Trump’s second inauguration. That will render 2 million people who had been legally working and living in the United States illegal. Without congressional action, our crisis will not be just at the border but within it as well. Humanitarian parole is a discretionary grant of temporary permission to enter the United States for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The parole is limited to two years, and during that period, parolees must either find another visa status, file for asylum or return to their home country. For more than 70 years, the program has been used to admit individuals from countries such as Hungary, Cuba tand Vietnam. Initially, the Biden administration used it as a tool to admit individuals quickly from war-torn Ukraine and Afghanistan. As the number of migrants at the southern border increased, however, the administration turned to humanitarian parole. ADVERTISING So long as applicants did not try to enter the U.S. at the border, citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela (CHNV) were allowed to come into the U.S. to live and work. Up to 30,000 persons a month were allowed to take part in the program. These migrants have been a godsend for many U.S. communities and businesses, with as many as 1 million American citizens personally sponsoring them. No less than Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has credited increasing migrant numbers with keeping the economy afloat. While the U.S. economy has added jobs thanks to these migrants, and unemployment has decreased, millions of jobs remain available that no American is able or willing to fulfill. The shortage is hamstringing key industries. North Dakota, which boasts a quickly rising oil industry, has only 30 employable people per 100 jobs available; and South Carolina, which plays host to major production centers for foreign car manufacturers such as BMW, as well as Boeing, has only 43 employable persons per 100 jobs available. Yet, Trump has threatened to undo the lives of these 2 million and wreck the U.S. economy in the process. On the campaign trail, Trump has not been shy about his intent to crack down on immigration if elected to a second term. He has pledged to launch the largest deportation effort in U.S. history and cancel humanitarian parole for the millions who are already legally here. This plan includes establishing processing camps and using large-scale roundups to deport millions of people, going so far as to allocate military funding to the effort. This means that under Trump, 2 million immigrant workers could lose their status, be rounded into camps and be deported en masse. Knowing this, the Biden administration and Congress owe it to these individuals, the businesses that employ them and the American public to find a solution. And workable solutions are available. The simplest solution, and one under Biden’s powers, would be to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protections to all these humanitarian parolees. This would extend parolees’ timelines and provide them an opportunity to apply for a green card while in the U.S. In conjunction with offering TPS, the Biden administration should immediately push for the passing of the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would offer protection for around 60,000 of these parolees. In waiting to provide permanent pathways for these parolees to remain in the United States, the Biden administration may be causing a problem so big that it will be impossible to fix. The U.S. immigration system, mostly unchanged since the 1990s, desperately requires policy reform to meet the nation’s needs. That should have happened decades ago. Now, as Congress declines to act on this issue, President Biden must utilize all available measures to safeguard the system’s integrity, aligning it with the needs of hundreds of thousands of parole seekers and domestic economic interests. Christopher Richardson is an immigration attorney, consultant and former U.S. diplomat. He is general counsel and COO of BDV Solutions. Ben McEuen is a paralegal and juris doctor candidate at the University of Dayton School of Law. He serves as a senior immigration specialist at BDV Solutions. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
The Biden administration has asked Congress for $106 billion in supplemental funding for the current fiscal year for “national security priorities,” including Ukraine, Israel and the border. Notably, the administration is asking for as much money for border management as it is for Israel — $14 billion. The request represents what the administration believes are our country’s highest national security priorities. That border management has been included in this list of defense and foreign policy priorities paints in stark relief the crisis at our borders and the need for practical solutions to end that crisis. However, there has been a distinct lack of serious conversations among policy leaders and lawmakers on how to solve it. Money alone will not be enough. A group of visiting scholars at the Cornell Law School Immigration Law and Policy Program recently released a white paper outlining what we believe are three priority areas for immigration reform that have the potential to break through partisan deadlock. Along with proposals to address labor shortages and the status of Dreamers, much of the paper proposes solutions for the border. This recognizes both the central role that border security plays in the current political landscape and that this issue desperately needs realistic and bipartisan solutions. ADVERTISING The paper notes the drastic changes that have overtaken the border in the last decade: the shift from Mexican migrants seeking work to migrants from around the world seeking asylum, the shift from a majority of arrestees being deported quickly to an overwhelming number of migrants released into the United States to pursue their claim in immigration courts, and the shift from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detaining migrants for court cases to mass releases of migrants directly from Border Patrol to shelters or on the streets of border towns. These shifts mark what we believe is a new paradigm at the border that our existing immigration laws, processes and infrastructure cannot solve. Instead, we propose the following policies to reform our current border and asylum systems: Make it a priority to go after smugglers and criminal cartels who are making billions of dollars from desperate migrants and encouraging illegal migration. These are not the small, unsophisticated “coyotes” of yesteryear. The transnational criminal organizations that control the drug trade in the hemisphere now see moving migrants as another line of business for their illegal enterprises. And just as they have done with smuggling drugs and money, these cartels are continually finding ways to take advantage of our inconsistent and changing border policies and processes to facilitate the arrival of large groups of migrants. Create alternatives for those seeking protection and allow for decisions long before migrants come to the border. Most migrants arriving at the border do not understand the U.S. immigration system or what it takes to enter legally (something the smugglers try to keep them from knowing). So, by reaching out to migrants before they journey to the border, we can help them understand whether asylum is realistic for them or if there are other legal ways for them to enter the United States. If we match this with an expansion of refugee processing in the region and create alternate legal paths for work or family reunification, we can take some pressure off the border. Reform the asylum system for border arrivals to return it to its rightful place as the last resort for those who need protection, not the first option for those seeking to immigrate. While some would like to see us just stop all asylum at the border, most Americans still believe we can and should offer protection to those who really need it. U.S. and international law also require us to do so. But the current situation is simply overwhelming our system. We can’t offer protection to those who need it or decide in a reasonably fast time frame that they don’t qualify and return them. We propose creating a separate and expedited asylum process for migrants who cross the border illegally between ports of entry while expanding and incentivizing processing at ports of entry. Combined with alternative legal paths such as expanded refugee processing and parole at centers in Latin America, these new incentives/disincentives could reduce the demand for smugglers and irregular migration to more manageable levels and get the Border Patrol back to its primary role of catching those trying to avoid capture. Create a new Office of Migration Policy. Finally, given the dysfunctional failure of coordination among the many federal agencies and departments involved in our immigration system that has exacerbated the problems at the border and made cohesive policy crafting and implementation next to impossible, we propose creating a new statutory Office of Migration Policy in the White House to oversee policy and operational coordination and budget requests for the government’s efforts to implement all parts of our immigration system. We understand that Congress and the White House are talking about some changes to the border as part of its funding package. But getting Congress to legislate on any immigration issue is an uphill battle. Still, political slogans and a reversion to past failed strategies will not solve our border security problems. We need new ideas. My coauthors and I hope the proposals in our white paper will prompt realistic solutions. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
I’m Jewish. He’s Palestinian. We are both immigration lawyers. And while we come from markedly different cultures and religions, we have the same core values and beliefs. We are also both Americans and proud of our nation’s history of providing refuge to so many for 247 years. As Americans, we also have the freedoms of speech, to laud or to criticize when necessary. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine seems to have brought out the worst in humanity. We are both heartbroken to see what is happening in Israel and Gaza. The conflict has, sadly, opened the door for more hatred to seep through. We see it in the headlines — when children are harmed or killed because of their nationality. When people are attacked due to the clothing or head coverings they wear and the religion they believe in. And we see it in the U.S. Congress as legislators propose bills that are antithetical to the United States’ promise to aspiring immigrants from all over the world. Time and again, when opportunity arises, lawmakers will take advantage of the fears of their constituents, to fling campaign slogans and rile up their base. The war being waged in the Middle East is an opportune time for this type of political pandering. Lady Liberty has been inscribed with the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Immigration laws and policies have changed since then, but what hasn’t changed is that today, like then, our nation successfully transforms newcomers into Americans, and in turn our country is strengthened by diversity, innovation and new ideas. But we’re seeing anti-immigrant sentiment, along with anti-Islamic hatred and antisemitism here on these shores and, sadly, in the U.S. Congress. One example is an extreme bill introduced by Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., an attempt to prevent immigrants from entering the United States using fear as the catalyst. In introducing the legislation, Zinke and the bill’s cosponsors are providing a modern-day reminder of how the United States has attempted to restrict immigrants for a variety of reasons since the mid-1800s. Condemning an entire population for the reprehensible and terrible actions of a few has never served us well. The Japanese internment camps? Treatment of German Americans? The anti-Muslim hatred and violence after Sept. 11? Over the years, these restrictions have targeted Asians, Europeans, Africans and others. The most recent iteration of blanket restrictive policies is the Muslim travel ban instituted by the Trump administration via executive order and ultimately revoked by President Biden. Looking in the rear-view mirror, none of these laws or policies were ultimately beneficial for the United States and were contrary to the values we hold as a nation of immigrants. We both want the war in the Middle East to end. This bill, and similar actions, would do nothing to safeguard our homeland. It sets a terrible precedent that has been proven to fail time and again with other blanket restrictionist policies. The United States should rise above the hate-mongering and xenophobic rhetoric and avoid knee-jerk legislation that would directly breach the foundation of America. Congress should reject this bill, and all of us should strive for better. Maurice “Mo” Goldman is an attorney in Tucson, Arizona. He is a Jewish-born American and grandchild of Holocaust survivors. He can be reached on Linkedin. Zayed Al-Sayyed is an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a Palestinian-American. He has an aunt and seven cousins in Gaza. He can be reached on Linkedin. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
TelevisaUnivision CEO Defends Donald Trump Interview: “We Will Not Be Deterred By Partisan Interests”
The CEO of TelevisionUnivision defended the network’s recent interview with Donald Trump, amid criticism from Democratic lawmakers and others that the influential Hispanic outlet was giving a softball platform for the former president. Wade Davis wrote in a memo to U.S.. staffers today that “interviewing the current Republican frontrunner, according to the polls, the sitting President, and any other candidates is our responsibility if we are to present the full landscape of ideas. The interview with former President Trump was the first in 22 years of a current or former Republican President. There have been many interviews of a current or former Democratic President over that same period. Further, we have offered, and welcome, an interview with President Biden on reciprocal terms and believe our viewers would greatly appreciate hearing from the President.” Related Stories Truth Social loses $73 million in first 16 months. News Donald Trump's Truth Social Has Millions In Financial Losses, SEC Filing Shows - Update News Commission Sets Dates, Locations For Presidential Debates Next Fall The Trump interview itself was regarded as non-confrontational, with the Post noting instances where Trump was not challenged on certain key facts. The interview, conducted by Enrique Acevedo, also was a contrast to Univision’s reporting on Trump under previous ownership. Perhaps most famously, the Trump campaign kicked Jorge Ramos, perhaps the network’s most recognizable personality, out of a press conference in 2015. Ramos had pressed Trump on his rhetoric toward immigrants. Amid reports of staffers criticism of the interview, anchor León Krauze stepped down last week. According to Semafor, corporate executives from TelevisaUnivision were present at the Mar-a-Lago interview, and the The Washington Post reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was involved in arranging it. Actor John Leguizamo called for a boycott of the network, citing its decision to cancel Joe Biden campaign ads that would have run during the Trump interview. More than 80 groups, including MALDEF and America’s Voice — signed on to a letter to Univision objecting to the interview and expressing concerns about the direction of the network. The Post also reported that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was preparing a letter requesting a meeting with the network. In his memo, Davis wrote that Univision “made a decision to adopt a strategy that is different than what some other major networks are using, which has been labeled as partisan. Univision’s news strategy is one that is non-partisan and objective, and we serve our audience by being welcoming of competing issues, ideas, candidates and parties. We are here to serve our audience, not any political party, any one candidate or partisan groups.” He added, “Univision is an independent news organization, and we will not be deterred by partisan interests and agenda-driven advocacy. Our responsibility is to our audience; we are strongly committed to this and will stay the course.” The complete memo is below: Team, Let me start by saying THANKS to you all! I hope you’re all getting ready to enjoy good family time as we lead up to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. For those of you in our newsroom, we know all too well that you never stop. There has been a continued press cycle of coverage around our interview with former President Trump, which has caused further questions from and discussions amongst our employees. As a result, I think it is useful for me to further expand on the evolution of our news strategy. Recent events reflect a clear recognition of the importance of Hispanics as the largest swing vote in the upcoming 2024 Presidential election. This is powered by the fact that the Hispanic population is large, and the fastest growing demographic. There is now well documented consensus among political analysts of both parties that the Hispanic vote may determine the Presidential election outcome. Engaging with the entire Hispanic community in all spheres is the foundation of TelevisaUnivision’s mission. We are here to inform and empower Spanish speaking audiences. We deeply understand our community, and know Hispanics are diverse, dynamic and certainly not uniform in their political views. We made a decision to adopt a strategy that is different than what some other major networks are using, which has been labeled as partisan. Univision’s news strategy is one that is non-partisan and objective, and we serve our audience by being welcoming of competing issues, ideas, candidates and parties. We are here to serve our audience, not any political party, any one candidate or partisan groups. In the realm of politics, where opinions can be passionate and divergent, providing a space for varied voices reflects a dedication to the values that underpin civic life in a democracy. It’s a recognition that the strength of a democracy relies in its ability to navigate differences through dialogue and, ultimately, to make informed choices that shape the future. To that end, interviewing the current Republican frontrunner, according to the polls, the sitting President, and any other candidates is our responsibility if we are to present the full landscape of ideas. The interview with former President Trump was the first in 22 years of a current or former Republican President. There have been many interviews of a current or former Democratic President over that same period. Further, we have offered, and welcome, an interview with President Biden on reciprocal terms and believe our viewers would greatly appreciate hearing from the President. Univision will continue to maintain this clear vision by giving Democrats, Republicans and independents an equal voice in the coming months, and my hope is that we will be judged based on the entirety of our coverage of the 2024 election. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
JACUMBA, Calif. — On a chilly autumn morning in the California desert, on the side of a highway, two young men are asking for help. They tell NPR they are from Turkey. They crossed the U.S.-Mexico border a few minutes ago, with about 18 other people. They're exhausted. And then they ask for something unusual, given the circumstances. "Please. Call border patrol." Almost as soon as they say it, Border Patrol rolls up and takes them. As strange as it sounds, this is what they want. They have been told that if they cross over and turn themselves over to Border Patrol, they are taking the first step toward getting a visa or a better chance at asylum in the United States. Sponsor Message Two Kurdish migrants attempt to turn themselves in to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Jacumba, Calif., on Nov. 11. Ash Ponders for NPR A migrant who came from Honduras after receiving threats because of her sexuality rests in Jacumba, Calif., after a long walk to the U.S. Ash Ponders for NPR Migrants at the unofficial camps in Jacumba, Calif., say Border Patrol sometimes tells them to stay put for days while they await processing. Ash Ponders for NPR This is how every day for the past few months, coyotes drop off over 300 migrants at a miles-long gap in the border wall in the Southern California desert. When the migrants cross it, they find themselves on the outskirts of the tiny community of Jacumba, population about 600. They end up at camps like this one, an open field near the highway, where Border Patrol has told them to wait. Activists and locals say it's a humanitarian disaster. And they say no one is helping. Migrants are showing up at the U.S. southern border in historic numbers. Here's why NATIONAL Migrants are showing up at the U.S. southern border in historic numbers. Here's why There is no shelter of any kind from the gusty wind or desert cold The camps where the people are being taken by Border Patrol are a dystopian sight. At one of them, about 150 adults and children huddle together for warmth. A Kurdish man, Ramazan Bicer, says he crossed over early this morning. He talks about government persecution and poverty in Turkey, where he's from. He says his plan is to remain in the U.S. "My plan is just ... get my green card and stay here all of my life. We will stay. We don't have any other choice." Coyotes drop off migrants at a miles-long gap in the border wall in the Southern California desert, on the outskirts of Jacumba. One of the camps that has sprouted up is on private property. Ash Ponders for NPR Ramazan Bicer pauses for a moment in Jacumba, Calif., earlier this month after a long journey from Turkey. Ash Ponders for NPR Migrants say Border Patrol tells them that if they leave the camps, they will get deported. Ash Ponders for NPR Most people in this camp on this morning are Kurdish. But there are also many from Latin America. One woman from Honduras says she left home because she received threats for being gay. She breaks down crying: She hasn't spoken to her family since she left a month ago. "I won't tell them I made it," she says, "until I'm out of here." Looking around at the makeshift tents that migrants have built with tarps, rocks and gathered wood, this looks like a refugee camp. One where someone might expect to see the Red Cross. The National Guard. Doctors Without Borders. Sponsor Message Migrants and volunteers told NPR that every single day, Border Patrol finds hundreds of people who have made their way through the gap, drops them off at these camps and tells them to stay put. They are told if they leave, they will get deported. NPR has been reaching out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the past week. On Tuesday, after publication of this story, the agency emailed a statement saying in part that "CBP officers and agents prioritize the health and safety of all those they encounter by providing appropriate medical care and humanitarian assistance as needed and by routinely coordinating with emergency medical services to assist individuals in need. CBP prioritizes the most vulnerable migrant populations and transports them out of inclement weather to CBP processing facilities as quickly as possible." The agency did not respond to NPR's specific questions concerning the Jacumba camps. Locals say there is barely any oversight. The only people coming here to help are locals and volunteers. This morning, they are handing out baby formula, first aid, water and food, when a Border Patrol truck shows up. Dozens of volunteers based out of an old church youth center organize food and clothing supplies before heading out to the camps near Jacumba, Calif., on Nov. 11. Ash Ponders for NPR Sandwiches on a table provided for the migrants. Ash Ponders for NPR Locals say there is barely any oversight of the camps in Jacumba, Calif., and that the only people coming to help the migrants are community residents and volunteers. Ash Ponders for NPR On a loudspeaker, an agent tells families with children to line up. The families are taken away in a van. If they are like everyone else NPR spoke to, they think this is the first step toward getting legal status in the U.S. Immigration lawyers told NPR that what's likely to happen is that these people will be processed. Everyone here will be placed in removal proceedings. And because they crossed the U.S. border without permission, their chances of getting asylum are lower than if they had come in through an official port of entry. In a few hours, another couple hundred migrants from somewhere else in the world will arrive in Jacumba. Sponsor Message It's like a revolving door in the middle of the California desert At a distance, an older man wearing a baseball cap watches the whole thing. His name is Jerry Schuster, and he owns this land. Jaroslav "Jerry" Shuster stands for a portrait above Moon Camp, which largely rests on his private land just outside of Jacumba, Calif. Ash Ponders for NPR "They'll be here for three days, destroying my property," he laments. "They'll be gone, and I have to live with their destruction right here." Schuster is also an immigrant, from Yugoslavia. He bought this land some 40 years ago. Then a few months ago, he woke up to find it being used — without his permission — as a migrant camp, for people who are hungry, thirsty, sometimes wounded. There is a disgusting port-a-potty. Those who stay overnight sometimes cut down trees for bonfires. Sometimes people come knocking on his door. Once, he responded with gunshots. Schuster says he's spoken many times to Border Patrol, the police and the fire department. He keeps getting told they can't help him. He says he's heartbroken. This ranch was his American dream. "Our government [is] just leaving us behind. American dream is gone. It's not here no more. ... That's just a dream. That's all that's left. Just the dreams." Customs and Border Protection told NPR "private property law is the responsibility of state and local law enforcement organizations and not something that federal immigration officers have the authority to enforce." Locals left to provide assistance to the migrants This sense of anxiety and dread is shared by many here in Jacumba. Even those who are going down to the camps as often as they can to offer humanitarian assistance. U.S. Border Patrol agents usher hundreds of immigrants into a series of camps in Jacumba, which is near the U.S.-Mexico border. Ash Ponders for NPR Immigration lawyers tell NPR that what's likely to happen to the migrants is that they will be processed and then begin deportation proceedings. Ash Ponders for NPR On this day, U.S. Border Patrol tells families with children to line up. They are soon taken away in a van. Ash Ponders for NPR Winter is approaching, and they are worried that people will start dying. Sitting on her porch, Karen Parker lights a cigarette and recounts what she's seen in the last few months. "Scabies. Parasites. Necrotic scorpion bites. People have had seizures. Diabetic emergencies. Broken bones. Burns, lots of burns." Parker has lived in this area her whole life. She's a retired social worker with first-aid training, and she goes down to the camps frequently. The children really get to her. "These are asylum seekers. They have every reason in the world to seek asylum on American soil. My grandmother came from Ireland. By herself. She was 12 years old. And if she hadn't done that, my grandchildren wouldn't exist, in America." Sponsor Message She's also angry that civilians like herself have been left to handle this alone, with no help from the government. "What the f--- with them. I don't know what else to say. They're not taking any kind of responsibility or accountability. They need to let people in through the port of entry. They need to secure our border. I am for a secure border." When Karen and other volunteers step up to help at the camps, they sometimes get yelled at by other Jacumba residents. We meet one of those neighbors as volunteers load up food and first-aid supplies for the migrants to use at night. Karen Parker rests on her porch in Boulevard, Calif., on a day off from volunteering at the camps in Jacumba. A retired social worker with first-aid training, Parker frequently goes down to the camps to treat migrants who need care. Ash Ponders for NPR A woman in a pickup truck rolls up and starts shouting, "That food over there, is it for Americans? Or do you only help immigrants?" She doesn't give her name — she says it's a small community and she could lose her job. But she says she's upset about the situation down in the camps. "Nobody is doing nothing about it. Except, 'Oh let's help them out.' " The volunteers ignore her and drive to the camps. By nightfall, the temperature has plummeted. An entirely new group of migrants has arrived. About 60 people. This time, they're mostly Chinese. There are also Ecuadorians and Guatemalans. Huddling for warmth, they talk about what they are fleeing: repressive governments, cartel violence and poverty. They seem unaware that just a few hours ago, another big group of people from other parts of the world sat in the same spot and had the same exact conversations. Winter is approaching in Jacumba, and locals are worried that migrants will start dying as temperatures drop. Ash Ponders for NPR They think they are doing it the legal way, but in a few hours, many of them will get a date for a deportation hearing. It feels eerily cyclical. In the middle of the Southern California desert, the door keeps revolving. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
EL PASO, Texas – It wasn't until Alma Zavala was at the top of the 30-foot steel border fence that she realized how far she had to fall. "I hugged the wall," she said. "My hands were bleeding from the rough edges. The guide was screaming, 'Let go! Let go!' I dropped down and felt my bones break." Zavala, a young mother from Mexico, lay on a bed at an El Paso shelter on Wednesday in a room with four other migrants who survived terrifying falls from a barrier nearly three stories tall. Among them, they had undergone eight surgeries in the past month. Zavala's right leg was fastened with an external fixator that resembled scaffolding. Alma Zavala rests at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, after she broke her fibula after attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. in October. Emerging public health data affirm what border county hospital trauma surgeons have been suspecting since the U.S. government began raising the height of the Southwest border wall to slow migration: the 30-foot fence causes more injuries and is far deadlier, than any barrier before it. Physicians say the falls and fatalities are a public health crisis for border communities at a time when the Biden administration, and the state of Texas, are investing in new border fencing amid record apprehensions of migrants. County hospitals in El Paso and San Diego are receiving patients with border wall fall-related trauma at a rate of one per day in 2023, according to their chief trauma surgeons. The injuries range from complex lower extremity breaks including shattered ankles, foot and leg bones to life-altering spinal and cranial injuries. Border wall falls carry "a mortality rate that is higher than COVID in the general population," said Dr. Susan McLean, surgical ICU medical director at University Medical Center in El Paso. "And it is something that is happening all up and down the border." The Biden administration in October announced it would waive more than two dozen environmental protection laws to construct 20 miles of new border fencing in south Texas this year, breaking a presidential campaign promise to halt construction of new barriers. The fence proposed for Starr County has been described as shorter and "moveable." But the Department of Homeland Security is already replacing an 18-foot fence with the 30-foot version near San Diego. DHS didn't immediately respond to USA TODAY's requests for comment regarding whether the agency takes into account public health outcomes when designing the style or height of border barriers. In a statement earlier this year on the increase in migrant deaths at the border, Customs and Border Protection said: "Crossing the border illegally is inherently dangerous. CBP urges migrants to seek lawful pathways into the United States and not to place their lives in the hands of human smugglers, whose priority is profit." Texas also is poised to expand its border security measures. In addition to the concertina wire and buoy barriers in the Rio Grande built under Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star, the Texas House last week approved a $1.54 billion Senate proposal to fund the construction of 50 additional miles of border fencing. "Texas will continue to utilize every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry as President Biden’s dangerous open border policies encourage migrants from over 150 countries to illegally enter the country," Abbott spokesman Andrew Mahaleris said in an emailed response to questions on migrant deaths. 'This wall can't be climbed' When DHS began construction on a 30-foot fence in southern California in 2019, then-President Donald Trump described the barrier as impassable: “This wall can’t be climbed,” he said during a tour at Otay Mesa. Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue simulate a rescue of a victim who would have fallen from the border wall during a demonstration in El Paso, Texas, on May 2. Border Patrol officials are rarely so starry-eyed. CBP prefers to use the language "border barrier system" in agency communications to refer to fencing, lighting, cameras, technology and roadways – elements Border Patrol agents say slow, but don't stop, migrants from crossing the border unlawfully and trying to evade apprehension. The injured women at the shelter, each with a badly broken foot, ankle, or leg, climbed the 30-foot fence in the same way: using makeshift rope ladders of braided cord and plastic pipe, the kind favored by smugglers in the El Paso area. They said they didn't realize they'd be forced to climb the wall; or that it was so high, or that there wouldn't be a way down on the U.S. side. They didn't believe, either, that they'd be eligible for a visa and never considered presenting at a port of entry. Once there, in the hands of dangerous traffickers, there was no turning back. "They don't treat you like a queen," Zavala said. "You have to climb." She thought about her toddler son, his delicate health and the money she needed to pay for his frequent medical care. She let go and landed face down, her foot twisting unnaturally. She said she only felt cold at first and began crawling north on all fours. Border wall fall trauma From 2000 through 2019 – when construction began on the 30-foot fence in California – El Paso's University Medical Center recorded a single death from a border wall fall, McLean said. Last year alone at UMC, nine patients died after a border wall fall. Another 326 people were treated for injuries for a mortality rate of 2.8%, she said. Migrants recovering from injuries after having fallen from the border wall recover at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, on Oct. 15. The University of California, San Diego Health medical center has documented a similar rate of border wall fall-related trauma: 345 patients this year, January through October, said Dr. Jay Doucet, chief of trauma. The human and financial costs keep rising, he said. "October was the worst month we have seen: 70 major trauma victims," he said. "It’s more than two a day." There is no comprehensive count of border wall fall-related injuries, Doucet said. Trauma surgeons – especially at university-run hospitals in counties along the U.S.-Mexico border – have been collecting data independently to better understand a public health problem they say trumps politics. The increase in border wall fall-related trauma rose in San Diego and El Paso after 2020, coinciding with the expansion of the higher 30-foot fence and a surge in migration. Border Patrol migrant encounters rocketed from 400,000 in fiscal 2020 during the pandemic to more than 2.4 million in fiscal 2023. "We noticed starting right around 2020 that the numbers had gone up," McLean said. "It qualifies as a public health problem," she said. "It's a large population, and it's a preventable problem with serious consequences." A man from Mexico is photographed recovering at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, after fracturing his ankle after he fell from the border wall in October. McLean and emergency room doctors have developed some best practices, she said, including regularly ordering CT scans of the spine as migrants often have spinal injuries they may not be aware of yet. The height of the wall can be lethal. Vicki Gaubeca, associate director of U.S. immigration and border policy for Human Rights Watch, argues that it's by design. "The rationale is that at 30 feet your body naturally experiences vertigo and it makes it easier to fall off the wall," she said. "We’re talking about the equivalent of a three-story building. It almost seems intentional that they built it that high." Many migrants arrive at the border in poor condition after arduous journeys overland, and their health complicates their path to healing, Doucet said. "Their rate of infection is higher and their immunity is poor," he said. "They stay in the hospital much longer; their surgeries are more difficult. Their long-term healing is in doubt. They don’t come back to clinic appointments. They don’t get rehab; often they have to take out their own staples." All this means local residents are waiting longer for care, as well, he said. There aren't enough orthopedic surgeons at the hospital to meet the increased need in San Diego. Patients with spinal fractures, whether local resident or migrant, are waiting up to five days for surgery now instead of 2.5 days before 2019, he said. "When the wall was built, comments were made that the wall wasn’t climbable," Doucet said. "No one anticipated the number of injuries that were going to occur. The number of injuries appears to increase regardless of administration." 'If you are fighting for your life' Zavala could spend weeks in the shelter as she waits to heal. At left, Alma Zavala and another migrant woman who asked not to be identified recover from their limb injuries at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, after falling from the border wall after attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. in October. The pain in her lower leg throbs and shoots up to her hip, she said. She was scheduled to undergo a second surgery. But she said she knew she was lucky: the other men in her group stayed with her in the desert until Border Patrol agents found them and put her in an ambulance. Immigrant advocate Crystal Sandoval, director of crossborder strategies at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, has worked with hundreds of migrants and refugees at the El Paso-Juárez border and has seen them face even the most dangerous obstacles – no matter the consequence. "The wall is definitely not a deterrent," she said. "If you are fighting for your life, if you are fighting not to starve to death, for the future of your children and your family, I don’t think a wall or anything is going to stop you," she said. "It’s like saying you are going to forget hope." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
American voters across party lines support more funding to bolster security at the southern border, while support for foreign countries embroiled in conflicts exposes stark partisan divides, according to the latest NBC News national poll. The survey finds roughly 3 in 4 registered voters — 74% — support more funding for security along the U.S. border with Mexico, including 93% of Republicans, 74% of independents and 58% of Democrats. The new survey comes as lawmakers are weighing an aid package to support Ukraine and Israel amid their ongoing wars that would also include immigration measures, with congressional leaders pushing to pass the package by the end of the year. “Broadly, Americans are on the side of Israel, but there are huge divisions by generation here, including on providing more funding for humanitarian aid to Gaza, and more funding and military aid to Israel respectively,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies. “And other funding related issues — majorities support funding for border security aid, for Ukraine and Taiwan,” Horwitt added. “But beyond Taiwan, there are partisan gaps on those items, which suggests a challenging road ahead.” The poll finds that Democrats are more likely to support humanitarian aid to Gaza, with 80% of them voicing support for that funding, compared to 58% of independents and just 38% of Republicans. Majorities across age groups support aid to Gaza, with a higher share of younger voters backing aid. But the generational gap is even wider when it comes to funding and military aid to Israel amid its war with Hamas. Just one-third of voters ages 18-34 back more funding and military aid, while sizable majorities of older voters back support for Israel, including 75% of voters ages 65 and older. 2024 ELECTION Wisconsin Supreme Court hears arguments in redistricting case that could have widespread implications Support for Israel funding also breaks along party lines, with two-thirds of GOP voters backing more funding and aid compared to 45% of Democrats. That support is even lower among more progressive Democrats who say they voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in the 2020 primary — just 28% support more aid for Israel. Democrats are far more likely to support aid to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, with 77% supporting more funding and military aid to the country, compared to just 35% of Republicans. Related coverage Poll: Biden’s standing hits new lows amid Israel-Hamas war How Taylor Swift transcends America's political divides — barely A number of public polls show young voters turning on Biden That Republican opposition is highest among GOP voters who align themselves with former President Donald Trump and his “Make America Great Again” movement — 76% of self-described MAGA Republicans oppose more aid to Ukraine, while non-MAGA Republicans are more evenly divided over Ukraine aid. The survey does find bipartisan support for more funding and military aid to Taiwan as it faces the potential threat of a Chinese invasion, with slim majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents backing more aid. “That lesser known issue right now is really holding its own compared to the front and center hot spots like Ukraine and Israel,” Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies said on the topic of funding and military aid to Taiwan. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
EDINBURG, Texas (Border Report) — Former President Donald Trump emphasized the need for border security and tougher immigration policies, and he praised Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit Sunday to the South Texas border. Democratic-led cities pay for migrants’ tickets to other places as resources dwindle “He is doing what the federal government is supposed to be doing and I am telling you, Mr. Governor: I am going to make your job much easier. You’ll be able to focus on other things in Texas. We love Texas and what they’ve done is very unfair. They’ve given the job to you; It’s a job of security for our country. It’s a job of stopping an invasion because it’s an invasion,” Trump said after passing out holiday meals to border law enforcement, including the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers. Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump poses for a photo with a Texas state …Read More Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas National Guard …Read More Abbott on Sunday announced he was endorsing Trump again for the Republican presidential nomination. “Joe Biden has failed at national security. I’m here to tell you that there is no way — no way — that American can continue under the leadership of Joe Biden,” Abbott said. ” We need a president who will secure the border. We need a president who will restore law and order in the United States of America.” Abbott said that when he was president, Trump reduced levels of migrants crossing the border illegally from Mexico into Texas by implementing the “Remain in Mexico,” or Migrant Protection Protocols program; eliminating “catch and release;” stopping asylum-seekers from crossing onto U.S. soil via Title 42 during the pandemic, and building miles of border wall along the Rio Grande. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, left, listens as Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump, right, speaks to Texas state troopers and guardsmen during a Thanksgiving meal at the South Texas International Airport, Sunday, Nov. 19 … Read More “And then in came Joe Biden and Joe Biden eliminated all those policies that were put in place by President Trump and because of that what has happened to our country has been catastrophic,” Abbott said. Abbott referenced the record 2.4 million migrant encounters along the Southwest border in Fiscal Year 2023, which ended in September. This followed historic levels the previous fiscal year of 2.3 million encounters, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. “Our country is going to hell,” said Trump, who lost to Biden in 2020. (CBP Graphic) Trump stressed that border infrastructure, like a border wall, deters illegal entries into the country. “Wheels and walls work. We don’t need the wheels but we need the walls and they work,” Trump said. Woman seriously injured after falling from border wall in Lower Valley He congratulated Abbott for Texas spending billions to build miles of border wall, and sending troopers to patrol the Rio Grande as part of Operation Lone Star. “Texas is having to step up at a level they’ve never had to do before,” Trump said, adding if he wins the party’s nomination and re-election then: “We’re going to take over the border and make it the most secure border in our history.” Supporters wait to greet Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump at the South Texas …Read More Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Texas Gov. Greg …Read More “Your great governor has done everything in his power to do for this state,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said in introducing Abbott on Sunday. “And what’s funny is that the more he does a great job, the more the woke mob, fueled by the mainstream media goes after him.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorses Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump during an event at the South Texas … Read More Abbott accused Biden of “fighting back against his own Border Patrol.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Trump’s Immigration Plan Is a New Level of Extreme. It Also Gives Biden an Opportunity to Do Better.
Before Donald Trump became president and presided over some of the most draconian anti-immigrant policies in recent memory, he laid out his vision for the United States. In August 2016, he was still a candidate and during a campaign stop in Phoenix, Arizona, he delivered a speech focused on immigration. “On day one,” he announced, “we will begin working on an intangible, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.” He vowed to only “get the right people” into the country by requiring “ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.” The 2016 election, Trump said, “is our last chance to secure the border, stop illegal immigration, and reform our laws to make your life better.” As a presidential candidate, Trump made starkly clear his racist, unfounded views of Mexican immigrants, calling them “drug dealers, criminals, rapists.” He praised flawed racially-motivated mass deportation policies, such as Operation Wetback from the 1950s, which led to tens of thousands of Mexican nationals—and even some US citizens—being rounded up, put on buses and trucks, and removed under inhumane conditions to the interior of Mexico. In 2015, Scott Pelley asked Trump about the policy on 60 Minutes, saying “There is something called civil rights.” Trump fired back, “There’s also something called, ‘We have a country.’” MOTHER JONES TOP STORIES Fast forward to Trump’s 2023 presidential campaign, where with his loyal anti-immigration mastermind Stephen Miller, he’s laying the groundwork for the second Trump administration, which will involve an even more extreme and sweeping assault on immigration. As Miller put it: “Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown…The immigration legal activists won’t know what’s happening.” “What former President Trump and Stephen Miller are laying out has crossed a line that should set off alerts for every American.” “What former President Trump and Stephen Miller are laying out has crossed a line that should set off alerts for every American,” Vanessa Cardenas, executive director of America’s Voice, said during a recent press call with reporters. “Calling his political opponents ‘vermin,’ saying that the blood of America is being poisoned, and the continuous calls to violence, election denialism, and white nationalism cannot be normalized or go unchallenged. What Trump is describing is not just about immigration policies…He’s openly talking about changing who we are as a nation, who is considered American, who belongs to this country.” Latino voters appear to be evenly divided between Trump and Biden, including in battleground states. And with the economy and the war in Israel, immigration policy might not rank as the top-of-mind issue for most voters. But it has the potential to draw a striking contrast between the two candidates. Biden came into power vowing to roll back many of Trump’s worst policies and restore humanity to a broken immigration system. While he has delivered on some campaign promises—rescinding the Remain in Mexico program, launching efforts to reunite families separated under Trump, and expanding the use of temporary humanitarian protections for migrants from several nationalities—his administration has also come under fire from advocates for turning to restrictive asylum measures and even Trump-like policies to appease criticism from Republicans of “open borders.” Immigration has long been a hot-button, base-rallying issue for Trump and the GOP. But it is one that has come to be perceived as a political liability for Biden, who is unable to please either immigration advocates or those in favor of a tougher approach. “No matter how cruel or restrictive Mr. Biden’s policies are, they will never be enough to appease his critics,” David J. Bier of the Cato Institute wrote in the New York Times this month. “They also aren’t working. He can continue to do everything Mr. Trump did and more and still be the ‘open-borders president.'” Instead of brushing immigration to the wayside as a campaign issue, there’s a growing chorus for Biden to embrace it. Indeed, some political strategists believe the current moment presents an opportunity for the president to come out on top and win over a critical segment of the electorate. “Biden’s poor numbers on immigration and with Latino voters aren’t a coincidence,” Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and consultant, said on X. “Yes, like all voters, Latinos don’t vote on immigration alone. But in cycles when the immigration contrast has been front-and-center, Democrats have done extremely well. Ceding political ground on this issue is terrible politics and terrible for the human lives involved.” Advertise with Mother Jones Especially as Trump becomes increasingly strident. As if separating families at the border, undercutting the refugee program, and forcing asylum seekers to wait in squalid migrant camps in dangerous Mexican border towns wasn’t bad enough the first time around, Trump and Miller have dialed up the cruelty. Their plan, first reported by the New York Times, includes bringing back Trump-era policies such as the travel ban on travelers from Muslin-majority countries and Title 42, a border measure premised on a health statute used to summarily expel migrants, which Trump invoked during the Covid-19 pandemic, but will expand to other infectious diseases. Trump’s plans also include fast-tracked mass deportations and detention camps, and the deployment of state law enforcement to conduct raids. In a second term, Trump would likely try to end birthright citizenship for US-born children of undocumented immigrants—an extreme stance that appears to have become a mainstream GOP policy. Plus, the visas issued to foreign students who took part in pro-Palestine protests would be revoked, as would the temporary legal status of thousands of Afghans who have resettled in the United States since 2021. Trump recently went on Univision, the most popular Spanish-speaking network in the United States, to tout his record on immigration. On an exclusive, extremely friendly interview reportedly set up with the help of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the former president went unchallenged as he falsely claimed the Obama administration also separated families as a matter of policy and bragged without providing any evidence that “we had the most secure border in history” during his presidency. The interview sparked backlash from dozens of Latino organizations, who, in a letter to Univision executives, criticized the dissemination of “unfiltered, unaddressed, and unrestricted disinformation.” It doesn’t take a degree in immigration law to realize how legally dubious and chilling these proposals are. Many of these so-called policies would inevitably be subject to challenges in court, but one of Miller’s projects since the end of the Trump administration has been as president of America First Legal, a conservative legal organization that engages in “relentless litigation” and purports to be a “long-awaited answer to the ACLU.” In the past few years, America First Legal has sued the Biden administration over a broad collection of policies, from a debt relief program for Black farmers to anti-discrimination protections for transgender patients. Advertise with Mother Jones Presumably, Miller has learned a trick or two about legal warfare and raised millions of dollars in the process. America First Legal’s financial documents show revenue growth of 600 percent—from about $6.3 million to almost $44.4 million between fiscal years 2021 and 2022, boosting Miller’s $110,062 original salary by $77,000. The organization also added Blake Masters, the defeated Arizona senate candidate who spawned conspiracy theories linking migration to a supposed plot by Democrats to win elections by changing the demographics of the country, to its board of directors packed with former Trump officials. Will Trump and Miller’s anti-immigration agenda also create an opening for the Biden campaign to take the offensive on this issue? CBS News recently reported that the campaign has plans to “bring attention” to Trump’s extreme proposals in hopes of turning potential Latino voters away from the GOP candidate, who is polling well with that demographic. “Donald Trump is offering us a vision of what America would be under his second term in the White House in 2025,” María Carolina Casado, the campaign’s Hispanic media director, told CBS News. “This is not about restoring our immigration system—that he basically destroyed—or border security. This is about hurting our Latino community, hurting our families and family separation.” In a statement, Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said, “These extreme, racist, cruel policies dreamed up by him and his henchman Stephen Miller are meant to stoke fear and divide us, betting a scared and divided nation is how he wins this election.” Immigration advocates are ramping up their calls on the Biden administration to embrace an unapologetically pro-immigrant stance, both in rhetoric and policymaking. “This isn’t merely a call to ring the alarms on a Trump second term,” Praeli said. “It is also a call to action to Democrats and to President Biden, to not just be in a dueling vision match, but to advance a proactive, pro-immigrant narrative, to claim it and to embrace it and also to deliver for people right now. He has the power of the presidency right now to show a much stronger vision and to draw that contrast in real-time.” As the New Yorker‘s Jonathan Blitzer posted on X, the Biden administration might prefer to avoid talking about immigration, but Trump’s “extremism gives Biden the space to pitch himself as a true foil/alternative.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.