- 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; firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Friday, July 28, 2023
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Immigration advocates said Thursday that an online appointment system to seek asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico is out of reach for many migrants, in the latest legal challenge to the Biden administration’s immigration agenda. The lawsuit says the administration, often working with Mexican authorities, has physically blocked migrants from claiming asylum at land crossings with Mexico unless they have an appointment through the CBP One app. It says the app is “impossible” for those with inferior internet access, language difficulties or lack of technical know-how. Appointments are capped at 1,450 a day. “CBP One essentially creates an electronic waitlist that restricts access to the U.S. asylum process to a limited number of privileged migrants,” according to the lawsuit by advocacy groups Al Otro Lado and the Haitian Bridge Alliance and would-be asylum-seekers from Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua and Russia who say they couldn’t get appointments while waiting in Mexico. ADVERTISEMENT More than 38,000 people were processed for entry using CBP One in June and more than 170,000 got appointments during the first six months of the year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said last week. OTHER NEWS FILE - Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, hold photos of those who died in a fire at a Mexican immigration detention center, behind, during a prayer vigil outside the center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, April, 27, 2023. Four months after a fire in a Mexican immigration detention center at the border killed 40 migrants, some survivors are living in limbo at a Mexico City hotel, recovering from their injuries and awaiting the prosecution of their captors. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez, File) Survivors of Mexico’s worst migrant detention center fire stuck in limbo, unable to support families FILE - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at the National Palace in Mexico City, Jan. 10, 2023. Mexico’s president says he has offered to buy an American company’s Caribbean coast property for $385 million to end a bitter, years-long dispute. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday, July 27 that a format offer would be presented to Alabama-based Vulcan Materials. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File) Mexico’s president offers to buy US company’s coastal property for $375 million to end dispute A person drinks a bottle of water in the shade as temperatures are expected to hit 119-degrees (48.3 Celsius) Thursday, July 20, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 7 more people have died amid record highs in Arizona’s most populous county. Here’s what to know CBP said late Thursday that use of the app has increased processing at land crossings to “historic levels,” significantly expanding access to asylum and humanitarian protections. At the same time, the agency said it continues to serve people “who walk up to a port of entry without an appointment.” The lawsuit is the latest legal threat to the Biden administration’s carrot-and-stick approach to the border that combines new avenues for legal entry, like CBP One, and shuts down routes to asylum for those who enter the country without government permission. Officials say the approach is working, noting a sharp drop in illegal crossings since a rule took effect on May 11 that allows authorities to deny asylum to migrants who arrive at the border without applying on CBP One or seeking protection in another country they passed through. In June, authorities stopped migrants nearly 145,000 times, the lowest level since February 2021 and down 43% from December’s peak. But the lawsuits complicate President Joe Biden’s efforts to introduce new policies. ADVERTISEMENT “Litigation is, to a certain extent, dictating immigration policy along the border, also in the interior,” Kathleen Bush-Joseph, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank, said. A look at some of the other legal challenges and where they stand: NEW ASYLUM LIMITS The government is appealing a federal judge’s decision to block the new asylum rule. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar delayed his ruling from taking effect for two weeks. It may fall to an appeals court to decide whether to keep the rule in place during what may be a lengthy challenge. ADVERTISEMENT Some legal observers don’t expect a final resolution until 2025, probably in the Supreme Court. MIGRANTS FROM CUBA, HAITI, NICARAGUA AND VENEZUELA Another closely watched case challenges the administration’s policy to grant parole for two years to up to 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela if they apply online with a financial sponsor and arrive at an airport. Texas is leading 21 states to argue that Biden overreached his authority, saying it “amounts to the creation of a new visa program that allows hundreds of thousands of aliens to enter the United States who otherwise have no basis for doing so.” A trial is scheduled Aug. 24 in Victoria, Texas, before U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton. Legal observers anticipate a decision in the fall. ADVERTISEMENT Mexico says the policy was critical to it agreeing to take back people from those four countries who enter the U.S. illegally and are denied asylum. RELEASING ASYLUM-SEEKERS IN THE U.S. An appeals court could rule soon on the Biden administration’s use of what is known as humanitarian parole, in which asylum-seekers are released in the U.S. while they pursue cases in immigration court. U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II said in a March ruling prohibiting the practice that the administration “effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand.” ADVERTISEMENT The Border Patrol paroled 572,575 migrants last year, including a record-high 130,563 in December. The practice sharply subsided even before the administration lost a lawsuit by the state of Florida, but it wants the option in case Border Patrol stations become too overcrowded. OTHER REPUBLICAN-LED CHALLENGES Texas sued the administration in May to block Biden’s policies, particularly the use of CBP One. “The Biden Administration’s attempt to manage the southern border by app does not meet even the lowest expectation of competency and runs afoul of the laws Congress passed to regulate immigration,” the lawsuit states. Indiana and 17 other states sued the administration on similar grounds, saying in its federal lawsuit filed in North Dakota that new policies “will further degrade our nation’s border security and make it even easier to illegally immigrate into the United States.” Neither case appears headed toward swift resolution. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
nternational students from African nations and the Global South are much more likely to have their visas rejected, according to a new report from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and the Shorelight Education. The data, collected through public records requests, show that African students faced a visa rejection rate of over 50 percent in 2022, up nearly 10 percent from 2015. That’s double the rejection rate for students from Australia and the Pacific islands and more than five times higher than the rate for European students. Rajika Bhandari, senior adviser at the Presidents’ Alliance, said the research confirms a trend that those involved in international higher education have long suspected. Most Popular Princeton professor objects to retraction of economics paper Hard choices as Purdue and Indiana decouple in Indianapolis The true heart of darkness “For many years there's been a lot of speculation, a lot of anecdotal reports of students from the Global South being denied visas at higher rates compared with students from other world regions,” she said. “What’s striking is how high those visa denial rates are from Africa in particular.” The report also found that visa denials have increased substantially in the past seven years, with denials for students from South America growing most precipitously during this period, from 10 percent to 24 percent. The data in the report illustrate a potential challenge to U.S. institutions seeking to diversify their international recruiting efforts as applications from China slowly decline. Presidents’ Alliance executive director Miriam Feldblum said the report also highlights the need for comprehensive national policy around international education, and a re-examination of the student visa approval process—especially as institutions in China, Canada and other education destinations begin to compete more seriously with the U.S. for international applicants. “Reducing these barriers is a national imperative,” she said. “The consequences of not fixing this will be big.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services will hold a second random lottery for H-1B specialty occupation visas to meet an annual cap for fiscal year 2024, the agency announced Thursday. An initial lottery was held in March for the visas, which are especially popular in fields like tech and engineering. USCIS subsequently announced that it had received more than 780,000 employer registrations—many of them indicating possible attempts to game the lottery system. In its announcement Thursday, USCIS said the agency determined that another lottery is needed to meet the fiscal year 2024 cap. Video: A Brief History of the H-1B Visa USCIS will select additional registrations from those previously submitted electronically. Only registrants selected in the lottery process are eligible to move forward with H-1B petitions. New H-1B visas are capped at 85,000 each year, a number that includes 20,000 reserved for workers with advanced degrees. They have a duration of three years with an option to extend for another three. Visa holders who make sufficient progress toward an application for permanent residency can remain on the visas indefinitely with employer sponsorship. The registrations for the upcoming fiscal year increased 61% from those for FY 2023, which had been the previous record high. But the large number of multiple registrations filed on behalf of individual workers raised red flags about companies seeking an unfair advantage, USCIS said in April. The agency has launched fraud investigations, which could lead to possible denial or revocation of visas as well as criminal prosecution. Ron Matten, managing partner at Matten Law, said that if a single beneficiary had multiple registrations submitted on their behalf, that would mean several others don’t move forward with H-1B petitions. Public statements from USCIS about potential fraud also may have led some registrants not to pursue a petition after winning the lottery, he said. “They may have decided not to submit H-1B petitions at all to avoid the possibility that they’re found to have committed some sort of fraud that would impact their ability to bring in anybody this year or in the future,” Matten said. In response to an inquiry about how fraud investigations factored into the second lottery, USCIS said in a statement that additional information will be provided once the process is completed and selected registrants are notified. (Updated with attorney and USCIS comments about the second lottery.) To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Kreighbaum in For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will begin issuing invitations under the family reunification parole (FRP) processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras on July 31, 2023. On July 7, 2023, DHS announced implementation of new FRP processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The FRP processes are available by invitation only to certain petitioners whose Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed on behalf of a principal beneficiary who is a national of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras, has been approved. These processes provide a safe, orderly way for beneficiaries and their immediate family members to be considered for parole into the United States on a case-by-case basis. This is one of the lawful pathways that families can access instead of taking a dangerous journey or waiting many years to be reunited with qualified family members. Noncitizens who do not use this process or the other lawful pathways available and try to enter the United States unlawfully will face tougher consequences, including removal and a bar to admission. The invitation will be mailed or emailed to the petitioner and will identify the family members who are eligible for consideration. A petitioner must receive an invitation before submitting Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, under the FRP processes. USCIS will soon launch an online tool on the FRP Processes webpage that petitioners may use to confirm if they have been issued an invitation. If you are a petitioner who believes you may be eligible, please make sure the NVC has your current contact information and mailing address. To update your contact information or address, you can contact the NVC through their Public Inquiry Form. The NVC will be emailing the invitation to petitioners if there is an email address of record associated with the approved Form I-130. If there is no associated email address, the NVC will mail the invitation to the petitioner’s mailing address of record. Invitations will be sent on a rolling basis based on operational capacity and the expected period of time until the principal beneficiary’s immigrant visa becomes available, and in a consistent manner to ensure process integrity. More information on the streamlined FRP processes and invitations for Cuba and Haiti is coming soon. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott craved a showdown with President Joe Biden over illegal immigration. He wanted a test case that would give the Supreme Court a chance to expand states’ authority to repel, persecute, and brutalize unauthorized immigrants. He wanted nothing short of a constitutional revolution that would shift jurisdiction over the southern border—and perhaps even the power to wage war—from the federal government to the state of Texas. What he got, instead, was a dispute over the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. Abbott’s scheme to seize control over immigration enforcement crashed against that law on Monday, when Biden’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas. At Abbott’s direction, state officials constructed a 1,000-foot barrier in the Rio Grande designed to block migrants from crossing the river. The governor justified the project in a letter to Biden by asserting Texas’ alleged prerogative to defend itself against “invasion,” teeing up a constitutional confrontation. But he and his lawyers appear to have overlooked a more mundane problem with this plan: Federal law prohibits any state from obstructing a navigable waterway like the Rio Grande without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Abbott’s brawl over the border is fizzling into a dispute for permitting—one that the governor will lose. Related From Slate MARK JOSEPH STERN The Supreme Court Has a Clear Intellectual Lightweight READ MORE The Rio Grande barrier is made up of large buoys that would force migrants crossing the river to turn back. It was constructed near the spot where four migrants, including an infant, recently drowned. The initiative is part of Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s $9.5 billion crackdown on migrants, which commandeers state troops and National Guardsmen to police the southern border. So far, Operation Lone Star has been a costly and lethal failure: It has had no evident impact on unlawful border crossings, and many Texas Guardsmen—who receive none of the benefits awarded to federal agents—have nothing to do; suicide and criminal conduct are rising in their ranks. Earlier this month, a whistleblower reported that Guardsmen were instructed to push migrants back into the Rio Grande, where they risked drowning; deprive them of water; and line the river with razor wire. After a 4-year-old got caught in the razor wire and suffered heat exhaustion, Guardsmen allegedly received an order to push her back. Many other migrants were trapped and lacerated by the razor wire, including a 19-year-old pregnant woman, who allegedly suffered a miscarriage while trying to extricate herself. ADVERTISEMENT The inefficacy of Operation Lone Star may not matter much to Abbott, who created the program as a political stunt to challenge the Biden’s administration’s ostensibly lax border enforcement. From the start, he has sought out conflict with the president over his state’s power to perform duties that Congress has assigned to Customs and Border Protection. In a November letter to Biden, the governor invoked two provisions of the U.S. Constitution that, he claimed, gave him authority to marshal Texas’ resources against unauthorized immigration. First, he asserted that Biden had failed to “honor” the so-called invasion clause, which says that the federal government “shall protect each [state] against Invasion.” Second, he wrote that he would invoke his power under Article 1, Section 10, which says, “No State shall, without the consent of Congress, … engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” Biden’s purported refusal to enforce immigration law, he reasoned, had placed Texas in “imminent danger,” giving the governor power to “engage in war.” (A war against Mexico? Cartels? Migrants themselves? Abbott did not clarify.) This theory is pretty radical, to put it lightly: It would let individual states wage war over the express objection of the federal government—including the commander in chief—based on their subjective sense that migrants are “invading” them. That approach conflicts directly with the actual text of the Constitution, as the Supreme Court affirmed in 2022. The Constitution divests war powers from the states, vesting them instead in Congress (which may “provide for the common defense,” “declare war,” “raise and support” the armed forces, and more) as well as the president (who serves as “commander in chief” of the military, including “the militia of the several states”). So, where does Abbott’s idea come from? A theory promoted by far-right anti-immigration groups, and once endorsed by Justice Antonin Scalia in a 2012 dissent declaring that states have an “inherent power to protect their territory,” one that lies at “the core of state sovereignty” and encompasses the right “to exclude” immigrants “who have no right to be there”—by force when necessary. (No other justices joined Scalia’s opinion.) And Abbott drew on another source: a June opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, authored by Trump-appointed Judge Andrew Oldham and joined by fellow Trump appointee Don Willett. In it, Oldham severely limited the president’s authority over the Texas National Guard unless it has been called into federal service, shooting down the military’s efforts to discipline Texas Guardsmen who rejected the COVID-19 vaccine. Abbott quoted from Oldham’s sweeping declaration that barred the president “from bypassing the States, stepping into Governor Abbott’s shoes, and directly governing Texas’s non-federalized militiamen.” This theory—and its attempted expansion by Texas—would overturn centuries of precedent and practice that give the commander in chief presumptive authority to direct the nation’s armed forces. ADVERTISEMENT Abbott raised these arguments out of an undisguised hunger to manufacture a face-off with the Biden administration that would, in his words, go “all the way to the United States Supreme Court.” When the Justice Department warned the governor that it would sue over the barrier, he responded belligerently, “Texas will see you in court.” The DOJ filed its lawsuit on Monday—but the complaint says nothing about the invasion clause, states’ ability to wage war, or any other contested constitutional principles. It is, rather, based entirely on the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, an old but still relevant law that was invoked twice in a recent Supreme Court opinion. This act prohibits “the building” of any “structure” in any “navigable river” without permission from the Army Corps of Engineers. It independently bars the “creation of any obstruction” to the “navigable capacity” of a river unless it is “affirmatively authorized by Congress.” Recommended for You Our 3-Year-Old Has a Midnight Addiction We Can’t Seem to Break I Don’t Have to Work Anymore. But I’ve Kept up the Lie. Help! My Brother Actively Tried to Sabotage My Becoming a Foster Parent. The Rio Grande is a navigable river. A 1,000-foot barrier in the middle of the Rio Grande is an “obstruction” to its “navigable capacity.” And that barrier is a “structure” that Texas built without permission from the Army. It is therefore quite obviously illegal under the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. The DOJ requested an injunction compelling Texas to remove the barrier and halt any plans to construct further obstructions in the Rio Grande. And it suggested that the case should be heard by the same judge who has already been assigned to separate litigation against the barrier brought by a canoe rental company. That judge is Robert Pitman, a Barack Obama appointee, who is likelier than most Texas judges to apply the actual law. Because Pitman’s decisions are reviewed by the 5th Circuit, where law goes to die, it’s tough to predict the immediate trajectory of this case. But even if the 5th Circuit goes rogue, this one should not be difficult for the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh have consistently supported federal supremacy over national defense while looking skeptically at red states’ efforts to seize control over border policy. They need not even invoke any lofty principles to reach the right result: The Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act does all the work—with a crucial assist from Abbott’s awful lawyering. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faced a barrage of criticism Wednesday from House Republicans who, in recent months, have floated impeaching him over what they say is his dereliction of duty in securing the southern border. Watch the hearing in the player above. Mayorkas’ appearance before the House Judiciary Committee comes as the Biden administration’s immigration policies are facing legal attacks from across the political spectrum, despite a steep drop last month in the number of border crossings. “I know that today Secretary Mayorkas is going to try to paint a rosy picture of this disastrous mismanagement of our border,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the Republican chair of the Judiciary Committee, said in his opening statement. “But the numbers don’t lie.” Jordan and other Republicans attributed the sudden falloff in migrant crossing to a new Biden administration asylum policy that allows migrants to use a Customs and Border Patrol app when seeking asylum. The new technology is attempting to streamline the asylum process by allowing more people — on average 1,400 a day — to get an appointment through the app before appearing at a U.S. port of entry with an asylum claim. “That’s why the numbers are dropping,” said Republican Rep. Tom McClintock of California. Mayorkas pushed back on the GOP line of questioning and defended his department, which employs more than 260,000 people, for the “selfless” work they have done while facing unprecedented challenges both at the southern border and across the country. “Our approach to managing the borders securely and humanely — even within our fundamentally broken immigration system — is working,” Mayorkas said. READ MORE: Texas trooper’s accounts of bloodied and drowning migrants on U.S.-Mexico border unleashes criticism The secretary said illegal border crossings have been falling since the peak that came before Title 42, a public health law allowing curbs on migration in the name of protecting public health. The policy was instituted under former President Donald Trump in March 2020 as part of an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration ended Title 42 in May. Since then, total encounters along the southern border — meaning migrants who either came to one of the ports of entry or tried to cross between them — were down 30 percent in June compared with the previous month. DHS said it was the lowest monthly total since February 2021. The Biden administration has said the asylum rule was a key part of its strategy to strike a balance between strict border enforcement and ensuring several avenues for migrants to pursue valid asylum claims. And the secretary implored Congress on Wednesday to join his department and work as “partners” in creating long-term, sustainable solutions to what both sides agree is a flawed immigration system. But Republicans zeroed in on the influx of fentanyl into the country, blaming Mayorkas for the number of overdoses that have happened across American communities in the past several years. “The fentanyl killing thousands of Americans every year is a direct result of your dereliction,” said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., “When people die of fentanyl poisoning, it is your fault.” The agency, Mayorkas responded, have stopped nearly 10,000 pounds of fentanyl from entering the country last year, leading to more than 280 arrests. Democrats pressed Mayorkas on how fentanyl is getting into the U.S. and spreading across the country. He said much of the smuggling is done by Americans. “I believe the data suggests that approximately 70 percent of the people who are arrested are US citizens,” Mayorkas testified. But Republicans insisted Mayorkas is broadly responsible for deaths from fentanyl, despite those factors. “In my mind, this makes your actions criminal,” Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., said. “Secretary Mayorkas you must resign. Will you resign?” Mayorkas said he would not. Van Drew replied that it “leaves us with no other option: you should be impeached.” Republicans proposed impeaching Mayorkas well before they won the House majority last November. This year, Jordan and the GOP chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, have been conducting a multi-step investigation into the situation at the southern border. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
House Republicans accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday of mismanaging the U.S.-Mexico border and misrepresenting migration levels, but generally stopped short of explicitly calling for his impeachment. The Republican attacks came during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. House Republicans have been building a potential impeachment case against Mayorkas, who they blame for high numbers of migrants traveling to the southwest border. Several House Republicans — including members of the Judiciary Committee — have filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas that allege he has been “derelict” in his duties to secure the border. While referencing that language, most Republican lawmakers at Wednesday’s hearing avoided specifically calling for the secretary’s impeachment. Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck told Mayorkas his constituents see him as a “traitor” and blamed the Homeland Security chief for fentanyl poisoning deaths. “Mr. Secretary, it is your responsibility to secure our border against fentanyl trafficking. The fentanyl killing thousands of Americans every year is a direct result of your dereliction,” Buck said. “When people die of fentanyl poisoning, it is your fault.” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who has filed one of the impeachment resolutions against Mayorkas, grilled him about whether he or President Joe Biden was responsible for guidance instructing immigration agents to prioritize arresting immigrants who threaten public safety and national security. After Mayorkas would not answer directly, Biggs muttered, “disgusting.” Rep. Tom Tiffany also accused Mayorkas of lying about control over drug trafficking at the border. The Wisconsin Republican pointed to testimony at an earlier congressional hearing from Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels that fentanyl trafficking has increased, which Mayorkas said he disagreed with. “Someone’s not telling the truth. It’s either Dannels, or it’s you,” Tiffany said. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana said Mayorkas is “the most dishonest person who has ever appeared before the Judiciary.” Rep. Ben Cline came close to threatening impeachment without using the term. “You should be ashamed. More so, you should be held accountable. This committee will do just that, and I am committed to making that happen as well,” the Virginia Republican said. Only New Jersey Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew specifically called for the secretary to be impeached. He urged Mayorkas to resign, and said “If you will not resign, that leaves us with no other option. You should be impeached.” In response to Republican jabs, Mayorkas repeatedly disputed characterizations that the border is “open” and maintained that fentanyl trafficking and other challenges at the border predate the Biden administration. Mayorkas told the committee that “the safety and the security of the American people is our highest priority,” and DHS and federal partners “are taking it to the traffickers to an unprecedented degree through innovative operations targeting criminals.” Committee Democrats criticized Republicans’ efforts to build an impeachment case and instead praised Mayorkas for his experience and leadership. House Republicans have also expressed interest in impeaching FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Biden. New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the committee, said Republican leaders agreed to pursue the impeachment of Mayorkas to gain support from the right wing of the caucus for the party’s debt limit package. “Today’s hearing will not be about legitimate congressional oversight. Instead, the chairman and his colleagues in the majority will use today’s hearing as a predicate for a completely baseless attempt to impeach Mayorkas,” Nadler said. “It will be one more exercise in political theater for the right-wing outrage machine before the August break.” California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu cited data showing that unauthorized border crossings last month were lower than they were in May 2023. “And now Republicans want to impeach you? Good luck with that,” Lieu said. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said most of her Republican colleagues “are only interested in performance.” “While this is an oversight hearing, we know that the spectacle you’re seeing on the other side is part of Republicans’ ultimate distraction strategy: impeachment,” she said. “I’m surprised that they aren’t trying to impeach the pope.” A DHS spokesperson said Wednesday that while House Republicans have “wasted months trying to score points with baseless attacks, Secretary Mayorkas has been doing his job and working to keep Americans safe.” Impeachment case The hearing comes a week after House Homeland Security Committee Republicans released a 112-page report into Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty,” part of what committee Chairman Mark E. Green of Tennessee has described as a “five-phase deep dive” into the causes of the high migration levels. The July 19 report argued Mayorkas has failed to secure the border by winding down Trump-era migration restrictions and implemented new policies that allegedly encouraged more migration. “It is, therefore, the solemn conclusion of this Committee that Mayorkas has been derelict in his duty, and that this dereliction has been intentional,” the report states. Green has said his committee plans to turn its findings over to the Judiciary Committee, which would be responsible for formally launching impeachment proceedings. He estimated the investigation would take 11 to 12 weeks. Still, House Republicans face an uphill battle to secure enough votes within their own caucus to vote to impeach the secretary. Asked about support for impeachment last month, Green told reporters that “we haven’t even gotten to that word.” A Cabinet secretary has been impeached only once in American history. William Belknap, who served as war secretary during the administration of President Ulysses Grant, was impeached in 1876 for bribery-related offenses. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan lambasted President Joe Biden’s border policies, calling it a “Biden border crisis” and describing them as “open border policies” in his opening remarks Wednesday at a hearing where Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is testifying. “I know that today Secretary Mayorkas is going to try to paint a rosy picture of this disastrous mismanagement of our border,” Jordan said. “But the numbers don’t lie.” While border crossings remain high, there have been fewer border arrests in recent weeks. In June, for example, US Border Patrol arrested nearly 100,000 migrants along the US southern border, marking a decrease from May and marking the lowest monthly border encounters since February 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection data. Mayorkas is facing House Republicans who have been making the case to potentially impeach him over his handling of the US-Mexico border in a House panel hearing Wednesday. He maintained in his opening remarks that the administration’s approach to the border is “working.” “Our approach to managing the border securely and humanely, even within our fundamentally broken immigration system is working,” he said. “Unlawful entries between ports of entry along the southwest border have consistently decreased by more than half compared to the peak before the end of Title 42.” Over recent months, House Republicans have started to lay the groundwork for potential impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas, who, they argue, has failed to enforce the US southern border. Within less than an hour after the hearing’s start, House Democrats twice called out Republicans for pursuing Mayorkas’ potential impeachment. “First of all, I want to make clear that this is an oversight hearing, not an impeachment hearing,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. “This is a hearing to address the questions of the work that has been done, and so to that end, just as a factual basis, there has been a lot of hollering about the entry on the border, operational control.” Follow topics of interest to you: Biden's cabinet Joe Biden Capitol Hill Explore all or sign up to save topics The hearing comes as House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, has launched a five-phased investigation into Mayorkas. GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a former federal prosecutor and member of the hardline Freedom Caucus, has said he does not believe the criticisms of Mayorkas have raised to the bar of high crimes or misdemeanors at this point until he sees more evidence. Buck’s comments highlight that despite the public pressure to launch impeachment proceedings into Mayorkas, key holdouts remain, even from those who serve on the Judiciary panel who would be responsible for overseeing the effort. It’s an example of the uphill battle within the Republican conference to build consensus on impeachment. Still, Buck sharply criticized Mayorkas at Wednesday’s hearing over the department’s handling of fentanyl trafficking. “When people die of fentanyl poisoning, it is your fault,” he said. Mayorkas responded, saying, “Congressman, we grieve the loss of any life as a result of the toxicity of the devastation of fentanyl. The challenge of fentanyl is not new. It has been escalating for more than five years.” “This is a scourge that all of us have to work together to combat and we in the Department of Homeland Security with our federal partners are taking it to the traffickers to an unprecedented degree through innovative operations targeting criminals,” he added. The handling of the US-Mexico border has been an ongoing point of contention between Republicans and President Joe Biden, whose administration has grappled with unprecedented migration in the Western hemisphere. While border crossings remain high, numbers dipped in June to the lowest monthly border encounters since February 2021. Administration officials have credited a series of measures taken on the US-Mexico border, as well as new policies, for the dramatic drop in border crossings. But the administration’s actions have done little to quell concerns among Republicans who continue to seize on the issue. In a warning shot Tuesday, Jordan, an Ohio Republican, requested that Mayorkas be ready to provide data on border arrests and deportations, among a host of issues, in a letter to the DHS secretary. While the impeachment of Mayorkas was once thought of as inevitable, some members on the House Judiciary panel are still against pursuing the impeachment of the Homeland Security secretary. And House Republicans are starting to focus their efforts on pursing an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, particularly since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has warmed to the idea. It’s exceedingly rare for a Cabinet secretary to be impeached, something that has only happened once in US history when William Belknap, the secretary of war, was impeached by the House before being acquitted by the Senate in 1876. In the impeachment articles that have been filed, Republicans have accused Mayorkas of undermining the operational control of the southern border, encouraging illegal immigration and lying to Congress that the border was secure – all charges that the administration has dismissed. But challenges remain for the administration as it escalates its feud with Gov. Greg Abbott over his operation on the Texas-Mexico border and as it faces a court ruling against a key immigration policy. A makeshift camp, where asylum seekers wait as they attempt to cross into the US by an appointment through the Customs and Border Protection app, called CBP One, lines the Rio Grande river border between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, in Matamoros, Mexico June 20, 2023. The US immigration story extends well beyond the border On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state for installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande without authorization. Border agents have historically worked closely with Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety. But the latest steps taken by the state have made day-to-day operations more difficult. DPS, for example, made certain portions of the Texas-Mexico border more difficult to access, marking a departure from the coordination that previously existed between law enforcement. Agents on the ground have also sent regular reports to CBP headquarters about what they’ve observed as Abbott’s operation has been underway, a Homeland Security official told CNN. And on Tuesday, a federal judge blocked Biden’s controversial asylum policy, delivering a major blow to the administration, which has leaned on the measure to drive down border crossings. The judge put the ruling on hold for 14 days for a possible appeal. A Justice Department spokesperson told CNN that the department plans to appeal. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Labor Department says number of children it found working illegally is up 44% since the same time last year
The same day that Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra faced criticism on Capitol Hill from members of both parties about reports of underage migrants working dangerous jobs, Labor Department officials announced a 44% increase in the number of children it found to be employed illegally. During a hearing Wednesday on immigrant child labor, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D.-Calif, told Becerra that she was not satisfied with his agency’s response to questions she and 25 other House members had sent him in late May. After reports of child labor surfaced, they sent Becerra a letter asking about how carefully HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which finds homes for unaccompanied migrant minors, was vetting the sponsors who were offering to host the children. “If ORR is ‘meeting and exceeding its statutory requirements,’ why are we witnessing such an alarming rise in the exploitation of children discharged from the agency’s custody?” she asked. Becerra acknowledged during the hearing of the oversight subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee that the reports of child labor are “real” and “repulsive” and acknowledged that unaccompanied minors are uniquely vulnerable to dangerous jobs, but also pushed back. He said the agency’s vetting of sponsors remains thorough and agency oversight legally ends once children leave ORR’s care and are placed with a sponsor. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra testifies during House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP file “Once we release that child into the hands of a vetted sponsor we lose that custodial responsibility,” Becerra told the committee. “If Congress wants to give us more responsibility to watch over these kids even after they have been assigned to a sponsor, please go right ahead.” More than 260,000 unaccompanied migrant children have passed through ORR and been released to communities in 2021 and 2022, according to HHS figures. In response to criticism, HHS announced a new accountability team in June for “assessing and addressing potential child exploitation risks” with the unaccompanied children program. 16-year-old dies in accident at Mississippi poultry plant JULY 19, 202302:42 Labor Department touts enforcement Also on Wednesday, senior Labor Department officials told reporters their efforts to crack down on child labor had yielded some success. They said investigators found more than 4,400 children employed in violation of child labor laws since October, a 44% increase over Oct. 1, 2021, to July 20, 2022. A senior Labor official said that the department attributes the bump in enforcement to the agency’s recent emphasis on enforcing child labor laws. Labor officials also cited an 87% increase in company fines to $6.6 million during the same time frame, although critics say the $15,138 maximum fines for hiring children are so low that they do not deter employers from hiring underage workers in a tight labor market. Recommended TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS Trump faces additional charges in Mar-a-Lago documents case TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS Special counsel adds third defendant in classified document case But Labor officials acknowledge there is “plenty more work to do.” Some violations continue to elude department investigators. Just last week a 16-year-old Guatemalan died while cleaning equipment at a Mississippi poultry plant. The accident at the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg was the second equipment death at the plant in two years. Labor Department officials say they are investigating possible child labor violations at Mar-Jac as well as an ongoing death investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company says it is cooperating. Duvan Tomas Perez. Duvan Tomas Perez, 16, from Guatemala, died while cleaning equipment at a Mississippi poultry plant.via Facebook The company blamed the hiring of the teen on a staffing company and said the “individual’s age and identity were misrepresented on the paperwork.” Recently the department employed a rarely used provision that halts the shipment of any goods made with child labor in a case involving a Minnesota meat snacks company where Labor investigators found two teenagers had been hired. The “hot goods” provision has so far not been employed against Mar-Jac Poultry. Senior Labor officials characterized their ongoing investigation of Mar-Jac as “very active.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Judiciary panel grills Mayorkas over Biden’s border policies By Priscilla Alvarez and Annie Grayer, CNN
CNN — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan lambasted President Joe Biden’s border policies, calling it a “Biden border crisis” and describing them as “open border policies” in his opening remarks Wednesday at a hearing where Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is testifying. “I know that today Secretary Mayorkas is going to try to paint a rosy picture of this disastrous mismanagement of our border,” Jordan said. “But the numbers don’t lie.” While border crossings remain high, there have been fewer border arrests in recent weeks. In June, for example, US Border Patrol arrested nearly 100,000 migrants along the US southern border, marking a decrease from May and marking the lowest monthly border encounters since February 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection data. Mayorkas is facing House Republicans who have been making the case to potentially impeach him over his handling of the US-Mexico border in a House panel hearing Wednesday. He maintained in his opening remarks that the administration’s approach to the border is “working.” “Our approach to managing the border securely and humanely, even within our fundamentally broken immigration system is working,” he said. “Unlawful entries between ports of entry along the southwest border have consistently decreased by more than half compared to the peak before the end of Title 42.” Over recent months, House Republicans have started to lay the groundwork for potential impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas, who, they argue, has failed to enforce the US southern border. Within less than an hour after the hearing’s start, House Democrats twice called out Republicans for pursuing Mayorkas’ potential impeachment. “First of all, I want to make clear that this is an oversight hearing, not an impeachment hearing,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. “This is a hearing to address the questions of the work that has been done, and so to that end, just as a factual basis, there has been a lot of hollering about the entry on the border, operational control.” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden McCarthy makes most direct impeachment threat against Biden to date The hearing comes as House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, has launched a five-phased investigation into Mayorkas. GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a former federal prosecutor and member of the hardline Freedom Caucus, has said he does not believe the criticisms of Mayorkas have raised to the bar of high crimes or misdemeanors at this point until he sees more evidence. Buck’s comments highlight that despite the public pressure to launch impeachment proceedings into Mayorkas, key holdouts remain, even from those who serve on the Judiciary panel who would be responsible for overseeing the effort. It’s an example of the uphill battle within the Republican conference to build consensus on impeachment. Still, Buck sharply criticized Mayorkas at Wednesday’s hearing over the department’s handling of fentanyl trafficking. “When people die of fentanyl poisoning, it is your fault,” he said. Mayorkas responded, saying, “Congressman, we grieve the loss of any life as a result of the toxicity of the devastation of fentanyl. The challenge of fentanyl is not new. It has been escalating for more than five years.” “This is a scourge that all of us have to work together to combat and we in the Department of Homeland Security with our federal partners are taking it to the traffickers to an unprecedented degree through innovative operations targeting criminals,” he added. The handling of the US-Mexico border has been an ongoing point of contention between Republicans and President Joe Biden, whose administration has grappled with unprecedented migration in the Western hemisphere. While border crossings remain high, numbers dipped in June to the lowest monthly border encounters since February 2021. Administration officials have credited a series of measures taken on the US-Mexico border, as well as new policies, for the dramatic drop in border crossings. But the administration’s actions have done little to quell concerns among Republicans who continue to seize on the issue. In a warning shot Tuesday, Jordan, an Ohio Republican, requested that Mayorkas be ready to provide data on border arrests and deportations, among a host of issues, in a letter to the DHS secretary. While the impeachment of Mayorkas was once thought of as inevitable, some members on the House Judiciary panel are still against pursuing the impeachment of the Homeland Security secretary. And House Republicans are starting to focus their efforts on pursing an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, particularly since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has warmed to the idea. It’s exceedingly rare for a Cabinet secretary to be impeached, something that has only happened once in US history when William Belknap, the secretary of war, was impeached by the House before being acquitted by the Senate in 1876. In the impeachment articles that have been filed, Republicans have accused Mayorkas of undermining the operational control of the southern border, encouraging illegal immigration and lying to Congress that the border was secure – all charges that the administration has dismissed. But challenges remain for the administration as it escalates its feud with Gov. Greg Abbott over his operation on the Texas-Mexico border and as it faces a court ruling against a key immigration policy. A makeshift camp, where asylum seekers wait as they attempt to cross into the US by an appointment through the Customs and Border Protection app, called CBP One, lines the Rio Grande river border between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, in Matamoros, Mexico June 20, 2023. The US immigration story extends well beyond the border On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state for installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande without authorization. Border agents have historically worked closely with Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety. But the latest steps taken by the state have made day-to-day operations more difficult. DPS, for example, made certain portions of the Texas-Mexico border more difficult to access, marking a departure from the coordination that previously existed between law enforcement. Agents on the ground have also sent regular reports to CBP headquarters about what they’ve observed as Abbott’s operation has been underway, a Homeland Security official told CNN. And on Tuesday, a federal judge blocked Biden’s controversial asylum policy, delivering a major blow to the administration, which has leaned on the measure to drive down border crossings. The judge put the ruling on hold for 14 days for a possible appeal. A Justice Department spokesperson told CNN that the department plans to appeal. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Immigrant rights advocates on Tuesday applauded a ruling handed down by a U.S. district judge blocking the Biden administration's anti-asylum rule, which places restrictions on migrants who aim to exercise their internationally recognized right to seek asylum at the southern U.S. border. Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee who serves in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, ruled that the new policy is unlawful, as he did when former Republican President Donald Trump imposed similar restrictions. The measure, which was introduced in May and immediately prompted the ACLU and other legal groups to file a lawsuit on behalf of several rights organizations, requires migrants to prove that they previously sought protections in a third country before applying for asylum in the United States. The Biden administration has said migrants who want to seek asylum should schedule an appointment using an app that connects them to Customs and Border Protection instead of attempting to cross the border. "To justify limiting eligibility for asylum based on the expansion of other means of entry or protection is to consider factors Congress did not intend to affect such eligibility," wrote Tigar in his ruling. Melissa Crow, director of litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, which joined the ACLU in representing the plaintiffs, said the policy "violates our laws and makes a mockery of our asylum system." "The court got it right," Crow said. "We urge the administration to stop defending this illegal policy, and instead take immediate steps to establish a fair and humane process that upholds the rights of all people seeking refuge at our nation's doorstep." Crow noted that the Biden administration recently admitted that "under the ban, people with meritorious legal claims can be barred from asylum and deported to countries where they face grave harm." "To them, that is an acceptable price to pay for the illusion of border management," she said. "But they are breaking the law, sowing chaos, and putting vulnerable people in harm's way." Tigar granted the Biden administration's request for a 14-day stay of the ruling, giving officials time to appeal the decision. The White House is expected to appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and, if the appeals court also strikes down the policy, to the U.S. Supreme Court. "The ruling is a victory, but each day the Biden administration prolongs the fight over its illegal ban, many people fleeing persecution and seeking safe harbor for their families are instead left in grave danger," said Katrina Eiland, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "The promise of America is to serve as a beacon of freedom and hope, and the administration can and should do better to fulfill this promise, rather than perpetuate cruel and ineffective policies that betray it." In the lawsuit, the ACLU and other groups representing the plaintiffs wrote that President Joe Biden "doubled down on [his] predecessor's cruel asylum restrictions" despite having campaigned on "a promise to restore our asylum system." "The agencies claim the rule merely provides consequences for asylum-seekers circumventing lawful pathways," reads the lawsuit. "But seeking asylum is a lawful pathway protected by our laws regardless of how one enters the country." Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of America's Voice, welcomed the ruling and its "strong message to the Biden administration that it must adhere to the law." But she emphasized that even if Tigar's decision is upheld on appeal, "it does not fix the broken asylum system." "Only Congress can fully fix the broken asylum and immigration system, giving people the option of coming with visas for family or work and legalizing those who already work here," said Cárdenas. "Congress must deliver the modernization we need." "In the meantime," she added, "we call on the administration to use the tools it has, including dedicating more resources to the border to address asylum backlogs, while using parole programs, [Temporary Protected Status], and the refugee admissions process to stabilize the system and provide additional pathways for those in need of protection." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
There is a tendency to view the different elements of the immigration landscape in isolation. Texas is being sued by the US Department of Justice for acting on its own to put obstructions along the border. New York and other cities complain they are overwhelmed by buses of migrants being sent from the border. In the absence of action by Congress, court decisions are setting US border policy. But the elements are all interrelated. Follow topics of interest to you: Joe Biden Explore all or sign up to save topics I talked to CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez to get her perspective as a White House reporter with a deep background in reporting on all aspects of the larger immigration story. Our conversation, conducted by email, is below. And don’t miss her story that published Tuesday: Federal judge blocks Biden’s controversial asylum policy in a major blow to administration. Suing Texas over floating barriers WOLF: The US government is suing Texas to remove floating barriers from the Rio Grande. But it’s just the latest in a series of escalating measures Texas has undertaken on its own to keep migrants out of the country. What is the state of play at the border? ALVAREZ: The handling of the US-Mexico border has long been a point of contention between President (Joe) Biden and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s argued that the administration hasn’t done enough to enforce the border. As an affront to Biden’s border policies, Abbott has transported migrants to Democratic-led cities without coordinating with city officials, deployed more personnel to the Texas-Mexico border, and earlier this month, installed buoys in the Rio Grande. Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) highway patrol troopers look over the Rio Grande as migrants walk by a string of buoys placed on the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 15, 2023, to prevent illegal immigration entry to the US. The buoy installation is part of an operation Texas is pursuing to secure its borders, but activists and some legislators say Governor Greg Abbott is exceeding his authority. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP) (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images) VIDEO See floating barrier to deter migrant crossings along US-Mexico border Border agents have historically worked closely with the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety. But the latest steps taken by the state have made day-to-day operations more difficult. DPS made certain portions of the Texas-Mexico border more difficult to access, marking a departure from the coordination that previously existed between law enforcement. Agents on the ground have also sent regular reports to US Customs and Border Protection headquarters about what they’ve observed as Abbott’s operation has been underway, a Homeland Security official told me. But disturbing images of migrants with injuries and troubling reports of Texas troops pushing migrants back to Mexico forced the Biden’s administration hands. Last week, the Justice Department said it’s assessing the situation along the Texas-Mexico border and on Monday, the DOJ filed a lawsuit on a separate, though related matter: the installation of a floating barrier. The lawsuit says Texas didn’t seek authorization before placing the floating barrier in the Rio Grande and poses a threat to navigation. That court battle could take months to play out. But in the interim, it could fuel tensions between agents and troops on the ground and further escalate the feud between Biden and Abbott. Why a predicted migrant surge didn’t happen WOLF: You’ve written about how an expected surge of migrants after the end of a Covid-era policy known as Title 42 never materialized. What happened? ALVAREZ: Let’s provide some context first. Migration often ebbs and flows. But the Biden administration has had to grapple with unprecedented mass movement of people in the Western hemisphere, which is in part the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic decimating conditions in the region. exp border pregnant migrants flores pkg 072204pseg1 cnn us _00005001.png VIDEO Pregnant migrants: Texas National Guard denied us water The administration relied on a public health authority, known as Title 42, to quickly expel migrants back to Mexico or their origin countries. That authority had been invoked under former President (Donald) Trump and used to turn away migrants, including asylum-seekers, at the US-Mexico border on public health grounds. In the days leading up to the expiration of Title 42, thousands of migrants tried to cross the US southern border, knowing that they could face tougher penalties after the end of the authority including bans on reentry to the United States. And that’s indeed been the case. Increased deportations and tougher policies, paired with other, new legal pathways to the United States, appear to have driven down the number of people attempting to unlawfully cross the US-Mexico border. In June, for example, US Border Patrol arrested nearly 100,000 migrants along the US southern border, marking a decrease from May and marking the lowest monthly border encounters since February 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection data. Busing migrants to far-flung US cities WOLF: Far from the border in Texas, New York Mayor Eric Adams, after earlier welcoming migrants bused to his city, has said with increasing urgency that the city is full. Migrants are now also being bused to Los Angeles. What’s the latest on the busing angle? ALVAREZ: The busing is still happening. Since last year, Texas has bused more than 27,000 migrants to six cities, according to Abbott’s office. The cities include Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles. One of the main issues with the transport of migrants to these cities that officials often raise alarm about is the lack of coordination. The governor’s office doesn’t generally notify cities that migrants are being sent there, leaving border NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to try to fill the information void. It’s important to note, though, that migrants who are released from government custody have been vetted and processed by federal authorities and are released as they go through their immigration court proceedings. An immigration judge ultimately decides whether a migrant has grounds to stay in the United States or be ordered removed. Who is actually trying to solve this problem? WOLF: All of these things are related – the efforts by Texas to create its own border policy, the difficulty New York and cities are facing as they deal with an influx of migrants … everything feeds from the lack of more comprehensive immigration reform. Is there any movement in Congress toward dealing with all of this in a comprehensive way? exp Mexico bodies cnni world_00003001.png VIDEO 28 bodies found near U.S. border ALVAREZ: Bills addressing the immigration system have been introduced by both parties. Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas, for example, has introduced legislation that addresses work visa programs, among other parts of the system. But it’s such a divisive issue that legislation struggles to move forward. Both parties are so far apart on the issue that even though Democrats and Republicans acknowledge the US immigration system is broken, they can’t agree on how to fix it. Without comprehensive reform, the federal government is left to implementing a patchwork of policies and then playing defense when lawsuits are filed against them, often resulting in policy whiplash. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a rule that allows immigration authorities to deny asylum to migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through. But the judge delayed his ruling from taking effect immediately to give President Joe Biden’s administration time to appeal. The order from U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California takes away a key enforcement tool set in place by the Biden administration as coronavirus-based restrictions on asylum expired in May. The new rule imposes severe limitations on migrants seeking asylum but includes room for exceptions and does not apply to children traveling alone. “The Rule — which has been in effect for two months — cannot remain in place,” Tigar wrote in an order that will not take effect for two weeks. ADVERTISEMENT RELATED STORIES Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico walk past large buoys being deployed as a border barrier on the river in Eagle Pass, Texas, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. The floating barrier is being deployed in an effort to block migrants from entering Texas from Mexico. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Biden administration sues Texas governor over Rio Grande buoy barrier that’s meant to stop migrants A Texas state trooper watches as young migrants walk along concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande as they try to enter the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, Thursday, July 6, 2023. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has escalated measures to keep migrants from entering the U.S. He's pushing legal boundaries along the border with Mexico to install razor wire, deploy massive buoys on the Rio Grande and bulldozing border islands in the river. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Texas is using disaster declarations to install buoys and razor wire on the US-Mexico border FILE - Migrants wait to be processed after crossing the border, Jan. 6, 2023, near Yuma, Ariz. A judge will hear arguments Wednesday, July 19, in a lawsuit opposing an asylum rule that has become a key part of the Biden administration’s immigration policy. Critics say the rule endangers migrants trying to cross the southern border and is against the law, while the administration argues that it encourages migrants to use lawful pathways into the country and prevents chaos at the border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) Biden administration tells judge that its new asylum rule is not a reboot of Trump’s efforts The Justice Department immediately appealed the order and asked for it to be put on hold while the case is heard. The agency said it’s confident the rule is lawful. Immigrant rights groups that sued over the rule applauded the judge’s decision. “The promise of America is to serve as a beacon of freedom and hope, and the administration can and should do better to fulfill this promise, rather than perpetuate cruel and ineffective policies that betray it,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Katrina Eiland, who argued the case, said in a statement. ADVERTISEMENT The ACLU and other groups had argued the rule violates a U.S. law that protects the right to asylum regardless of how a person enters the country. The groups said it forces migrants to seek protection in countries that don’t have the same robust asylum system and human rights protections as the United States. They also argued that the CBP One app the government wants migrants to use doesn’t have enough appointments and isn’t available in enough languages. The administration had argued that protection systems in other countries that migrants travel through have improved. But Tigar said it’s not feasible for some migrants to seek protection in a transit country and noted the violence that many face in Mexico in particular. “While they wait for an adjudication, applicants for asylum must remain in Mexico, where migrants are generally at heightened risk of violence by both state and non-state actors,” the judge, an appointee of President Barack Obama, wrote. He also wrote that the rule is illegal because it presumes that people are ineligible for asylum if they enter the country between legal border crossings. But, Tigar wrote, Congress expressly said that should not affect whether someone is eligible for asylum. The judge also rejected the administration’s arguments that it had provided other avenues for people to come to the U.S. and that should be taken into account. The administration has pointed to a program that allows in as many as 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela if they have a sponsor and fly into the U.S. The judge noted that such pathways are not available to all migrants. ADVERTISEMENT The Biden administration also argued that it was allowing potentially hundreds of thousands of people into the U.S. through the CBP One app. Migrants use the app to schedule an appointment to present themselves at the border to seek entry to the U.S. and request asylum. Tigar noted that demand outstrips the 1,450 appointments currently available daily, leaving asylum seekers waiting in Mexico where they’re at “serious risk of violence.” The Biden administration said the asylum rule was a key part of its strategy to strike a balance between strict border enforcement and ensuring several avenues for migrants to pursue valid asylum claims. According to Customs and Border Protection, total encounters along the southern border — meaning migrants who either came to one of the ports of entry or tried to cross between them — were down 30% in June compared with the previous month. The agency said it was the lowest monthly total since February 2021. Critics have argued that the rule is essentially a newer version of efforts by President Donald Trump to limit asylum at the southern border. Trump derided Tigar as an “Obama judge” after Tigar rejected a Trump administration policy barring people from applying for asylum except at an official border entry point. That effort got caught up in litigation and never took effect. Tigar also ruled against the Trump administration’s efforts to limit asylum to people who don’t apply for protection in a country they travel through before coming to the U.S. The Supreme Court eventually allowed that. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
This week, a California judge struck down the Biden administration’s new asylum policy. And, the Justice Department is suing Texas over placing barriers in the Rio Grande to stop migrants from crossing into the U.S. Plus, the rise of “therapy speak.” And, UPS and its workers reach a deal. Guests: Axios' Stef Kight, University of Southern California's Darby Saxbe and Well.Guide's Israa Nasir. Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Alexandra Botti, Fonda Mwangi, Lydia McMullen-Laird and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at email@example.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893. Go deeper: Axios Today Survey Court blocks Biden's strict border rule UPS reaches deal with Teamsters, likely averting strike Biden honors Emmett Till with new national monument Education Department opens investigation into Harvard admissions Transcript NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today! It’s Wednesday, July 26. I’m Niala Boodhoo. Today on the show: the rise of “therapy speak.” Plus, UPS and its workers reach a deal. But first: how courts are driving U.S. immigration policy. That’s today’s One Big Thing. NIALA: Earlier this week the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas for putting up barriers in the Rio Grande River to stop migrants from swimming across. And just yesterday, a California judge struck down the Biden administration's temporary restriction on migrants seeking asylum. Both of these instances cited violation of federal laws. But the federal government's immigration policy and migrants access to protections are often at the whim of U. S. courts. Here to help us dig deeper is Axios immigration reporter, Stef Kight. Hi, Stef. STEF KIGHT: Hi, Niala. NIALA: Can you just catch us up on the situation with migrants right now at the southern border? STEF: So over the past couple months, the number of migrants and asylum seekers illegally crossing the U. S. - Mexico border has actually declined pretty significantly, and this is way different than what a lot of experts were expecting after the end of the pandemic policy called Title 42, which ended back in May. In June, we had less than 100, 000 people illegally cross the border, which was the first time we were under 100, 000 since 2021. NIALA: Why did the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, put up barriers in the Rio Grande River? STEF: Obviously Greg Abbott does not think that President Biden is doing enough at the border that he's still letting in too many migrants, too many asylum seekers. And so Abbott has kind of taken it into his own hands.They've been increasingly using barbed wire along the border. There's been reporting that state police have been yelling at migrants to turn around, and we've seen more and more reports of them taking these aggressive strategies to try to keep migrants and asylum seekers back. NIALA: So on what grounds is the Justice Department filing a lawsuit against the state of Texas because of this? STEF: So the Biden administration is really focusing on the fact that, you know, this is in territory that could move into international waters. Mexico has been very upset with the fact that the barrier has been placed in the Rio Grande. And so the Biden administration really has focused on that particular move. NIALA: And in California, a judge actually struck down the Biden administration's temporary restriction on migrants seeking asylum. What were the restrictions for? STEF: Essentially how this rule works is if a migrant illegally crosses the border and hasn't first applied for protection in one of the countries they traveled through to get to the U. S., they are automatically rejected from asylum. Democrats and immigration advocates have said that this looks like a Trump policy, and now a court is saying, yeah, you actually can't block people from accessing asylum because of these reasons. NIALA: And so what does that tell you about the role courts are playing right now in immigration policy? STEF: The fact that we're seeing courts weigh in so frequently just shows how difficult it is to navigate the fact that our U. S. laws when it comes to immigration are extremely outdated. Congress hasn't gotten together and created new laws that adjust to the fact that we have new kinds of immigration, new kinds of demographics, and so administrations don't have many options, and when they do decide to move forward, we're seeing increasingly courts are going to weigh in. NIALA: Stef Kight is a politics reporter at Axios covering immigration. Thanks, Stef. STEF: Thanks, Niala. NIALA: A few headlines we’re following: President Biden signed a proclamation yesterday to create a new national monument for Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley. Till was tortured and murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi in 1955 when he was just 14. His mother’s insistence in an open casket at Till’s funeral helped spur the Civil Rights movement. The monument will be in three different locations: a church in Chicago where the funeral was held, and at two additional sites in Mississippi. UPS reached a tentative deal with its Teamsters union yesterday… avoiding a much-feared strike from the union’s 340,000 workers. The deal increased wages for all workers, raising the starting rate for part-time workers from $15 to $21 an hour and bringing the average top rate for full time workers to $49 per hour… That makes them the highest-paid delivery drivers in the US, the union said, and creates more full time jobs and increases workplace protections. And finally, the Department of Education is investigating Harvard University over its use of legacy admissions, and whether it racially discriminates by favoring applicants with connections to alumni, as well as donors. Students with these ties are six to seven times more likely to be admitted than other applicants, and are nearly 70% white, according to the complaint filed by three civil rights groups. After the break, the pros and cons of so-called therapy speak. NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today, I'm Niala Boodoo. The Biden administration proposed new rules yesterday to push insurers to increase coverage of mental health treatments. As for millions of Americans, finding treatment can be a challenge. PROFESSOR DARBY SAXBE: We have a huge shortage of providers and we also have high costs. And a lot of mental health treatments aren't covered by insurance. NIALA: That's Darby Saxbe, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California. DARBY: There's a real hunger for people to gain more insight into their own mental health and more tools that they can use in their relationships or in their daily life. So you have this need or this craving for insight into mental health without necessarily having easy ways to kind of hook into reliable treatment. NIALA: Social media has entered the scene with mental health advice, with terms frequently used in a therapy context like boundaries or triggering, and that’s showing up more and more in daily speech. DARBY: So this sort of whole lingo with words like toxic has kind of just seeped into our popular consciousness. NIALA: To dig deeper into this idea of so-called therapy speak and the effect of social media as a place for mental health advice... therapist and author Israa Nasir is here with me. Hey Israa, can you explain what you think this term therapy-speak means? ISRAA NASIR: So therapy-speak is any concept from psychology, human behavior and development that is meant to be used in a clinical environment with your therapist or mental health provider that is now being used in day to day conversations. So it's been taken out of the context and being put into personal relationships and work relationships. And sometimes can lose its true meaning. NIALA: Right. And so as we're seeing these words and these concepts being used. In almost everyday language on Instagram or TikTok or any social media site, what do you think are the effects of hearing those words outside of a professional psychological setting? ISRAA: The positive is that it has given language to a lot of, vague, nebulous behavior and emotions. So one part of therapy-speak as a benefit is that it's improved emotional awareness. So it's given people this language to describe what's going on. But on the flip side, which is the con, is that people are misusing it because sometimes these concepts are a little more complex and nuanced, and so they're being used inappropriately, and they are causing miscommunication, and sometimes they are being weaponized. ISRAA: like narcissism. It's used so commonly but it's such a complex personality disorder. That when it's used, in day to day, I always wonder like, how much does this person really know about the person they're labeling? NIALA: You use social media to educate people about mental wellness. How often are you encountering other accounts online giving mental health advice but not professional? ISRAA: I would say there's a lot out there where people are not mental health professionals or even healthcare professionals, who are providing a lot of emotional wellness, mental health content, and they are using this language so that it gives them legitimacy in their videos on social media. I've seen a lot of non clinicians call themselves trauma informed, but to be trauma informed, you have to be trained in treating trauma. And they have no background whatsoever. That is one way therapy-speak has been weaponized. People are monetizing it. They're creating entire brands and businesses out of it but I think that that can have a lot of harm. NIALA: What's your advice then for navigating through social media sites and finding good sources of information about this? ISRAA: What I personally do is if I come across a site or an account, I always look that person up by their name. I try to read any reviews on their practice, see if there have been any media outlet for anything. You just want to do your due diligence. take five minutes out, do a quick scan, see what people are saying about them, see how they respond to people in comments, and then make your decision based on that. NIALA: How do you think people should be using Therapy Speak? Should they be using it at all? ISRAA: I think for some of the less complex things, I think it's okay to say, “Hey, I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed”, right? If you are labeling other people, or you're using diagnostic language, then I feel like that is not appropriate. So if you're using it to describe yourself and you have an understanding of yourself, then that's okay. But saying you are a narcissist who is gaslighting me, can be contested, right? Because it's subjective. So maybe avoid that. NIALA: Israa Nasir is a therapist, author of the soon to be released book, “Toxic Productivity,” and founder of Well.Guide, a digital mental wellness brand. Thanks Israa! ISRAA: Thank you. NIALA: One last note before we go: we're running a listener survey to get to know you better and keep improving Axios Today, and we’d love your feedback! Plus you'll be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. You can find the link to the survey in our show notes. Thanks so much. That’s it for us today! I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
POLITICS Biden administration sues Texas over floating border barriers used to repel migrants BY CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ UPDATED ON: JULY 24, 2023 / 7:56 PM / CBS NEWS The Biden administration on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas over floating barriers that state officials have deployed in the middle of the Rio Grande, seeking to force the state to remove the buoys that federal officials argue have endangered migrants and Border Patrol agents alike. The Justice Department's nine-page lawsuit, filed in the federal district court in Austin, said Texas officials were required to request and obtain permission from the federal government before assembling the barriers, which were put in place earlier this month. The river buoys, the department argued, violate a long-standing federal law that governs structures in navigable waterways. The suit asked the court to direct Texas to remove the existing river buoys and to block the state from setting up similar barriers in the future. "We allege that Texas has flouted federal law by installing a barrier in the Rio Grande without obtaining the required federal authorization," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. "This floating barrier poses threats to navigation and public safety and presents humanitarian concerns. Additionally, the presence of the floating barrier has prompted diplomatic protests by Mexico and risks damaging U.S. foreign policy." The Biden administration last week said Texas could avoid a lawsuit if it agreed to remove the buoys. On Monday, however, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and vocal critic of the administration, defended the legality of his state's actions and welcomed a legal battle: "See you in court, Mr. President." Monday's lawsuit marks an escalation of a political showdown between the administration and Abbott over how the federal government has managed high levels of unauthorized crossings at the U.S. southern border since President Biden took office in 2021. Operation Lone Star The floating barriers are part of a larger, multi-billion-dollar initiative authorized by Abbott, known as Operation Lone Star, that has raised humanitarian and legal concerns related to the treatment of migrants. Abbott and other state officials have touted the operation as necessary to reduce illegal border crossings, saying the Biden administration has not done enough to deter migration to the U.S. As part of Abbott's operation, Texas officials and members of the National Guard have been instructed to deter migrants from crossing to the U.S. by setting up razor wire on the riverbanks of the Rio Grande and to arrest migrant adults on state trespassing charges. The state has also transported more than 27,000 migrants to Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to protest "sanctuary city" policies that limit local cooperation with federal deportation agents. Migrants walk by a string of buoys placed on the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 15, 2023, to prevent illegal immigration entry to the U.S. Migrants walk by a string of buoys placed on the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 15, 2023, to prevent illegal immigration entry to the U.S. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES While Abbott has tied his state's actions to the record levels of migrant apprehensions reported over the past two years, unlawful crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border have recently plummeted. In June, the number of migrants apprehended by Border Patrol after crossing the southern border without authorization fell to just under 100,000, a sharp drop from May and the lowest level since the start of Mr. Biden's tenure, according to federal statistics. The decrease in unlawful crossings came after the Biden administration enacted stricter asylum rules for those who enter the country illegally and expanded efforts to direct migrants to programs that allow them to come to the U.S. legally. While Operation Lone Star has faced criticism from migrant advocates and the Biden administration since it began in March 2021, the initiative recently came under internal scrutiny after a Texas state trooper and medic expressed concerns about state actions placing migrants in harm's way. The medic's allegations included reports of migrant children and pregnant women being cut by the razor wire assembled by state officials. He also reported concerns about the river barriers forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande in more dangerous parts of the river where they can drown. The Texas Department of Public Safety announced an internal investigation into the medic's allegations, but has denied his accounts of state officials directing troopers to withhold water from migrants and to physically push them back into the Rio Grande. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Monday, July 24, 2023
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) said Sunday the lower number of border crossings into the United States is partly due to the migrants waiting until the cooler part of the year to cross. When asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face The Nation” if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its secretary deserve some credit for low numbers, Gonzales said, “They do deserve some credit for the numbers being down. But there’s a lot of reasons for that. It’s also 115 degrees in Texas right now. So…a lot of people are waiting until a cooler part of the year to come over.” DHS said border encounters dropped 30 percent in June from the month prior, marking the lowest number of border encounters since President Biden’s first full month in office. “The administration is doing very little, nothing to focus on legal immigration,” Gonzales said on Sunday when asked about if the Biden administration deserves any credit for the numbers. “That’s why I saw we got to stop waiting on the president. It has to be Congress that leads and it has to be the rank and file that come together.” GOP braces for Republican vs. Republican spending fight in House Romney calls on GOP donors to pressure noncompetitive Trump rivals to drop out Gonzales, who represents a large border district in Texas, has been very vocal on the need for immigration reform. “There’s no talk of legal immigration,” he said. “There’s no talk of increasing legal pathways. It’s only what happens when people are here illegally. Do we push them in the river? Do we let them through? Do we give them this one app where they go straight to it?” “I’d much rather see the administration, instead of focusing on illegal immigration, because right now nine out of 10 people that claim asylum aren’t going to get asylum,” Gonzales added. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Biden administration must give asylum-seekers free access to U.S. ports of entry and rescind rules disqualifying those who traveled through other countries to get here or who present their claims at the border wall instead of booking online appointments, immigration advocates say. The current rules may account for a steep drop in migrant encounters, as the administration claims, but they are also forcing vulnerable migrants to wait for online appointments under dire conditions in Mexico, the advocates said on Thursday. One group said its researchers spoke with more than 300 migrants waiting for their CBP One appointments in five Mexican cities and found many are unaware they could be found ineligible for crossing multiple borders without requesting protection there first. They also found women who have been raped while waiting for appointments, people who have been kidnapped and robbed, including by Mexican police, and mothers who tie themselves to their children at camps for fear they will be taken away while they sleep. “The Biden administration’s asylum (travel) ban violates U.S. laws. The UN Refugee Agency also has detailed it violates international law as well,” said Eleanor Acer, director of refugee protection at Human Rights First. “Two months since its implementation, the ban keeps vulnerable people waiting in places where they are targets of kidnapping, violent assault and has deported many without meaningful cause and despite potential eligibility for asylum under U.S. law.” Border security initiatives violate rights of migrants and residents, advocacy group says The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have filed lawsuits against the administration’s travel rule and expect a judge to rule as soon as next week on a motion for summary judgement in one of the cases. “Under U.S. law, asylum-seekers are permitted to ask for asylum no matter how or where they enter the country. The rule bars people from asylum for reasons that have nothing to do with (the merits) of their asylum claim. That is very clear,” said Katrina Eiland, managing attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project. She said U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Northern District of California indicated at a Wednesday court hearing he would rule on the summary judgement petition next week. Christina Asencio, director of research and analysis for refugee protection at Human Rights First, was one of the researchers who recently interviewed asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico. “We spoke to a Venezuelan family who was kidnapped and tortured in Reynosa by members of an organized criminal group; a Honduran woman who was raped while sleeping at her tent in the encampment in Matamoros having waiting three months for a CBP One appointment,” Asencio said. Matamoros is across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Reynosa lies south of HIdalgo, Texas. 27 bodies found hacked up in shallow graves in Mexican border town of Reynosa The researchers also heard first-person accounts of robbery, extortion and kidnapping of migrants while in Mexico. They published their findings earlier this month. “Parents described to me that at night they would tie cable wires around themselves and their children for fear that, while they were sleeping, their children would be taken from them. And these were parents sleeping in vulnerable conditions in encampments without minimal humanitarian requirements such as shelter, safety, water, sanitation and hygiene where they have been forced to wait,” Asencio said. The immigration activists speaking at a conference call arranged by the Welcome with Dignity Campaign said they recognize the administration has reestablished some venues for lawful migration after the Trump administration shut many of them down. But they said the travel ban is no way to manage migrant activity at the border and that foreign citizens fleeing persecution have a legal right to approach U.S. ports of entry. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
co border Texas installs buoys and razor wire on US-Mexico border BY VALERIE GONZALEZ AND ACACIA CORONADO Published 9:01 PM PDT, July 23, 2023 Share EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — Wrecking ball-sized buoys on the Rio Grande. Razor wire strung across private property without permission. Bulldozers changing the very terrain of America’s southern border. For more than two years, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has escalated measures to keep migrants from entering the U.S., pushing legal boundaries with a go-it-alone bravado along the state’s 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) border with Mexico. Now blowback over the tactics is widening, including from within Texas. A state trooper’s account of officers denying migrants water in 100-degree Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius) temperatures and razor wire leaving asylum-seekers bloodied has prompted renewed criticism. The Mexican government, some Texas residents along the border and the Biden administration are pushing back. On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department sued Abbott over the buoy barrier that it says raises humanitarian and environmental concerns, asking a federal court to require Texas to dismantle it. ADVERTISEMENT RELATED STORIES Dozens of large buoys that are set to be deployed in the Rio Grande are unloaded, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas, where border crossings continue to place stress on local resources. Advocates have raised concern that the barriers may have an adverse environmental impact. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Texas prepares to deploy Rio Grande buoys in governor’s latest effort to curb border crossings FILE - Haitian migrants camp out at the Giordano Bruno plaza in Mexico City, May 18, 2023. The group was staying at a shelter in Mexico City on their way north but were forced to make camp at the park after the shelter closed. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File) Texas sues Biden administration over asylum rule, saying phone app encourages illegal immigration FILE - A man wears a patriotic-themed cowboy hat during a pro gun-rights rally at the Texas Capitol, April 14, 2018, in Austin, Texas. Guns have long been a part of Texas culture — both in the state’s mythology and in reality. But to equate the number of guns with the number of people killed by guns strikes some as a false equivalence. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Figuring out Texas: From guns to immigration, here’s how one state’s challenges echo the country’s Abbott, who cruised to a third term in November while promising tougher border crackdowns, has used disaster declarations as the legal bedrock for some measures. Critics call that a warped view. “There are so many ways that what Texas is doing right now is just flagrantly illegal,” said David Donatti, an attorney for the Texas American Civil Liberties Union. Abbott did not respond to requests for comment. He has repeatedly attacked President Joe Biden’s border policies, tweeting Friday that they “encourage migrants to risk their lives crossing illegally through the Rio Grande, instead of safely and legally over a bridge.” The Biden administration has said illegal border crossings have declined significantly since new immigration rules took effect in May. ADVERTISEMENT ALTERED BORDER Under the international bridge connecting Eagle Pass, Texas, with Piedras Negras, Mexico, protesters gathered at Shelby Park this month, chanting “save the river” and blowing a conch shell in a ceremony. A few yards away, crews unloaded neon-orange buoys from trailers parked by a boat ramp off the Rio Grande. Jessie Fuentes stood with the environmental advocates, watching as state troopers restricted access to the water where he holds an annual kayak race. Shipping containers and layers of concertina wire lined the riverbank. The experienced kayaker often took clients and race participants into the water through a shallow channel formed by a border island covered in verdant brush. That has been replaced by a bulldozed stretch of barren land connected to the mainland and fortified with razor wire. Guardsmen talk with migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. near in Eagle Pass, Texas, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has escalated measures to keep migrants from entering the U.S. He's pushing legal boundaries along the border with Mexico to install razor wire, deploy massive buoys on the Rio Grande and bulldozing border islands in the river. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Guardsmen talk with migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. near in Eagle Pass, Texas, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) ADVERTISEMENT “The river is a federally protected river by so many federal agencies, and I just don’t know how it happened,” Fuentes told the Eagle Pass City Council the night before. Neither did the City Council. “I feel like the state government has kind of bypassed local government in a lot of different ways. And so I felt powerless at times,” council member Elias Diaz told The Associated Press. The International Boundary of Water Commission says it was not notified when Texas modified several islands or deployed the massive buoys to create a barrier covering 1,000 feet (305 meters) of the middle of the Rio Grande, with anchors in the riverbed. Workers assemble large buoys to be used as a border barrier along the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has escalated measures to keep migrants from entering the U.S. He's pushing legal boundaries along the border with Mexico to install razor wire, deploy massive buoys on the Rio Grande and bulldozing border islands in the river. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Workers assemble large buoys to be used as a border barrier along the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Abbott on Monday sent a letter to Biden that defended Texas’ right to install the barrier. He accused Biden of putting migrants at risk by not doing more to deter them from making the journey to the U.S. ADVERTISEMENT The floating barrier also provoked tension with Mexico, which says it violates treaties. Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations asked the U.S. government to remove the buoys and razor wire in a June letter. Fuentes sued over the buoys, arguing that border crossings are not covered by the Texas Disaster Act. As for the river islands, the Texas General Land Office gave the state Department of Public Safety access starting in April “to curb the ongoing border crisis.” “Additionally, the General Land Office will also permit vegetation management, provided compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations is upheld,” said a letter from the office’s commissioner, Dawn Buckingham. The Texas Military Department cleared out carrizo cane, which Buckingham’s office called an “invasive plant” in its response to questions from the AP, and changed the landscape, affecting the river’s flow. Environmental experts are concerned. ADVERTISEMENT “As far as I know, if there’s flooding in the river, it’s much more severe in Piedras Negras than it is in Eagle Pass because that’s the lower side of the river. And so next time the river really gets up, it’s going to push a lot of water over on the Mexican side, it looks like to me,” said Tom Vaughan, a retired professor and co-founder of the Rio Grande International Study Center. Fuentes recently sought special permission from the city and DPS to navigate through his familiar kayaking route. “Since they rerouted the water on the island, the water is flowing differently,” Fuentes said. “I can feel it.” The state declined to release any records that might detail the environmental impacts of the buoys or changes to the landscape. Victor Escalon, a DPS regional director overseeing Del Rio down to Brownsville, pointed to the governor’s emergency disaster declaration. “We do everything we can to prevent crime, period. And that’s the job,” he added. TRESPASSING TO STOP TRESPASSERS For one property owner, the DPS mission cut him out of his land. In 2021, as Eagle Pass became the preferred route by migrants crossing into the U.S., Magali and Hugo Urbina bought a pecan orchard by the river that they called Heavenly Farms. Hugo Urbina worked with DPS when the agency built a fence on his property and arrested migrants for trespassing. But the relationship turned acrimonious a year later after DPS asked to put up concertina wire on riverfront property that the Urbinas were leasing to the U.S. Border Patrol to process immigrants. Hugo Urbina wanted DPS to sign a lease that would release him from liability if the wire caused injuries. DPS declined but still installed concertina wire, moved vehicles onto the property and shut the Urbinas’ gates. That cut off the Border Patrol’s access to the river, though it still leases land from Urbina. “They do whatever it is that they want,” Urbina said this month. The farmer, a Republican, calls it “poison politics.” Critics call it déjà vu. Here’s the latest for Monday, July 24th: Netanyahu released from hospital ahead of controversial vote; Russian attack on Odesa, Ukraine; Massive flooding in eastern Canada; Deck collapse in Montana. “I also really see a very strong correlation to the Trump and post-Trump era in which most of the Trump administration’s immigration policy was aggressive and extreme and very violative of people’s rights, and very focused on making the political point,” said Aron Thorn, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “The design of this is the optics and the amount of things that they sacrifice for those optics now is quite extraordinary.” DPS works with 300 landowners, according to Escalon. He said it is unusual for the department to take over a property without the landowner’s consent, but the agency says the Disaster Act provides the authority. Urbina said he supports the governor’s efforts, “but not in this way.” “You don’t go out there and start breaking the law and start making your citizens feel like they’re second-hand citizens,” he added. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.