About Me

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


Friday, September 29, 2023

Immigration dominated the GOP debate, but it’s not the political winner Republicans think

The issue of immigration and border security looms large in the 2024 election. Republicans have made it clear they intend to run on immigration and attempt to weaponize the issue against President Joe Biden and the Democrats. Last night, American voters were treated to a front-row seat of their dizzyingly draconian rhetoric during the second GOP debate. With Donald Trump as the likely standard bearer, harsh rhetoric and cruel immigration policies and proposals — such as family separation, deportation of U.S.-born children, forced migrant busing, military invasion of Mexico, deadly razor wire on the Rio Grande, the outright killing of migrants and ending birthright citizenship — will only escalate. Ad Choices SPONSORED CONTENT ANGEL’S ENVY is Committed to Helping Our Communities BY ANGEL'S ENVY In fact, during last night’s debate we saw Vivek Ramaswamy once again embrace the mass deportation of millions of American citizens and various candidates talk about an illegal and unconstitutional military mobilization against Mexico. This may be the way to win over their anti-immigrant MAGA base, but history shows it will not help them electorally. It will turn off independent voters, suburban women, Latinos and younger, multicultural voters. There is substantial data to prove this. Republicans at all levels have tried to run against Democrats on immigration and the border ever since Trump won the 2016 election. According to AdImpact, in 2022 Republican-aligned groups spent more than $170 million on anti-immigrant TV ads in just 10 battleground states. And despite predictions from Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon — and other pundits and commentators — that immigration will cost Democrats bigly in the 2024 election, the evidence is overwhelming that immigration as a general election electoral wedge issue has lost its edge. Let’s start with the 2017 Virginia elections, when Republicans tried to use scare tactics in their ads — featuring Latino-looking gang members with tattooed faces — to hit Democrats as being both weak on immigration enforcement and soft on crime. The result? Democrats won decisively as the xenophobic ads backfired with Northern Virginia voters. Once in office, Trump started implementing a series of anti-immigrant proposals, like the Muslim ban and then the infamous family separation policy, which to this day has left kids orphaned without knowing where their deported parents ended up. In the 2018 midterms, Trump decided to nationalize the race with a relentless focus on “caravans and criminals.” He warned that terrorists and “bad hombres” were on their way to invade our nation and to become Democratic voters, in what has become a favorite right-wing conspiracy called “white replacement theory.” The result? Democrats took back the House, winning by nine points — the largest margin in midterm election history, and a clear rebuke of Trump’s hateful, inhumane policies that put off even Republican voters, especially white suburban women. In 2020, four years in on Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and cruel policies (including working to end the popular deportation protection policy for Dreamers known as DACA), he didn’t relent on trying to make immigrants the bogeymen that Americans could blame for every malady in their communities. In fact, he doubled down on these horrific policies. The result? A history-making 80 million Americans voted against him and elected Biden. More recently, in 2022, a promised “red wave” threatened to topple Democratic Senate candidates in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania, and Republicans were dreaming of taking back control of the House of Representatives with a 40-plus majority. Democrats in key Senate races were bombarded on immigration and border security with hard-edged, blistering attack ads. Democrats won every one of these Senate races. If it were true that immigration and border security are lethal to Democratic candidates with swing voters in swing states, we would be talking about Senators Blake Masters in Arizona, Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Herschel Walker in Georgia. This is not to say border security is not electorally important. It has a great deal of salience with Republican voters and considerable salience with independent voters. But one of the most underreported political stories in recent years is how Democrats in must-win states, like Mark Kelly in Arizona and John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, learned how to lean in on the issue; define themselves as balanced and sensible; embrace pro-immigrant, humane values; and win the majority of voters. Americans are not anti-immigrant. We are a country founded by immigrants. But Americans are anti-chaos, and that is why President Biden has implemented several policies to help manage immigration and allow work permits for newly arrived migrants, a commonsense approach to alleviate pressure at the border and help boost local economies. But he and Democrats in Congress must do more. So when serious Republicans decide it’s better to work with Democrats to truly fix our broken asylum and immigration system than to try to weaponize and run on it, Democrats will be ready to partner on a tough issue that demands a bipartisan legislative breakthrough to finally fix the problem. But this was not what Americans heard last night. Instead, what they heard from every GOP primary candidate — and what Donald Trump has already promised to implement if elected — are the harshest, most pernicious policies that speak to the worst of our instincts. This is not what Americans want. It seems Republicans will keep overstating the electoral impact of immigration, swinging and missing; Democrats will keep preaching commonsense balanced solutions; and voters will keep favoring the practical, humane answers that reflect true American values. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Elon Musk wades into US immigration debate at Texas-Mexico border

EAGLE PASS, Texas, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Billionaire Elon Musk waded into the U.S. immigration debate on Thursday, paying a visit to the Texas border with Mexico to meet with local politicians and law enforcement and obtain what he called an "unfiltered" view of the situation. Musk's visit came as thousands of migrants have ventured to northern Mexico in recent days on freight trains and buses, then crossed the U.S. border into Texas, Arizona and California in an upswing in arrivals of people seeking asylum in the United States. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad The sharp increase, notably around San Diego, California, and the Texas border towns of El Paso and Eagle Pass, follows an earlier lull in unauthorized border crossings following a new asylum policy imposed by Democratic President Joe Biden's administration to discourage such activity. Musk visited Eagle Pass, where throngs of migrants have for several days been wading across the Rio Grande near a railroad bridge in Eagle Pass, undeterred by coils of razor wire placed along the river banks by the Texas National Guard. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad Dressed in a black T-shirt, black cowboy hat and aviator-style sunglasses, Musk urged a two-pronged approach to overhauling U.S. immigration laws in a video-selfie posted to the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, which he purchased last April. He called for an "expedited legal approval" as part of a "greatly expanded legal immigration system" that welcomes "hard-working and honest" migrants, while also barring entry for those who are "breaking the law." Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad [1/5]Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, views the Rio Grande river during a visit to Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S., as migrants continue crossing into the U.S. to seek asylum, as seen from Piedras Negras, Mexico September 28, 2023. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril Acquire Licensing Rights "We want to do both things - smooth out legal immigration and stop a flow of people that is of such magnitude that we’re leading to a collapse of social services," Musk said. Musk, a native of South Africa, noted his own status as an "immigrant to the United States" and called himself "extremely pro-immigrant." Chief executive of Tesla (TSLA.O) and SpaceX, Musk has increasingly injected himself into American politics. He hosted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's launch of his Republican presidential campaign on Twitter in May, crashing the service. He said earlier this month that he had refused a Ukrainian request to use his Starlink satellite network to aid in its defense against Russia and met last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged him to balance protecting free speech and fighting hate speech on X. In the 4-minute video clip, he introduced U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales, a Republican from Texas whose district spans more than 800 miles of the border, who welcomed Musk and said people along the Texas border "really feel abandoned." Musk has more than a small interest in the Texas economy. Tesla's Gigafactory Texas plant is located in Austin and Space X operates a major testing and launch facility on Texas Gulf Coast in Boca Chica near Brownsville. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Poll: Voters Believe Illegal Immigration Is Increasing, Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (Exclusive)

Anew Messenger/Harris poll conducted by HarrisX found that voters believe illegal immigration to the United States is increasing, but support a compromise that would strengthen border security while giving a pathway to citizenship to migrants who entered the country illegally. Sixty-seven percent said illegal immigration is increasing, while 23% said immigration levels have remained the same. Record levels of migrants have been apprehended at the border during President Joe Biden's term, and some border towns in recent weeks have expressed being overwhelmed as a surge of asylum seekers are coming to the border. The Biden administration has attempted to mitigate illegal immigration at the border by launching a system, called the CBP One app, for migrants to try and schedule appointments at ports of entry and announcing a new process for Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans to be temporarily paroled into the U.S. In August, border officials encountered 232,972 migrants along the southwest border. Customs and Border Protection said that over 211,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans had arrived lawfully under the parole processes. The poll, conducted online September 22-23 among 1,011 registered voters, found that an overwhelming majority (81%) support increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 70% support increasing deportations of immigrants who entered the country illegally. However, voters also express broad support for taking in civilian refugees trying to escape violence and war (66%) and allowing those who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country (65%). Sixty percent said they support making it easier to sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States, 59% said they would support granting temporary protected status to immigrants while they try to obtain a U.S. work permit, and 55% support establishing a way for immigrants who entered the country illegally to stay legally. Read More Clogged US Immigration Courts Aggravating the Southern Border Crisis: Report Most Americans Believe Immigration Is Good for the Country: Poll Biden and Republicans Need Immigration Reform — Now A Pragmatic American’s Guide to the Immigration Problem Revealed: The Financial Burden of Illegal Immigration 25 Republican Governors Call on Biden to Release Immigration Data A family of migrants from Guatemala at the border near Lukeville, Ariz., on Tuesday. A family of migrants from Guatemala at the border near Lukeville, Ariz., on Tuesday.AP Photo/Matt York Former President Donald Trump, the most likely GOP presidential nominee in 2024, made building a wall across the southern border and hardline immigration policies a cornerstone of his political philosophy. However, 50% of Republicans support allowing those who came illegally to the country as children to remain in the country, and 56% support taking in civilian refugees. “Two-thirds of voters believe illegal immigration continues to increase, making it a major sleeper issue in the 2024 election,” said Dritan Nesho, chief pollster and CEO at HarrisX. “Nevertheless voters are open to a compromise solution that strengthens borders and gives a pathway to citizenship and turns those already in the country into taxpayers.” Last week, the Biden administration granted temporary legal status to an estimated 472,000 Venezuelan migrants, allowing them to live and work legally in America for the next 18 months. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they were aware of this development while 47% were unaware. Forty-four percent of voters support Biden’s decision to grant TPS to Venezuelans while they try to obtain a U.S. work permit, 43% oppose the move, and 13% are unsure. Fifty-two percent said that granting more protections for immigrants to stay in the U.S. will lead to more workers that contribute to taxes and the economy, while 48% — including 69% of Republicans — said it would take away jobs from Americans. The margin of error for this poll was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Senate Republicans demand major immigration reform in anti-shutdown bill

Senate Republicans say they want to add language to the government funding stopgap that would stop the Biden administration’s policy of releasing migrants after they’ve been detained for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but the idea is already running into Democratic opposition. A group of Senate Republicans are rallying behind Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) demand that any government funding bill include policy changes that Republicans say would secure the border, specifically language requiring migrants detained while crossing the border to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims process. ADVERTISEMENT “I’d like as close to H.R. 2 [the Secure the Border Act] as we can possibly get,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who participated in a meeting of Republican senators Thursday morning on adding border security language to the continuing resolution. The House bill, the Secure the Border Act, would require the Department of Homeland Security to resume border wall construction, increase the number of border patrol agents and tighten asylum standards. It would also require the department to detain unlawful migrants or return them to Mexico or Canada. McCarthy told reporters Thursday that he wants to establish a “remain in Mexico” policy and reestablish the pandemic-era Title 42 health emergency order that suspended migrants’ ability to stay in the United States to pursue asylum claims. “Basically, I think, it boils down to ending catch and release,” Cornyn said. “That happens because there’s no reasonable detention of people while their asylum claims are being considered.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (Ill.), a leading Democratic voice on immigration reform, immediately dismissed Cornyn’s requested changes to the continuing resolution as “unrealistic.” “I’m for immigration reform, and I’ve been that way for 10 years since we passed it on the [Senate] floor [in 2013.] This notion that we’re going to stick it into a measure that’s going to pass in 48 hours is unrealistic,” Durbin said. The Senate advanced a stopgap funding bill Thursday, though it still has legislative hurdles to overcome. Government funding runs out Saturday. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The false statements and half-truths about immigration that were told in the second Republican presidential debate

Immigration was among the topics repeatedly discussed during the second Republican presidential primary debate, where seven GOP hopefuls presented their ideas to voters, attacked each other and fired a few barbs at former President Donald Trump, who leads in polls among Republican voters but has not participated in the debates. Immigration is one of the issues that matters most to Republicans in this electoral cycle: 77% of them consider this a “very important” issue, according to a recent survey by The Economist magazine and YouGov. During the debate, the candidates threw out some misleading numbers and made false accusations, including associating the fentanyl crisis with "open" borders and increased migration. Here are some of the candidates' claims, which we fact-checked. Claim: Fentanyl crisis comes from 'open border' Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina criticized the Biden administration for allowing the entry of migrants and assured that the southern border “is insecure” and is “wide open,” which caused “the deaths of 70,000 Americans in the last 12 months because of fentanyl.” Associating the entry of fentanyl with the arrival of migrants is a false idea that Republicans have repeated again and again in recent months. Although the amount of fentanyl and other drugs entering the southern border has increased in recent years, experts and federal agencies have explained that the drugs mainly arrive through authorized ports of entry in private vehicles. “Our research tells us that the vast majority of fentanyl reaches ports of entry, particularly California and Arizona,” Anne Milgram, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said during a congressional hearing. Only 0.02% of people arrested by the Border Patrol for crossing the border illegally possessed fentanyl, according to data analyzed by the Cato Institute in 2022. On the other hand, it is also not true that the southern border is "wide open," as Scott claimed. Although the arrival of undocumented migrants has increased in recent months — August recorded the highest monthly number of migrant arrests by the Border Patrol so far in 2023 — there are about 20,000 Border Patrol agents guarding the border with Mexico, which is also monitored by cameras, drones and other technology — not to mention more than 700 miles of border protected by a wall and other barriers, In addition, the new policies established by the Biden administration after Title 42 expired in May seek to make it more difficult to request asylum at the border between the U.S. and Mexico and encourage migrants to apply from their countries of origin. How many miles of border wall did Trump build? Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Trump “built 52 miles of wall” during his presidency. New Biden rule cuts funds to programs leaving college grads with high debt and low pay Although Trump promised his voters that he would build a “big border wall” and that he would force Mexico to pay for it, the truth is that only 52 miles of new primary wall were built during the four years of his administration, according to a Customs and Border Protection document accessed by the verification site PolitiFact. As of Jan. 8, 2021, just two weeks before Trump left office, his administration had built 47 miles of primary wall, according to a CBP report. According to that report, the Trump administration also had replaced 351 miles of primary wall and 22 miles of secondary barriers that were in poor condition or had outdated designs. The United States border with Mexico extends more than 2,000 miles. When Trump finished his four years in the White House, there were a total of 706 miles of primary barriers along the border and 70 miles of secondary barriers, according to PolitiFact. Claim: Trump reduced illegal immigration by 90% Former Vice President Mike Pence said during the debate that the Trump administration reduced illegal immigration and asylum abuse “by 90%.” It's not the first time that Pence has stated this figure, but his statement is false, according to PolitiFact, which could not find evidence to directly support it. Experts who spoke with PolitiFact explained that although the Trump administration’s policies, such as the “Remain in Mexico” program, possibly contributed to a decrease in immigration, this was not the only factor at play. The Covid-19 pandemic caused migration to fall sharply in 2020, and one figure that is close to the 90% drop that Pence pointed out occurred in May 2019, the month with the highest number of apprehensions during the Trump administration, and in April 2020, the month with the lowest enforcement actions during 2020, PolitiFact reported. After that point, immigrant arrivals rose again. So much so that, according to the PolitiFact analysis, Trump’s last full month in office, December 2020, saw a 300% increase over February 2017, the first full month of his administration. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The Afghan Women Left Behind: Gender And U.S. Immigration

Speaker A: Welcome to the Waves Slates podcast about gender and the exhausting complexities of immigrating to the US. Speaker A: Every episode this month, you’ve had me, cat Chow, talking to someone smart about something I can’t get out of my head. Speaker A: This is the last episode of the month where I’m in the host seat. Speaker A: So if you’ve enjoyed my other interviews, how about giving The Waves all the stars wherever you rate your podcasts not to be thirsty, but to be thirsty? Speaker A: Maybe you can leave a comment like I love cat chow, or Cat chow is amazing. Speaker A: Just some suggestions. Speaker A: Who knows? Speaker A: Maybe they’ll bring me back. Speaker A: So there’s this story that Politico magazine published recently that’s been on my mind. Speaker A: It’s about a family from Afghanistan, these parents and their children, and they’ve been seeking resettlement in the United States, but have been stuck in a bureaucratic limbo for mean. Speaker B: They have two precocious little girls, know are kind of rambunctious and would be extremely constrained under the Taliban if they were to still live there. Speaker B: In addition to that coming to America, both the parents, for example, grew up in most of their lives were spent under American occupation, so they are very familiar with the promises that American life makes. Speaker A: That’s the reporter who wrote the story, Tanvi Misra, who disclaimer. Speaker A: She’s also one of my very good friends. Speaker A: We’re going to unpack the ways her reporting on immigration also overlaps with gender. Speaker A: But first, before we get to that, some backstory. Speaker A: September 11, 2001. ADVERTISEMENT Speaker C: And about five minutes ago, as I was watching the smoke, a small plane, it looked like a propeller plane, came in from the west and about 20 or 25 stories below the top of the center disappeared for a second and then exploded behind a water tower. Speaker C: So I couldn’t tell whether it hit the building or not, but it was very visible that a plane had come in at a low altitude and appeared to crash into the World Trade Center. Speaker A: If you were around then and old enough, you probably remember where you were when you heard about the planes hitting the Twin Towers. Speaker A: I was in 6th grade, and I remember our teachers gathering me and my fellow students into this common area, and we sat cross legged on the floor when they told us about what happened. Speaker A: I remember the clips afterward of the crashes on Loop. Speaker A: And then also there was President George W. Speaker A: Bush’s response in that infamous speech. Speaker C: And the world has come together to fight a new and different war, the first, and we hope the only one of the 21st century. Speaker C: A war against all those who seek to export terror and a war against those governments that support or shelter them. Speaker A: The US occupation of Afghanistan lasted for two decades, until August 2021, right in the middle of the Pandemic, president Biden announced that the US. Speaker A: Was withdrawing its troops. Speaker C: The United States will begin our final withdrawal. Speaker C: Begin it on may 1 of this year. Speaker C: We’ll not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. Speaker C: We’ll do it responsibly, deliberately and safely, and we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Republican Candidates Outbid Each Other on a Border Crackdown

n the opening seconds of the GOP debate, candidate Tim Scott, a senator from South Carolina, took a question about President Joe Biden visiting striking US autoworkers in Michigan and quickly pivoted to what he really wanted to talk about: the border. “Joe Biden should not be on the picket line, he should be on the southern border working to close our southern border because it is unsafe, wide open and insecure,” Scott said. For the next twenty minutes, Republican candidates repeatedly worked to outdo each other with ever tougher lines on border security. “Every county in America is now a border county,” Scott proclaimed, saying Biden should finish Donald Trump’s border wall. Vivek Ramaswamy said he would “militarize” the U.S. border with Mexico. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis repeated his proposal to deploy American special forces into Mexico to attack cartels. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would send the U.S. National Guard to the border on “Day One” of his presidency to stop fentanyl from being smuggled into the US. Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, called for stopping federal funds to so-called “sanctuary cities” that aid newly-arrived migrants, and she blamed Biden for sending the wrong signals when he came to office. "When Joe Biden waved the green flag, it caused more people to come,” Haley said. To be sure, there is a massive increase in cross-border migration unfolding in the American southwest. Apprehensions at the southern border went up 30% in July and August, after declining slightly in May and June, and record numbers of migrant families were encountered by US border agents in August. The Biden Administration recently extended temporary protective status to Venezuelans who were in the U.S. before August 1, 2023, that will allow up to 400,000 Venezuelan migrants to apply for temporary permits. That decision was made under pressure from mayors of cities like New York and Chicago, who have seen an influx of immigrants put a strain on city services and want recent migrants to be able to work and afford to pay for their own housing. Whatever the solution, however, escalating rhetoric by politicians isn’t it, says Gregory Chen, senior director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The constant drumbeat of right wing talking points that the border is open may actually be encouraging more people to try to make the dangerous journey through Mexico to get to the southern border "The striking effect of that is that it sends a message that smugglers capitalize on," Chen says. Biden administration officials say that they’ve sent 800 new active duty military personnel to the border to assist in handling the influx of migrants. They argue that Republicans in Congress have failed to fund the resources Biden has requested to manage the border. “President Biden recently called for $4 billion in his supplemental funding request to address the immediate needs of DHS to safely and humanely manage the Southwest border. But House Republicans aren’t acting on it,” said a White House official. House Republicans have proposed a spending plan that would eliminate 800 Customs and Border Protection agents and officers, the official said. “If MAGA Republicans actually cared about securing our border, they would not stand with House Republicans' proposed devastating cuts to border security that would eliminate hundreds of CBP staff and would surge thousands of pounds of drugs into the country,” says Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for President Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign. “The 2024 MAGA GOP hopefuls are campaigning on the same failed policies and political stunts that threw America’s immigration system into chaos, cruelty, and confusion under Donald Trump’s watch.” Chris Christie was called out during the debate on Wednesday night for supporting in 2010 a pathway to citizenship for people in the country unlawfully. He’s backtracked since then. “Our laws are being broken every day at the Southern Border and Joe Biden is doing nothing about it,” Christie said. Christie did leave an opening for letting new arrivals find a place in the US workforce. “We want you here in this country to fill the 6 million vacant jobs we have,” Christie said, but “Only if you follow the law and only if you come here legally.” Christie and his fellow candidates didn’t mention that most of the legal pathways have been underfunded and clamped down by Congress, and that fixing the situation would require reforming the immigration system itself. That is a project that has confounded Republicans and Democrats alike for decades now, and is one none of the Republican candidates on stage Wednesday night chose to address. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Republicans stare down growing odds of government shutdown

Top House Republicans are openly acknowledging the increasing difficulty they will have in averting at least a brief government shutdown. Why it matters: Congress is barreling towards the Sept. 30 federal funding deadline with no resolution in sight and Republicans still stuck on discussions about how to maximize their leverage in negotiations with the Senate. What they're saying: Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), a senior Appropriations Committee member, conceded that there is “not enough time” to come up with a stopgap funding bill that can pass both chambers of Congress before Saturday. “I think everybody holds out hope that we’ll be able to avoid [a shutdown], but I don’t know how,” Womack said. “I just don’t see a move that can prevent that. … it’s not going to be resolved by this weekend.” “The calendar is a major challenge,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), the chair of the pragmatist Main Street Caucus. “Republicans understand that, and we're working in an expeditious manner.” State of play: The House is expected to spend most of the week trying to pass appropriations bills before turning to a stopgap spending bill on Friday, giving them just one day to try to a head off a shutdown. The proposals the House GOP is debating to temporarily fund the government, however, are focused on unifying their own members and would likely be non-starters in the Senate. The Senate is spending the week on a bipartisan stopgap bill, but "that thing is dead over here,” said Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). “The longer we go without an obvious path forward, the more likely [a shutdown] is,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chair of the House Rules Committee. Between the lines: The House’s votes this week — including on annual spending bills that are non-starters in the Senate and may even have trouble passing the House are not about keeping the government funded. “[It's about] leverage ... we’ve got to get something over there,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said of passing a party-line Republican stopgap bill. Norman forecasted a 99.9% chance of a government shutdown because "the Senate's not going to agree to anything" the House sends. The big picture: Even a short shutdown could have profound reverberations across the country. In addition to millions of federal workers being furloughed, some lawmakers fear broader financial implications. Credit rating firm Moody's has already warned that a shutdown would be "credit negative" for the U.S. A shutdown could also result in disruptions to government benefits and health care programs, longer airport wait times and delayed FDA food inspections, Axios' April Rubin reported. What we're watching: Some centrists on both sides of the aisle are discussing ways to bypass House Republican leadership and force a vote on a continuing resolution that could pass both chambers. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he has had talks with House Democratic leadership about possible procedural tactics to force a vote on a proposed bipartisan bill that would keep the government funded at 2023 levels. "We have 10 or 15 people that want to take us into a shutdown, out of 535. It's unacceptable," Bacon said. "We're offering an opportunity for a bipartisan landing spot. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), a frequent bipartisan collaborator, put the case for a so-called "clean" continuing resolution bluntly: "We're out of time." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Awards $22 Million in FY 2023 Citizenship and Integration Grants

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today awarded over $22 million in grants to 65 organizations in 29 states to help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for naturalization. USCIS focused this year on reaching remote, underserved, and vulnerable communities per Executive Order 14012, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans and the corresponding Interagency Strategy on Promoting Naturalization. This fiscal year (FY), the grant program received an increase of $5 million from FY 2022. Citizenship and Integration Grants provide funding to organizations that prepare immigrants for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. In addition to the traditional programs that fund citizenship and English acquisition classes, FY 2023 grants include opportunities for creative and innovative approaches to preparing immigrants for naturalization. “USCIS is committed to making the United States a stronger, more inclusive, and welcoming nation. We encourage naturalization by educating remote, underserved and vulnerable populations about the benefits of citizenship and the naturalization process,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “Through this grants program, we help ensure that community organizations are available to provide immigrants with opportunities to improve their English language skills, increase their understanding of U.S. history and government, and to help them integrate into American society and be successful citizens.” The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded nearly $155 million through 644 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 41 states and the District of Columbia since it began in 2009. Now in its 15th year, the program has helped more than 300,000 LPRs prepare for citizenship. Through this program, USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and integration services throughout the country. USCIS awarded the grants through three competitive funding opportunities. Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services (CINAS): This opportunity will fund public or nonprofit organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to immigrants. USCIS has awarded 51 organizations up to $450,000 each for a period of two years. Community and Regional Integration Network Grant (CARING): This grant opportunity funds integration services with a focus on individualized programming for certain immigrants, including those who entered the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or were granted asylum. This funding grant, which was formerly called the Refugee and Asylee Integration Services Grant, has expanded eligibility to include organizations serving any of the following groups: individuals who were admitted or entered the United States as Cuban or Haitian entrants; individuals admitted on a Special Immigrant Visa; victims of human trafficking and criminal activity; and abused spouses, children, and parents under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). USCIS has awarded one organization with experience serving vulnerable populations up to $300,000 for a period of two years. Innovations in Citizenship Preparation Program: This grant opportunity is designed to amplify innovation. USCIS has awarded innovation grants to organizations that foster creative approaches to preparing immigrants for naturalization and encouraging the civic, linguistic and cultural integration of immigrants into their communities. USCIS has awarded 13 organizations up to $250,000 each for a period of two years. In making final award decisions, USCIS considered, in part, grantees’ past performance, when applicable. For additional information on the FY 2023 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, visit www.uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship, Partnership and Engagement at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

‘Not in my backyard’: Migrants fall victim to NIMBYism as states struggle with influx

CHICAGO — Democratic strongholds are struggling to keep helping the surge of migrants in their cities and states — and it’s sparking anxiety in the party about potential fallout heading into the 2024 election cycle. New York Mayor Eric Adams’ tussle with the White House over an influx of migrants from red states has famously soured his relationship with President Joe Biden. But he’s far from the only blue state official pushing back, as public pressure and budget concerns rise in Illinois, Massachusetts and beyond. “You’re hearing sentiments that are not dissimilar from what you would hear at [Donald] Trump rallies where asylum-seekers are referred to as illegals,” Chicago Alderperson Andre Vasquez, who heads the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in an interview. “There are people who are saying ‘the Democratic Party isn’t doing anything for us’ and ‘look at what we’re stuck with.’” While Republicans like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been demonized by the left for sending people to Democrat-led cities and states, overwhelmed officials in those blue jurisdictions are now also moving new arrivals and slamming the Biden administration for not doing enough to help. The administration has responded by picking up part of the tab by allowing some jurisdictions, like Denver, to use FEMA dollars to help pay for transportation of migrants who ask to go to other states. Immigrants from Venezuela are reflected in a marble wall while taking shelter at the Chicago Police Department's 16th District station on Monday, May 1, 2023. Nearly 1,600 migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. will be relocated from Chicago police stations to winterized camps with massive tents under a plan by Mayor Brandon Johnson, according to a report released Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. Immigrants from Venezuela take shelter at the Chicago Police Department's 16th District station in May 2023. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo The tumultuous situation — and building frustration — is shining a spotlight on the glaring federal void on immigration policy and sparking anxiety among Democrats about the potential fallout heading into the 2024 election cycle. With a presidential election year looming, the situation poses a threat to Biden’s campaign and to battleground congressional candidates across the country. Republicans almost daily hit Biden over the border, and images of migrants crossing into the U.S. are a constant on Fox News. Democratic leaders like Adams are also unrestrained in their criticism of the president for not providing more assistance to help handle the influx of migrants. Simplify Law Firm Operations with MerusCase SPONSORED BY MERUSCASE Managing a labor and employment law firm is a complex practice that requires efficiency to succeed. Simplify your firm’s operations with MerusCase. Automate document management, set court rules-based calendaring, and easily file court forms all from one platform. Learn more about the benefits... See More “Voters want to see progress and are frustrated that it seems to be getting worse,” said Ian Russell, a national Democratic strategist, referring to the migrant situation. “But they overwhelmingly support comprehensive immigration reform and know that the GOP isn’t interested in solutions.” Biden took a step last week to ease the pressure on cities by making it easier for roughly 500,000 Venezuelan migrants to apply for work permits that would, in turn, allow them to secure their own housing. With Washington divided and power increasingly shifting to the states, governors and mayors are making crucial decisions that are shaping our future. Full coverage » But local officials and lawmakers say more help is needed. They say their communities are ill-equipped to provide the necessary housing, health care and education to asylum-seekers who could be stuck in legal limbo for years due to massive backlogs in over-burdened immigration courts. The lack of housing and services has led officials to move migrants wherever there’s available shelter or services. “I appreciate the president’s actions, but it’s not enough,” Maura Healey, Massachusetts’ Democratic governor and a member of Biden’s national campaign advisory board, told reporters last week. Healey’s administration is scrambling to provide shelter and services to more than 6,500 homeless families — or roughly 22,000 people — in the state’s emergency shelter system, half of which are estimated to be migrants. That’s roughly double the number of families that were in the system when Healey took office in early January. But with traditional shelters long full, the state has been moving migrants and homeless families to dozens of hotels and motels across Massachusetts — often with little warning to local officials left shouldering the burden of connecting their newest residents to food and transportation and enrolling their children in schools. MOST READ 20230927-GOP-Debate-Philip-Cheung-0022.jpg Scott finally showed a pulse. Ramaswamy did a 180. Here’s who won and lost the second GOP debate. Trump Wants to Freeze the Election at Halftime The 2024 field braces for a ‘devastating’ fall, with drop-outs on the horizon Fetterman responds to new Senate dress code with meme Trump’s GOP rivals say he’s unelectable. Polls disagree. A woman, who is part of a group of immigrants that had just arrived, holds a child as they are fed outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday flew two planes of immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration's failed border policies. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022 flew two planes of immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration's failed border policies. | Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP Protesters, worried that migrants are taking away shelter beds from Massachusetts residents experiencing homelessness, have staged demonstrations and disrupted town meetings on Cape Cod, a redder region in the deep-blue state. Members of the Nationalist Social Club, or NSC-131, a New England-based neo-Nazi group, have demonstrated in front of hotels and a college dormitory housing migrants. “I really see a lot of this pushback as politically opportunistic,” Democratic state Sen. Julian Cyr, a Healey ally who represents the Cape and nearby islands, said in an interview. “There’s a bit of this … ‘not in my backyard’ sentiment. I think that’s a minority sentiment.” Healey has declared an emergency, secured $2 million in FEMA funding and activated up to 250 National Guard members to help out at the hotels and motels serving as shelters, all while “begging” the Biden administration for more money for services and expedited work permits for migrants. While Biden’s move to extend legal protections and work permits to Venezuelans offered the president a temporary political reprieve, the effects are limited in Massachusetts, where the state says Venezuelans make up only a small percentage of families in the emergency shelter system. Healey is asking the Biden administration to also speed up work authorizations for Haitians who make up a larger share of new arrivals in Massachusetts. “We’ve been continuing to call upon and call upon the federal government and Congress to act,” Healey told reporters at the State House days before the Biden administration announced the aid for Venezuelans. “And it is because help has not been forthcoming that we find ourselves in this situation.” Massachusetts, like New York City, is required to provide emergency shelter to qualifying families under the state’s “right-to-shelter” law. But that’s leading some areas to simply transfer migrants to other jurisdictions if there are no shelters available. Small cities in New York are shouldering an influx of migrants sent by Adams, who in the past has transported asylum-seekers to Florida, Texas and even as far away as China. Last spring, he bussed more than a dozen migrants from New York City to Newburgh, a city of roughly 30,000 residents about an hour north along the Hudson River, as part of a larger push to move about 1,600 asylum-seekers to the suburbs. That has created an awkward dynamic, with red states like Texas sending migrants to New York City, which in turn sends migrants to small, often GOP-led municipalities. Top: New York Mayor Eric Adams, left, and city officials listen to a reporter's question during a City Hall press conference, Wednesday Aug. 9, 2023, in New York. Adams is calling on the federal government to declare a national emergency to ease the financial crisis the city is facing as it struggles to accommodate thousands of arriving migrants. Bottom left: FILE - Randalls Island Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center, a complex of giant tents to serve as a temporary shelter for migrants being bused into the city by southern border states, Oct. 18, 2022, in New York. New York Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, to house as many as 2,000 migrants on Randalls Island, in the East River, where a migrant center was set up in 2022 and then taken down weeks later. Bottom right: Migrants sit in a queue outside of The Roosevelt Hotel that is being used by the city as temporary housing, Monday, July 31, 2023, in New York. Top: New York Mayor Eric Adams, left, called on the federal government to help ease the migrant crisis. Bottom left: Adams announced a plan in August to house as many as 2,000 migrants on Randalls Island, in the East River, where a migrant center was set up in 2022 and then taken down weeks later. Bottom right: Migrants sit outside of a hotel that is being used by the city as temporary housing in New York. | Bebeto Matthew/AP Photo; John Minchillo/AP Photo Adams, who has hammered the Biden administration almost daily for not doing more to help his city or stanch the flow of migrants, has warned that the lack of housing or shelter space in New York City is so dire that children could soon be sleeping on streets. This week, he began enforcing a 60-day shelter limit that could leave thousands of migrants without a place to stay — and is now moving to restrict stays to 30 days. There are more than 60,000 migrants in the city’s care. Adams has also been critical of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, for arguing that migrants from the city shouldn’t be foisted upon other municipalities and recently urged her to issue a statewide order prohibiting cities from blocking migrants. New York City is far from alone. Chicago has seen more than 14,000 migrants arrive since 2022 — mostly from Texas. Many others have been sent by buses from Democratic-led Denver or by plane from New York — cities that Chicago officials say are using federal money monies from FEMA to move the new arrivals. It’s straining the Windy City’s safety net as it tries to find shelter for the exploding population just ahead of the brutal winter. “There’s a reality about the difficulty in maintaining the growth of population and the amount of resources needed to do so, but there’s also a huge insensitivity,” said Vasquez, the Chicago alderperson. “Texas is the big example of people being conned and being told that ‘Chicago’s got everything you need to move the population.’ But we’re seeing it from other states as well.” Undocumented immigrants have long traveled across the country with the help of family members or aid groups, selecting their destinations based on where there is work, where they have family connections or where others from their home countries have established communities. A FEMA official, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, confirmed that federal funds will cover some migrant travel by air, bus or train for the new arrivals to another city or state, as long as the move happens within 45 days of their release by the Department of Homeland Security. The FEMA funds can be used by aid organizations as well, and migrants can only travel by coach and airfare can’t exceed $700 per person. New York City, which faces an acute crisis due to the sheer number of migrants, received about $38 million to help reimburse costs New York City has already incurred, though it’s unclear if those funds were used for transportation. Some find the FEMA process flawed, in part due to a lack of communication between cities and states. Top: Migrants wave as a bus leaves to take them to a refugee center outside Union Station in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. Authorities say a 3-year-old child riding one of Texas’ migrant buses died while on the way to Chicago. Texas authorities confirmed a child’s death in a statement Friday, Aug. 11, 2023 that did not say where the child was from or why they became ill. Bottom: Immigrants aboard the Governor head out of Vineyard Haven, Mass., for Woods Hole, Mass., Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. They were being transported on the Yankee Bus. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took the playbook of a fellow Republican, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, to a new level by catching officials flat-footed in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., with two planeloads of Venezuelan migrants. On Friday, the migrants were being moved voluntarily to a military base on nearby Cape Cod, Mass. Top: Migrants wave as a bus leaves to take them to a refugee center outside Union Station in Chicago, in 2022. Bottom: Immigrants aboard a boat head out of Vineyard Haven, Mass. in 2022. | Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP; Ron Schloerb/Cape Cod Times via AP Tensions within the Democratic Party are already noticeable in Chicago, where predominantly Black communities are pushing back at the resources being devoted to new arrivals while those who have long been unhoused are still seeking help. Chicago Democrats also expect red states to ramp up the number of migrants they send to the city with the approach of the 2024 Democratic Convention, which will be held there. Already, the shortage of shelter beds is so acute that migrants are camping out at police stations and at Chicago O’Hare International Airport until housing can be found. Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is pushing ahead to build tented base camps to get migrants off of the floors of police stations and the airport and into the temporary locations. The Chicago City Council recently voted to approve dispersing $33 million in FEMA funding to care for migrants but, so far, hasn’t used that cash to bus people out of the city. Left: Donated shoes are organized at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Over the past month, nearly 4,000 immigrants, almost all Venezuelans, have arrived unannounced in the frigid city, with nowhere to stay and sometimes wearing T-shirts and flip-flops. In response, Denver converted three recreation centers into emergency shelters for migrants and paid for families with children to stay at hotels, allocating $3 million to deal with the influx. Right: Migrants rest at a makeshift shelter in Denver on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Denver converted three recreation centers into emergency shelters for migrants. | Thomas Peipert/AP Photo Denver has transported migrants to Chicago, Salt Lake City, New York and Washington, D.C., but officials there say they only send people out of state if they don’t want to reside in Colorado. Javier Guillen, a Venezuelan immigrant, tries to figure out how to get to a shelter in Denver shortly after stepping off a bus from El Paso, Texas, on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Javier Guillen, a Venezuelan immigrant, tries to figure out how to get to a shelter in Denver. | Nicholas Riccardi/AP Photo “We are doing our best to accommodate the wishes of migrants who arrive every week. We shelter those who stay and then try to accommodate those whose ultimate destination is elsewhere,” said Alexandra Renteria-Aguilar, director of communications for Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. Caught in the middle of it all are the migrants, who sometimes find the final destination isn’t as welcoming as expected. A Venezuelan passport, rosary beads, and a thermometer rest on other personal items belonging to an immigrant family as they take shelter in the Chicago Police Department's 16th District station Monday, May 1, 2023. Chicago has seen the number of new arrivals grow tenfold in recent days. Shelter space is scarce and migrants awaiting a bed are sleeping on floors in police stations and airports. A Venezuelan passport, rosary beads, and a thermometer rest on other personal items belonging to an immigrant family as they take shelter in the Chicago Police Department's 16th District this year. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo “It’s a difficult situation for our entire country,” said Jason Lee, a senior adviser to Chicago’s mayor. “You have thousands and thousands of people trying to find asylum in the United States. And there’s international and American law that have established the right to asylum, but the system never anticipated this many people pursuing it. So we’re all having to figure out a new model for how we deal with asylum in this country.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Revealed: US collects more data on migrants than previously known

A US immigration enforcement program that tracks nearly 200,000 migrants is collecting far more data on the people it surveils than officials previously shared, and storing that data for far longer than was previously known, the Guardian can reveal. Newly released documents show that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (Ice) stores some personal information the program collects on migrants through smartphone apps, ankle monitors and smartwatches for up to 75 years. A facial recognition app that’s part of the program collects location information whenever someone logs into the app or makes a video call, the documents show, contrary to Ice statements that the app only logs location data when a migrant completes a mandated check-in through the app. damienjeon final 01 digital Poor tech, opaque rules, exhausted staff: inside the private company surveilling US immigrants Read more The documents were obtained by immigrants rights groups Just Futures Law, Mijente Support Committee, and Community Justice Exchange through a freedom of information request and a lawsuit. They reveal that data collection by Ice is more extensive than was previously known to the public and even lawmakers, and raise fresh questions over the lack of transparency from the immigration agency and the company that runs the program, BI Inc. “We learned there’s really no such thing as data privacy in the context of government mass surveillance,” said Hannah Lucal, a data and tech fellow at Just Futures Law. “The documents convey the alarming scope and scale of Ice’s growing system of data extraction and electronic surveillance monitoring.” Ice and BI Inc did not respond to a request for comment before publication. Ice’s ‘unlimited rights to use’ the data The program in question, the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (Isap), is run on behalf of Ice by BI, which is a subsidiary of the large private prison corporation the Geo Group. Billed as a humane alternative to keeping people in detention while their case moves through the immigration system, the program keeps track of migrants through ankle monitors, smartwatch trackers, phone check-ins or in-person visits. But lawmakers and advocates have long demanded more transparency around how BI and Ice run the program, what data they collect through that surveillance system, how long they store that information and how they use it. The documents show that Ice hasn’t been fully forthcoming in earlier questions about the information it tracks. In 2018, Ice told the Congressional Research Service that it monitored the location of program participants wearing an ankle monitor, but that it did not “actively monitor” the location of those being tracked through the program’s facial-recognition app, SmartLink. The agency said it only collected GPS data on those people during check-ins, when they are required to submit pictures of themselves from several angles to verify their identity and location. However, an agreement migrants are required to sign when they are assigned SmartLink surveillance, made public as part of the document release, shows that location information is tracked much more frequently, including when users log into the app, start a video call through the app and enroll in it. Ice requires migrants to use the app far more frequently than for weekly check-ins. Olivia Scott, a former BI caseworker, said caseworkers were often asked by Ice to nudge migrants to log into the app, track the location and share that information with an Ice agent. “They didn’t care what we said to the people [to get them to open the app],” Scott said. “They just needed a location.” The documents also confirm that Ice ultimately owns the information BI collects on migrants through the program – information that, taken together, can paint a very detailed picture of someone’s life. The data collected through both the app and devices like ankle monitors include real time location history including common routes a person took, personal information such as addresses and employers, education information, financial information, religious affiliation, race and gender. The company also collects and stores a wide swath of biometric information, including images of people’s faces; voice recordings; weight and height; scars and tattoos; and medical information such as disabilities or pregnancies. skip past newsletter promotion Sign up to First Thing Free daily newsletter Our US morning briefing breaks down the key stories of the day, telling you what’s happening and why it matters Privacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy. We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. after newsletter promotion People trudging along a river bank displaying a Venezuelan flag. ‘Anything for my family’: Venezuelans in US welcome temporary protected status Read more Ice is given “unlimited rights to use, dispose of, or disclose” the data that BI shares with it, the documents show – language that, according to privacy advocates, indicates that the agency can share this information with other agencies, including local law enforcement. The management of that data is also regulated by Ice policies. According to a privacy assessment by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which encompasses Ice, all data collected through the program is stored in a DHS database that requires records be destroyed 75 years after they are first entered. BI keeps the data for seven years after a person is released from the program. The information BI and Ice collect and store and what the two entities do with it can have far-reaching consequences for migrants, according to the records. For example, the documents show the data BI collects has helped Ice in arresting and detaining migrants. In one of the documents, BI says it “relayed participant GPS points” to Ice’s enforcement arm, which resulted in the “swift and discrete” arrest of more than 40 migrants. The documents also show Ice’s enforcement arm (ERO) uses an opaque algorithmic scoring system to determine how much of a flight risk a person in the program is. The documents reveal the score – dubbed a “hurricane score” – is based on “risks factors”, though it doesn’t explain what those risk factors are, and BI employees’ weekly assessment of participants’ compliance with the program. If a person is determined by the algorithm to be more likely to abscond, it could lead Ice and BI to impose stricter levels of surveillance. Maru Mora-Villalpando, a community organizer at immigrant advocacy group La Resistencia, who has worked directly with people in the program, said the revelations about the “amount of access” BI has to people’s personal information “and the unlimited control [BI and Ice] have over all the data” is “appalling”. “We are a business to them,” she said. “[The revelations] only make our case stronger for the end to the false idea that digital detention and monitoring of immigrants is an alternative to detention”, Mora-Villalpando said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

McCarthy revives immigration battles in bid to shift shutdown blame from GOP feuds

Days ahead of a possible government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to shift the conversation away from internal party divisions — toward the Biden administration's handling of the southern border. In recent days McCarthy, R-Calif., has repeatedly sidestepped reporters' questions about the House's plans to keep the lights on at federal agencies and whether he would work with Democrats on any spending plan. Instead, he is insisting that a short-term stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded include Republican-passed border policies. But that stopgap measure is a nonstarter in the Senate, and right now it's not even clear House Republicans can even get it across the finish line later this week. Sponsor Message Citing statistics saying 11,000 migrants are entering the U.S. illegally each day, McCarthy has argued that the president and Senate Democrats have ignored the situation at the border. He points out that Democratic officials in New York and other states have expressed concern about the recent influx of migrants, and that President Biden is ignoring their calls for help. McCarthy is calling on the president to take action, but it's Congress' role to approve annual funding bills, and the speaker has struggled to get enough votes to bring up their party's own proposals. The House did agree to move forward on four appropriations bills this week, but none of those are expected to advance in the Senate, and none would avoid a shutdown. Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said he and other McCarthy allies want to keep the government open, but emphasized that in any short-term spending bill, "there's gotta be something in it for us as well, and what we really want and what we have been begging for is the ability to get better control of our southern border." Senate and House GOP split The top Senate Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, argued that a shutdown wouldn't achieve what House Republicans say are the problems at the border, and defended a bipartisan bill Senate leaders unveiled Tuesday that would keep federal agencies funded through November 17. Senate takes a first step in a new plan to pressure House on spending POLITICS Senate takes a first step in a new plan to pressure House on spending McConnell said Wednesday "a vote against a standard, short-term funding measure is a vote against paying over $1 billion in salary for CBP and ICE agents working to track down lethal fentanyl and tame our open borders." He said he didn't want to offer any advice to House Republicans, but noted that border agents would be working without pay in a shutdown "so I don't think, even those of us who are deeply concerned about the border, I don't think that's more likely to happen in a shutdown than with the government open." Sponsor Message The No. 3 Senate GOP leader, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, said Senate Republicans would work on amendments to address the increase in migration and issues related to illegal drugs. He told reporters the American people "deserve a government that is open and a border that is closed." Thousands of federal firefighters face a looming pay cut. How much is up to Congress POLITICS Thousands of federal firefighters face a looming pay cut. How much is up to Congress West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she backs adding some immigration provisions to a stopgap bill, but added, "at this point right now 77 percent of the American people do not think we should shut the government down. And I'm in the 77 percent." McCarthy said there wasn't support for the Senate's plan among House Republicans. Many oppose the $6 billion in aid to Ukraine. Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds told reporters that the Senate bill is a "nonstarter" and added, "the Senate needs to get real. You've all seen the images at the southern border. It has to stop — immediately. And this government should not continue to be funded if we don't secure our border." McCarthy's narrow margin But as McCarthy ignores a bipartisan plan that advanced 77-19 in the Senate, he has little room for error with his own proposal. The speaker can only afford to lose four votes from his own party, and it appears already he is short. Several hardline conservatives in the House continue to oppose any short-term funding bill. McCarthy has suggested those holdouts are siding with Biden by refusing to back a bill with increased border funding. Florida GOP Rep. Cory Mills, one of the hardliners, told reporters that is "absolutely false." "If they want to play politics with messaging, then by all means, let them go ahead and do that. My vote remains the same," Mills said. "We do care about securing our borders. We've made that a top priority." Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs said the focus should remain on approving all 12 of its annual spending bills, not stopgaps. "I choose long-term sustainability over short-term rhetoric," Biggs said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., and Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., have also said they oppose any continuing resolution, or "CR," to keep agencies funded as the House and Senate negotiate on spending bills. Tennessee GOP Rep. Andy Ogles pointed to the deal McCarthy cut in January to gain the votes to be elected speaker, which included a pledge for House votes individually on all annual spending bills. "Now our back's up against the wall, and we're going to force 12 appropriations bills," he said. "And if that means we close and that we shut down, that's what we're going to do." Many conservatives seem unmoved about the impact that any shutdown would have on federal workers or those who rely on federal assistance. McCarthy on Tuesday redirected questions about workers concerned about furloughs again to border concerns. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., shrugged off a report that millions of women could lose aid from the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program if the government shuts down: "OK yeah, you hear all that. Granny's going over the cliff. What about the country going to the cliff?" he said. "That's ludicrous. I've heard that song and dance all over again. They're going to use that, any cut." The government shutdown in 2018 was also triggered because of a fight over the border. At the time, former President Trump was insisting that any spending bill include money to build a wall along the southwest border. He refused to support a bill that didn't meet that demand. After a record 33 days, the president gave in and agreed to a bill to reopen the government without any new funding for the wall. McCarthy could avoid a shutdown if he chose to work across the aisle with Democrats to approve a stopgap bill, and there continue to be some discussions with group of moderate House Republicans and Democrats about a proposal to avoid a shutdown, or get out of one. Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., represents a suburban district that Biden won in 2020, and has been part of those bipartisan talks. For now he's backing the speaker's strategy and says the biggest issue facing the country right now is immigration and the Biden strategy has failed. But he warned if his fellow House Republicans don't stand together they will get blamed for a shutdown, "all I can do is encourage my colleagues to be smart, to be strategic and to understand that you can't win with nothing." House GOP rebels recall a distant era when dissidents rose up against 'Czar Cannon' POLITICS House GOP rebels recall a distant era when dissidents rose up against 'Czar Cannon' McCarthy could face threat for his gavel Hanging over the speaker as the deadline when millions of federal workers will be furloughed and stop getting paid is a threat that if he cuts a deal with Democrats one of his critics will bring up a resolution to oust him from his job. Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz reiterated that threat again on the House floor on Tuesday, but McCarthy shrugged it off. But his move to shift the blame to the president about a funding fight he's unable to resolve among his own members demonstrates his focus for now is on keeping his position. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration Lawyers Look to AI to Make Rote Work Faster, Cheaper

Immigration law is a lot of administrative work—standardized applications, support letters, document translation. Clients often have limited means, so time saved is money saved. And the law is federal, with one set of rules and regulations rather than 50. All of which matches up well with the advantages of generative AI. It’s why the American Immigration Lawyers Association is developing a platform called Gen, and some individual lawyers are working with engineers to develop specialized models that can speed up asylum applications. AI bots can’t reason or understand facts like humans do. A paperwork mistake could lead to missed deadlines or even impact someone’s ability to stay in the US. But an AI platform trained in immigration work can handle client memos and checklists, in addition to answering complex immigration questions, said Greg Siskind, an immigration attorney in Tennessee, who is working with his industry group on Gen. Some attorneys say the cost savings could encourage immigration lawyers to take some cases they otherwise couldn’t. “As companies keep working on it and cut out the inaccuracies, in time, it will be a very useful tool for lawyers,” said Michele Carney, a Seattle attorney. Talking About My Gen Gen, which uses GPT-4, an OpenAI language model, will have access to primary immigration laws, regulations, statutes, cases, and manuals. Its features include a privacy mode to keep client confidentiality, a built-in immigration law library that will allow a lawyer, for example, ask a question about conflicts of interests; and a “personal library” where an attorney can upload materials such as books, memos, and research. This is in addition to a more regular function such as a document summary, in which the bot can quickly condense hundred of pages into a few. The answers come with citations and links to cited documents. The well-documented AI problem of “hallucinations,” or incorrect information being created, is reduced because the bot collects information from a highly specialized library. “We’ve lowered the temperature to be more conservative in how questions are answered, and we provide citations that a lawyer can check rather than just assuming the AI knows all,” Siskind said. Another benefit: Lawyers can upload a foreign language document and get a summary in English, which can be especially helpful for visa and green card applications that include letters and documents in another language. “We actually figured out by accident that it was capable of doing that,” Siskind said. Asylum Cases In South Florida, Nadine Navarro, an immigration attorney, has been working with a few software engineers to develop DraftyAI, also using the GPT platform. It can write an entire asylum brief based on a questionnaire, she said. “We’re not claiming to produce exactly the same thing a lawyer would do but we believe it could save 80% of the time initially spent,” Navarro said. Navarro focused on asylum applications first because she said that attorneys don’t get paid enough for the workload that comes with such a case, while clients don’t often have the financial means to afford legal counsel. “We saw an opportunity to provide a product that they could use and bridge the gap,” she said. DraftyAI is in beta mode right now with about 70 users, but Navarro has ambitions to make its scope broader so that it could process waivers and employment-based applications. Carney, the Seattle attorney, said she has found ChatGPT, GPT-4, and Perplexity useful for drafting documents that are repetitive, or to help answer government requests for more evidence to support an applicant’s case. “With immigration law in particular, it is sort of the repetitive nature that makes generative AI useful,” she said. Examples include when an applicant is filing for adjustment of status, where someone with a visa applies for a green card, or a work authorization, which gives permission to certain kinds of visa holders to get employment. “If there is a well-drafted and comprehensive intake form that is fed into the AI, it can develop the application packet and screen for red flags,” she said. In family-based cases where applicants are seeking to stay in the country and not fighting an opposing party on a legal issue, AI can assist them and their attorneys finding the best pathway for them to remain in the country, she said. AI is a “refining tool” that can cut down on research time and make comparisons, said Charina Garcia, who is a strategy and innovation partner at WR Immigration in Oakland, Calif. “Many times, when we’re doing petitions, we have to understand what our client does in their field and ChatGPT actually can help us understand that,” she said. Potential Pitfalls Attorneys stressed the need to double-check or triple-check documents produced by AI, just as they would check the work of a paralegal or a junior associate, and to anonymize client information. When Carney pretended to be an applicant who needed a “hardship letter” as part of a 601A waiver in a family-based immigration case , the results were underwhelming. She said Perplexity, an AI bot, essentially repeated the facts she provided in paragraph form while the product from GPT-4 appeared more polished. “ GPT-4 drafted a well-organized letter” for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Carney said. “However, if an attorney simply relied on this letter, they would have made a mistake because I-601As are filed at the USCIS in Chicago, not in Phoenix.” That could have resulted in a significant delay and additional expenses. Amélie Vavrovsky, the founder of Formally, a legal startup in California’s Bay Area that currently has a AI product in beta testing, said her product can make suggestions on how asylum applicants might be eligible to apply for employment authorization and a fee waiver. “For attorneys, what it means is that there’s more time to actually spend with clients. The thing that distinguishes great counsel is the attention they give to their clients,” Vavrovsky said. She cautioned that the current AI products are just language models. “The biggest risk is thinking that language models can thoughtfully reflect on case and give specific advice. They can’t do that,” she said. “They don’t reason like humans reason.” Predictive Nature The future of AI and immigration law, Siskind said, is “analytics where we can do a lot more predicting on how a case is going to go.” A lawyer might be able to tell clients that they have a 10% chance of getting approved in one visa category versus a 60% chance in another, allowing attorneys to bring statistics into decision-making based on experience, he said. Siskind and his colleagues are working on another immigration AI tool that can handle more complex documents that don’t all sound the same. “We can do much more complicated things in terms of drafting than you can do in ChatGPT,” he said. But AI models can never replicate what an attorney can do to comfort someone who is upset or hysterical because the immigration process can be so stressful, with the fate of families hanging in the balance, Garcia said. “When people tell me their story, I tell them my story about how family came from the Philippines and the struggles they went through over here.” AI won’t have the same impact, she said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mexico Weighs New Screening Plan With US, UN to Tackle Migration

Mexico, along with President Joe Biden’s administration and the United Nations, is considering setting up a temporary program to help pre-screen tens of thousands of migrants for US entry eligibility as border crossings increase again. The program would be focused on about 40,000 migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba who are in southern Mexico, according to the nation’s top diplomat. Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said in an interview that UN migration and refugee agencies would review their eligibility before those who may qualify would have their applications processed by personnel from a mobile US consulate. The US government doesn’t have a permanent facility as far south as the state of Chiapas, on Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Key Speakers At The 78th Session Of The United Nations General Assembly Alicia Barcena speaks during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23.Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg The plan would only be for migrants from those four countries, whose citizens have specific parole processes for US immigration due to conditions in their home nations, Barcena said Friday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. They have been stuck in Mexico since May, when the US ended Title 42 — a pandemic-era emergency authority that restricted the right to seek asylum. Sponsored Content As More Organizations Move to the Cloud, They Need to Up Their Cyber Defenses Bloomberg Barcena said she couldn’t give a timeline or exact location for the UN facility to be set up. But it wouldn’t be in the border city of Tapachula, where many migrants first arrive. Mexico’s own refugee agency is already processing people there under the nation’s own asylum criteria, and the government doesn’t want to mix the processes together. “We would like very much to have mechanisms that are legal, orderly and safe,” for people seeking to immigrate to the US, Barcena said. “We do have a lot of progress on the regular pathways of migration.” Read more: US Allows Work Permits for About 500,000 Venezuelan Migrants Biden’s Pleas for Migration Help Are Tough Sell in Latin America How End of Title 42 Complicates Biden’s Border Policy: QuickTake Bárcena highlighted data showing that more than 170,000 Venezuelans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans have arrived to the US under humanitarian permissions, with parole granted to those nationalities. The current parole program allows as many as 30,000 people per month to immigrate without making the dangerous trek through Mexico and Central America that involves risking their lives and paying smugglers thousands of dollars. Understand power in Washington. Subscribe below to get the Bloomberg Washington Edition newsletter in your inbox, delivered daily. Enter your email By submitting, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and to receive offers and promotions from Bloomberg. Still, migrant encounters on the US southern border rose again in August to the highest level this year after initially falling in June and July as the Department of Homeland Security launched carrot-and-stick measures to deter unauthorized border crossings and offer legal pathways. For the current fiscal year, the number of encounters is on pace to match or eclipse the record 2.4 million from 2022. Sponsored Content How Business Leaders Can Achieve AI Success Intel Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government plans to discuss migration, as well as security and efforts to stop fentanyl trafficking during high-level talks on Oct. 5. Mexico will host US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Attorney General Merrick Garland during that visit. Bárcena was named Mexico’s top diplomat in June after her predecessor, Marcelo Ebrard, stepped down to launch an unsuccessful bid for the 2024 presidential nomination from Lopez Obrador’s party. She led the UN’s economic cooperation agency for Latin America and the Caribbean for 14 years through early 2022. She will be in Washington on Sept. 29 for an economic dialogue Mexico holds every year with the US. It will include Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, along with Mexican Finance Minister Rogelio Ramirez de la O and Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro, Bárcena said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Increases Employment Authorization Document Validity Period for Certain Categories

We are updating guidance in the Policy Manual to increase the maximum validity period to 5 years for initial and renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens who are employment authorized incident to status or circumstance, including those admitted as refugees, paroled as refugees, and granted asylum, as well as recipients of withholding of removal. We are also increasing the maximum validity period to 5 years for initial and renewal EADs for certain noncitizens who must apply for employment authorization, including applicants for asylum or withholding of removal, adjustment of status under INA 245, and suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal. The updated guidance also explains the categories of noncitizens who are automatically authorized to work (also known as being employment authorized incident to status or circumstance) and provides more information on who can present a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, to an employer as an acceptable document showing employment authorization under List C of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Form I-94 must be accompanied by identity documentation for purposes of employment authorization. Finally, this guidance clarifies that certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are employment authorized incident to parole. Increasing the maximum EAD validity period to 5 years is intended to significantly reduce the number of new Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, we receive for renewal EADs over the next several years, contributing to our efforts to reduce associated processing times and backlogs. However, whether the noncitizen maintains employment authorization remains dependent on their underlying status, circumstances, and EAD filing category. For example, if an individual received an EAD under the (c)(9) category based on a pending adjustment of status application for the maximum validity period of 5 years, and the adjustment application is then denied, their ancillary employment authorization may be terminated before the expiration date listed on their EAD.

McCarthy says a meeting with Biden on the shutdown and the border would be 'important'

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he thinks it’d be “very important” to have a meeting with President Joe Biden to avert a government shutdown and emphasize the need to pass the GOP’s border security package. “Why don’t we just cut a deal with the president?” McCarthy, R-Calif., asked reporters who questioned why he’s not willing to strike a deal with congressional Democrats this week on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open. McCarthy suggested that Biden could solve the crisis at the southern border — a major sticking point for Republicans in shutdown talks — unilaterally. “Listen, the president, all he has to do … it’s only actions that he has to take. He can do it like that. He changed all the policies on the border. He can change those,” McCarthy said. “We can keep government open and finish out the work that we have done.” We’d like to hear from you about how you’re preparing for a possible government shutdown, whether you might be out of work or feel the effects of shuttered services. Please contact us at tips@nbcuni.com or reach out to us here. Asked specifically whether he was requesting a meeting with Biden, McCarthy replied: “I think it would be very important to have a meeting with the president to solve that issue.” Kevin McCarthy faces key decisions to avoid government shutdown SEPT. 26, 202302:31 McCarthy and Biden did meet earlier this year as they negotiated over the debt ceiling and came to an agreement on top-line spending numbers that were meant to make the government funding process easier. But not long after striking that agreement, and amid spending complaints from conservatives, McCarthy opted to ignore the deal with Biden and try to pass bills at a lower level. "I need to be very clear, it’s up to the speaker to twist in the wind. I mean, seriously ... a deal is a deal," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One. "The president made a deal with the speaker and a bipartisan deal that was voted by two-thirds of House Republicans back in June." A White House official said that "nothing has changed" — the shutdown crisis is one for McCarthy and Republicans to "fix," not Biden. Responding to McCarthy’s demands on border security, the White House pointed to Biden’s request last week for a $4 billion supplemental funding request for the Department of Homeland Security to “safely and humanely manage the Southwest Border.” LEGAL POT Senate panel advances weed bill in historic step White House officials also argue that the GOP’s short-term bill would dramatically cut border funding, resulting in 800 fewer Customs and Border Protection agents and officers. A shutdown, officials said, would mean tens of thousands of DHS law enforcement workers would be unpaid. “So we would love to do this in a bipartisan way, but we’re not seeing that,” Jean-Pierre said last week. “What we’re seeing from House Republicans is wanting to defund" the Department of Homeland Security. House Republicans have struggled to coalesce behind a strategy to avert a far-reaching government shutdown set for 12:01 a.m. Sunday, which could furlough millions of federal workers and affect federal benefits for millions of other people. House conservatives demand that steep spending cuts be tied to any appropriations bills or short-term funding deal that moves through Congress. And in recent days, McCarthy has tried to make the shutdown showdown about the GOP’s border security measure, known as H.R. 2. In addition to normal funding bills, McCarthy said he will try this week to pass a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, that would include the Secure the Border Act (minus E-Verify provisions) and keep the government open temporarily while talks continue. Those GOP bills would be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which hopes to pass a short-term funding bill this week without controversial provisions. It’s unclear whether they’ll have enough time, with some GOP members likely to block a speedy vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has yet to release the stopgap bill but indicated it could come soon. McCarthy also signaled he wants to vote on a stopgap bill in the House before the Saturday midnight deadline. “It’d be this week,” he told reporters, without specifying details about it. He declined to engage about what the House would do if the Senate passed a short-term bill by the deadline. McCarthy made it clear he didn't support Ukraine aid in a continuing resolution, saying the issue should be dealt with separately. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Historic Venezuelan refugee crisis tests U.S. border policies

Washington — A sharp increase in Venezuelan arrivals is contributing to a recent spike in migration along the U.S. southern border, highlighting the limited resources and policy options available to American officials for responding to an unprecedented refugee crisis in the region. More than 7.7 million people have fled Venezuela in recent years to escape its precipitous economic collapse and authoritarian rule — the largest displacement crisis ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. It's also currently the largest migrant exodus globally, now bigger in scale than the number of registered refugees from war-torn Ukraine and Syria, according to estimates compiled by the United Nations. The majority of displaced Venezuelans have settled in other South American countries, mainly Peru and Colombia, which has hosted nearly 3 million migrants. But more Venezuelans are leaving those countries with deteriorating economies or Venezuela itself to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border, where illegal crossings have reached near-record levels this month. In August, U.S. Border Patrol agents processed 22,090 Venezuelan migrants who entered the U.S. illegally — a 93% increase from July, federal data show. Border crossings by Venezuelans have continued to increase in September. The daily average of Venezuelans crossing the U.S. border surpassed 2,000 this past week, nearly tripling the average of 713 in August, according to internal federal data obtained by CBS News. Tens of thousands of additional Venezuelans are on their way to the U.S. Once an impenetrable jungle, Panama's Darién Gap is seeing large numbers of U.S.-bound Venezuelan migrants cross its rugged and roadless terrain each month. In August alone, nearly 82,000 migrants, 77% of them from Venezuela, crossed that jungle, an all-time monthly high. The influx in arrivals of Venezuelan migrants has strained resources in Texas border towns like Eagle Pass and El Paso, as well as in larger cities like Chicago and New York. Officials there have struggled to house tens of thousands of newcomers in hotels, shelters and other facilities, such as police stations. Without any ties to the U.S., many Venezuelans have relied on local services to a greater extent than other migrants. "It's really survival migration from Venezuela," said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a U.S.-based nonpartisan research organization. "Some of it is political persecution, but most of it is just basic nutrition and health care and public services that have collapsed. It's a societal collapse." A migrant family from Venezuela reacts after breaking through a razor wire barricade into the United States after waiting for hours on a river bank on the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Sept. 25, 2023. A migrant family from Venezuela reacts after breaking through a razor wire barricade into the United States after waiting for hours on a river bank on the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Sept. 25, 2023. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES A dramatic shift in migration flows The marked jump in Venezuelan migration to the U.S. is a significant blow for a strategy implemented by the Biden administration last fall that dramatically reduced the number of migrants from Venezuela entering the country illegally. In Oct. 2022, the Biden administration began allowing some Venezuelans to fly to U.S. airports if American-based sponsors agreed to support them. It simultaneously started expelling some Venezuelans to Mexico if they crossed the U.S. southern border illegally. In January, the administration expanded the sponsorship program to include migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, and started expelling some border-crossers from those countries to Mexico. It also unveiled a process that is now allowing tens of thousands of migrants to be processed at official ports of entry along the southern border after securing appointments through a smartphone app. The number of Venezuelans apprehended by Border Patrol plummeted after these policies took effect, falling from a record high of nearly 34,000 in Sept. 2022 to a two-year low of fewer than 1,500 in February. However, illegal crossings by Venezuelans spiked this spring, reaching 30,000 and 28,000 in April and May. Now, they are on track to match or surpass a monthly record this month. It's not the first time U.S.-bound Venezuelan migration has shifted rapidly. Illegal crossings along the southern border by Venezuelan migrants dropped from 22,800 in January 2022 to 3,000 in February 2022 after Mexico ended visa-free travel for Venezuelans at the request of the U.S. But that number rebounded that summer after Venezuelans began crossing the Darién Gap in large groups. The impact of the Biden administration's "carrots-and-sticks" strategy has been more pronounced and prolonged for other nationalities. Illegal border entries among Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans — who also have access to the sponsorship program — have remained significantly lower than the record levels seen in 2021 and 2022. In August, Border Patrol reported apprehending 756 Cubans, 604 Nicaraguans and zero Haitians, the latter being an unprecedented development in recent history. Selee, the migration expert, said Venezuelans, by and large, are more predisposed to leave their home country or third countries like Colombia to reach the U.S. because "they see no chance of returning to Venezuela" due to the dire conditions there. Venezuela's refugee crisis, with millions of Venezuelans in other countries, is also much larger in scale than the recent exodus from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, which have also been plagued by political and economic turmoil. While more than 61,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the U.S. legally under the sponsorship program, many others may not qualify for the policy because they lack U.S. sponsors or passports. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have also applied for the program, even though there's a 30,000 cap on approvals each month across all nationalities. The mounting case backlog has resulted in significant processing delays. Limited policy options for the U.S. The main factor complicating the U.S. government's response to illegal border entries by Venezuelans is the strained diplomatic relationship with Venezuela's socialist government, which faces U.S. sanctions due to its human rights abuses and repressive policies. While the U.S. regularly deports migrants to countries in Central America and other parts of the world, Venezuela has not accepted official U.S. deportations for years. Such deportations would also likely be decried by progressive advocates and Democrats due to the deteriorating situation in Venezuela. In fiscal years 2021 and 2022, when the Border Patrol apprehended 235,038 migrants from Venezuela who crossed the southern border illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported carrying out 352 deportations of Venezuelans, according to agency data. Since last fall, Mexico has accepted some returns of Venezuelans apprehended by the U.S., but only in limited numbers. Republican lawmakers have pushed President Biden to reinstate a Trump-era program that required migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases were reviewed, but his administration has rejected that policy on humanitarian grounds. Mexico's government has also opposed its revival. Faced with limited policy options and intensifying pressure from cities asking for migrants to be allowed to work more quickly, the Biden administration last week offered Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans in the U.S., most of whom entered along the southern border. The move will allow those Venezuelans who arrived before July 31 to apply for work permits and deportation protections. There's some internal concern within the U.S. government that the TPS expansion will encourage even more Venezuelans to come to America, though Venezuelan arrivals along the southern border and the Darién Gap had already increased sharply before the decision. In a statement last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas warned Venezuelans outside of the U.S. that they were ineligible for TPS and would be "removed" if they entered the country unlawfully. He did not say where they would be removed to. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

New York City’s not-so-sudden migrant surge, explained

New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently warned that the city could be “destroyed” if it doesn’t get more help to support an influx of migrants — and is now starting to turn some asylum-seekers out of shelter. “Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this,” the mayor said at a town hall earlier this month. Since April 2022, more than 116,000 migrants have arrived in New York City. Most came from the US-Mexico border, fleeing hardship in their home countries and seeking asylum, a form of protection that would allow them to remain in the United States and not be deported. Many are not yet eligible to work in the United States due to asylum rules, which require migrants to wait about six months for a work permit. More than 60,000 of them remain in the city’s shelter system, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. If migration continues at its current pace, the city is on track to spend $12 billion over the next three fiscal years to shelter and support immigrants. The crisis has deep roots. The United States’ immigration system has long been broken, amplifying an international humanitarian crisis, and the movement of migrants from the southern border into cities has highlighted and tested the system’s many fault lines. A report from the Adams administration blames a litany of factors, including the lack of comprehensive federal immigration reform, Trump administration policies, climate change, overwhelmed immigration courts, and the narrow paths immigrants face to becoming permanent residents. Adams says New York City has stretched itself to the limit and is demanding greater help from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Biden administration. The humanitarian crisis has also become a political flashpoint for New York. Protesters have criticized the city for housing migrants in schools and various residential neighborhoods and heckled lawmakers who speak on the subject to “close the border.” As the crisis puts a strain on the city’s budget, Adams, a mayor who campaigned on the idea that New York City is a sanctuary city, has changed his tone. Republicans looking for a new boogeyman for the 2024 election cycle are watching. Advocates warn that Democratic leaders, including Adams, are falling into dangerously xenophobic rhetoric and fear that the plight of thousands of migrants will be used as a political pawn as the country heads toward the 2024 general election. New York’s migrant crisis is actually several crises in one: a humanitarian crisis, as people from around the world flee instability and poverty and make their way to New York; a housing crisis, as a city that is required to find shelter for migrants struggles to do so; and a political crisis for the mayor, whose handling of the situation has come under increasing scrutiny from fellow Democrats and from conservatives alike. “What the mayor said is conceptually ridiculous and unfair. [Migrants’] decision to come to America was fueled by a level of bravery that we in the US cannot even understand,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Win, a provider of shelter for homeless families in New York City that has housed hundreds of migrant families. “The mayor isn’t wrong to say the feds and state should do more, but the best way to get help from [the state and federal government] is to exhaust your own ability and there’s no way Adams is at that point yet, despite what he has said.” Why are migrants traveling to New York City? Part of the influx of migrants is by design: Since last year, Republican governors in Florida and Texas have sent new arrivals northward by bus or plane, including to New York City, as part of an effort to provoke a reaction out of the federal government and Democratic-led cities. The greatest number has come from Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott has sent more than 13,300 migrants to New York City since the spring of 2022. But many more migrants have arrived on their own. Some experts believe migrants are choosing New York City after learning about the city’s “right to shelter” mandate. New York City has a unique legal obligation to find placement for asylum seekers under a consent decree, which took effect in the 1980s after a court ordered the city to provide temporary housing to any man who asked for it. “In the early stages, we should probably not have actively encouraged shelter. News of the welcome mat certainly spread among immigrant circles through social media very quickly,” Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, told the New Yorker. “The idea was: If you get to the border, tell people you want to take a bus to New York City. We should have just kept the old practice that people will just find their own way when they come to the city.” When Abbott sent migrants to the city by bus, Adams greeted them at the Port Authority bus terminal in an effort to appear welcoming, in contrast to Abbott’s cruelty. But in the past few months, his administration has distributed flyers at the border to direct migrants away from traveling to NYC. “New York City has international draw. Migrants have likely seen it in movies and TV shows. They view it as a city of opportunity where a lot of immigrants have gone,” Julia Gelatt, associate director of the US Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, told Vox. Many of the migrants traveling to New York City entered the United States through points of entry at the southern border to escape economic and political hardships in their country. For the more than 7 million people who have left Venezuela, for example, economic collapse and a repressive government have made life in the country untenable. Venezuelan immigration to the US has increased dramatically in recent years: As of September 2023, the US has taken in about 545,000 Venezuelans, while Latin American and Caribbean countries have taken in more than 6 million. Migrants are also coming to the United States from other Latin American and Caribbean countries, such as Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala, and Nicaragua; and African countries, such as Senegal and Guinea. “Haiti is extremely unstable right now and that is rooted in many human rights violations and foreign policies that continue to play a part in the destabilization of the country. Haitians want to thrive in their country but they’ve been forced to flee,” said Guerline Jozef, the co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides aid to Black migrants. New York City has absorbed waves of migration for decades. What’s slightly different now is that far more of the migrants who have arrived in the past two years are fleeing economic hardship; as a result, they’re more likely to be indigent, and more likely to lack friends or family members who are already established in the US. Additionally, many previous waves of migration were of single adults; now, families are traveling together. “Families have more needs and higher standards of what they expect for their living conditions,” Gelatt said. Refugees from Europe, such as those fleeing the war in Ukraine, have also made their way through the United States, mostly to New York, through Department of Homeland Security sponsor programs such as Uniting for Ukraine. More than 280,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States through the program since it launched in April 2022. Immigration advocates have noted that New York City was able to integrate thousands of Ukrainian refugees but has developed a different tone around migrants coming through the southern border. “Our leadership is buying into the narrative that we can’t control immigration, that the wealthiest country on earth can’t handle immigrants,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of America’s Voice, an organization that advocates for undocumented immigrants to be put on a path to full citizenship. “They’re saying this is an impossible task, but New York City processed 100,000 Ukrainians in a matter of weeks. Our government leaned in.” The influx of migrants has overwhelmed New York City shelters Earlier this year, Adams asked a judge to temporarily relieve the city of the legal obligation to shelter migrants, since its shelter system is overwhelmed — a request now before a court. In the meantime, the city’s shelter system has reached a breaking point. In July, the city began issuing 60-day eviction notices to adult migrants in its shelters, which began to go into effect over the weekend — though those who fail to secure their own housing have been told to return to the Roosevelt Hotel to apply for other housing assistance. About 13,000 notices have been distributed so far, according to the mayor’s office. Adams also announced Friday that the maximum stay going forward for adult migrants in city-run shelters will be halved, to just 30 days. When migrants arrive in New York City, typically through midtown’s Port Authority bus terminal, local organizations direct them to navigation centers where they can get necessary services: health care, Medicaid enrollment, vaccinations, school enrollment, legal orientation, and more. In July, videos and photos of hundreds of migrants sleeping on cardboard outside the Roosevelt Hotel navigation center signaled that the migrant crisis in the city had reached a new extreme. Some migrants slept outside for days, waiting to be placed in the city’s limited shelter beds. At the time, Adams said, “It’s not going to get any better. From this moment on, it’s downhill. There is no more room.” According to the city, migrants make up more than half of the city’s shelter population, and the population of shelters overall has doubled since Adams took office in January 2022. New York City is housing migrants in hotels, once-vacant office buildings, school gyms, and emergency shelters on Randall’s Island. Adams has also looked into temporarily housing migrants in parking lots, in tents in Central Park and Prospect Park, and even on cruise ships. The city announced in August that it had opened up more than 200 new shelters for asylum seekers, but immigration and anti-homelessness advocates say that housing vouchers are necessary to alleviate the strain on the city’s shelters. According to Quinn, the city would save money if it stopped putting migrant families in welfare hotels. By giving migrants housing vouchers to secure their own permanent housing, the city could save $3 billion a year, according to an August 2023 report by the New York Immigration Coalition. Work authorization delays are impacting the city’s budget Most non-citizens arriving in the US today cannot legally work. If they are seeking asylum, they need to wait about six months, and a backlog in processing asylum applications is making waits even longer. Providing work authorizations sooner would allow immigrants to get jobs and provide for themselves and their families, alleviating some of the pressure on local organizations and governments. But Congress hasn’t acted, fearful of encouraging more migrants to travel to the US. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that he would allow about 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the US before July 31 to to live and work legally in the country for 18 months, under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a designation that means they will be able to live in the US without the threat of deportation. DHS also promised to accelerate access to work permits for many migrants. The announcements came after Adams, Hochul, and Democratic leaders in Congress pressured the Biden administration to act, but experts tell Vox the move is not a long-term fix. Plus, migrants won’t be able to work immediately, since they must first apply for TPS. “Some migrants with TPS have had to wait two and a half years for work authorization,” said Karla Ostolaza, the managing director of immigration practice at the Bronx Defenders, an organization that provides legal support to migrants. “This is a temporary fix because many migrants don’t have pathways to permanent citizenship.” Advocates who spoke to Vox also said that the city can do a better job of connecting migrants to legal support since many of them aren’t aware of whether they even qualify for asylum or other protections. While Biden’s TPS announcement may eventually make a difference, the Adams administration says it has already spent more than $1.73 billion through the end of July 2023 and expects to spend more than $4.73 billion during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2024. Adams has said he will have to cut the budgets of various city agencies due to the financial strain of supporting migrants, and that he’s already made some cuts. “We have a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut,” he said in early September. “Every service in this city is going to be impacted.” According to Adams, the city spends a nightly average of $383 per household on food, housing, and other services for more than 25,600 families seeking asylum. The city spends about $9.8 million a day with 57,300 migrants in its care on an average night. Adams said the city will have to add “$7 billion to our financial plan ... on top of what we have already spent on this crisis.” Adams has asked for more federal funding and the federal government has already responded in some ways. To date, New York City has received more than $140 million in federal funding for migrants. Through FEMA, it has received $30 million, which is only a fraction of the $350 million in federal aid that it requested. In the spring, Hochul and state legislators also secured $1 billion in the state budget to address the influx of migrants in New York City, which will go toward housing, National Guard support, and legal services. “More money will be required from the state of New York and I knew that,” Hochul said last month, according to Politico. “And I’ve been talking about that even prior to the adjustments in the mayor’s estimates on the cost.” What does this mean for New York state’s government and the federal government? Even before any additional money is approved, Adams says the state can do more to support migrants in New York City and is requesting a “statewide decompression strategy” to make sure all counties are helping with the humanitarian crisis. Adams wants the state to establish more sites in New York City that the state manages, and he has asked Biden to declare a state of emergency to manage the border, which could unlock more funding. Meanwhile, the Biden administration apparently isn’t pleased with New York’s handling of migrants, according to an NBC report. In August, DHS sent an “assessment team” to the city to study its migrant operation. The results haven’t been released publicly, but one DHS official told NBC that the city’s effort is not “operationally sound” and that it lacks an “exit strategy” that helps migrants find their way out of the shelter system. Adams’s rhetoric has gotten steadily harsher as the crisis has deepened. While campaigning in 2021, he tweeted, “We should protect our immigrants. Period. Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.” “We need help. We have not been ashamed to say that,” Adams said in late 2022 after Republican governors bused migrants to New York City. “We need people to use their legal minds to see how do we challenge this behavior from these rogue governors.” “All of us are going to be impacted by this,” he said at a town hall earlier this month. “I said it last year when we had 15,000, and I’m telling you now at 110,000. The city we knew, we’re about to lose.” Republicans have seized on the rhetoric, using Adams’s words as evidence that Democrats are being hypocrites about immigration. “It has gotten so bad, even the leaders of Democratic strongholds like New York City and Massachusetts are throwing in the towel,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a statement this month. “They can’t handle the strain that the massive influx of people has had on their city and state.” Republicans in key House races have already made immigration and migrants seeking asylum a key campaign issue, likely to the detriment of migrants. “Adams’s words will continue to divide our communities. They will create chaos and hate toward immigrants, not just the ones just arriving, but also toward immigrants in all of New York City. We cannot have our leaders using the lives of vulnerable people as political pawns,” Jozef said. “Cities receiving migrants from places like Texas are falling into the Republican trick. Governor Abbott’s cruelty is starting to win in Mayor Adams’s circle. Instead of fighting those cruelties, he is falling prey to them.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.