- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Thursday, November 30, 2023
One day. For Judith Ortiz, whose parents brought her to this country from Durango, Mexico, when she was 2, a mere 24 hours have made the difference between a life of freedom and opportunity and one constrained by limits and obstacles. Ortiz and her twin sister, Janette, were raised in suburban Dallas, where Judith was her high school’s valedictorian, graduating with a 3.96 GPA. Both girls had remained in the country illegally as toddlers when their family overstayed a tourist visa. When they turned 18, they became eligible for benefits under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program designed to shield from deportation young people brought to this country illegally as children. Immigrant Dreams logo Drawing on an unprecedented poll, this series tells the stories of immigrant life in America today, putting their voices in the foreground. Read the stories Because the girls have the same birth date, the same address and the same surname, their lawyer suggested Judith mail her application a day after her sister to avoid confusion. Janette’s paperwork was approved six months later, in June 2021. Shortly after, a federal judge in Texas blocked the government from approving additional DACA petitions. Judith’s application — and her future — have been on hold ever since. She can’t be sure that the mailing date, not some other arbitrary bureaucratic quirk, caused the fateful difference, but in her mind, that one-day delay in sending off the application is what has set their lives on different courses. “Having DACA would make my life 100 times easier,” said the 21-year-old, who attends classes at Texas A&M alongside her sister. “I was always scared of getting pulled over. There’s things that people don’t really think about sometimes.” Maria de Pilar Barradas, left, gives a kiss to Alejandro Medel as 4-year-old son Angelo Medel-Barradas stands between them WORLD & NATION In an increasingly pessimistic era, immigrants espouse a hallmark American trait — optimism Sept. 17, 2023 ADVERTISING Judith took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, hoping to enlist in the military, and scored well enough to enter West Point, only to be rejected because of her immigration status. Because of that status, she can’t legally get a job or a loan because she can’t get a Social Security number. Her twin, who entered the country on the same day and grew up in the same house, has a job, an apartment and a car loan. Judith, who is slated to graduate in December, is eligible to be deported back to a country she never knew and can’t remember while her twin sister can legally remain, work and study. “I grew up in America. I don’t know [Mexican] culture very well. It’s not the same,” she said. Few who work in immigration law are surprised by the story; the capriciousness of America’s broken immigration system seems to be the rule, not the exception. “It’s a bit of layer cake,” said Travis Murphy, a former U.S. diplomat who is the founder and CEO of Jetr Global Partners, a Washington-based firm that works to solve visa and immigrant issues for athletes and sports franchises. “Policies have been enacted year over year that don’t necessarily work directly, in a coherent way, with previous policies.” Janette Ortiz's DACA paperwork was approved in June 2021. Janette Ortiz’s DACA paperwork was approved in June 2021. (Jordan Vonderhaar / For The Times) ADVERTISEMENT “We don’t have consensus in what we want the outcome to be,” he added. “That’s the problem.” The sometimes arbitrary and frequently confusing nature of American immigration law enforcement constrains the lives of millions of immigrants — those who live in the country legally as well as those here without legal status. More than 4 in 10 immigrants who participated in a wide-ranging survey conducted earlier this year by the Los Angeles Times and KFF, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation, said they don’t understand how the country’s immigration policies work, nor how those policies affect their families. Yet they have no choice but to rely on those policies to be able to live, work, study and sometimes simply exist in this country. Roughly 1 in 4 immigrants said they worry that they or a family member could be deported. The number is highest among the undocumented, but the fear is shared by one-third of legal permanent residents and 1 in 8 naturalized citizens. Many immigrants who have legal status have family members who do not. Roughly 1 in 4 immigrants have fears about detention or deportation Undocumented immigrants are most likely to have ever worried that they or a family member could be detained or deported, but the fear is shared by 1 in 3 legal permanent residents and 1 in 8 naturalized citizens. Horizontal bar chart showing how many responded yes to whether they worry they or a family member may be detained or deported 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Likely undocumented Green card or valid visa Naturalized citizen Total immigrant adults KFF/LA Times Survey of 3,358 U.S. adults born outside the U.S., April 10 to June 12. Margin of error +/-2 pct. pts. KFF/LA Times Immigrant Survey Phi Do LOS ANGELES TIMES Some 10.5 million people — precise estimates vary — lived in the U.S. without authorization in 2021. Roughly 1.8 million live in uncertainty, recipients of temporary protected status, student visas, DACA and other protocols that either have limited length or can be revoked, with little notice, at any time. Tens of thousands more are apprehended at the southern border each month trying to join them. ADVERTISEMENT Twin sisters Judith Ortiz, left, and Janette Ortiz, right, study between classes Judith Ortiz, left, was her high school’s valedictorian, graduating with a 3.96 GPA. (Jordan Vonderhaar / For The Times) Meantime, the pathway to legally immigrate to the U.S. has become so constrained that for many, it doesn’t truly exist. The Cato Institute, in a June report titled, “Why Legal Immigration Is Nearly Impossible,” estimated that fewer than 1% of the people who apply to move permanently to this country are now able to do so. “The government’s restrictive criteria render the legal paths available only in the most extreme cases,” wrote David J. Bier, Cato’s associate director for immigration studies. “Legal immigration is less like waiting in line and more like winning the lottery: It happens, but it is so rare that it is irrational to expect it in any individual case.” The U.S. caps the number of permanent employment-based immigrants at 140,000 annually, with no more than 7% allowed from any one country. As a result, people in countries with large numbers of applicants could wait a lifetime. The wait for an employment-based green card for residents of India is 134 years, according to Cato’s estimate, based on government data. A U.S. citizen who wants legal permission for their married adult child to immigrate to the U.S. from Mexico would have to wait 160 years at the current rate of approval. Combination of quotes from interviewees: "Everything's always like a gamble" Those who do enter the U.S. legally aren’t exempt from the law’s complexities. Six years ago, Agustina Vergara packed up her life and moved from Argentina to Southern California to finish a master’s program at USC. With her employer’s help, she applied to exchange her student visa for one reserved for workers in fields requiring special knowledge. That’s when things went off the rails. ADVERTISEMENT As she waited, Vergara’s father was diagnosed with cancer. She couldn’t go back to Argentina without abandoning her visa application, which would have meant starting the process over again with less chance of success. When he died, she couldn’t attend the funeral. Two figures are looking at maps of Texas and California. CALIFORNIA Are immigrants better off in Texas or California? It’s complicated Nov. 30, 2023 Weeks later, her lawyer gave her more bad news: She wasn’t going to get the visa anyway. The government offered no explanation why. Vergara was crushed. “My thinking was perhaps a little too optimistic,” she said. “There is no way that a hardworking person that really loves America and wants to build a life here and contribute to make America the amazing country that it is, there is no way that they won’t have me.” flag icon Like Judith Ortiz, Vergara, 35, had filed every form, paid every fee, followed every rule. She was, by all accounts, an outstanding student and a model citizen. Her background check came back as clean as hospital linen. ADVERTISEMENT “There’s a point where it is so convoluted, so complicated, so nonsensical,” she said. “It cannot be an accident. It is, in a way, kind of designed to make it really difficult,” said Vergara, now an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, a libertarian organization based in Santa Ana. “Is this an immigration system or an anti-immigration system?” Most immigrants, 84%, say they feel the U.S. immigration system has treated them and their families fairly, the Los Angeles Times/KFF poll found. But that number is notably lower among immigrants from Mexico, Central America and India, who face some of the longest wait times. It is also lower among the undocumented. And even those who feel the process was fair can often find it an ordeal. Most immigrants say they feel the U.S. immigration system has treated them and their families fairly Immigrants from Mexico, Central America and India are more likely to say they felt treated unfairly. Split bar chart showing whether immigrants feel the U.S. immigration system has treated them and their families fairly, broken down by country/region of origin. FairlyUnfairly Mexico 75% 21% Central America 76% 21% India 78% 21% China 82% 16% Sub-Saharan Africa 84% 15% Caribbean 87% 10% Europe 90% 9% Total immigrant adults 84% 14% KFF/LA Times Immigrant Survey Phi Do LOS ANGELES TIMES Vergara was eventually allowed to stay in this country after moving up her long-planned wedding and marrying her fiance, a U.S. citizen, at the Laguna Hills courthouse. Millions of others, however, have had to put their lives on hold. Elvina Kovaleva and her husband were welcomed into this country, but it could be years before they know if they’ll be able to stay. A respondent to The Times/KFF poll, Kovaleva agreed to a follow-up interview by email. “Our status,” Kovaleva wrote, “is ‘seeking asylum.’” Kovaleva, 28, and her husband, Yaroslav, both Russian citizens, left well-paying jobs in Moscow last year after Yaroslav was mobilized to fight in Ukraine, a war the couple strongly oppose. “We don’t want to take part in an awful war against a brotherly nation,” said Kovaleva, who was pregnant at the time they left. They had just a day to pack and make travel arrangements, but she and her husband didn’t have to discuss where they would go. “The country of freedom and human rights,” she said. They don’t regret the choice. “We have already received great help from the United States,” said Kovaleva. “Everywhere we meet people who are ready to help with anything. USA is really a country of migrants.” ADVERTISEMENT The couple, who settled in Brooklyn, have permission to live and work here legally as their asylum petition is reviewed. Yaroslav, who was an engineer in Russia, has a driver’s license and is working as a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician while Elvina, who gave birth to a daughter this spring, is a stay-at-home mom. But the Kovalevas are reluctant to make any long-term plans until their case is heard by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Should they buy a house? Expand their family? Start a business? How can they when their future is so uncertain. They would like to petition to bring their elderly parents to the U.S. because they believe they’re not safe in Russia, but they can’t do that until their immigration paperwork is approved. Nor can they exit the U.S. without abandoning their asylum request. They have no idea when they will have answers. FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2014, file photo, Rosa Lozano, of Washington, left, translates the speech into Spanish as Lita Trejo, from El Salvador, and Texas Democratic State Rep. Ramon Romero, as they listen to President Obama's speech on a tablet, during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, as President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address. The Obama administration has ordered immigration agents to ask immigrants they encounter living in the country illegally whether they might qualify under President Barack Obamas plans to avoid deporting them, according to internal training materials obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) POLITICS Could immigrants be America’s new swing voter group? Nov. 30, 2023 The U.S. had 1.6 million pending asylum applications as of the start of this year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which compiles and analyzes immigration data. “We’re still waiting,” Kovaleva said. “We are told some people have been waiting eight to 10 years.” In the meantime, she keeps her fingers crossed. “The U.S. is a land of freedom, opportunity and choice,” she wrote. “And we do hope that this will never change.” It’s certainly been a land of opportunity for Julio Calderon. But as for freedom and choice, well, not so much. ADVERTISEMENT In 2005, Calderon fled the poverty and gang violence of Honduras for the U.S., entering illegally 30 days after his 16th birthday. That made him a month too old to apply for DACA when the program was introduced in 2012. He also entered a few years too late to qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a government designation that gave Hondurans in the U.S. employment authorization and guarded them from deportation after Hurricane Mitch devastated their country in 1998. TPS status has been extended multiple times since it was first established and now covers around 76,000 Hondurans. “It’s like an invisible wall that keeps me away from building wealth,” Calderon, who has an economics degree from Florida International University, said of his undocumented status. “It’s difficult to learn when you’re hungry.” Apartment complex constructed from cardboard and paper. WORLD & NATION Ten languages, thousands of phone calls: Accurately polling immigrants posed unprecedented challenges Sept. 17, 2023 Even as he fears being deported to Honduras, a country he hardly knows, Calderon said he’s not letting his immigration status hold him back. “I want people to see the opportunities that you have even if you’re undocumented because I don’t think we’re talking about that. We focus too much on the limitations,” he said. ADVERTISEMENT “So I am undocumented, but I graduated high school and college,” he continued. “I got scholarships. Now, whenever I go to a place, I know that [my] immigration status might have taken me to a different path. And sometimes I have to be the one creating those paths for those who are coming after me. “I am qualified. I am qualified to do a lot of things. But just because I don’t have immigration status, I’m limited. At the end of the day, I am losing, but also this country is losing because I can give so much. “Like myself, there are many out there ready to give back. Politics is what keeps us away from a solution.” Even among immigrants, however, little consensus exists about what that solution might be. About 8 in 10 immigrants say that allowing people like Judith Ortiz, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, to apply for citizenship would be a good idea. Much like the native-born population, however, they’re more divided on other proposals. Asked about allowing people without documentation to apply for government-provided health insurance, 59% of immigrants called that a good idea and 37% said it would be a bad idea. Immigrants who are undocumented heavily supported that idea, but naturalized citizens split evenly, The Times/KFF poll found. Immigrants divided closely on what they think of enforcement of U.S. immigration policies, with about 1 in 5 calling it too tough and another 1 in 5 saying it’s not tough enough. The rest said either that enforcement is about right (27%) or that they weren’t sure (35%). Twin sisters Janette Ortiz, left, and Judith Ortiz, right, take a break at a park Because of the capriciousness of the American immigration system, one of the Ortiz twins stays and works in the U.S. legally and the other remains without legal status. (Jordan Vonderhaar / For The Times) ADVERTISEMENT Calderon’s lack of documents costs him more than just economic opportunities. In Florida, where he lives, Gov. Ron DeSantis has required hospitals to ask patients about their citizenship or immigration status and has expanded penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers. Undocumented residents are blocked from applying for IDs or a driver’s license, and it is illegal for undocumented people to use driver’s licenses legally issued in other states. Fourteen percent of immigrants said they avoided certain activities because they didn’t want to draw attention to their or a family member’s immigration status Horizontal bar chart showing how many responded yes to whether they avoid certain activities because they didn’t want to draw attention to their or a family member’s immigration status 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Likely undocumented Green card or valid visa Naturalized citizen Total immigrant adults Including talking to the police, applying for a job, or traveling KFF/LA Times Immigrant Survey Phi Do LOS ANGELES TIMES “Mobility, it’s a big one,” Calderon said of the limits his immigration status has placed on his life. “Not being able to travel outside of the U.S., to have a driver’s license, I rely upon [other] transportation.” About 4 in 10 poll respondents said they had avoided things like talking to the police, applying for a job or traveling out of fear of drawing attention to their status or the status of someone in their family. Even among those in the U.S. legally, significant numbers say the same. “It’s difficult,” said Santos González, 48, a construction worker from El Salvador who has lived nearly half his life in the U.S. “I’ve been here more than 20 years, working every day. But in Washington they can’t come to an agreement to give us some kind of permanent status,” he said, speaking in Spanish. ADVERTISEMENT González is covered by TPS, which the U.S. granted to Salvadorans after the Central American country was hit by a series of earthquakes in 2001. As with Hondurans, TPS for Salvadorans has been extended multiple times since, most recently for an additional 20 months beginning in July. Under TPS, González has been able to work, buy a house in San Bernardino, build a family and pay taxes. The Trump administration tried to end TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and several other countries, but courts blocked that. As Congress continues to kick the idea of a more stable solution down the road, González and hundreds of thousands of others covered by temporary status are left in limbo, fearing the next president could move to end the program again. “Then we’d basically be done,” González said. “TPS has a lot of benefits,” he said. “But they’re benefits that can be taken away. It’s complicated because I don’t know what’s going to happen.” “Just having to navigate that whole thing has been very nerve-racking,” said his 23-year-old son, Oscar González, a DACA recipient with a college degree and a job in the pharmaceutical industry. His two younger sisters, both born in the U.S., are American citizens. “I don’t really know how it’s going to play out, so it’s just, I guess, figuring it out in the moment. You don’t have that security. Everything’s always like a gamble, really.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
A federal appeals court will hear arguments this week in a lawsuit targeting a border policy that's spanned Democratic and Republican administrations. The U.S. government calls the policy "queue management." Immigrant advocates call it "metering." Either way, it's designed to manage the number of migrants who can claim asylum each day at the U.S.-Mexico border, at ports of entry. Oral arguments begin Tuesday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Diego in the 2017 class-action lawsuit brought by immigrant advocates on behalf of asylum-seekers who claim they were harmed by the policy after being turned back to Mexico. What is metering? Metering, or queue management, is one of several tactics used by CBP officers to manage the processing of asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Under the practice, CBP officials stand at the borderline and prevent undocumented migrants from physically setting foot on U.S. soil − at which point they would have the right to seek asylum under U.S. law. Since at least 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has used the practice to stop asylum-seekers from entering the U.S. at ports of entry without travel documents. The practice was used periodically during former President Barack Obama's administration, when CBP officers began turning away hundreds of Haitian asylum seekers at ports of entry in California. In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration issued official guidance requiring CBP to "meter," or turn back, asylum seekers at all ports of entry. Although the Department of Homeland Security under the Biden administration has dramatically shifted policies on asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, metering remains a daily practice, even as opportunities to present at a port of entry through an appointment on the CBP One app have become available to some asylum-seekers. In this file photo from April 5, 2022, Ukrainians wanting to seek asylum in the U.S. walk on their way to attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Credit: Mario Tama, Getty Images) Can the US legally turn back asylum-seekers? That is one of the questions being weighed by the appellate court. CBP has said – through consecutive Democratic and Republican administrations – that the agency's capacity to process asylum-seekers at ports of entry is constrained by staffing and infrastructure limitations as well as its multifaceted mission, which includes interdicting drug trafficking, ensuring national security and facilitating lawful trade and travel. The 1986 Immigration and Naturalization Act legally establishes a right to seek asylum in the U.S. To be granted asylum – a process that can take years – an applicant must demonstrate they've faced persecution based on one of five protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Since at least 2014, waves of asylum-seekers of differing demographics have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, including unaccompanied minors and families from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations. Haitian migrants line up in the early hours of the morning outside the Tijuana office of COMAR, Mexico's refugee agency in this file photo from 2021. Nearly 40 years after the 1986 legislation, Congress has failed to deliver an overhaul of U.S. immigration law. As a result, presidential administrations use executive orders and policymaking to respond to shifting migration patterns − metering is a key example. What the experts are saying Baher Azmy, legal director of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing 13 asylum seekers allegedly harmed by the government's metering policy, said the "asylum turn-backs" violate the 1986 law. "The Biden administration has not abandoned their entitlement to turn people away at the border," he said. "If they win, it would give them a potentially dangerous first step to dilute the protections of asylum and deny people access to the asylum process." Mark Morgan, who served as CBP acting commissioner during the Trump administration, said the agency that manages ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border and nationwide needs flexibility to manage its resources. "We’re not denying anyone the ability to claim asylum; we’re just saying we only have the capacity to accept a certain number each day," Morgan said. "It comes down in large degree to resources and efficiency and safety and the prioritization of missions." If CBP has no ability to manage the flow of asylum-seekers, the agency would be hamstrung to meet its missions. "You are pulling law enforcement officers off their national security mission," he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As record numbers of migrants surge at the southern U.S. border, many seeking asylum, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has told Congress the country’s “broken” immigration system is in need of a top-to-bottom update. But rather than undertake a comprehensive immigration overhaul, Congress is scrambling in a few short weeks for a deal that would greatly restrict the asylum and humanitarian parole process used by thousands to temporarily stay in the U.S. while their claims are being processed in the backlogged system. Pushed to the negotiating table by Republicans, the Biden administration is considering the long-shot effort as the price to be paid for the president’s $106 billion year-end request for Ukraine, Israel and national security needs. It comes as Mayorkas, the face of the administration’s immigration policy, bears down the threat of impeachment proceedings from House Republicans over what they view as failed border policies. ADVERTISEMENT “We’re not going to try to secure other countries and not secure ours,” said Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, as he rolled out the Senate GOP’s border effort earlier this month. OTHER NEWS FILE - A group of people, including many from China, walk along the wall after crossing the border with Mexico to seek asylum, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, Calif. As Congress returns this week, Senate Republicans have made it clear they won’t support additional war aid for Ukraine unless they can pair it with border security measures. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) Republicans want to pair border security with aid for Ukraine. Here’s why that makes a deal so tough Migrants arrive at the international border crossing between Finland and Russia, in Salla, Finland, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP) Why Finland is blaming Russia for a sudden influx of migrants on its eastern border Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street for his weekly Prime Ministers Questions at the House of Commons in London, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) Sunak is under pressure to act as the UK’s net migration figures for 2022 hit a record high “We’re at a point for three years we’ve been saying, ‘When are we going to secure the country? When are we going to do this?’ And every year it’s gotten worse.” A core group of senators, Republicans and Democrats, has been eying a deal that would provide money for the wars overseas in exchange for changes to the asylum process and in particular humanitarian parole, which has been a go-to tool by the Biden administration to manage the swell of migrants at the border, but is being challenged in court. Negotiating behind closed doors, the senators have discussed making it tougher for migrants to pass initial screening used by asylum officers to decide whether a person can stay in the country to pursue their asylum case. The idea is to raise the threshold during what’s known as the initial credible fear interview for asylum claims from a “significant possibility” of success before an immigration judge to “more likely than not,” according to those familiar with the private talks and who were granted anonymity to discuss them. ADVERTISEMENT While an overwhelming majority of asylum-seekers clear the initial interviews, the final approval rate is much lower. That’s fueling critics’ complaints that the screening standard is too low and allows many asylum-seekers to remain in the country for years while their cases wind through backlogged courts and eventually fail. Additionally, the senators are discussing ways to restrict Biden’s ability to tap a historic Eisenhower-era law he and other presidents have relied on to admit people temporarily into the country under humanitarian parole — from the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians in the late 1970s to Iraqi Kurds who helped the U.S. in the 1990s Gulf War and Cubans who fled their country at various times, according to data from the Cato Institute. Biden tapped the parole program for Ukrainians fleeing after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion in 2022 and has also used it to allow Afghans and Cubans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Nicaraguans to remain temporarily in the U.S. without threat of deportation. The administration and some immigrant advocacy groups argue Mayorkas is utilizing the tools available to reduce the chaos at the border as Congress has failed to act on more comprehensive immigration improvements. Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of America’s Voice advocacy group, said the ideas being pushed by the Republicans are a “grab bag of Trumpian policies” that would only create “more chaos and disorder” at the southern border if Congress takes away some available paths to legal entry. ADVERTISEMENT But Republican critics of Biden’s approach said the White House is overreaching by using parole authority to allow hundreds of thousands to enter the U.S. in ways Congress did not intend. “The real sticking point is asylum is not enough if we don’t get progress on parole,” said Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson told GOP senators behind closed doors that he needs real border security changes as part of Biden’s broader war funding package. But during a separate Defense Department classified briefing on the need for Ukraine aid, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he told Johnson and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that the GOP demand for border security “is extraneous to this, and it shouldn’t have been brought up.” “I said, ‘We’re willing to compromise, but we need a bipartisan bill on border,’” Schumer told The Associated Press. “You can’t pull it so far, as they’ve been trying to do.” ADVERTISEMENT Biden’s team is desperate for improvements at the border, where its administration has tallied more than 2 million arrests for illegal crossings in each of the last two years — the highest ever recorded — and more than twice as many from the year before COVID-19. As Biden seeks reelection next year, he is potentially facing Republican front-runner Donald Trump, an immigration hardliner, who is campaigning on launching the “largest domestic deportation” operation in U.S. history. The Biden administration is not overtly involved in the negotiations on Capitol Hill, but it has not warned Democrats off making a deal with the Republicans. Mayorkas has been on calls with senators of both parties in recent days as talks continue. Some Democrats and advocacy groups are sounding the alarm in the race for a year-end deal. “We are concerned about reports of harmful changes to our asylum system that will potentially deny lifesaving humanitarian protection for vulnerable people, including children,” wrote Sen. Alex Padilla of California in a statement with 10 other senators, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. ADVERTISEMENT Mayorkas has testified to Congress that the world is experiencing global migration unseen since the end of World War II, including unprecedented migration in the Western Hemisphere. What used to be mainly solo men coming from Mexico to the U.S. border is now a mix of families and even unaccompanied children, with more than half coming from the so-called Golden Triangle region of Guatemala and Honduras and other countries farther away. Smugglers and traffickers advertise widely, often with false claims, to those seeking to flee their home countries. Using the legal tools available, Mayorkas has tried to engineer new paths for migrants to apply for legal entry in hopes of stemming the chaotic scenes at the border with thousands of illegal crossings daily. Biden’s funding request includes some $14 billion to hire more border patrol and immigration court officials and to help the states where mayors are scrambling to provide for the onslaught of asylum-seekers paroled into communities. During recent hearings, Mayorkas told Congress the administration is working to manage the situation, even as Congress has failed to update the immigration system for decades. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
NEW YORK — The Biden administration has been banking on an expansion of short-term legal residency for 500,000 migrants as a way to get them into jobs and off government assistance. It’s been slow going. Governors and mayors said they need to put migrants to work so they can move them out of shelters. But they’re vexed by the lengthy process of securing work permits for asylum-seekers that can take up to a year or more. The delays have strained their budgets and risk further fraying relations between President Joe Biden and some Democratic leaders who want the White House to provide faster relief. Migrants are caught in the middle. “I just want my permission to work, to be able to get ahead,” Javier, a Venezuelan asylum-seeker who arrived with his family at a New York City shelter in February and is still struggling to find work, said in an interview in Spanish. He only gave his first name for fear of deportation. “It’s not only that the application is in English — that is very hard for us — but there are questions that we don’t understand. Even when they translate them, we need help,” he said. He is among hundreds of thousands of migrants nationwide struggling to navigate the complex bureaucratic hurdles to get working papers — a yawning process that has pushed many to take dangerous and exploitative jobs off the books in fields like construction, landscaping or hospitality. The problem has been particularly pronounced in New York, which has drawn more than 140,000 migrants since spring 2022, mainly from Venezuela. About half of them are still in the city’s care, according to Mayor Eric Adams. The troubles persist even after Biden in September expanded a designation known as temporary protected status for a faster path to work authorization for Venezuelan migrants — opening a pathway to some 472,000 additional people across the country. “Work authorization is the way out of the migrant crisis,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at the time. Since October, Hochul said more than 5,500 work authorization applications have been completed in New York — a fraction of those eligible. Immigration advocates warned that while the road to work authorization under TPS might be shorter, it’s still lined with hurdles — and monthslong waits. “We are making this assumption that that is like an automatic thing,” Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, deputy director of the immigration advocacy group NY NICE, said. “It’s not like a switch.” Then vs. Now: Eric Adams sours on Biden over asylum crisis SharePlay Video The barriers are far-reaching, with a limited number of immigration attorneys, a lengthy backlog of cases and shelter policies forcing migrants to move every 30 or 60 days — complicating the need for stable addresses where they can receive vital paperwork. “One of the biggest problems with our immigration system is that it is so out of date and so inefficient,” Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said. A resource center set up by the Adams administration last July in Manhattan has helped migrants file about 2,900 TPS applications and roughly the same number of work permit applications. The federal government started accepting them in early October. “We need to clear up the backlog, because to do the paperwork to sit on someone’s desk is inefficient,” Adams said at a press conference in October. On Tuesday, Adams announced the city has opened two additional state-funded sites for application assistance and will open more in the coming weeks. “While we continue to call for a national strategy to solve a national crisis, New York City continues to do its part,” the mayor said in a statement. The federal government in September opened its own clinics, partnering with the city, state and volunteer immigration attorneys to fast-track work authorization. It seemed to help, some. According to a White House official, 2,200 work permits were approved in the New York clinics as of Nov. 20. The official noted that work applications are taking an average of 30 days to process. The city, state and federal government said they plan to open more facilities. MOST READ Kissinger-h_14202943-cms.jpg Henry Kissinger, diplomat who helped to reshape the world, dies at 100 Trump’s gift to Florida Democrats Court filing reveals Rep. Scott Perry’s vast web of contacts in bid to reverse 2020 election JPMorgan’s Dimon: Democrats should boost Nikki Haley Speaker Johnson singed by a blast of conservative fury “This is a product of collaboration between the city and state of New York and the federal government, and the Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to continuing these efforts in the coming weeks,” White House spokesperson Angelo Hernandez Fernandez said in a statement. New York State labor commissioner Roberta Reardon said employers are open to hiring migrants. Her department has been working with 750 businesses that have 34,000 job openings. But the prospective employees don’t have the necessary paperwork to start. “The pinch point is the work authorization,” she said. A lengthy legal process Hundreds of asylum seekers line up outside of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building. Migrants are eager to work in New York and across the country, but the process to get work papers is cumbersome and lengthy. | David Dee Delgado/Getty Images Migrants applying for asylum face a complex process that starts with filling out a 12-page form explaining in detail why they fled their home country. After submitting that application, which is difficult to do without an immigration lawyer, they’re required to wait at least six months — if not longer — to qualify for work authorization. Newcomers who are eligible for TPS — which covers at least 15,000 Venezuelan migrants currently in New York City’s care — follow a shorter path to work permits. But it still takes at least a month — and has historically taken closer to three — to get legal assistance. And there is a steep application fee of about $545 if a person can’t get a waiver for the cost. The paperwork doesn’t end there. TPS applicants must show proof of Venezuelan nationality and the date they entered the U.S. That’s not an easy requirement given the long and grueling journey from Venezuela to New York. “I’ve met a lot of people who, maybe while they were in the jungle, dropped a folder into the river and suddenly lost their passport and Venezuelan birth certificate,” said David Wilkins, an immigration attorney at Legal Services NYC, which provides free assistance to low-income people in the five boroughs. Finding a lawyer is a big part of the problem. The American Immigration Lawyer Association said it has roughly 2,000 members who cover various aspects of immigration law across the country, but only a few have the expertise to handle asylum-seeker casework. “You’re really tapping into practitioners who work more on humanitarian and asylum type work,” Kushal Patel, the chair of the group’s New York chapter, said. “It’s a small segment of the population of immigration attorneys that we’re asking to give their time.” He noted that attorneys handling asylum cases often are pro bono, which limits how many people they can help. Nonprofit organizations have struggled to fill the holes. A backlog in legal assistance was an issue prior to the recent surge of newcomers, following immigration battles under former President Donald Trump and processing delays spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it’s even worse. Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said New York City’s lack of immediate action to bolster legal services when asylum-seekers first started arriving last spring has forced them to “play a game of catch-up.” As the city works to get migrants who have been here for months or longer connected to legal aid, there are more in need of the same services arriving each day. New York can get between 2,000 to 4,000 new migrants each week. “You can’t wait almost a full year [to provide legal services] and then be upset that no one’s actually had support to get their applications in,” Awawdeh said. Shelter policies exacerbating challenges Community affairs officers from the NYPD stand at the barricades outside the former Saint John Villa Academy being repurposed as a shelter for homeless migrants, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Staten Island. Opening shelters for migrants in New York City has drawn opposition in some communities as the city also limits stays to 30 to 60 days. | John Minchillo/AP The Adams administration’s move to limit shelter stays for migrants has forced people to bounce between different places — leaving them without a stable address to receive paperwork. While asylum-seekers can go back to city officials to seek another shelter placement, they’re not guaranteed a new bed. Amer, a 26-year-old migrant from Sudan, told POLITICO outside the city’s asylum-seeker resource center in midtown Manhattan that he entered a shelter in late September after arriving in New York. A month later, he was evicted from the shelter under the 30-day rule and has had to return to the intake center daily for one-night placements. “Today I have to go again to ask for next night,” said Amer, who was granted anonymity to discuss his plight. Immigration lawyers and elected officials have raised concerns with the forced moves, noting migrants could miss key correspondence related to their immigration cases. “I don’t think they’ve thought this through, which is why there’s a ton of precarity here in the applications being denied if you’re moving around a lot,” City Council Member Shahana Hanif, chair of the body’s immigration committee, said. What about those who don’t have TPS? On a recent afternoon, Bryan Tituaña, a 27-year-old from Ecuador, left the city’s migrant resource center after completing the first step in his legal journey: his asylum application. But because he is from a country without TPS status, he will have to wait 150 days before he’s eligible for legal work. He said he takes up odd jobs in construction, hospitality or at restaurants, but a majority of employers won’t hire him until he gets formal permission to work. The former chef and musician said he fled his country amid political strife and was robbed of his belongings in Mexico prior to crossing the border into Arizona. He is part of the roughly 60 percent of migrants in the United States who don’t have TPS status and thus face longer waits. “To get a lawyer is really expensive, they said it’s $8,000 to $10,000 to start,” Tituaña said in Spanish. “It’s really hard, because this city is really expensive.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
NINTH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS Immigration Law An alien’s conviction for possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, in violation of Idaho Code §37-2732(a)(1)(A), was a drug trafficking aggravated felony that made him removable. Tellez-Ramirez v. Garland - filed Nov. 29, 2023 Cite as 2023 S.O.S. 22-1168 Full text click here >http://sos.metnews.com/sos.cgi?1123//22-1168.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Good afternoon, We recently updated the following USCIS form(s): Form G-884, Request for the Return of Original Documents 11/09/2023 03:22 PM EST Edition Date: 11/09/23. Starting Jan. 29, 2024 , we will only accept the 11/09/23 edition. Until then, you can also use the 12/02/21 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support 11/09/2023 03:07 PM EST Edition Date: 11/09/23. Starting Jan. 29, 2024, we will only accept the 11/09/23 edition. Until then, you can also use the 01/04/23 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. For more information, please visit our Forms Updates page.
Monday, November 27, 2023
In response to high border crossings, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress appear ready to at least partially cave to demands to restrict asylum in negotiations on the contours of an ongoing deal. This would be a grave mistake. It would hurt asylum-seekers but won’t stop illegal migration. Biden already has the right plan for the border. He just hasn’t fully implemented it. The best way to reduce pressure on the border from illegal migration is to make legal entry easier, and Biden’s 2023 immigration agenda included many of the necessary measures. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made them available widely enough, and this failure is leading to people entering illegally. Asylum-seekers walk along the border wall on Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, Calif. Migrants at the southern border are no longer just from Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. Increasingly they're from other continents that include countries such as Russia, China and India. Arbitrary legal immigration caps create massive backlogs The primary initiative is parole sponsorship, under which immigrants sponsored by Americans could receive authorization to enter legally straight from their home country and live and work in the United States for at least two years. Migrants who couldn’t find sponsors could go to the U.S.-Mexico border and apply to enter legally using a Customs and Border Protection phone app called CBP One. Those who get interviews can potentially get asylum (albeit only under very restrictive criteria) or parole for a period of up to two years. However, arbitrarily low caps have effectively eliminated legal pathways for most immigrants who want to use them. This has transformed what were originally straightforward processes into random lotteries, where the lucky few win golden tickets and the rest are left out in the cold. Biden’s plan achieved great initial success, simultaneously helping many thousands of people escape violence and repression and reducing disorder at the border. After the January announcement of these measures, Border Patrol encounters dropped 42% from December. Illegal migration from nations covered by the sponsorship program dropped even more. Even so, further progress was stymied because parole sponsorship was limited to migrants from just five countries: Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Participation from the Latin American nations (the “CHNV” countries) is capped at just 30,000 migrants a month from all four countries combined. The CHNV program covers people escaping horrific violence and oppression at the hands of the socialist dictatorships that rule Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and the gangs that infest Haiti. But many migrants from uncovered nations are also fleeing horrific conditions. Is Texas ending parole sponsorship?We welcomed refugees into our home. Now Texas wants to stop us supporting anyone else. Thanks to the cap, less than 2% of CHNV applicants are granted entry every month. There is now a backlog of hundreds of thousands of applicants. The average new applicant will need to wait nearly five years to be processed. The legal process worked initially, but now it has largely been shut down. The backup option – applying for legal entry at the U.S.-Mexico border using the CBP One phone app – might have mitigated the fallout. But arbitrary caps and flawed agency procedures have ruined this option as well. Appointments are capped at 1,450 a day – though there were nearly 9,000 daily migrant encounters in September. Through truly bizarre requirements, agencies have turned this problem into a disaster. First, applicants must be in central or northern Mexico to make appointments. They can’t apply in their home country. Second, appointments cannot be booked more than three weeks out. Once immigrants get to Mexico, they find all appointments are booked. Now they are stuck in the most dangerous cities in Mexico with no way to enter the United States legally. Operation Lone Star wasteful, dangerous:If Texas governor signs new border law, it will be open season on people who look like me Expanding legal migration would cut black market in immigration Biden never mentioned this cap in his January announcement. He said anyone could go on CBP One and get an appointment. But bureaucracy has made this literally untrue at any point in time almost from the moment the app opened. The combination of horrific poverty and oppression in their home countries and labor shortages in the United States lead people seeking opportunity and freedom to enter illegally if there is no other way to do so. “We all tried, but we couldn’t get an appointment,” one Venezuelan said in September before crossing illegally. Asylum-seekers wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande on Sept. 30, 2023, into Eagle Pass, Texas. It's the same dynamic by which alcohol prohibition led people to illegally obtain smuggled booze from the likes of Al Capone. Barring legal markets in much-wanted goods or services predictably creates vast black markets to which millions of people seek access. When Prohibition was abolished, alcohol smuggling and associated organized crime greatly diminished. Legalizing migration would have similar effects on the black market in immigration. Expanding legal migration would also save more people from violence, poverty and oppression – and bolster the U.S. economy. Immigrants disproportionately contribute to American innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby greatly enhancing economic freedom, wealth and opportunity for native-born Americans as well. Slow population growth may hurt US:No, America is not seeing an unprecedented surge in immigration. New Census data prove it. Biden should order the agencies to eliminate the arbitrary country limitations and numerical caps on parole sponsorship and CBP One. He should also allow migrants to book CBP appointments in their home countries many weeks in advance. These options would eliminate the vast majority of illegal immigration, restoring order to a chaotic border. Biden shouldn’t give up on his policies and give in to the demands from the other side. He has already implemented severe asylum restrictions for those who cross illegally, and illegal migration is as high as ever. Now there are just more people here with no path to legalize their status. David J. Bier is the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. Increased deportations aren't the answer, either. Indeed, over his first two years in office, President Biden has actually removed more border crossers than former President Donald Trump did during his last two years in office, and done it in a slightly higher percentage of cases. Biden has already laid out a better path forward than imitating Trump. It is time to start following it. Ilya Somin is the B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. David Bier is associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. Ilya Somin, law professor at George Mason University, is the B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and author of "Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration and Political Freedom." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Migrants in Chicago huddle on the floors of police stations and sleep in city buses kept running overnight to block out the cold. In Massachusetts, where the emergency shelter system hit capacity earlier this month, the state is converting office space into shelters and at least one local group is stockpiling sleeping bags. And in New York, where shelters are also full, the city has taken the extraordinary steps of providing migrants one-way plane tickets to as far away as Morocco and have contemplated handing out tents to newly-arriving migrants so they can sleep in parks. Northern cities and states that have been overwhelmed by a surge in migrants are now out of room to house them just as the weather turns cold — a potentially life-threatening situation that’s inflaming local political tensions as the Biden administration largely leaves these Democratic strongholds to fend for themselves. “The state that took my ancestors in fleeing from pogroms in Ukraine will not allow asylum seekers to freeze to death on our doorsteps,” Gov. JB Pritzker said last week, referring to his family’s immigration to Illinois. The dual crises of lowering temperatures and a lack of shelter space are forcing some jurisdictions to tighten long-standing policies that previously ensured people without homes would have a place to stay — and in some cases, confront simmering racial divides. Federal Homeland Security officials have held legal clinics in all three states to help process thousands of migrants’ work permits more quickly. It’s a step local and state officials say is key to helping migrants provide for their families — and move out of the city and state-run shelters where they’ve been living in some cases for more than a year. The White House also included $1.4 billion for grants to local governments and nonprofits providing services for recently arrived migrants as part of a larger spending bill for Israel and Ukraine. A DHS official not authorized to speak publicly said about $800 million has been allocated for temporary shelter and other services through various emergency food and shelter programs. But that’s not enough for Democratic mayors and governors who have been publicly and privately pleading with the Biden administration for help bolstering and expanding their maxed-out shelter systems, calls that are taking on new urgency as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. Pritzker said at least $65 million of the new $160 million the state is investing to address its migrant surge will go toward a “winterized soft shelter site” to house up to 2,000 migrants. Migrants are camped outside of the 1st District police station in Chicago. Migrants are camped outside of the 1st District police station on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Chicago. | Erin Hooley/AP Pritzker repeated his concern that the migrant crisis is an issue requiring broader federal coordination and said Chicago officials haven’t “moved fast enough” to deal with it: “We’re stepping in here to try to help and accelerate this process.” It’s an unprecedented problem in northern cities and states that, unlike their southern-border counterparts, are unaccustomed to dealing with tens of thousands of migrants. Officials in New York City, which now houses more than 65,600 migrants, acknowledge that it’s out of space and in October issued 60-day notices to families with children to find new accommodations. Adults without kids have only 30 days to find housing outside the city shelter system — unwelcomed pressure to find their own housing as winter settles in. Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is continuing to press the Biden administration to provide more help — as it has done for months. “As the temperature starts to drop, it is crucial — now more than ever — that the federal government finish the job they started,” Adams’ spokesperson Kayla Mamelak Altus said in a statement. “We need meaningful financial help and a national decompression strategy. New York City cannot continue to manage a national crisis almost entirely on its own.” Some advocacy groups are concerned about whether New York City’s massive tents that can sometimes hold 2,000 people will hold up through winter. Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said recent flooding created an unhealthy situation at some locations, saying there needs to be more permanent solution for people. “I think for us it really is everything coming to bear at a time when the weather is really cold,” Awawdeh said. Chicago’s looming frigid winter is pushing lawmakers to get migrants indoors — but the effort has exposed a divide between city officials and Black and brown residents, who have resisted the city’s attempt to build heated base camps for migrants in their neighborhoods. That in turn has delayed the process to get migrants out of the elements. “There’s a huge urgency, and it’s been a challenge because of the emotions,” Jason Lee, the top adviser to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, told POLITICO. Parts of Chicago’s South Side, known for its large Black community, are particularly uneasy about the attention to caring for migrants. “Residents are seeing that after all this time of promising something for us, nothing has come of it. Now you have folks who have just come to this country, and they’re being serviced,” said South Side Alderperson Ronnie Mosley. Chicago is also imposing a 60-day limit for shelter stays, mirroring New York, and working to construct two camps for the winter that can house migrants currently sleeping on floors or in tents. More than 24,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, with about 2,200 of those new arrivals huddled on the floors of police stations and at O’Hare International Airport waiting to get into a shelter. MOST READ house-judiciary-committee-86885.jpg Ken Buck blasts his party’s hardliners for ‘lying to America’ Would JFK Have Lost Had He Lived? China says surge in respiratory illnesses caused by flu and other known pathogens University of Florida turns against Joe Ladapo Christie: Trump deserves blame for rise in antisemitism Time is key in Chicago and other northern cities preparing for winter. The efforts, however, are complicated by the racial dynamics of Chicago. Traditionally underserved Black and brown communities are sensitive to the plight of immigrants on the streets, but they are also upset when they feel their needs, such as jobs and housing for people in their communities, are being ignored. “We know that people are people and anyone coming to seek refuge here shouldn’t be turned away or told that we can’t help,” Alderperson Andre Vasquez, who heads the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in an interview. “Neighbors on the ground understand it, as complex as it is.” In Massachusetts, migrant families could also face nights in the streets. The state is supposed to guarantee many homeless families and pregnant women are sheltered under its “right-to-shelter” law. Haitian immigrants step out of a van as they arrive at a shelter. Haitian immigrants step out of a van as they arrive at a shelter on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Quincy, Mass. | Steven Senne/AP But Gov. Maura Healey instituted a 7,500-family — or roughly 24,000-person — capacity limit on the state’s emergency shelter system because the first-term Democrat said the state is out of space, money and providers to safely house anyone else. The state hit that cap on Nov. 9. Now, migrant and homeless families seeking emergency assistance are being put on a waitlist for housing — an unprecedented move that has drawn backlash from homelessness-prevention advocates and an unsuccessful lawsuit from a nonprofit civil-rights advocacy group to stop it. The state estimates that about half of the homeless families being housed under the program are migrants. Families arriving at the state’s “welcome centers” are now being screened for medical and safety risks — such as high-risk pregnancies or exposure to threats of domestic violence — and, if there’s no shelter space available that day, turned away and told to return to the “last safe place” they stayed. The Healey administration seeded the United Way of Massachusetts Bay with $5 million to mete out to faith-based and community groups to open up temporary overnight shelters. The first site, for up to 27 families, or around 81 people, launched this week. But there were none operational for nearly two weeks after the waitlist went into effect, leading at least one Boston-based service provider to stockpile sleeping bags in case families needed to sleep in its office. Migrants, including children, were taken to Logan Airport only to be told they couldn’t sleep there, either. On Monday, Healey administration officials temporarily converted office space at a state transportation building into a shelter for up to 25 families a night. But the shelter is only expected to operate for two weeks. The move comes as the Biden administration has so far rebuffed the governor’s pleas for help standing up a larger group shelter for waitlisted families. Federal officials have, however, partnered with the state on a legal clinic to more quickly process migrants’ work permits, serving more than 1,000 migrants last week as it runs through month’s end. With additional federal dollars largely out of reach, Healey has instead been forced to return to state lawmakers — who already infused the shelter system with $410 million this year — for another $250 million. But two months after she requested it, the money remains mired in an inter-chamber battle between a Democratic-controlled House and Senate that can’t agree on whether to specify how Healey can use the funds. Advocacy groups have taken to the State House in recent days to protest lawmakers’ lack of a deal. “There is obviously a huge concern about the health and safety of people who are going to have no place to sleep and no place to turn,” said Andrea Park of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute that does housing advocacy work. ”I think that we’re going to see some very desperate situations.” Kelly Garrity contributed to this report. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Even though Americans support immigration, they have been willing to accept tougher prescriptions for enforcement — and their willingness could test how far hard-liners can go in 2024 with anti-immigrant proposals. Democrats, like Republicans, have been joining the drumbeat that there is a "crisis" at the border as the numbers of people the Border Patrol says it encounters hit record levels. Amid all this, former President Donald Trump promises to expand on the hard-line immigration policies of his first term, setting off alarm bells among immigration advocates and even some Republican conservatives. Trump has escalated his language with declarations that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country,” echoing Nazi rhetoric; proposing such drastic measures as a massive deportation sweep modeled after the Eisenhower-era “Operation Wetback”; and calling for detention camps that some see as similar to Japanese internment camps. Trump’s plans include ending the constitutional right to birthright citizenship, invoking a World War II law that allows the president to unilaterally detain and deport people who are not U.S. citizens and cutting off funding for transportation and shelter for people who lack legal status in the country, The Associated Press reported. All of it seems to be happening as there are signs of cracks in Americans' historic support for immigration. A June Gallup poll found Americans still think immigration is good for the country, at 68%, but that is the lowest percentage since 2014, when it was 63%, and down from 77% in 2020. A recent NBC News poll found that 3 in 4 registered voters favored Congress’ spending more money on border security to address immigration. Meanwhile, leaders in blue cities that have long welcomed immigrants complain of stretched resources with the influx of newcomers shuttled from Texas and other states. Dividing lines are emerging as immigrants who have worked for years without legal status see newly arrived asylum-seekers from countries like Venezuela get work permits. This month a number of immigration advocacy and progressive groups warned that Americans should take a breather and be careful what they wish for as they demand that something be done about the “border crisis.” “Trump’s immigration plan is not just about immigrants. Citizens are at risk, too,” said Tom Jawetz, the senior fellow for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. With immigration a top issue for voters in the 2024 elections, hard-liners already have been testing whether they can slip into those cracks in voters’ support for immigration, while progressives worry that Americans do not understand the wider impact of some of the policies. “What Trump is describing is not just about immigration policy. He’s not just firing up his voters for a primary season. He’s openly talking about changing who we are as a nation, who is considered American, who belongs to this country,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy group. “This is not normal, and we collectively cannot become desensitized to his rhetoric, because we already know the dangerous consequences of words and his actions.” Swept up in an immigration dragnet Todd Schulte, the president and executive director of FWD.us, an immigration advocacy group, said that “when you are talking about going after 1 million, 2 million, 3 million people a year based on their immigration status, you are talking about violating the civil liberties and basic rights of Americans who were born in this country and tens of millions of immigrants who come to this country every year." That happened in Arizona. Recommended CULTURE & TRENDS Jennifer Lopez announces new album and movie. Here are the latest details. Arizona’s SB 1070 law, signed in 2010, allows officers enforcing other laws to investigate the citizenship or immigration statuses of suspects and people they have stopped. The law initially went further, requiring officers to investigate the citizenship and immigration statuses of everyone they stopped, arrested or detained, leading to lawsuits as mostly Latino residents said they were unfairly targeted. Eventually, the courts struck down parts of SB 1070. But some states may test whether the conservative Supreme Court would be more open to revisiting the Arizona law to allow states to enforce immigration laws, a jurisdiction reserved for the federal government. In Texas, where Hispanics outnumber whites, and in Florida, where Hispanics are about a third of the population, Republican governors have enacted hard-line immigration policies, and communities are already seeing the impact. A law Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May invalidates out-of-state driver's licenses for undocumented people, makes hospitals ask for patients’ immigration statuses, sets a 15-year punishment for anyone found transporting undocumented people from outside the state into Florida and requires businesses to use an electronic system to verify employees are eligible to work in the U.S. The law has led workers and families to flee, including some citizens with family members who are not citizens. It has interfered with some of the work of religious people whose faith requires them to assist people regardless of their immigration status. In Texas, the state is trying to create its own immigration arrest force. A bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature would allow all peace officers in the state to arrest people they say entered the country illegally. Also awaiting Abbott’s signature are bills that would provide $1.54 billion for border security, including for border wall construction, and one that would assess 10-year penalties for smuggling or transporting people without legal status. The latter bill worries faith leaders who minister to congregations regardless of their immigration status, as is the case in Florida. "This language of an immigrant crisis is really the result of inaction. Congress refuses to act and then says we have a crisis. You can't have it both ways. You can't say we aren't going to do anything and then say we have a crisis," said Gabriel Salguero, the pastor of The Gathering Place, an Assemblies of God congregation in Orlando, Florida, and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. The Gallup poll found Americans' desire for less immigration has ticked up to 41%, the highest since 2014. Policy vs. politics Amid Republican criticism of Biden's handling of border and immigration issues, the Biden administration has touted its efforts to stem illegal immigration through enforcement and an expansion of legal pathways for those who are eligible. A commentary by the conservative Cato Institute based on its analysis of immigration actions under Trump and Biden found "Mr. Trump’s policies resulted in far fewer removals in absolute terms and a slightly higher percentage of released border crossers than Mr. Biden’s," and it posited that no administration can really eradicate migration. But Mike Madrid, a Latino political consultant who is a registered Republican, said immigration is being framed as a security issue and a security threat and that when it is coupled with constant images from the border, these factors "are clearly having an impact when Americans are already feeling crime is an issue already and they view the border as something that can and should be controlled." Madrid said that with voters, including Latino voters, demanding more border security, the door opens for some of Trump’s rhetoric and positions, along with those of the Republican governors. "If Joe Biden doesn't start articulating a clear, precise border security policy," he said, "they will continue to lose Latino voters and all voters at a time when they can't afford to lose any." José Parra, a political consultant who was an aide to the late Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, said that while there has been a slight shift in Americans' support for immigration, "I think it is a perception that the border is a bit out of control," adding, "I think Americans still support handling immigration in an orderly and humane way.” Parra said Trump is overreaching, as he did when he approved intentionally taking and separating migrant children from their mothers and fathers. Any "show me your papers" policies or Operation Wetback-like roundups could easily ensnare Latino Americans. They could also galvanize Americans against him and Republicans, which happened in Arizona and, long before that, in California, when the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 was implemented, he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
The number of people seeking asylum at the United States-Canada border or trying to cross into America has increased in the last year, which experts say is part of the larger global migration patterns they're seeing. U.S. authorities have repeatedly warned of the perils of crossing the northern border, especially in the winter months when temperatures can drop below zero and storms can aggravate the conditions. “It’s extremely dangerous with the cold weather, the cold water,” Brady Waikel, in charge of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in Niagara Falls, told WIVB-TV of Buffalo. Despite the dangers, more migrants, mostly Mexicans, decide to try and cross the northern border, the longest in the world at 5,525 miles. The border with Mexico measures 1,900 miles; then-President Donald Trump built 450 miles of border wall for about $1 billion. The most up-to-date figures from CBP recorded 189,402 encounters at the northern border in fiscal year 2023. This includes people who arrive at legal points of entry and turn themselves in to request asylum, as well as those who are captured after illegally crossing into the U.S. There were 10,021 arrests for illegal crossings in that period. According to an analysis by Noticias Telemundo, migrants from Mexico lead the number of illegal crossings from Canada, with 4,868 interceptions, up from 882 arrests in 2022. Other countries with the most migrant interceptions were India, at 1,630, compared to 237 arrests in 2022, and Venezuela, at 753, as opposed to five arrests the year before. “We have exceeded 6,700 apprehensions in less than 1 year, exceeding the previous 11 years combined,” Robert García, head of the Border Patrol in the Swanton, Vermont sector, said in early September on X. As of press time, CBP had not responded to Noticias Telemundo’s requests for an interview with García. Although the figures on the northern border are modest compared to the 2,045,838 encounters that CBP recorded on the border with Mexico during 2023, experts told Noticias Telemundo the numbers are rising. “Government immigration policies don't change the need or reasoning of people who decide to cross in one direction or another," said Shauna Labman, director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Winnipeg, Canada, who added that some people are fleeing and seeking protection and thus making "dangerous decisions." Migration Policy Institute analyst Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh said they're seeing high levels of migration around the world, the highest since World War II. "People are moving at a faster rate than in the past, and that is also seen in the north," she said. For more from NBC Latino, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy published a series of TikTok videos in October where he walked along hiking trails in Canada near Pittsburg, New Hampshire and crossed a stream into the U.S., saying it was easier than crossing the Rio Grande. “Don’t just build the wall. Build both walls,” he said during the Nov. 8 Republican primary debate. Regarding Ramaswamy’s proposal to build two border walls in the U.S., experts said it would be an extremely expensive — and ineffective — solution. “I think it would not be viable for several reasons. One of them is that the barriers on the border between the United States and Mexico have been shown to not slow migration but, in fact, push migration into certain corridors where people can cross," Putzel-Kavanaugh said. "The other point is that the northern border has a variety of geographies with rivers, lakes, forests and that would be a challenge because of the environmental impacts." Crossings turn deadly Sometimes, the risk that immigration agents warn about is illustrated tragically: José Leos Cervantes, 45, originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, collapsed after crossing the border into the U.S. from Quebec at the end of February and was pronounced dead at a hospital. In March, eight people from two families, one from Romania and one from India, died while trying to cross the St. Lawrence River. Their bodies were found in Akwesasne Mohawk territory, which straddles the Canada-U.S. border. “It also happens that many people cannot find work in Canada and try to go to the United States. But it is very dangerous, there are always very tragic cases of people who lose their fingers, their clothes stick to their skin, and some die from freezing or for other reasons,” Camelia Tigau, a visiting professor at the University of Toronto and a scholar at the Center for Research on North America at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Noticias Telemundo. Another aspect that complicates the situation along the northern border is that states have transferred migrants who entered through Mexico to areas near Canada, so they can request asylum in the neighboring country in search of better job opportunities, health benefits and a more nimble immigration system. Recommended LIVE UPDATES Source says there will be a truce extension; details being finalized ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR Suspect in Burlington shooting allegedly told ATF agent: 'I've been waiting for you' Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez, a Venezuelan migrant who was transferred in February from Arizona to Plattsburgh, New York, told Noticias Telemundo that being sent north hasn't been easy. "Well, we have to get to Canada and start producing to send to our family; I left Venezuela months ago," he said. "A shelter organization — in Denver paid for our ticket, but here we've been practically stranded. ... We weren't counting on them to leave us here." The increased presence of border agents along the northern border has had repercussions for Latino communities living in Vermont where migrants often work in the dairy industry. "Immigration’s response is to mobilize more agents to these border places with Canada like Vermont and New York — now they ask everyone for documents and there are more deportations, too," said Nacho de la Cruz, a community leader in Vermont. He said it has impacted Latinos who have legal status "but are discriminated against because they speak Spanish." Canadian asylum numbers rise after changes Canada is seeing more claims for asylum: Figures released by Canada’s immigration, refugee and citizenship agency show that 7,270 asylum applications were processed in September alone. In 2022, by contrast, the monthly average was 3,600 applications and it was fewer than 1,100 in 2021. The increase in asylum claims, experts say, is due to more global migration, as well as changes the country did to help clear a post-Covid backlog of visa cases that was disrupting trade and tourism. The Canadian government recently waived certain visa requirements, specifically the one that ensured a person left at the end of an authorized stay, according to Fernando Torres, an immigration lawyer based in Vancouver, Canada. Also since March, after an agreement between Canada and the U.S., a person entering Canada through an unofficial point of entry from the U.S. would lose the right to request asylum. Since then, while irregular land crossings to Quebec have dropped to double digits, the number of asylum-seekers arriving legally at airports across the country has more than tripled, from 1,595 in March to 5,435 in September. “It is illegal to enter between ports of entry and it's not safe. We encourage asylum seekers to cross the border at designated ports of entry. The Safe Third Country Agreement applies to the entire land border,” Karine Martel, spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, said in a statement to Noticias Telemundo. Migrant smuggling increases A Times Union investigation reviewed dozens of court records that showed that the boom in northern border crossings has become a lucrative opportunity for smuggling rings that earn tens of thousands of dollars for each group they transport across the border. The cases reveal that New York has rapidly grown as an immigration corridor and a human trafficking node. Migrants take a flight from Mexico to travel to Toronto or Montreal. Some stay there for a few months to work, but then often contact a smuggler and agree to pay for their services to cross the U.S. border. Despite the harsh weather conditions, for many people the northern border is more attractive since they don't deal with the gangs that kidnap and exploit migrants arriving in the southern region. In addition, Mexicans don't need a visa to enter Canada, which various experts said can encourage the current rise in migration. Noticias Telemundo conducted searches on social networks such as TikTok with key terms such as “crossing from Canada to the US”, “passing to the United States from Canada”, and counted more than 40 videos of people explaining what their experience was like when crossing the border illegally and even offer their services as “guides” by direct message. “The coyotes (smugglers) are now worse. Now there are coyotes online who have YouTube channels, Instagram and TikTok accounts that promote this type of absolutely irregular immigration," said Torres, the immigration lawyer in Vancouver. "As a lawyer, I do not recommend anyone to cross illegally, that only brings them problems." Diana Cruz, a Mexican migrant, shared her experience on TikTok and said smugglers charged her and other family members more than $5,000 to cross the U.S. border from Canada. She was detained for several days by U.S. immigration authorities. “From the beginning everything was bad — the people who are dedicated to dropping you off at the point in Canada lost us twice," she said of the smugglers. "They made us get off and enter the forest at a point where it wasn’t supposed to be. ... We got lost and when we got to the highway in the United States, we heard voices and they were from immigration." “I spent Dec. 24 locked up, without communication, without my family," Cruz warned about her experience. Even after she was released, she warned people thinking of crossing illegally to "think about it, because they throw you like a dog in the street and they don’t care if you have a way to communicate." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — In New York, migrants at a city-run shelter grumble that relatives who settled before them refuse to offer a bed. In Chicago, a provider of mental health services to people in the country illegally pivoted to new arrivals sleeping at a police station across the street. In South Florida, some immigrants complain that people who came later get work permits that are out of reach for them. Across the country, mayors, governors and others have been forceful advocates for newly arrived migrants seeking shelter and work permits. Their efforts and existing laws have exposed tensions among immigrants who have been in the country for years, even decades, and don’t have the same benefits, notably work permits. And some new arrivals feel established immigrants have given them cold shoulders. Thousands of immigrants marched this month in Washington to ask that President Joe Biden extend work authorization to longtime residents as well. Signs read, “Work permits for all!” and “I have been waiting 34 years for a permit.” ADVERTISEMENT Despite a brief lull when new asylum restrictions took effect in May, arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico topped 2 million for the second year in a row in the government’s budget year ending Sept. 30. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been legally admitted to the country over the last year under new policies aimed at discouraging illegal crossings. OTHER NEWS US Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his aircraft prior to departure, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he travels to Brussels for a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP) Ukraine and the Western Balkans top Blinken’s agenda for NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Georgia running back Daijun Edwards (30) is chased by Georgia Tech defensive lineman Kevin Harris (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP Top 25 Reality: Time for upsets has passed with little chaos and ranked teams with gaudy records Washington's Grady Gross is carried off the field after kicking the winning field goal against Washington State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Seattle. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP) AP Top 25: No. 3 Washington, No. 5 Oregon move up, give Pac-12 2 in top 5 for 1st time since 2016 “The growing wave of arrivals make our immigration advocacy more challenging. Their arrival has created some tensions, some questioning,” said U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, a Chicago Democrat whose largely Latino district includes a large immigrant population. People have been “waiting for decades for an opportunity to get a green card to legalize and have a pathway to citizenship.” Asylum-seekers must wait six months for work authorization. Processing takes no more than 1.5 months for 80% of applicants, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those who cross the border on the Biden administration’s new legal pathways have no required waiting period at all. Under temporary legal status known as parole, 270,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela arrived through October by applying online with a financial sponsor. Another 324,000 got appointments to enter at a land crossing with Mexico by using a mobile app called CBP One. The administration said in September that it would work to reduce wait times for work permits to 30 days for those using the new pathways. By late September, it had blasted 1.4 million emails and texts reminding who was eligible to work. ADVERTISEMENT José Guerrero, who worked in construction after arriving 27 years ago from Mexico, acknowledged many new arrivals felt compelled to flee their countries. He says he wants the same treatment. “All these immigrants come and they give them everything so easily, and nothing to us that have been working for years and paying taxes,” Guerrero, now a landscaper in Homestead, Florida, about 39 miles (63 kilometers) south of Miami. “They give these people everything in their hands.” The White House is asking Congress for $1.4 billion for food, shelter and other services for new arrivals. The mayors of New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston wrote to Biden last month to seek $5 billion, noting the influx has drained budgets and cut essential services. The mayors also support temporary status — and work permits — for people who have been in the U.S. longer but have focused on new arrivals. “All of the newcomers arriving in our cities are looking for the chance to work, and every day we get calls from business leaders who have unfilled jobs and want to hire these newcomers,” the mayors wrote. “We can successfully welcome and integrate these newcomers and help them pursue the American Dream if they have a chance to work.” ADVERTISEMENT Many new arrivals are indisputably in dire circumstances, including some who hoped to join relatives and friends but find their calls blocked and messages unreturned. Angel Hernandez, a Venezuelan who walked through Panama’s notorious Darién Gap rainforest, where he witnessed corpses, was sorely disappointed when he reached New York. The construction worker said he and his aunt, uncle and their two children left Colombia after more than three years because work dried up. Hernandez, 20, planned to settle with his uncle’s brother, who settled in the United States about a year earlier and lives in a house with a steady job. His job search has been fruitless. “Everyone is out for themselves,” he said outside the Roosevelt Hotel, a Midtown Manhattan property that was closed until the city opened it for migrants in May. The influx has put many immigrant services groups in a financial bind. ADVERTISEMENT For decades, the Latino Treatment Center has provided help with drug abuse to many immigrants living in Chicago without legal status. It started helping new arrivals sleeping at the police station across the street, fixing a shower in the office for migrants to use a few days a week and offering counseling. “It is such a unique situation that we weren’t set up for,” said Adriana Trino, the group’s executive director. “This has been a whole different wheelhouse, the needs are so different.” Many organizations deny friction and say they have been able to make ends meet. “We’re trying to keep a balance of doing both — people who have been here for years and people who are arriving, and so far we have been able to serve everybody,” said Diego Torres of the Latin American Coalition, which assists immigrants in Charlotte, North Carolina. In Atlanta, the Latin American Association says it has spent $50,000 this year on temporary housing and other aid for new arrivals. Santiago Marquez, the organization’s chief executive, hasn’t sensed resentment. ADVERTISEMENT “Our core clients – most of them are immigrants – they understand the plight,” he said. “They’ve gone through it. They understand.” Still, it’s easy to find immigrants with deep roots in the United States who chafe about unequal treatment. A 45-year-old Mexican woman who came to the United States 25 years ago and has three U.S.-born children said it was unfair that new arrivals get work permits over her. She earns $150 a week picking sweet potatoes in Homestead. “For a humanitarian reason, they are giving opportunities to those who are arriving, and what is the humanity with us?” said the woman, who asked that she be identified by her last name only, Hernandez, because she fears being deported. The Washington rally reflected an effort by advocates to push for work permits for all, regardless of when they came. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
For all the chaos at the border, the one thing that President Biden has been credited for is his aggressive use of executive action to decrease the need for immigrants to enter at the border. Lacking any congressional action on immigration, Biden has paroled people in the United States so long as they apply from abroad and do not cross over the border illegally. This expansion initially resulted in a dramatic decrease of persons seeking entry at the border, with sources reporting as much as a 95 percent decrease in the first month of the program. This contributed to an overall decrease of persons at the border significant enough to bring border encounters to its lowest number in two years by the summer. Yet for all its success, this program is the foundation of a coming immigration crisis. The program, started in January 2023, is set to expire around the time that either Biden or former President Trump’s second inauguration. That will render 2 million people who had been legally working and living in the United States illegal. Without congressional action, our crisis will not be just at the border but within it as well. Humanitarian parole is a discretionary grant of temporary permission to enter the United States for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The parole is limited to two years, and during that period, parolees must either find another visa status, file for asylum or return to their home country. For more than 70 years, the program has been used to admit individuals from countries such as Hungary, Cuba tand Vietnam. Initially, the Biden administration used it as a tool to admit individuals quickly from war-torn Ukraine and Afghanistan. As the number of migrants at the southern border increased, however, the administration turned to humanitarian parole. ADVERTISING So long as applicants did not try to enter the U.S. at the border, citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela (CHNV) were allowed to come into the U.S. to live and work. Up to 30,000 persons a month were allowed to take part in the program. These migrants have been a godsend for many U.S. communities and businesses, with as many as 1 million American citizens personally sponsoring them. No less than Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has credited increasing migrant numbers with keeping the economy afloat. While the U.S. economy has added jobs thanks to these migrants, and unemployment has decreased, millions of jobs remain available that no American is able or willing to fulfill. The shortage is hamstringing key industries. North Dakota, which boasts a quickly rising oil industry, has only 30 employable people per 100 jobs available; and South Carolina, which plays host to major production centers for foreign car manufacturers such as BMW, as well as Boeing, has only 43 employable persons per 100 jobs available. Yet, Trump has threatened to undo the lives of these 2 million and wreck the U.S. economy in the process. On the campaign trail, Trump has not been shy about his intent to crack down on immigration if elected to a second term. He has pledged to launch the largest deportation effort in U.S. history and cancel humanitarian parole for the millions who are already legally here. This plan includes establishing processing camps and using large-scale roundups to deport millions of people, going so far as to allocate military funding to the effort. This means that under Trump, 2 million immigrant workers could lose their status, be rounded into camps and be deported en masse. Knowing this, the Biden administration and Congress owe it to these individuals, the businesses that employ them and the American public to find a solution. And workable solutions are available. The simplest solution, and one under Biden’s powers, would be to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protections to all these humanitarian parolees. This would extend parolees’ timelines and provide them an opportunity to apply for a green card while in the U.S. In conjunction with offering TPS, the Biden administration should immediately push for the passing of the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would offer protection for around 60,000 of these parolees. In waiting to provide permanent pathways for these parolees to remain in the United States, the Biden administration may be causing a problem so big that it will be impossible to fix. The U.S. immigration system, mostly unchanged since the 1990s, desperately requires policy reform to meet the nation’s needs. That should have happened decades ago. Now, as Congress declines to act on this issue, President Biden must utilize all available measures to safeguard the system’s integrity, aligning it with the needs of hundreds of thousands of parole seekers and domestic economic interests. Christopher Richardson is an immigration attorney, consultant and former U.S. diplomat. He is general counsel and COO of BDV Solutions. Ben McEuen is a paralegal and juris doctor candidate at the University of Dayton School of Law. He serves as a senior immigration specialist at BDV Solutions. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.
The Biden administration has asked Congress for $106 billion in supplemental funding for the current fiscal year for “national security priorities,” including Ukraine, Israel and the border. Notably, the administration is asking for as much money for border management as it is for Israel — $14 billion. The request represents what the administration believes are our country’s highest national security priorities. That border management has been included in this list of defense and foreign policy priorities paints in stark relief the crisis at our borders and the need for practical solutions to end that crisis. However, there has been a distinct lack of serious conversations among policy leaders and lawmakers on how to solve it. Money alone will not be enough. A group of visiting scholars at the Cornell Law School Immigration Law and Policy Program recently released a white paper outlining what we believe are three priority areas for immigration reform that have the potential to break through partisan deadlock. Along with proposals to address labor shortages and the status of Dreamers, much of the paper proposes solutions for the border. This recognizes both the central role that border security plays in the current political landscape and that this issue desperately needs realistic and bipartisan solutions. ADVERTISING The paper notes the drastic changes that have overtaken the border in the last decade: the shift from Mexican migrants seeking work to migrants from around the world seeking asylum, the shift from a majority of arrestees being deported quickly to an overwhelming number of migrants released into the United States to pursue their claim in immigration courts, and the shift from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detaining migrants for court cases to mass releases of migrants directly from Border Patrol to shelters or on the streets of border towns. These shifts mark what we believe is a new paradigm at the border that our existing immigration laws, processes and infrastructure cannot solve. Instead, we propose the following policies to reform our current border and asylum systems: Make it a priority to go after smugglers and criminal cartels who are making billions of dollars from desperate migrants and encouraging illegal migration. These are not the small, unsophisticated “coyotes” of yesteryear. The transnational criminal organizations that control the drug trade in the hemisphere now see moving migrants as another line of business for their illegal enterprises. And just as they have done with smuggling drugs and money, these cartels are continually finding ways to take advantage of our inconsistent and changing border policies and processes to facilitate the arrival of large groups of migrants. Create alternatives for those seeking protection and allow for decisions long before migrants come to the border. Most migrants arriving at the border do not understand the U.S. immigration system or what it takes to enter legally (something the smugglers try to keep them from knowing). So, by reaching out to migrants before they journey to the border, we can help them understand whether asylum is realistic for them or if there are other legal ways for them to enter the United States. If we match this with an expansion of refugee processing in the region and create alternate legal paths for work or family reunification, we can take some pressure off the border. Reform the asylum system for border arrivals to return it to its rightful place as the last resort for those who need protection, not the first option for those seeking to immigrate. While some would like to see us just stop all asylum at the border, most Americans still believe we can and should offer protection to those who really need it. U.S. and international law also require us to do so. But the current situation is simply overwhelming our system. We can’t offer protection to those who need it or decide in a reasonably fast time frame that they don’t qualify and return them. We propose creating a separate and expedited asylum process for migrants who cross the border illegally between ports of entry while expanding and incentivizing processing at ports of entry. Combined with alternative legal paths such as expanded refugee processing and parole at centers in Latin America, these new incentives/disincentives could reduce the demand for smugglers and irregular migration to more manageable levels and get the Border Patrol back to its primary role of catching those trying to avoid capture. Create a new Office of Migration Policy. Finally, given the dysfunctional failure of coordination among the many federal agencies and departments involved in our immigration system that has exacerbated the problems at the border and made cohesive policy crafting and implementation next to impossible, we propose creating a new statutory Office of Migration Policy in the White House to oversee policy and operational coordination and budget requests for the government’s efforts to implement all parts of our immigration system. We understand that Congress and the White House are talking about some changes to the border as part of its funding package. But getting Congress to legislate on any immigration issue is an uphill battle. Still, political slogans and a reversion to past failed strategies will not solve our border security problems. We need new ideas. My coauthors and I hope the proposals in our white paper will prompt realistic solutions. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.