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


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Beware the coming immigration crisis

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/.

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