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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


Monday, November 27, 2023

Biden has the right border plan, but arbitrary caps have actually blocked legal migration

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/.

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