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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


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Republicans have a bold new demand for Ukraine aid

Bipartisan talks on border enforcement are getting more turbulent over a Senate GOP demand to sharply reduce border crossings — and possibly hold up delivery of Ukraine aid as a way to compel the White House to stick to any agreement. Illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border have reached record highs, surpassing two million this year so far with Venezuelans making up the largest group of migrants. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. told Semafor that any acceptable deal would seek to cut those by at least half, which would still leave them higher than under the Trump administration. “I try to be a reasonable guy,” he said. Two Senate aides briefed on the talks said discussions are hitting a snag over how reductions in border crossings would be measured. In addition, Republicans have discussed imposing penalties, like withholding the delivery of military supplies to Ukraine, if the White House fails to hit its border crossing targets. “If you don’t reduce the numbers of illegals coming across the border, there’s no money for new Stinger missiles or F-16’s or whatever the case might be,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told Semafor, adding the measure would be meant to “discipline enforcement” with the White House. Top Republicans, including Minority leader Mitch McConnell, have warned that the GOP is unlikely to back another round of military aid to Kyiv unless the bill also includes a significant border security measures for the U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second-ranked Senate Republican, told Semafor that “there isn’t anything that has been settled” when it comes to the idea of tying Ukraine assistance to specific border benchmarks. “There is a concern — and a valid one — that anything we pass won’t be enforced by this administration,” he said. “And if you don’t have some appropriate metrics and consequences, you can put all the best policy out there but they’ll just ignore it.” Title iconJOSEPH’S VIEW In some ways, Republicans are proposing a new twist on an old Capitol Hill idea. During the Gang of Eight immigration talks in 2013, Senators discussed including a “trigger” that would open up a path to citizenship for undocumented residents only once the administration could certify that the border was secure. But tying something unrelated to immigration, such as Ukraine aid, to a measurable decline in border crossings would be a novel move. “I’ve never heard anything like that before,” Tom Jawetz, a former deputy general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who’s now a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, said. Democrats would also be taking a major gamble if they agreed to condition aid to Ukraine on a sharp drop in border crossings that might never materialize. It’s not clear many have an appetite for such an unusual bet. “Ukraine is on the front lines for us and we have to find a way not to fail in our obligation to ourselves and to the rest of the world to fund Ukraine in our own interests,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., a Democratic negotiator, told Semafor. “The battlefield Putin is trying to win on is Capitol Hill.” Title iconROOM FOR DISAGREEMENT Tillis suggested that, while Democrats might not love it, adding a border security trigger to the package could help win votes in the GOP-controlled House, where Republicans are less gung ho about Kyiv’s war effort. “Keep in mind, this is not Chuck Schumer setting the agenda for the House. We’ve got to deal with the House,” Tillis told reporters. “And if people want this funding, they got to take that into consideration.” Semafor Logo Copy link Diego Mendoza Diego Mendoza/The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to keep Florida’s anti-drag law blocked. Florida’s government had asked the Supreme Court to limit the scope of a lower court’s injunction on the law, which the court refused to do. Three of the court’s conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, said they would have allowed the law to be enforced. But Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett sided with all three of the court’s liberal justices, noting the case’s complex first amendment considerations in a brief statement. The law was one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ key social policies as part of the politicization of the culture war, and would have criminalized the admittance of a child to an “adult live performance” that the state deems sexually explicit. The war on “wokeness” has ”faded as an issue in an increasingly uncompetitive [Republican] primary,” writes Semafor’s David Weigel. To demean DeSantis’ defining agenda, former president Donald Trump — the frontrunner in the GOP presidential race — called the anti-woke messaging weird and irrelevant, “and plenty of primary voters took their cues from him,” Weigel writes. That coupled with the less-than-impressive electoral impact of anti-wokeness campaigns, and the fact that progressives weren’t really focused on the issue either, means that “woke is receding,” one conservative commentator told Weigel. “Anti-woke only really works in a dialectic where woke is a powerful force.” Other DeSantis initiatives are being scrutinized for potentially violating First Amendment rights. The governor’s “Stop WOKE Act” — which aimed to limit companies from implementing racial bias trainings — and parts of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law have already been been blocked by federal courts for constitutional violations. And on Thursday, the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter sued DeSantis for deactivating their group. “A university campus is the place where... there should be raucous, uncontrolled, political debate, limited only by the fact that nobody has the right to make threats or threats of violence,” said the interim director of Florida’s ACLU chapter. China may send new pandas to the US as ‘envoys of friendship’ Nov 16, 2023, 8:51am PST Karina Tsui/Chinese leader Xi Jinping suggested that Beijing may send new pandas to the U.S. as “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.” “We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States on panda conservation, and do our best to meet the wishes of the Californians so as to deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples,” Xi said Wednesday, after he and U.S. President Joe Biden met in person for the first time in a year at the APEC summit in San Francisco. Xi did not disclose details on when the pandas might be gifted, but suggested that the next pair will most likely be based at the San Diego Zoo in California, the Associated Press reported. Xi’s announcement comes a week after the Smithsonian National Zoo returned its three beloved pandas to China after 23 years in DC, leaving the Atlanta zoo as the only institution to house giant pandas in the U.S. Chinese law stipulates that all pandas – even those born outside the country – are property of the Chinese government, meaning those at zoos are dependent on a lease. To many observers, the return of Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Xiao Qi Ji suggested the end of China’s “panda diplomacy” in the U.S., but Xi’s announcement shows otherwise. “I was told that many American people, especially children, were really reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas, and went to the zoo to see them off,” Xi said, adding that he learned that the people in California “very much look forward to welcoming pandas back.” Before the Xi-Biden meeting, China watchers were skeptical about Beijing renewing panda diplomacy with the U.S. Their meeting wasn’t expected to “change the trajectory of relations,” and the two leaders were instead looking for a “cosmetic, cost-free lowering of the temperature,” a former U.S. envoy to China told the New Yorker. With such “existential problems” it was unlikely that Biden would have asked Xi for more pandas, the New Yorker wrote. Even so, Washington has remained committed to working with China on panda research and conservation, the New Yorker writes. The National Zoo has conducted groundbreaking research on tracking gene diversity to prevent extinction of the species. The zoo also arranged for its pandas to get specific COVID-19 vaccines, which China does not have for its bears. Argentina’s AI election heralds a new future for politics Nov 16, 2023, 5:01am PST A campaign poster of Argentine presidential candidate Sergio Massa is pictured outside the Ministry of Economy building ahead of the November 19 runoff election, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 15, 2023. REUTERS/Agustin Jenna Moon/Argentina’s presidential candidates are using images generated by artificial intelligence for their campaigns ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated runoff. As the technology becomes ubiquitous, Argentina’s might be the first election where its use is so widespread, but experts believe that AI will increasingly become a feature — and possibly a threat — in future polls around the world. In Argentina, the two vying presidential candidates are using the technology to generate campaign posters and videos, The New York Times reported, in an article asking if Argentina’s is the first AI election. But their use of such content to promote themselves and attack each other is raising questions. “It’s a slippery slope,” Isabelle Frances-Wright, head of technology and society at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London, told the outlet. “In a year from now, what already seems very realistic will only seem more so.” AI could transform elections in 2024, argues a senior fellow for the Brookings Institution. In key upcoming votes including in the U.S. and India, campaigners are eyeing using the tech to target swing voters. AI will help them “go after specific voting blocs with appeals that nudge them around particular policies and partisan opinions,” Darrell West wrote in a May report for the think tank. Taiwan’s upcoming election poses another AI battleground, Helen Fitzwilliam recently wrote for Chatham House, saying voters expect to become the target of some 100,000 Chinese hackers. “Considering 75 per cent of Taiwanese receive news and information through social media, the online sphere is a key battleground,” she said. Meta rolled out new rules last week in a move to curb AI misinformation, saying political ads that have been digitally altered or generated must be marked as such. But some are questioning whether the policy will do much to curb bad actors: People “who want to abuse generative AI will probably not disclose it, so I’m not exactly sure how they will enforce it,” Sacha Altay, a researcher in the Digital Democracy Lab at the University of Zurich, told Time magazine. Ultimately, it will depend on how politicians use “the information ecosystem” to gain votes, “even if they lie and spread misinformation,” Altay added. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

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