About Me

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


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for International Students

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance regarding the F and M student nonimmigrant classifications, including the agency’s role in adjudicating applications for employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status for these students and their dependents in the United States. This guidance consolidates existing policy. USCIS expects that this will provide welcome clarity to international students and U.S. educational institutions on a wealth of topics, including eligibility requirements, school transfers, practical training, and on- and off-campus employment. For example, the guidance clarifies that F and M students must have a foreign residence that they do not intend to abandon, but that such students may be the beneficiary of a permanent labor certification application or immigrant visa petition and may still be able to demonstrate their intention to depart after a temporary period of stay. In addition, the guidance specifies how F students seeking an extension of optional practical training (OPT) based on their degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field may be employed by startup companies, as long as the employer adheres to the training plan requirements, remains in good standing with E-Verify, and provides compensation commensurate to that provided to similarly situated U.S. workers, among other requirements. The nonimmigrant academic student (F-1) classification allows a noncitizen to enter the United States as a full-time student at a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution, or in a language training program. The nonimmigrant vocational student (M-1) classification includes students in established vocational or other recognized nonacademic programs, other than language training programs. For more information about the USCIS guidance, see the Policy Alert and Volume 2, Part F of the Policy Manual. For more information about the role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in administering these nonimmigrant student programs, see the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS). For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Ukraine vs. the US border: They are not alike

Some Republicans in Congress are using a false analogy in their attempts to add harsh border policies to the supplemental funding bill. They have linked the war in Ukraine to the U.S. border by suggesting that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is similar to the entry of migrants into the U.S. at the southern border. In recently introducing a restrictive border plan and tying its adoption to the passage of U.S. aid to Ukraine, Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) equated the two situations: "We are not going to secure other countries and not secure ours." It is deceptive messaging and dangerous policy, as the war in Ukraine is nothing like what is happening on our southern border. It should be clear. Ukraine was invaded by a hostile and larger neighbor — one of the largest armies in the world. They continue to face an existential threat — the possibility of having their country erased from the earth and subsumed into another one. Without U.S. and European support, this is a real possibility with adverse global consequences, including for the United States. Should Ukraine lose the war, both Russia and China will be emboldened, increasing the chances for a direct conflict with the U.S. The U.S.-Mexico border is another story altogether. While the numbers arriving at the border from our hemisphere and beyond are high, they do not represent a threat to our country akin to the Ukrainian situation. ADVERTISEMENT Despite the use of fear tactics from immigration opponents, no terrorist attacks against our nation have originated from an undocumented immigrant crossing the southern border. The 9/11 terrorists entered legally, on student visas. And the unprecedented increase in immigration enforcement at the border since that fateful day has diminished the possibility significantly. Nevertheless, Republican senators have conditioned aid to Ukraine upon policy changes that would make it virtually impossible for a migrant to qualify for asylum, as they would codify a ban on asylum for those who do not apply in a transit country. The measures also would install a Title 42-type authority to close the border when an administration decides it is needed to attain operational control of the border — a very subjective standard. Perhaps most troubling, the proposal would change the standard for qualifying for an asylum hearing, determined through a credible fear interview, to a much higher legal standard. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the adoption of this new standard would endanger people's lives, as bona fide asylum seekers would be subject to expedited removal to their persecutors. Asylum-seeking migrants wait to be transported by U.S. law enforcement officers after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 24. (OSV News/Reuters/Go Nakamura) Asylum-seeking migrants wait to be transported by U.S. law enforcement officers after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 24. (OSV News/Reuters/Go Nakamura) Moreover, one should not assume that making it tougher to qualify for credible fear would significantly stem the flow of migrants to the United States, as asylum seekers, desperate to survive, may try other ways to enter the country. To put it mildly, the proposal is an overreach. Despite assertions to the contrary, increased encounters at the border do not necessarily translate into a spike in the undocumented population in the country, as other groups, such as Mexicans, are leaving the country to return home. A recent study by the Center for Migration Studies of New York found an increase of only 100,000 undocumented persons in 2021 — statistically zero growth — at the same time apprehensions at the southern border began to rise. Buoyed by their ability to win political points with their base on immigration, some Republicans are now willing to jeopardize U.S. national security for their immigration agenda by blocking funding for Ukraine. Long gone is the time when Republicans, echoing President Ronald Reagan, were on the front line of the Cold War as hawks against an expansionist former Soviet Union. Sadly, we are at a place where everything, including global stability, is being risked for the sake of immigration politics. TWEET THIS Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that this latest push is coming from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Lankford, who should know better. They have been involved in negotiations on a comprehensive immigration bill in the past and know that it represents the best path toward repairing a broken system. Has statesmanship in the GOP been forgotten without Sen. John McCain? Indeed, the U.S. asylum system requires reform, but it should not be done in a vacuum and with one side holding a gun in their hand. Any meaningful immigration reform must go through both sides of the aisle and the regular order for it to have legitimacy. Democrats, including President Joe Biden, should insist on this and reject a one-sided compromise on the supplemental funding bill. Whether immigration opponents like it or not, immigration reform must happen, sooner rather than later. Congress can balance immigration enforcement with legal migration to create a system that benefits our economy and upholds the rule of law. Sadly, we are at a place where everything, including global stability, is being risked for the sake of immigration politics. The failure to act on bipartisan immigration reform legislation may soon hurt the country not just at the border, but around the world. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Hispanic leaders on border talks: It’s a trap

Hispanic leaders are warning President Biden and Democratic leaders to step away from border policy talks with Republicans, or risk losing political support ahead of a crucial election year. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Wednesday came out in a show of force, amid reports that the White House has officially joined Senate talks pairing permanent changes to border laws with temporary aid to Ukraine. “Republicans continue to hold funding for America’s allies hostage at the expense of migrants and to pass Trump-era border policies. Republicans are pitting vulnerable groups against each other to strong-arm policies that will exacerbate chaos at the southern border,” said CHC Chair Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.). “We are urging the Biden administration to say no, do not take the bait.” Hispanic and immigration leaders both within and outside the halls of Congress are irate that Democrats, including the White House, are considering policies they decried under the Trump administration. “What we hear is on the table in these quote-unquote negotiations — a return to Trump-era policies — is not the fix, in fact it will make the problem worse. Mass detention, gutting our asylum system. Title 42 on steroids. It is unconscionable. That is not the way to fix our immigration system,” said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee. But CHC members are not just incensed about the substance of talks, they are appalled by negotiators horse-trading on immigration without consulting the group. “Not a single member of the CHC was given a heads-up that the administration would be proposing or considering these right-wing non-starters, despite outreach for many of us over the last several weeks from requesting to meet in person with a White House chief of staff,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who stepped back from the limelight after a federal corruption indictment in September, but has been vocal in opposition to the border-Ukraine talks. “That is a hard slap in the face to all the Latino and immigrant communities we represent. Imagine the administration trying to cut a deal on voting rights or civil rights without bringing any members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the table — that would never be tolerated. And we absolutely cannot tolerate this either.” The implication behind excluding the CHC is twofold: that the group is neither powerful nor united enough to stand up to leadership and the White House, and that its members are incapable of providing a sober assessment of the issue. The CHC has not taken kindly to that apparent condescension. “We’re not the don’t-do-anything caucus. Do we want to address, do we want to update and modernize our immigration system? Absolutely. We know it needs to happen and we know what needs to happen if you’re genuine about improving the system. This is not it,” said Padilla. Grassroots Hispanic groups are backing the CHC, in large part because the current negotiations reflect a historical trend where immigration policy has been dictated to, rather than with, immigrant communities. “For too long, we have been the political piñata, enduring broken promises that fail to address decades of neglect and abuse through an outdated immigration policy that is not working,” said Domingo García, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the country’s oldest Latino civil rights group. Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights organization, noted the policies under consideration would “expand the mandatory detention of migrants — including children and families — and lead to the rapid deportation of long-term immigrants.” “The Latino community — over 62 million strong — wants effective and humane solutions to strengthen our borders and protect people who are seeking security and opportunity in our country,” said Murguía. Latino leaders say Biden’s political calculation — throwing the kitchen sink at the issue to appease voters worried about border security — is destined to fail, because it will depress Latino participation in key states. “I have to go and ask people to vote for Biden, and get them out next November, because the alternative is so bad. But why does it have to be that we have to ask Latinos to vote for the Democrat because the Republican is so bad?” asked former Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), a vocal immigration advocate who will spend the next year campaigning among Hispanic voters in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Georgia with Casa en Acción, the political arm of a top mid-Atlantic immigrant advocacy group. “Why can’t we say because we’re good? Why don’t we give them a good reason? We always have to give them — how would I say — ‘The monster’s coming. We must all stop the monster.'” The White House saw its position bolstered, however, with a national poll conducted by YouGov for Blueprint, an initiative to direct Democratic strategy through public opinion. According to the poll, first reported by Politico, a majority of voters support the Ukraine-border deal, and 55 percent would rather get Ukraine aid tied to border policy, risking the aid, than passing it now and dealing with border policy later. The poll was conducted nationally — entirely in English — among 1,012 voters between Dec. 2 and Dec. 5, long before controversy over negotiations had heated up; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. But Hispanic and immigrant community leaders say the White House is flying blind without their advice and that what’s being negotiated won’t improve conditions at the border. “It is imperative that my Senate colleagues and the White House understand what is on the table are policies so extreme that if enacted, it would literally be the most exclusionary restrictive immigration legislation since the racial quota laws of the 1920s, literally turning the clock back 100 years,” said CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). If those policies are enacted, CHC members say, conditions at the southern border will worsen, further alienating voters who worry about chaos there. “Republicans have set up this trap, where if they make it harder to legally migrate here, there will be more irregular migration. Then they can go and complain about that irregular migration and try to win elections. We can’t fall into that trap,” said Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas), adding, “Hispanic Caucus members know it’s a trap. “And we’re trying to warn the rest of the Congress, the rest of our Democratic colleagues not to take this Republican bait.” Though Senate negotiators seem to be all in with White House and leadership support, House Democratic leadership is keeping its powder dry. “It’s hard for me to evaluate anything that’s theoretical until I actually am able to look at the substance of what’s presented, and nothing has been presented to me so far,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told The Hill. Regardless, the debate is driving a wedge between Biden and Latino leaders, a wedge some say is not new but growing. “For Biden, we’re invisible. We’re just invisible. They don’t do any outreach. They don’t do any consultation. They didn’t even think of calling the CHC to consult with them. And I think the CHC did the right thing,” said Gutiérrez. Though Biden campaigned on morally guided border and immigration policy and has surrounded himself with top-level Hispanic advisers, both at the White House and in his campaign, his immigration policies have been a constant source of friction with Latinos. And millions in immigrant communities have for decades seen legislative action consistently make their lives harder on the immigration front, even though some executive actions — including many by the Biden administration — have allowed hundreds of thousands of people to freely live and work in the United States. “Latinos won’t come out to vote. And our efforts to knock on their doors to canvass and to get them out to vote will only become increasingly more difficult. We don’t have a magic wand,” said Gutiérrez. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Morning Report — Senate in overtime for long-shot border bill

There is a reason the Senate is called the “cooling saucer.” It is rarely swift, and getting a Senate floor vote next week on what is still an outline of proposed changes to immigration law and funding for Ukraine before leaving Washington for the year would be a Mach 4 miracle. And 100 senators would have to agree to race toward a vote before Christmas, which is not their basic DNA. Nevertheless, President Biden says he’s open to compromise, although his team and Senate negotiators are still dissecting border proposals and not yet poring over draft legislative language. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that his colleagues will have to cut their planned holiday recess short by returning to work Monday, giving negotiators more time to craft a possible immigration policy deal, which House lawmakers demanded in exchange for additional U.S. assistance to Ukraine. It seems likely that the future of more than $100 billion in aid to Ukraine and Israel still will be uncertain into 2024. House lawmakers wrapped up their business and left for the year, many still adamant about opposing additional spending for Ukraine, whether leveraged for immigration reforms or not. But the ongoing negotiations may still open a door to Senate strides next week. ADVERTISING ▪ The Hill: Tensions rise among Democrats over looming border deal. ▪ The Wall Street Journal: An emerging border deal alarms progressives and conservatives. The border policy discussions are akin to puzzle pieces — complex and conjoined. Chief negotiators Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) began to sound more optimistic about their progress on immigration by midweek and Ukraine’s needs moved Schumer to see how far the group might go. Negotiators want to include new expulsion authority at the border to allow the government to turn away migrants who ask for asylum, akin to the pandemic-era policy rolled out under the previous administration and known as Title 42, the Journal reported. It also would require that more asylum seekers are held in immigration detention for the duration of their cases and would expand the government’s ability to rapidly deport someone without a trial so long as they have been in the country less than two years, according to the Journal. The package does not include “Dreamers,” undocumented migrants who entered the U.S. as children and qualified for protection from deportation under what began as an Obama-era enforcement waiver and continues to be challenged in court. Sinema told Politico on Thursday that she sees movement. “I can see the deal. We have a lot to go to get there. But I can see it. …There was a time when we were not making progress. It was feeling stalled,” Sinema said. “There’s progress—it’s just exceptionally slow,” Lankford, the lead negotiator for Republicans, told the Journal. 3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY ▪ The Hill and leading election results provider Decision Desk HQ are launching the “2024 Election Center” for users who want to explore specific election scenarios and predictions, powered by Decision Desk HQ’s wealth of polls and historical data. The key: The Hill/Decision Desk HQ Polling Average, “the go-to metric for consumers to use through the election,” says Bob Cusack, The Hill’s editor in chief. ▪ Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s exit interview with The Hill: Rep. Matt Gaetz, former President Trump and Speaker Mike Johnson. ▪ Rep. James Comer, a multimillionaire farmer from Kentucky, who leads the Hunter Biden investigation and impeachment probe with fellow Republicans, has his own shell company and complicated friends. National Defense Authorization: House sent an $886 billion defense policy blueprint to Biden for his signature. It includes the biggest pay raise for troops in more than two decades (The Hill) and it includes an extension through April 19 of the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which some lawmakers oppose because the warrantless spying can ensnare Americans. LEADING THE DAY © America’s Voice / Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of pro-immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice. FOUR QUESTIONS 👉 Morning Report spoke with Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading immigration advocacy organization based in Washington, to get her emailed take this week on White House-Senate talks about border policies. Alexis: On Tuesday, you wrote the White House is pursuing “a flat-out dumb path” toward immigration and border changes, which you described as “policy and political malpractice.” Strong words. Let me ask for a prediction: Do you believe President Biden’s recent offer to the GOP of “significant compromises on the border” is likely to unlock congressional approval of more aid for Ukraine, as he hopes? I’m not in the prediction game but I’ll note that we have a two-decade track record of watching the Republican Party move the goalposts and negotiate in bad faith on immigration. Even if the White House and Senate agree on policies that, to our eyes, are pulled straight from [Trump adviser] Stephen Miller’s wish list, Speaker Mike Johnson and the House want even more, mainly their extreme HR-2 proposal. Our immigration system is broken. We’ve said that for decades and we urgently need to modernize it. But the notion that only Republicans get to define what policies should be on the table, that we should shoehorn that process into a supplemental funding debate, or that we should tie immigration to support for our Ukrainian allies is not the way to do policy on such a complex issue. Alexis: You’ve long said the administration needed an immigration strategy and should “lean in.” What’s the administration’s immigration strategy, as you understand it this week? Whiplash between policy directions and a lack of a well-stated and consistently articulated larger strategy unfortunately characterizes this administration’s immigration record. I don’t understand what the strategy was behind putting on the table these extreme proposals. Did they think the GOP would be satisfied? Why on earth would they think that? Alexis: Many Americans give Biden low marks for his handling of the border and immigration. What’s he risking, in your view, by reportedly being open to GOP calls for new authority for migrant expulsions without asylum screenings, expanded immigration detention and more deportations? We think they are misreading both the policies and politics. On the policies — based on what we hear they are considering — the administration risks enacting permanent policy changes, the most restrictive in decades, perhaps the most restrictive in a century. These include renewed detention of kids, nationwide “expedited removal” (abbreviated deportations with limited access to legal counsel) and the end of legal parole programs. Such changes would be cruel, ineffective and shouldn’t be short-handed as “border security.” We think these would compound, not alleviate, border chaos and pressures. Meanwhile on politics, embracing Republicans’ demands and Trump-Miller policies wouldn’t ratchet down ugly anti-immigrant attacks and related falsehoods that are likely to be featured by Republicans in 2024. The president isn’t going to win any new voters for Democrats and meanwhile threatens to dampen enthusiasm among the electorate he’s looking to energize. Younger voters, women, Latinos, progressives and other people of color do not support the one-sided approach of opposing immigration and expanding deportations. These are key constituencies Democrats need during a reelection campaign. Alexis: A majority of Americans say immigration is a “good thing” for the U.S., but more than 60 percent say they’re dissatisfied with today’s level of migration into the country. As long as public opinion remains splintered, are pro-immigrant policies backed by America’s Voice impossible to enact? Broadly, the public wants reform instead of the status quo and their desire for an orderly system and border security does not translate into majority support for deterrence-or-enforcement-only approaches, or slashing legal immigration. In January, President Biden said we cannot successfully stop people from coming, but can incentivize them to come to ports of entry and through orderly, legal channels in compliance with U.S. law. He should stick to that strategy. Despite the relentless attacks on immigration, strong majorities still support citizenship for long-time, settled immigrants like Dreamers. Democrats and the president should be confident that they’re on the side that favors legal immigration because it reduces illegal immigration. Republicans, who oppose legal immigration by and large, are the party fighting to maintain chaos and illegality. WHERE AND WHEN The House will meet briefly at 10 a.m. No votes are scheduled. The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. on Monday. The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden will have lunch with Vice President Harris at 1:30 p.m. The vice president will meet with the president over lunch. She will host a holiday reception at 6 p.m. at the Naval Observatory along with her husband, Doug Emhoff. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will be in Reno, Nev., today to visit Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Clinic for a roundtable discussion with health care advocates, local officials and tribal leaders at 10:45 a.m. local time. He’ll start the day with an early visit to Café con Papi in Reno to speak with local Latino leaders.     The second gentleman will participate in a fireside chat at 3:15 p.m. about countering antisemitism at the Union for Reform Judaism’s opening plenary in Washington. In the evening, he’ll join the vice president to host a holiday party. ZOOM IN POLITICS The battle for the ballots has started as the race among Democrats, independents and third-party presidential candidates has frustrated those who’d prefer to focus on Biden’s low popularity and former President Trump’s ascent, The Hill’s Hanna Trudo and Filip Timotija report.Aspirants running against establishment candidates are trying to get on state ballots, hoping to qualify in enough general election swing states to cripple the incumbent and the GOP frontrunner. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent, as well as Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Cenk Uygur and Marianne Williamson want to legally get their names in front of voters well before the fall and are threatening to mount legal challenges in some states. © The Associated Press / Charles Krupa | Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) in Manchester, N.H., in October. Debating debates: Republican presidential hopefuls face a fresh slate of January debates ahead of critical nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Three planned network events offer opportunities for candidates to boost profiles in early-voting states against Trump. The Hill’s Julia Mueller reports why the events also inject some uncertainty into the contest. “Timing of the debates really matters: how close in proximity they are to actually voting. You want them to be pretty close and so that they can have an impact, but not too close where it trades off with campaigning and retail politics and things like that,” said Aaron Kall, director of the University of Michigan’s debate program. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week asked Fox News host Sean Hannity to arrange a head-to-head debate that would allow the Florida GOP presidential candidate to take on Trump, who skipped four GOP-sanctioned debates. DeSantis says the frontrunner is ducking a challenge. Trump’s view is that he’s the clear leader headed toward his party’s nomination, so why debate those left behind? (The Hill). 2024 ROUNDUP ▪ Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), who in October was mulling a House GOP leadership role, announced Thursday he won’t seek reelection. ▪ Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) says he will not run for reelection in 2024, instead opting to explore a run for the Senate in 2026 as a result of GOP-led redistricting. ▪ New York Republicans have selected Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip as their nominee in the special election to replace ousted Rep. George Santos (R), setting the stage for a competitive race in February. ▪ In court testimony in Michigan, Republicans tie the false elector effort to Trump’s 2020 campaign. ▪ Here’s how Trump netted evangelical votes in Iowa with help from a young Christian operative. ▪ Jewish day schools in the U.S. are dealing with an influx of Israeli students who have left their country amid the war with Hamas while also caring for American children who feel close to the conflict. ▪ Americans are ho-hum about a potential rematch of the 2020 election, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Nearly 3 in 10 U.S. adults, or 28 percent, said they’re dissatisfied with the notion of Trump or Biden becoming next year’s nominees. Independents (43 percent) are more likely than Democrats (28 percent) or Republicans (20 percent) to express displeasure with both men. ▪ A Georgia jury today will continue deliberating to determine the damages former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani must pay after being found guilty of defaming two Georgia election workers as part of the former president’s efforts to stay in power. The former New York City mayor and prosecutor did not take the witness stand. ELSEWHERE INTERNATIONAL The United States wants Israel to shift within weeks to precision fighting against Hamas with elite commandos, not high-casualty air bombardments, to save remaining hostages and improve conditions to get aid into Gaza. Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, warned Thursday that the war could extend well into 2024 (The Hill). And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, eyeing a path to possible political survival, says the offensive to crush Hamas will last as long as needed. Biden was asked Thursday whether he wants Israel to scale back its assault on Gaza. He responded: “I want them to be focused on how to save civilian lives. Not stop going after Hamas — but be more careful.” During a Thursday meeting in Israel, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Netanyahuand other leadersthat war in Gaza needs to “transition to the next lower intensity phase in a matter of weeks, not months,” Axios reported. The rate of civilian deaths in Gaza is outpacing those of other conflict zones in the 21st century. Mounting casualties have been accompanied by a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the enclave. Sullivan arrived in Israel after discussing the Gaza situation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He will be in Ramallah today to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Charles Brown Jr. will meet with senior officials in Israel next week. Close to half of the air-to-ground munitions that Israel has used in Gaza against Hamas have been unguided, otherwise known as “dumb bombs.” The new assessment, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and reported by CNN, said that about 40-45 percent of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions Israel has used since Oct. 7 have been unguided. Unguided munitions are typically less precise and can pose a greater threat to civilians, especially in a densely populated area such as Gaza, and the rate at which Israel is using the dumb bombs may be contributing to the soaring civilian death toll. UKRAINE: The European Union announced Thursday that it agreed to open membership talks for Ukraine, bringing Kyiv closer to a long-held goal. The announcement comes as U.S. aid for Ukraine has been on shaky ground due to internal divisions among House Republicans, and Ukraine gears up for another winter of war (The Washington Post). Just hours after EU leaders agreed to open membership talks, Hungary blocked a crucial European aid package for Ukraine (CNN). © The Associated Press / Alexander Zemlianichenko | Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual news conference in Moscow on Thursday. MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared confident during his annual year-end news conference in Moscow Thursday, which lasted four hours and included write-in questions from citizens. He suggested support for Ukraine from its U.S. and European allies has waned (The Hill and The New York Times). “They’re getting everything as freebies,” Putin said, referring to Western arms deliveries to Ukraine. “But these freebies can run out at some point, and it looks like they’re already starting to run out.” Schumer seized on Putin’s remarks to urge House Republicans, who finished their work for the year, to support additional U.S. spending for Ukraine in order to thwart Russia. He said deadlock in Congress left “Putin mocking our resolve” and he cast the decisions facing lawmakers as a potential turning point of history: “There is too much on the line for Ukraine, for America, for Western democracy, to throw in the towel right now,” he said. ▪ The Associated Press: How the U.S. keeps funding Ukraine’s military — even as it says it’s out of money. ▪ Reuters: Outnumbered and outgunned in the skies, Ukraine has used surface-to-air missiles to keep Russian aircraft at arm’s length. The country’s military hopes bringing F-16s to the fight will push them back farther — and keep Ukraine’s air force flying for the long term. ▪ The Wall Street Journal: Putin said Thursday that Russia wants to find a “solution” for the imprisonment of Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former U.S. Marine and Michigan corporate-security executive Paul Whelan, but “it’s not easy.” An agreement for release must be “mutually acceptable and must suit both sides,” he added. Gershkovich was arrested and detained in March. Whelen was imprisoned in 2018. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

As House adjourns, Senate delays holiday recess to work on immigration deal

WASHINGTON — As the House adjourned Thursday for Christmas recess with plans to return in the new year, the Senate decided to delay its holiday break and return next week to hammer out a deal on immigration and aid to Ukraine and Israel. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that shift on the floor Thursday afternoon, one day after immigration negotiators expressed some signs of optimism in reaching a deal. "Over the last few days, negotiations on a path forward to getting the national security supplemental done have made good progress. As I have said, if we believe something is important and urgent we should stay and get the job done," Schumer said. "That is certainly the case with the supplemental. It is important. It is urgent." "So for the information of all senators, after we finish today, the Senate will return on Monday," Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "That will give negotiators from the White House, Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans a time to work through the weekend in an effort to reach a framework agreement." Sinema: ‘Failure is not an option’ on border security negotiations DEC. 14, 202308:23 Senate Republicans say an immigration deal is crucial to unlocking their votes for passage of U.S. aid to Ukraine and Israel, which is a high priority for President Joe Biden. Schumer said the Senate hopes to “act as soon as we are ready to move forward on the supplemental.” Some Democrats hope the chamber can pass it next week, but that would be a steep uphill climb as the negotiators have yet to agree on a framework. “We’re going to work as long as there’s daylight. We’ll still definitely be working," Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the GOP's lead negotiator, said on Thursday afternoon just before the Senate left for the weekend. “We’ve got to get text done,” he said, adding that House Republicans have “got to see it” before they consider whether to support it. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the chief Democratic negotiator, said: “We’re gonna obviously work through the weekend and hope to keep capitalizing on progress.” Recommended LIVE UPDATES Rudy Giuliani trial live updates: Jury resumes deliberations in defamation damages case POLITICS NEWS Appeals court hears Mark Meadows’ push to move his Georgia racketeering case to federal court “It’s not easy, but this is an emergency,” he said. “And we don’t have the benefit of a clear schedule in January.” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said he plans to return next week but that some Republicans don’t want to come back. “I just know that some of my colleagues aren’t going to want to come back because they don’t think we have enough time,” he said. With the lower chamber expected to return on Jan. 9, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., took aim at the Senate on his way out. Johnson was referring to a Republican border and immigration package that the House passed earlier this year, known as H.R. 2, which Democrats in the Senate say is a nonstarter. Several House conservatives have said they will accept nothing less than H.R. 2 in exchange for passing Ukraine aid. The White House chided House Republicans for adjourning for the year after ignoring Biden's national security funding package. "As President Biden works hard to make American families safer every day, congressional Republicans are actively undermining our national security interests — both domestically and the world — because they’d rather go on vacation than do their jobs," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a memo. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

White House agitates allies with major border concessions as it races to get Ukraine aid deal

The White House’s growing urgency to get Ukraine aid passed is forcing Democrats to reckon with immigration policies they’ve previously tied to former President Donald Trump, agitating President Joe Biden’s allies and underscoring the unrelenting complexities of the immigration debate. It’s a stark moment that ties together some of Biden’s – and Democrats’– most vexing political problems. The president has wrestled with migrant surges along the US-Mexico border multiple times over the course of his administration in the face of unprecedented migration across the Western Hemisphere, while the wars in Ukraine and Gaza have formed the central foreign policy challenges of his presidency on the eve of an election year. Fresh off Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington this week, Biden once again signaled that he was open to border policy changes in exchange for aid for Ukraine, firmly putting one of the most delicate political issues for this White House at the center of its foreign policy agenda and, in turn, placing Democrats in the uncomfortable position of supporting policies they once criticized. ADVERTISING “Democrats are definitely in a box because they really would like to move Ukraine aid as soon as possible but Republicans have made super clear that they won’t move the package without border security,” said Kerri Talbot, executive director at the Immigration Hub. “It’s a sad day that they’re considering such horrible proposals,” Talbot said. The concessions floated by the administration in recent days are, in some cases, an extension of private discussions held in the White House over the course of Biden’s presidency that received blowback from immigrant advocates, sources told CNN. One of those included a so-called safe third country proposal that would bar asylum seekers who passed through other countries. That idea was eventually squashed and doesn’t appear to be part of the current border talks anymore. White House officials, for an extended time, also leaned on a pandemic measure known as Title 42 to quickly turn back migrants arrested at the border and eventually, expanded its use. The White House has supported an expulsion authority as part of the ongoing border negotiations that would likely have the same effect as Title 42. One of the triggers being discussed to use the authority is dependent on the number of border apprehensions, which would kick the expulsions into place, one source said. The White House is also open to raising the credible fear standard for asylum seekers, more deportations and expanding detention, sources say. Taken together, the proposals would mark a significant shift in immigration law and amount to major concessions by the White House. US Sen. Alex Padilla and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán, both California Democrats, released a statement this week pushing back on Republican immigration proposals and urging Biden to reject them. And, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a news conference Wednesday pushing back on some of the policies the administration was eyeing. “Republicans continue to hold funding for America’s allies hostage at the expense of migrants and to pass Trump-era border policies,” Barragán said. “Republicans are pitting vulnerable groups against each other to strong arm policies that will exacerbate chaos at the southern border. We are urging the Biden administration to say no. Do not take the bait. We are calling on our colleagues to hold the line.” For Biden, the politics of the moment are complicated. While losing support from the base could cost him at the polls next November, doing nothing could have broad and lasting implications as well. Over the past several weeks, border apprehensions have spiked, a major liability, Republicans argue, for not just the president but also his fellow Democrats heading into 2024. “This is an opportunity. Honestly, if I were the president, looking at my numbers on this, I’d want to do something about it. It might actually improve his position,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month. And Democrats are trying to defend their majority in the Senate as incumbents face an onslaught of attacks back home over the border. “Biden knows that if he doesn’t reduce the flows that are four times what we saw in the Trump administration, he’s got a huge political problem. And don’t take my word for it, take the voters of Montana’s word for it,” GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said last month, referring to a hotly contested Senate race in the Treasure State. Republicans and Democrats have been at an impasse for decades over immigration. But the contours of a border agreement today are far more narrow than past negotiations when more funding for border security was often paired with the legalization of immigrants who had already been living in the US illegally. Immigrant advocates are concerned about the new bar the concessions set for future immigration deals. “This is the new floor of a negotiation for any legalization. The floor is the most extreme policies since the 1920s. If that’s where we’re starting, what more will be asked for a simple exchange?” said Andrea Flores, vice president for immigration policy and campaigns at FWD.us. “I’m surprised that some Democrats and the White House would make these huge concessions on policy without getting anything in return for Dreamers, DACA recipients, visa holders, anything at all,” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas said. Asked about Democratic opposition that is emerging to some of the policies the White House has floated in the border talks, Sen. Chris Murphy contended that both sides are going to have to meet in the middle. “I think it has always been clear that you’re going to need a lot of Democratic votes to get this passed given the number of Republicans that are never going to vote for Ukraine aid,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “I think everybody in the room needs to be sensitive to the fact that you are going to need both Democratic votes and Republican votes. There is a package that is way too hot for Democrats. That is a package that is too weak for Republicans. This is the reason why we haven’t done immigration reform,” Murphy added. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas argued that the Democratic opposition was a positive sign in the talks: “Means we must be doing something right.” Cornyn said “no” when asked if the White House proposals floated would be enough. “It’s a start. It indicates we have their attention finally, but this ultimately needs to be decided by the president,” he said. A major sticking point in border talks is over largely eliminating humanitarian parole, a mechanism that allows migrants to temporarily live in the United States on a case-by-case basis, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The Biden administration has leaned on the so-called humanitarian parole authority in urgent situations, including to admit Afghans after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Ukrainians following Russia’s invasion. Other times, the administration has used the authority to allow migrants from designated countries to temporarily live and work in the US as a way of attempting to mitigate surges at the US-Mexico border. But Republicans argue that the administration is using the authority too broadly and are seeking to curb its use. It’s not clear what Democrats can accept when it comes to changing how parole authority is used, in part because it’s a key component of the administration’s border strategy. “It would be a terrible mistake to tie border funding and policy to funding for two wars,” Castro said. “The issue of immigration and border security is one that should be negotiated on its own, not as a condition or tied to foreign aid funding.” Lawmakers are divided over whether the Senate should stay in session and try to press ahead on a border package, with negotiators signaling progress and Cornyn saying that “it’s unlikely” the proposal could come together before the end of the year. Senate Republican whip John Thune also said “it seems unlikely to me” that senators will stay in Washington past this week . But some of the Senate negotiators say there has been significant movement that warrants sticking it out in Washington even into next week. Asked if they would stay in session next week, Tillis replied, “I hope we are. I hope we’re here. I hope we’re negotiating, because we need to get this done. We need to do all – otherwise we push everything to the right. We have the opportunity to get the Senate on the same page, send something to the House, and they get to it when they get back.” US House members appear set to leave Washington on Thursday for the remainder of the holiday season. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Drastic border restrictions considered by Biden and the Senate reflect seismic political shift on immigration

Washington — Less than two weeks after he took office and halted border wall construction, announced a deportation pause and suspended a rule requiring migrants to await their court dates in Mexico, President Biden issued an executive order signaling a dramatic shift in U.S. immigration policy. His administration, Mr. Biden promised in that February 2021 order, would "restore and strengthen" the U.S. asylum system and reject the Trump administration's border policies that "contravened our values and caused needless human suffering." Nearly three years into his tenure, Mr. Biden now finds himself entertaining drastic and permanent restrictions on asylum — including an extraordinary authority first invoked by former President Donald Trump to summarily expel migrants during spikes in illegal crossings — in order to convince congressional Republicans to support more military aid to Ukraine. In many ways, the president's willingness to support strict border policies similar to those employed by his predecessor — and loathed by progressives and human rights advocates — reflects a seismic shift in the politics of immigration over the past several years. It's a shift fueled by a convergence of factors. Record levels of migrant apprehensions along the southern border have strained federal and local resources. Democratic-led cities like New York and Chicago have struggled to house new arrivals, with local officials loudly voicing their concerns about overwhelmed services. Public polling shows a majority of Americans view Mr. Biden's immigration agenda unfavorably. A CBS News poll released this week found that immigration and the border rank as the second-most important issues facing the country, just behind worries about inflation and ahead of concerns over the future of American democracy. The White House has conceded it's going to have to compromise away some of its positions on immigration policy. "We have to find a bipartisan compromise — that's what the president said; that's what the president believes — in order to deal with this issue," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week. Senate immigration talks The administration's increased engagement in talks in the Senate, and its openness to sweeping border changes, have been welcomed by Republican negotiators, who have described significant progress in the negotiations in the past two days. Senators are trying to find agreement on a roughly $100 billion emergency funding package that includes billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. But the talks have also created rifts among Democrats, with progressives expressing concerns that Mr. Biden is prepared to give Republicans major concessions without getting any of the long-standing Democratic legislative priorities on immigration — such as granting legal status to so-called "Dreamers" and other undocumented immigrants. "They have rejected their own party's solutions on border security and are now adopting Trump's," Andrea Flores, a former immigration official in the Biden White House, told CBS News. "The Administration should resist those pushing this bad policy and politics." Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat, said, "It would be a dire mistake for the Democrats to accept Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies." Moreover, Castro told CBS News, "It would set a dangerous precedent to tie immigration policy to foreign aid funding." The Senate negotiations have appeared to blindside Latino Democrats on Capitol Hill, a group that has grown in numbers in recent years, but still lacks lawmakers senior enough to oversee negotiations over appropriations, budget or homeland security matters. Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey has served in Congress the longest, but is persona non grata at the White House given the federal bribery charges he's facing. He didn't hold back this week. "Not a single member, not one of the House or Senate Congressional Hispanic Caucus is at the table for these talks," he said Wednesday, adding later: "That is a hard slap in the face to all the Latino communities we represent." Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat of California, said returning to Trump-era immigration policy "isn't the fix. It'll make the problem worse. Mass detention. Gutting asylum system. Title 42 on steroids. It's unconscionable. That's not the way to fix the immigration system. We know it won't work." Responding to the criticism of Latino lawmakers on Thursday, Jean-Pierre assured reporters the White House had finally briefed them. "We've heard their concerns. We've had conversations. We've been in regular touch," she said. But Rep. Nanette Barragán, a California Democrat and the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, pushed back on that notion, telling CBS News on Thursday that she had received one call earlier in the week from a "senior White House official" whom she declined to name. "No briefing has been given. They mostly listened. They didn't consult on the reported offers on the table," Barragán said. "They continue to leave CHC and our senators out of any negotiations." Cecilia Muñoz, former President Barack Obama's top immigration aide, argued that the Biden administration "is looking for the tools that it can best use to balance the need to protect people fleeing danger and the need for an orderly process at the border." Muñoz pushed back on the notion that the border authorities that Mr. Biden is seeking would be used in a similar way to how Trump employed them. "There is no question that a future Trump administration will use whatever tools they have — and perhaps some that they don't legally have — in ways that are destructive and inhumane," Muñoz said. But, she added, there "should be no confusion" about how Mr. Biden would use these authorities differently. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Immigration advocates worry about proposals in border security deal

For weeks, a deal linking international aid with U.S. border security has remained elusive in Congress. President Biden said he's willing to consider "significant" compromises on the border to try to get critical aid to places like Ukraine approved. But some of the proposals on the table have immigration advocates very concerned. Republican lawmakers are pushing for new measures like making it harder to qualify for asylum, putting limits on humanitarian parole, increasing expedited removals and increasing detention capacity. "So I've made this very clear from the very beginning, when I was handed the gavel, we needed clarity on what we're doing in Ukraine and how we'll have proper oversight of the spending of precious taxpayer dollars of the American citizens. And we needed a transformative change at the border," said House Speaker Mike Johnson. Immigration advocates like Vanessa Cardenas, the executive director of America's Voice, say those ideas won't reduce the flow of migrants at the southern border. "We are worried about the fact that they are advancing policies that we know don't work. The reason people come is because there are jobs here. And the reality is that that is a powerful, powerful magnet," she said. She says trying to deter migrants with harsh penalties isn't effective. "I think this notion of expedited removal should be off the table, any type of family detention should be off the table. I think this notion of closing down the borders should be off the table," Cardenas said. Other advocates who work with migrants agreed. Ben Johnson, the executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told Scripps News the best way to reduce the strain on the border is to create more legal pathways for people to get here. "That's why really one of the most profound, rapid ways to turn this around is to give people an option of a legal opportunity to come to the United States and work. There are cities and states around the country who need workers," Johnson explained. He also said lawmakers need to look beyond the border and start tackling the problem before it reaches a port of entry. "Most of the policies that are being discussed depend on people arriving at the border and then being processed at the border, making the standard tougher, requiring them to be detained. But we're still basically daring them to come to the southern border. And we're mostly pushing them into the hands of smugglers," Johnson said. Any deal is likely to include a surge of border resources like hiring border patrol agents and immigration judges as well as helping the communities who are taking in these migrants. Both Johnson and Cardenas said that is much-needed. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Presidential Proclamation 10685 on the Suspension of Entry of Persons Enabling Corruption

President Biden issued a proclamation on 12/11/23 suspending the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of persons who have enabled, facilitated, or otherwise been involved in significant corruption and their immediate family members, with certain exceptions. (88 FR 86541, 12/14/23) 12/14/23 AILA Doc. No. 23121301.

DHS Publishes Federal Register Notice Announcing the Extensions of Re-Registration Periods for Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan

WASHINGTON – Consistent with its September announcement, the Department of Homeland Security today published a Federal Register notice reiterating the extensions of the periods to re-register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under the existing designations of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. As previously announced, the re-registration period for each country is changing from 60 days to the full length of each country’s current TPS designation extension. The 18-month re-registration period for current TPS beneficiaries under the designation of: El Salvador is currently open and now runs through March 9, 2025; Haiti is currently open and now runs through Aug. 3, 2024; Honduras is currently open and runs through July 5, 2025; Nepal is currently open and runs through June 24, 2025; Nicaragua is currently open and runs through July 5, 2025; and Sudan is currently open and now runs through April 19, 2025. Extending re-registration allows current TPS beneficiaries to submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, at any time during the full extensions of the TPS designations of these six countries. They also may submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to obtain an Employment Authorization Document, if desired, during the full extension period. This announcement does not change the previously announced extensions of the TPS designations for these six countries, and it does not change the eligibility requirements. This re-registration extension is solely for TPS beneficiaries who properly filed for TPS during a previous registration period. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas previously announced on June 13, 2023, that he would rescind the previous administration’s terminations of TPS designations for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua and extend the TPS designations for these countries for 18 months. Re-registration periods under these TPS designations were initially set at 60 days; however, DHS reevaluated the length of the re-registration period due to the unique circumstances surrounding these designations. On Sept. 8, 2023, DHS announced the extension of the re-registration periods for these six TPS designations to the full length of the TPS designation extension. Limiting the re-registration period to 60 days for these particular beneficiaries might place a burden on applicants who cannot timely file, but who otherwise would be eligible to re-register for TPS. In particular, ongoing litigation resulted in overlapping periods of TPS validity that were announced in several Federal Register notices, which may confuse some current beneficiaries. This notice allows beneficiaries of these countries who have not been required to re-register for TPS for the past few years due to litigation to re-register through the entire designation extension period. The Federal Register notice does not change the previously announced extensions of the TPS designations for these six countries. It does not change the eligibility requirements or add any newly eligible beneficiaries. It simply extends the period when existing beneficiaries may re-register for their benefits.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

White House open to new border expulsion law, mandatory detention and increased deportations in talks with Congress

Washington — The Biden administration on Tuesday indicated to congressional lawmakers that it would be willing to support a new border authority to expel migrants without asylum screenings, as well as a dramatic expansion of immigration detention and deportations, to convince Republicans to back aid to Ukraine, four people familiar with the matter told CBS News. The White House informed Senate Democrats that it could back those sweeping and hardline immigration policy changes as part of the negotiations over President Biden's emergency funding request, a roughly $100 billion package that includes military aid to Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine, as well as money to bolster border enforcement and hire additional immigration officials. For weeks, a small group of senators have been attempting to reach an immigration enforcement deal. Republicans have conditioned any further assistance to Ukraine to policy changes designed to reduce the unprecedented levels of illegal crossings along the southern border. During a press conference at the White House on Tuesday, Mr. Biden said his team is "working with Senate Democrats and Republicans to try to find a bipartisan compromise, both in terms of changes in policy and [to] provide the resources we need to secure the border." He said he has "offered compromise already," adding that "holding Ukraine funding hostage in an attempt to force through an extreme Republican partisan agenda on the border is not how it works — we need real solutions." The immigration talks In recent days, Mr. Biden's administration has intensified its engagement with lawmakers. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas started engaging with negotiators in the Senate this week, three people with knowledge of his engagement told CBS News. Mayorkas was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon as lawmakers continued talks aimed at reaching a deal before Congress adjourns for the holidays. A senior Department of Homeland Security official said Mayorkas and other DHS officials are providing "technical assistance" to lawmakers and their staff, not negotiating policy proposals. Specifically, the White House indicated that it would support a new, far-reaching legal authority to allow U.S. border officials to summarily expel migrants without processing their asylum claims. The measure would effectively revive the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic order and allow officials to pause U.S. asylum law, without a public health justification. The administration would also back a nationwide expansion of a process known as expedited removal that allows immigration officials to deport migrants without court hearings if they don't ask for asylum or if they fail their initial asylum interviews. The program is currently limited to the border region. Moreover, the White House would be willing to mandate the detention of certain migrants who are allowed into the country pending the adjudication of their claims. It's unclear how this provision would work since the U.S. government has never had the detention space to detain all migrants who cross into the country illegally. Administration officials and some Senate Democrats have also previously indicated a willingness to raise the initial screening standard for so-called credible fear interviews that migrants have to pass to avoid being deported under expedited removal. In a statement, White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said the administration did not have "determined policy positions" in the congressional negotiations. "The White House has not signed off on any particular policy proposals or final agreements, and reporting that ascribes determined policy positions to the White House is inaccurate," Fernández Hernández said. "The President has said he is open to compromise and we look forward to continued conversations with Senate negotiators as we work toward a bipartisan package." A delicate balancing act The Biden administration's willingness to entertain broad, restrictive changes to U.S. asylum and immigration laws, including measures resembling Trump-era policies, may increase the likelihood of Republicans supporting its foreign aid package. But even if a bipartisan deal is forged in the Senate, it's unclear if the resulting legislation would win approval in the House. House Republicans earlier this year passed a bill known as H.R. 2 that included much stricter asylum and border provisions, including the reinstatement of migrant family detention and the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy. It also included drastic limits on the humanitarian parole authority, which the Biden administration has used to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants from Afghanistan, certain Latin American countries, Haiti and Ukraine. The administration's openness to negotiate restrictive immigration changes with Republicans has angered migrant advocates, progressive Democrats and Latino lawmakers, who have urged the White House and Senate Democrats to refrain from agreeing to permanent asylum restrictions. "Destroying the asylum system will not fix the southern border," Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Tuesday. "We did not spend years fighting this agenda under Trump only to give in to Senate Republicans' extreme demands now." Immigration Maria Chic, 34, had been among the first migrant parents separated from their children by the Trump Administration, pulled away from her six-year-old daughter after crossing the border in July 2017. She was sent back to Guatemala and Adelaida Chic was sen Judge approves settlement barring revival of family separation policy Migrants wait along the U.S.-Mexico border in Lukeville, Arizona. Migrants from around the world converge on remote Arizona desert TOPSHOT-PANAMA-COLOMBIA-US-MIGRATION Biden to send immigration officials to Panama to help screen migrants Election 2024 Trump Texas Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at border More In: Immigration Camilo Montoya-Galvez Camilo Montoya-Galvez is the immigration reporter at CBS News. Based in Washington, he covers immigration policy and politics. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2024 H-1B Cap

USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions needed to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2024. We will send non-selection notices to registrants through their online accounts over the next few days. When we finish sending these non-selection notifications, the status for properly submitted registrations that we did not select for the FY 2024 H-1B numerical allocations will show: · Not Selected: Not selected – not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration. We will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, are exempt from the FY 2024 H-1B cap. We will continue to accept and process petitions filed to: · Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; · Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; · Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and · Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in additional H-1B positions. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. We encourage H-1B petitioners to subscribe to the H-1B cap season email updates by visiting the H-1B Cap Season page.

USCIS Changes Filing Location for Form I-907 for Pending Form I-140

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin transitioning the filing location for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, when filed for a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, from the service centers to appropriate USCIS lockboxes on Dec. 15. This change is part of our efforts to increase efficiency by reducing our footprint at the service centers and reducing costs related to Service Center intake of Forms I-140 and I-907. The change in filing location also allows USCIS to centralize digitization of these forms for downstream electronic adjudication. This is the second of three phases of this transition. This change in filing location does not apply if you are filing Form I-140 concurrently with an associated application (such as Form I-485, I-765, or Form I-131). We will soon announce a filing location change for these forms, but at this time, such forms should be filed with the service centers, as listed on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker page. In addition, we remind filers to follow the guidance on submission of documents to USCIS to reduce processing delays. See Tips for Filing Forms by Mail. USCIS previously announced that effective Nov. 13, 2023, the filing location for Form I-907 filed together with Form I-140 has changed from the service centers to the USCIS lockbox (phase 1). As a reminder, starting on or after Dec 13, 2023, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with Form I-140 that is received at the previous service center address. Starting Dec. 15, please use the following addresses when mailing Form I-907 to USCIS for a currently pending Form I-140. Starting on or after Jan. 14, 2024, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed for a pending Form I-140 that is received at the previous service center address. If the beneficiary will work in: Mail your form to: Alaska Arizona Arkansas Armed Forces California Colorado Georgia Guam Hawaii Idaho Louisiana Marshall Islands Montana Nevada New Mexico Northern Mariana Islands Oklahoma Oregon Texas US Virgin Islands Utah Washington Wyoming USCIS Phoenix Lockbox U.S. Postal Service (USPS): USCIS Attn: I-907 P.O. Box 21300 Phoenix, AZ 85036-1300 FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries: USCIS Attn: I-907 (Box 21300) 2108 E. Elliot Rd. Tempe, AZ 85284-1806 Alabama Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Vermont Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin USCIS Elgin Lockbox U.S. Postal Service (USPS): USCIS Attn: I-907 P.O. Box 4200 Carol Stream, IL 60197-4200 FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries: USCIS Attn: I-907 (Box 4200) 2500 Westfield Drive Elgin, IL 60124-7836

White House scrambles in last-ditch effort to salvage border talks

Top Biden administration officials are scrambling to keep border talks alive as a deal with Senate Republicans over Ukraine funding has grown increasingly elusive, four people familiar with the talks said. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, White House deputy chief of staff Natalie Quillian and Shuwanza Goff, director of the White House office of legislative affairs, on Tuesday afternoon met on the Hill with Senate negotiators — Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.). They also met with staff from the offices of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, while not present as a negotiator Tuesday on the Hill, has also been heavily involved in Hill engagement in recent days, speaking with Democratic Senate negotiators, Schumer and Lankford several times, according to a senior administration official. The White House is “hustling,” said one of the four people, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations. “They’re pretty desperate at this point.” Among the ideas under consideration, according to two of the people, is a version of Title 42-like expulsion authorities and a nationwide expansion of the process known as expedited removal, which allows the government to deport anyone unable to establish a legal basis. In addition, conversations have centered on including a mandatory detention policy until migrants can be placed into expedited removal proceedings, as well as changes to the credible fear standard, which would ultimately deny more migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum. People both on the Hill and the administration cautioned that talks were fluid. They also warned that no specific policies have been agreed to and simply because an idea was under consideration didn’t mean it would be included, let alone presented, as a Democratic-authored proposal. “The White House has not signed off on any particular policy proposals or final agreements, and reporting that ascribes determined policy positions to the White House is inaccurate,” said a White House spokesperson. “The President has said he is open to compromise and we look forward to continued conversations with Senate negotiators as we work toward a bipartisan package.” But the people involved in the negotiations also noted that the White House is eager to see a deal cut. And if the policies under consideration do move forward, it would be viewed as major reversals by the Biden administration. Few think a deal this week is possible, though negotiators hope to keep the talks alive into the new year. But the last-ditch effort speaks to the level of urgency facing the White House as President Joe Biden pushes Congress to deliver more aid for Ukraine in a package now tied to border policy. Everywhere we saw Zelenskyy in DC as he attempts to secure aid SharePlay Video On Tuesday, Lankford said the White House ramped up talks with him Monday night, after he suggested earlier in the day that “there’s no time” to finish a deal. “Not the first that I’ve talked to them, but the first time we’ve talked about anything serious policy,” he said. The potential counteroffer comes as Biden hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House on Tuesday. Zelenskyy first spoke directly to senators Tuesday morning in an effort to pressure Congress, where a deal to deliver emergency aid to his country has reached an impasse over border issues. Murphy on Monday said the White House was getting more “involved in these discussions” but noted the House is set to leave Thursday — restricting an already tight timeline for the negotiators to find common ground. Even if senators agree to move forward on policies under discussion, such changes to the immigration system would still have to be formalized into actual legislative text. There would also be implementation challenges: On mandatory detention, there is not enough capacity or resources for an operation of this scale, unless massive camps are set up at the border. Even in this case, the Flores settlement from the 1993 SCOTUS ruling would prohibit children from being detained for longer than 20 days. It also remains unclear if any deal reached in the Senate would have the necessary support in the House. Republicans, going further last week, offered a list of Trump-era border restrictions in their latest proposal, including several policies Democrats have denounced. Republicans continue to push on class-based “parole,” a key tool the administration has used to create legal entry pathways and manage the influx at the border. This policy has so far appeared to be a red line for the White House. GOP senators also proposed a policy to set metrics for automating a border shutdown — halting U.S. acceptance of migrants if border numbers hit a certain level. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

USCIS Updates Guidance and Clarifies Policy on Family-Based Conditional Permanent Residence

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is updating guidance on family-based conditional permanent residence in its Policy Manual. The update consolidates and updates guidance on eligibility, filing, and adjudication for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. The update clarifies what noncitizens must do to change the basis of filing in cases of waivers based on battery or extreme cruelty. It also clarifies that if a noncitizen’s conditional permanent resident status is terminated for failing to timely file Form I-751, they may be eligible to adjust permanent resident status on a new basis. This is true even if USCIS issues a notice of termination of conditional permanent resident status before the noncitizen files Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Under the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, a noncitizen obtains permanent resident status on a conditional basis for two years if: They obtain permanent resident status based on marriage; and That marriage began less than two years before they obtain that status. To remove the conditions on their permanent resident status, conditional permanent residents generally must file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before the two-year anniversary of when they obtained conditional permanent resident status. For more information, see the Policy Update. (PDF, 316.67 KB)

Monday, December 11, 2023

Chicago reels from fallout of toxic metals at proposed migrant shelter camp

CHICAGO — Plans for a multimillion-dollar tent camp that would have sheltered almost 2,000 migrants a night from the bitter winter cold are now being scrapped by the state after toxic chemicals and heavy metals were found onsite. In the meantime, outside organizations — especially churches — are pitching in to help. Three Chicago aldermen are now calling for the resignation of seven officials from Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration after the city insisted multiple times that the site was still safe to build on and that the most problematic levels of contamination had been removed. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pulled the plug on the construction of the $65 million tent camps in the Brighton Park neighborhood, near Midway Airport, after the state Environmental Protection Agency reviewed an 800-page report released by the city. The report showed that mercury, arsenic, lead, cyanide, pesticides and the now-banned cancer-causing compounds known as PCBs were found on the 9.43-acre property. After the state announced it was permanently canceling plans for the site, Johnson said “discovering toxicity there wasn’t a surprise." City officials have pointed out that mercury had been removed and gravel had been put on top as part of remediation efforts and that it would have been safe. But residents of the neighborhood have been protesting since plans were first made public. After the announcement of the cancellation, locals expressed relief. “It is toxic and now can we sit down and actually talk about what we can do that is humane — this is a concentration camp," Brighton Park resident Richard Zupukus told NBC Chicago. The city signed the lease in late October for $91,400 a month to use the land as is — meaning there were no guarantees about the compliance with health and safety regulations, NBC 5 investigates found. The city and the state have been working toward a goal of getting people and families who have recently migrated to the United States into larger shelters by mid-December. Hundreds of migrants have been waiting for their spot in shelters, sleeping in police stations and at O’Hare International Airport in the interim. The city’s plan to feed asylum-seekers through the winter also recently fell through; the state stepped in with an additional $2 million in funding, on top of the $10.5 million it had already allocated toward food bank resources. 'We want to give them hope' Churches are spearheading the opening of new shelters thanks to an alliance of faith-based organizations organized via what the city is calling its Unity Initiative. “There’s more than 100 churches in the city. If we get the church involved in many areas, you know we can relieve some of the stress that the city is dealing with,” said John Zayas, pastor of Grace and Peace Church, one of the 17 churches involved in the initiative. While the churches' funding comes from their own networks of donors, the city helps coordinate the resources through the initiative and directs recently arrived migrants who are on the streets to the church shelters. Recommended GUNS IN AMERICA UNLV gunman resigned as tenured professor after making sexual comment in class, former student says WEATHER Tornado outbreak ravages the country for third December in a row Grace and Peace has been providing people who have recently migrated with temporary shelter at eight locations since they first started arriving in the city over the summer. More than 400 families have cycled into permanent living situations — both in Chicago and out of state — within the city’s limited 60-day policy. “We felt like we just didn’t want to just house them," Zayas said, "we want to give them hope." The volunteers at Grace and Peace help migrants get cash jobs or start their own businesses — like a woman who now sells empanadas at an in-house cafe at the church. “We have companies lined up to hire folks who have their work permits,” Zayas added. At one of the temporary shelters, Emilie, who migrated from Venezuela, told NBC News that while she was warned about the Chicago winter, she's been given coats and warm clothes through the church’s shelter. Emilie, whose last name is being withheld for security reasons, said she brought her entire family to the U.S. because they feared for their lives after an armed group killed her husband’s two brothers. She said they entered the U.S. through El Paso, where they were put on a bus to Chicago. “The [Texas authorities] know we will have support here, so we aren’t in the streets with children. Here in Chicago, we have that support,” she said in Spanish. Emilie hopes to become a hairstylist, which was her job back in Venezuela. “We’re looking for work, but it’s difficult since we need the proper documents," she said in Spanish. "And once we’re working, we can support ourselves and then help other families that are coming over." Santiago, 7, who is also from Venezuela, said he was excited to be learning English in school — his temporary shelter helped him enroll there — while his father just got a job as a mechanic. Zayas wants to share the lessons they've learned with other churches, helping them understand logistical needs, including what to do if they don't have the right facilities to take in people on a massive scale, and how to connect them and support other churches as more migrant families arrive each week. “It’s not slowing down. But you know, Chicago is a city of broad shoulders, and we can handle it,” he said. “We have a lot of good folks in the city of Chicago that are looking to be helpful. And so we’re excited about the opportunity.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Republicans make new push for Trump-era border restrictions

Senate Republicans on Thursday made their latest offer on border policy changes, including a list of demands Democrats have so far shunned. Republicans are seeking a ban on class-based “parole,” a key tool the White House has used to create legal entry pathways and manage the influx at the border, according to two people familiar with the details of the list of demands. Their latest offer would ban the administration’s ability to extend parole for migrants — a policy change that would also apply to Afghans and Ukrainians who have been authorized to live in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons. The GOP offer also proposes the creation of a new expulsion authority, reviving a form of the policy known as Title 42, and would also set metrics for automating a border shutdown — halting U.S. acceptance of migrants if border numbers hit a certain level. Republicans are also looking to restrict the administration’s parole authority to release migrants from detention, and would require mandatory electronic monitoring for anyone, including children, who are not detained. They are also trying to implement a so-called transit ban and establish nationwide, expedited removal authority — a return to a Trump-era policy that the Biden administration rescinded in 2021. Graham urges Biden to take action on border SharePlay Video While the GOP’s counteroffer helped jump-start talks after a failed Senate vote this week, the inclusion of policies already rejected by Democrats raises questions about whether a bipartisan proposal could come together before Congress breaks for the year. At a minimum, it showcases how much daylight remains in cutting a border deal that can unlock billions in funding for Ukraine and Israel. An aide to Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the top Republican negotiator, said there is “no final draft.” “Lankford has been clear that they have been exchanging paper for weeks,” the aide said. Lankford and Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) met Thursday before breaking for the weekend, agreeing to resume negotiations that have proved incredibly difficult to finalize. Even if they were to agree on policy changes in the abstract, they would still have to formalize those into actual legislative language. And it remains unclear whether anything the Senate passes could find the necessary support in the House. Pressure is not just coming from Republicans either. Most of the items proposed by the GOP are opposed by progressives and immigration advocates, and Murphy has complained that Republicans are pushing a total shutdown of the border in previous offers. “We’re still swapping paper like we have been,” said Lankford on Thursday afternoon, after meeting with Murphy. “It’s not just parole, it’s how do you handle thousands of people being released every day?” Spokespeople for the other negotiating senators did not comment. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

White House to intensify push for Ukraine aid and border security deal

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The White House will step up its engagement with U.S. lawmakers trying to strike a bipartisan deal that would provide military aid for Ukraine and Israel while tightening U.S. border security, a Democratic senator said on Sunday. Republicans have insisted that additional funding for Ukraine must be paired with major U.S. border security changes but a bipartisan group of senators trying to broker a compromise have made little progress with less than a week before the U.S. Congress leaves for a Christmas break. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad "The White House is going to get more engaged this week," Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator, said on NBC News' "Meet the Press." Murphy said it was important to know if Democratic President Joe Biden would sign any prospective deal. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden, who is seeking reelection in 2024, has struggled with record numbers of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Republicans have criticized Biden for rolling back some restrictive policies of former President Donald Trump, currently the leading candidate for his party's nomination. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad Reuters reported last week that the Biden administration was open to new limits on U.S. asylum as part of a deal to secure funding for allies Ukraine and Israel. Murphy said the current border security demands by Republicans were "unreasonable" and that they were "playing games with the security of the world" by linking the military aid to U.S. border security measures. Some Republicans have pushed for border provisions that would allow migrants crossing the border illegally to be quickly deported without the chance to seek U.S. asylum. They have also called for greatly scaling back Biden programs that have allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter lawfully. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Report this ad Senator James Lankford, a Republican member of the group working on a border compromise, said the U.S. border was "literally spiraling out of control" with 12,000 migrants crossing illegally in a single day last week. Speaking on CBS News' "Face the Nation," Lankford declined to detail what policy changes he had proposed but said Congress needed to take steps "to actually begin to control the border." Republican Senator J.D. Vance told CNN’s "State of the Union" program that he opposes aid to Ukraine, saying it is "functionally destroyed as a country" that needs to end the war through negotiations with Russia. "What's in America's best interest is to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians, and we need to bring this war to a close," Vance said. Shalanda Young, director of the White House budget office, said on CBS News that failing to aid Ukraine could encourage Russia to expand the conflict to other U.S. allies in Europe. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden and Congress are mulling big changes on immigration. What are they and what could they mean?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is taking a more active role in Senate negotiations over changes to the immigration system that Republicans are demanding in exchange for providing money to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and Israel for the war with Hamas. The Democratic president has said he is willing to make “significant compromises on the border” as Republicans block the wartime aid in Congress. The White House is expected to get more involved in talks this week as the impasse over changes to border policy has deepened and the funds remaining for Ukraine have dwindled. “It’s time to cut a deal that both sides can agree to,” Biden’s budget director, Shalanda Young, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ADVERTISEMENT Republicans say the record numbers of migrants crossing the southern border pose a security threat because authorities cannot adequately screen all the migrants and that those who enter the United States are straining the country’s resources. GOP lawmakers also say they cannot justify to their constituents sending billions of dollars to other countries, even in a time of war, while failing to address the border at home. Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who is leading the negotiations, pointed to the surge of people entering the U.S. from Mexico and said “it is literally spiraling out of control.” “All we’re trying to do is to say what tools are needed to be able to get this back in control, so we don’t have the chaos on our southern border,” Lankford said on CBS. But many immigration advocates, including some Democrats, say some of the changes being proposed would gut protections for people who desperately need help and would not really ease the chaos at the border. MORE IMMIGRATION COVERAGE Members of the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection organize a group of migrants as hundreds of migrants gather along the border Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Lukeville, Ariz. The U.S. Border Patrol says it is overwhelmed by a shift in human smuggling routes, with hundreds of migrants from faraway countries like Senegal, Bangladesh and China being dropped in the remote desert area in Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Smugglers are bringing migrants to a remote Arizona border crossing, overwhelming US agents FILE - Migrants form lines outside the border fence waiting for transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2023. Washington's center of gravity on immigration has shifted demonstrably to the right. The debate is now focused on measures meant to keep migrants out as Republicans sense they have the political upper hand. A bipartisan group of senators tasked with finding a border deal this week is running out of time to reach an agreement. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File) Washington’s center of gravity on immigration has shifted to the right. Can the parties make a deal? FILE - Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks to media about Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting on pairing the funding with changes to America’s immigration and border policies. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough, File) New US aid for Ukraine by year-end seems increasingly out of reach as GOP ties it to border security Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the top Democratic bargainer, said the White House would take a more active role in the talks. But he also panned Republican policy demands so far as “unreasonable.” “We don’t want to shut off the United States of America to people who are coming here to be rescued from dangerous, miserable circumstances, in which their life is in jeopardy. The best of America is that you can come here to be rescued from terror and torture,” Murphy said on NBC’s ”Meet the Press.” Much of the negotiating is taking place in private, but some of the issues under discussion are known: asylum standards, humanitarian parole and fast-track deportation authority, among others. A look at what they are and what might happen if there are changes: HUMANITARIAN PAROLE Using humanitarian parole, the U.S. government can let people into the country by essentially bypassing the regular immigration process. This power is supposed to be used on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit.” Migrants are usually admitted for a pre-determined period and there’s no path toward U.S. citizenship. Over the years, administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have used humanitarian parole to admit people into the U.S. and help groups of people from all over the world. It’s been used to admit people from Hungary in the 1950s, from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during the latter half of the 1970s, and Iraqi Kurds who had worked with the U.S. in the mid-1990s, according to research by the Cato Institute. FILE - Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico are lined up for processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Congress is discussing changes to the immigration system in exchange for providing money to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and Israel for the war with Hamas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) FILE - Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico are lined up for processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Congress is discussing changes to the immigration system in exchange for providing money to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and Israel for the war with Hamas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Under Biden, the U.S. has relied heavily on humanitarian parole. The U.S. airlifted nearly 80,000 Afghans from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and brought them to the U.S. after the Taliban takeover. The U.S. has admitted tens of thousands of Ukrainians who fled after the Russian invasion. In January the Democratic administration announced a plan to admit 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela via humanitarian parole, provided those migrants had a financial sponsor and flew to the U.S. instead of going to the U.S.-Mexico border for entry. The latest U.S. government figures show that nearly 270,000 people had been admitted into the country through October under that program. Separately, 324,000 people have gotten appointments through a mobile app called CBP One that is used to grant parole to people at land crossings with Mexico. Republicans have described the programs as essentially an end run around Congress by letting in large numbers of people who otherwise would have no path to be admitted. Texas sued the administration to stop the program aimed at Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. WHAT MIGHT CHANGE WITH ASYLUM? Asylum is a type of protection that allows a migrant to stay in the U..S. and have a path to American citizenship. To qualify for asylum, someone has to demonstrate fear of persecution back home due to a fairly specific set of criteria: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinions. Asylum-seekers must be on U.S. soil when they ask for this protection. They generally go through an initial screening called a credible fear interview. If they are determined to have a chance of getting asylum, they are allowed to stay in the U.S. to pursue their case in immigration court. That process can take years. In the meantime, asylum-seekers can start to work, get married, have children and create a life. Critics say the problem is that most people do not end up getting asylum when their case finally makes it to immigration court. But they say migrants know that if they claim asylum, they essentially will be allowed to stay in America for years. “People aren’t necessarily coming to apply for asylum as much to access that asylum adjudication process,” said Andrew Arthur, a former immigration court judge and fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for less immigration in the U.S. FILE - Migrants form lines outside the border fence waiting for transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2023. A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting on pairing the funding with changes to America’s immigration and border policies. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File) FILE - Migrants form lines outside the border fence waiting for transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2023. A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting on pairing the funding with changes to America’s immigration and border policies. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File) Some of what lawmakers are discussing would raise the bar that migrants need to meet during that initial credible fear interview. Those who do not meet it would be sent home. But Paul Schmidt, a retired immigration court judge who blogs about immigration court issues, said the credible fear interview was never intended to be so tough. Migrants are doing the interview soon after arriving at the border from an often arduous and traumatizing journey, he said. Schmidt said the interview is more of an “initial screening” to weed out those with frivolous asylum claims. Schmidt also questioned the argument that most migrants fail their final asylum screening. He said some immigration judges apply overly restrictive standards and that the system is so backlogged that it is hard to know exactly what the most recent and reliable statistics are. WHAT IS EXPEDITED REMOVAL? Expedited removal, created in 1996 by Congress, basically allows low-level immigration officers, as opposed to an immigration judge, to quickly deport certain immigrants. It was not widely used until 2004 and generally has been used to deport people apprehended within 100 miles of the Mexican or Canadian border and within two weeks of their arrival. FILE - President Joe Biden talks with U.S. Border Patrol agents as they walk along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting on pairing the funding with changes to America’s immigration and border policies. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) FILE - President Joe Biden talks with U.S. Border Patrol agents as they walk along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting on pairing the funding with changes to America’s immigration and border policies. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) Defenders say it relieves the burden on the backlogged immigration courts. Immigration advocates say its use is prone to errors and does not give migrants enough protections, such as having a lawyer help them argue their case. As president, Republican Donald Trump pushed to expand this fast-track deportation policy nationwide and for longer periods of time. Opponents sued and that expansion never happened. WHAT MIGHT THESE CHANGES DO? Much of the disagreement over these proposed changes comes down to whether people think deterrence works. Arthur, the former immigration court judge, thinks it does. He said changes to the credible fear asylum standards and restrictions on the use of humanitarian parole would be a “game changer.” He said it would be a “costly endeavor” as the government would have to detain and deport many more migrants than today. But, he argued, eventually the numbers of people arriving would drop. But others, like Schmidt, the retired immigration court judge, say migrants are so desperate, they will come anyway and make dangerous journeys to evade Border Patrol. “Desperate people do desperate things,” he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.