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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, January 31, 2024

Democrats lean in on border security as Republicans scuttle deal

Democrats are doing what three months ago might have seemed unthinkable for the party in an election year: preparing to go on offense on border security. After months of migrant surges at the US southern border and a barrage of GOP attacks against the president and his administration for the handling of the crisis, Democrats see a window of opportunity to seize on House Republicans’ threats to tank a border compromise at the behest of former President Donald Trump who wants to campaign on the issue. And they say they aren’t going to waste it. “It’s the closest we’ve come in decades and they’re rejecting it so they can’t blame us,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat said. President Joe Biden on Tuesday also lay the blame squarely on Republicans, after embracing a tougher posture on border security over the weekend: “Give me the power, I asked them the very day I got into office. Give me the Border Patrol, give me the people, give me the judges, give me the people who can stop this and make it work.” The strategy is already playing out on the campaign trail. Last week, Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi, who is running in a special election to replace former Rep. George Santos of New York, essentially crashed a news conference his opponent held on immigration. When they were done, Suozzi held his own gaggle with reporters and offered a rebuttal and an outline of bipartisan solutions to fix the border, something he was heavily involved in when he served in Congress back in 2019. “It is a better issue to run on now than it was 10 days ago because of the fact that the deal is so close,” Suozzi told CNN in an interview Tuesday. The emerging border deal that’s been the subject of weekslong talks among Senate negotiators would overhaul asylum and give the president new emergency authority to shut down the border, marking a departure from decadeslong protocol. And Democrats are largely embracing the opportunity to talk about it, even as some argue it could hurt the party with their base and includes provisions that are far more conservative than what they would have embraced even a year ago. There is also the not so small issue of the fact that the text of the bill hasn’t been released yet. Still, Speaker Mike Johnson has signaled publicly and privately the bill isn’t going anywhere in the House. House Republicans, meanwhile, are pressing forward with the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who played a role in the border negotiations. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the lead GOP negotiator on a border-foreign aid package, speaks with reporters outside the chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. Any bipartisan border deal could be doomed because of resistance from former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) RELATED ARTICLE Oklahoma GOP votes to condemn Sen. Lankford for role in bipartisan border talks That confluence of factors, Democratic lawmakers and strategists say, is giving Democrats an opportunity. “It’s clear that when it comes to border security, Democrats are for the fix, and Republicans are for the fiction,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, told CNN. It’s that simple, boiled down messaging, one Democratic strategist explained, that is finally giving Democrats a bit of an upper hand. “Democrats have an opportunity to go on the offensive here. To clearly point out how unserious Republicans are on border security.” the Democratic strategist said. “We had a tough deal. And they chickened out,” they added, referring to Republicans. Biden leans in on border security In a fiery speech to South Carolina Democrats on Saturday, Biden touted the emerging border deal and vowed to shut down the border if given the authority by Congress. “It would also give me as president the emergency authority to shut down the border until it could get back under control. If that bill were the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly,” he said, calling on Congress to “get it done” amid deep division on the issue. It was first time in a campaign setting in this cycle that Biden has actively taken that stance on the border, though his campaign has been drawing sharp contrasts between his immigration policies and those of Trump. “We are going to keep focusing on the offense on Trump and his failure and his extreme rhetoric on immigration,” a campaign official told CNN, citing public polling showing that the majority of voters want to see a border solution, like an increase in border agents, that Biden has proposed. The Biden campaign has slammed Trump for his record on immigration, his anti-immigrant rhetoric and what he’s pledged to do if he wins a second term. But Biden’s willingness to publicly back a deal that would clamp down on border crossings didn’t go unnoticed by Democratic strategists and allies. “The toughness of it is what’s different. But the overwhelming messaging and frame isn’t different from before: We’ve tried to make progress on this issue and Republicans every step of the way have tried to stop it,” another Democratic strategist said. “The difference this time around is the administration is willing to go an extra step in terms of enforcement in a way that advocates, and the left, aren’t happy about and still Republicans refused to make that happen,” they added. But Republicans argue that Democrats don’t have credibility on the issue with the electorate. “Let’s have this battle right now. We know what the border was previous to this administration,” said Rep. John Duarte, a Republican from California. “We know very, very clearly what Joe Biden’s failures and the Democrats’ failures at the border have been.” “If that is what they want to talk about, that’s great because it’s what we want to talk about,” he added. Progressives express concern over Biden’s border sentiment Biden’s remarks from over the weekend, an extension of a statement released by the White House a day prior, didn’t sit well with everyone in his own party. Democratic Rep. Nanette Barragán of California told CNN she was disappointed with the president’s statement. “I disagree with the president’s statement that the policies that are proposed in the Senate deal are fair. And that they’ve negotiated what I think would setback real comprehensive immigration reform, you know, 10 to 15 years,” Barragán, said, cautioning that she hasn’t seen the text of the border compromise. Rep. Delia Ramirez, a Democrat from Illinois, called the president’s willingness to give so much on the border issue “dangerous.” “I think it’s dangerous for our president to be campaigning on this, and it also creates dangerous precedent. And think about that, if we’re willing to put this kind of policy, this draconian policy into supplemental piece of legislation, what’s next? Healthcare? Affirmative action? The list goes on,” Ramirez said. Notably, the deal isn’t expected to include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children — a population that’s typically garnered bipartisan support and been included in previous reform packages. The deal also does nothing to deal with millions more who are living in the US illegally and had been granted a path to citizenship in the 2013 immigration package. The exclusion of the groups underscores a shift in the Democratic Party bruised by years of migrant surges at the US-Mexico border. But Beatriz Lopez, deputy director of Immigration Hub, told CNN Americans support a balanced approach on immigration. “Moving forward, it’s important that he strike that balance,” Lopez said, referring to Biden. “It is about rebuilding his coalition, which includes moderates, but it also includes the base.” Barragan echoed that approach, saying that Latino voters want to see border security and a path forward for immigrant communities. “They want to hear that Democrats are fighting for them and we’re fighting to make sure that we address the southern border, but also finding pathways to lift up our immigrant communities and acknowledging the economic contributions of immigrants,” Barragán told CNN. On Tuesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which Barragán chairs, released a set of principles to guide immigration reform. Top of the list was protecting Dreamers. Despite pushback from progressives over the border compromise, Lopez said it’s too early to know whether the messaging will divide the coalition heading into November. “We’re stuck in this moment right now in these negotiations, but looking forward, as we get closer to November, they have to appeal to not just swing voters, they have to be able to appeal to their base,” Lopez said. “Here’s the bottom line: You can’t out Trump,” Lopez added. “You have to be the contrast in order to win.” Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip and a longtime advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, disagreed that Democrats would suppress the vote with the border compromise. “No, I’m not worried about it,” Durbin said. “Because the people I represent understand that what’s going on now in unacceptable and has to change.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Issues Final Rule to Adjust Certain Immigration and Naturalization Fees

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees for the first time since 2016. The final rule will allow USCIS to recover a greater share of its operating costs and support more timely processing of new applications. The final rule is the result of a comprehensive fee review, as required by law, and follows the January 2023 publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking. The review concluded that the current fee schedule falls far short in recovering the full cost of agency operations, including the necessary expansion of humanitarian programs, federally mandated pay raises, additional staffing requirements, and other essential investments. “For the first time in over seven years, USCIS is updating our fees to better meet the needs of our agency, enabling us to provide more timely decisions to those we serve,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “Despite years of inadequate funding, the USCIS workforce has made great strides in customer service, backlog reduction, implementing new processes and programs, and upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” USCIS received over 5,400 unique public comments in response to its January 2023 notice of proposed rulemaking. USCIS took into consideration comments and feedback received during the proposed rulemaking process. Acknowledging this feedback from stakeholders, the final fee rule includes several important updates since the initial rulemaking. The final rule: Lowers the agency’s required annual cost recovery by nearly $730 million, in part by considering the budget effects of improved efficiency measures; Expands fee exemptions for Special Immigrant Juveniles and victims of human trafficking, crime, and domestic violence; U.S. military service members and our Afghan allies; and families pursuing international adoption; Provides special fee discounts for nonprofit organizations and small business employers; Allows for half-price Employment Authorization Document applications for applicants for adjustment of status and a reduced fee for adjustment of status applicants under the age of 14 in certain situations; Expands eligibility for a 50% fee reduction for naturalization applications, available to individuals who can demonstrate household income between 150% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; and Implements a standard $50 discount for online filers. Every fee in the final rule is the same or lower than in the proposed rule. For most individual filers, the final rule limits how much newly established fees may increase. Under the final rule, the new fees will not increase by more than 26%, which is equivalent to the increase in the Consumer Price Index since the last fee rule was issued in 2016. With the new revenues the rule will generate, USCIS will start using innovative solutions to improve customer experience and stem backlog growth. Although the fee increases announced today will allow USCIS to better offset overall costs, congressional funding continues to be necessary to sustainably and fully address the increased volume of caseloads associated with recent border crossers, including by hiring additional USCIS personnel to help right-size a system that was not built to manage the numbers of cases USCIS receives. The new fees under the final rule will go into effect on April 1, 2024. USCIS encourages stakeholders to visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on its website to view a full list of the revised forms that will go into effect on April 1, 2024, along with the new fees. USCIS will accept prior editions of most forms during a grace period from April 1, 2024, through June 3, 2024. During this grace period, USCIS will accept both previous and new editions of certain forms, filed with the correct fee. There will be no grace period for the following new forms, however, because they must be revised with a new fee calculation. Filers should click the links below to access a preview version of each new form edition before the April 1, 2024, effective date: Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker; Form I-129 CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker; Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (and supplement 1, 2 and 3); and Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will use the postmark date of a filing to determine which form version and fees are correct but will use the receipt date for purposes of any regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.

USCIS Announces Strengthened Integrity Measures for H-1B Program

Announces FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period and Online Filing of H-1B Petitions WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a final rule to strengthen the integrity of and reduce the potential for fraud in the H-1B registration process, including by reducing the potential for gaming the registration system and ensuring each beneficiary would have the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. USCIS is also announcing the initial registration period dates for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap, and the launch of an online filing option for Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for H-1B petitioners. “We’re always looking for ways to bolster integrity and curtail the potential for fraud while improving and streamlining our application processes,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “The improvements in these areas should make H-1B selections more equitable for petitioners and beneficiaries and will allow for the H-1B process to be fully electronic from registration, if applicable, until final decision and transmission of approved petitions to the Department of State.” H-1B Registration Final Rule This final rule contains provisions that will create a beneficiary-centric selection process for registrations by employers, codify start date flexibility for certain petitions subject to the congressionally mandated H-1B cap, and add more integrity measures related to the registration process. Under the beneficiary centric process, registrations will be selected by unique beneficiary rather than by registration. This new process is designed to reduce the potential for fraud and ensure each beneficiary would have the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf by an employer. Starting with the FY 2025 initial registration period, USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary. The passport or travel document provided must be the one the beneficiary, if or when abroad, intends to use to enter the United States if issued an H-1B visa. Each beneficiary must only be registered under one passport or travel document. USCIS is also clarifying requirements regarding the requested employment start date on certain petitions subject to the congressionally mandated H-1B cap to permit filing with requested start dates that are after Oct. 1 of the relevant fiscal year, consistent with current policy. Additionally, the H-1B final rule codifies USCIS’ ability to deny or revoke H-1B petitions where the underlying registration contained a false attestation or was otherwise invalid. Also under the new rule, USCIS may deny or revoke the approval of an H-1B petition if it determines that the fee associated with the registration is declined, not reconciled, disputed, or otherwise invalid after submission. USCIS has also announced the Fee Schedule final rule. That rule will go into effect after the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap. Therefore, the registration fee during the registration period starting in March 2024, will remain $10. A new edition of Form I-129 with the H-1B Registration final rule and Fee Schedule final rule changes will soon be available to preview on uscis.gov (edition date 04/01/24). On April 1, 2024, only the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 will be accepted. The H-1B Registration final rule makes final some provisions proposed in the Oct. 23, 2023, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Note that DHS intends to publish a separate final rule to address the remaining provisions contained in the NPRM. FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. During this period, prospective petitioners and their representatives, if applicable, must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated registration fee for each beneficiary. For more information on the H-1B Cap Season, visit H-1B Cap Season webpage. Organizational Accounts and Online Filing for Forms I-129 and I-907 On Feb. 28, 2024, USCIS will launch the previously announced new organizational accounts in the USCIS online account that will allow multiple people within an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations, H-1B petitions, and any associated Form I-907. Also on Feb. 28, USCIS will launch online filing of Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions. On April 1, USCIS will begin accepting online filing for H-1B cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners whose registrations have been selected. Petitioners will continue to have the option of filing a paper Form I-129 H-1B petition and any associated Form I-907 if they prefer. However, during the initial launch of organizational accounts, users will not be able to link paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to their online accounts. As a reminder, USCIS recently announced a final rule that will increase the filing fee for Form I-907, to adjust for inflation, effective Feb. 26, 2024. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Feb. 26, 2024, with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Trump, House Republicans plot to kill border deal

Republican and Democratic senators are taking to the airwaves, scrambling to pass severe restrictions on migrants flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border. There's just one thing: Their plan is all but dead. Why it matters: The Senate might pass the plan, which would be one of the harshest immigration bills of the century. President Biden is ready to sign it. But House Republicans — egged on by former President Trump — already are planning to shut it down. State of play: Illegal immigration has rocketed to the top of voters' concerns, and Biden has become increasingly desperate for a solution. Trump and conservative Republicans see a political opportunity to squeeze Biden and Democrats on the issue. Trump, whose front-runner status in the Republican presidential race has solidified his leadership of the GOP, has loudly vowed to kill the bipartisan border deal. "It's not going to happen, and I'll fight it all the way," Trump said Saturday in Nevada. Zoom in: House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has fallen in line. He called the deal "dead on arrival" on Friday, then doubled down over the weekend, claiming it wouldn't do enough to stop illegal border crossings. He has said he talks frequently with Trump about the border. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned senators last week that Trump's opposition would make it difficult to get a border plan through Congress. A sign of Trump's influence: Oklahoma's GOP voted Saturday to censure Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) for being a lead negotiator in the border policy discussions. The details: The text of the border bill is expected to drop soon. It will include a measure that effectively would block illegal border crossers from asylum once the number of migrant encounters hits a daily average of 5,000 in a week or 8,500 on a single day, as Axios has reported. Those restrictions would remain until illegal crossings drop and remain low for an extended period of time. The deal also would expedite the asylum process and limit the use of parole to release migrants into the U.S. The big picture: The migrant crisis at the border and in major U.S. cities is one of the most jeopardizing issues for Biden and Democrats this November. It's also Trump's marquee political issue. He has every incentive to keep it front and center as he heads toward a likely rematch against Biden. Biden has doubled down on a tougher border image in recent months, and has signaled his willingness to "shut down the border" if he's given new authority under the Senate agreement. What they're saying: The White House is accusing Republicans of flip-flopping for politics — first supporting their own strict immigration bill and now saying Biden already has the authority to close the border. "If Speaker Johnson continues to believe — as President Biden and Republicans and Democrats in Congress do — that we have an imperative to act immediately on the border, he should give this administration the authority and funding we're requesting," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. "Right now [the plan's critics] are functioning off of internet rumors of what's in the bill, and many of them are false," Lankford said on "Face the Nation," defending the plan he has been negotiating. "I want to know how house R's square their support for H.R. 2 with their position now that we should do nothing," one senior GOP Senate aide told Axios, referring to a sweeping border bill passed by House Republicans last year. Republicans "are redefining the terms of any debate for the future," one former Biden official told Axios. "A very extreme, enforcement-heavy package is now being rejected as not tough enough." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration News Today: Denver Struggles to Care for 40,000 Migrant Arrivals

Just have a minute? Here are the top stories you need to know about immigration. This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here. New York Brooklyn’s Chinese American donors question what became of Sunset Park Arch as Adams boosts similar Manhattan project: Immigration News, Curated Sign up to get our curation of news, insights on big stories, job announcements, and events happening in immigration. Enter your email here... Sign Up For Free Fundraising for an ornamental archway in Sunset Park has been underway for years, with little progress. Now, as Adams moves forward a Manhattan plan, some donors are demanding transparency about where their money went. — Documented, in collaboration with THE CITY Queens College, NYPD investigate Muslim Student Association’s Instagram post: Queens College said it has opened an NYPD investigation into its Muslim Student Association after the student group questioned unverified claims about the war in Gaza. — Documented GOP seizes on illegal immigration as an issue in New York special election: “Tom Suozzi rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants,” says a narrator in an attack ad against the Republican running to represent part of Long Island. — NBC News With beds scarce and winter bearing down, a tent camp grows outside NYC’s largest migrant shelter: Security concerns and limited facilities contribute to challenges of accommodating the migrants using unsanctioned camps. — The Associated Press Around the U.S. U.S. court skeptical of Florida challenge to Biden “catch and release” border policy: Two judges argued Florida had not shown the “catch and release” policy had a direct impact on the state’s costs in providing social services. — Reuters Inside the deteriorating conditions forcing South American migrants to flee north from country to country: South American migrants are fleeing extreme poverty, racism, and violence, with millions leaving Venezuela due to economic decline and political unrest. — ABC News A city of 710,000 struggles to cope with 40,000 migrant arrivals: Denver will start limiting the time migrants can stay in shelters and sending those exceeding their stay out onto the streets from Feb. 5. — NBC News For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Current and former DHS officials grumble about Biden's talk of shutting down the border

Current and former officials at the Department of Homeland Security are expressing concern over President Joe Biden’s assertion this weekend that he wants the authority to “shut down” the border. At a campaign event in South Carolina on Saturday, Biden said Democrats and Republicans are “making real progress” on a bill that would include new border security measures. “It would also give me, as president, the emergency authority to shut down the border until it can get back under control,” Biden said at South Carolina’s “First in the Nation” dinner. “If that bill were the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly.” Biden vows to shut down border if Congress locks immigration deal JAN. 29, 202402:06 His remarks echoed a statement he released Friday evening, in which he said he would shut down the border if needed “the day I sign the bill into law.” Two sources familiar with the negotiations said the bill under consideration would force DHS to shut down the border if the daily average for migrant encounters reaches 5,000 over a seven-day period or if the number of crossings in a single day hits 8,500. During a shutdown, 1,400 undocumented migrants per day would be allowed to cross legally through ports of entry, but the restrictions would not lift until the number of migrant encounters decreased below 75% of the number that triggered the closure and then stayed below 75% for at least a week. DHS would then have two weeks to slowly reopen the border. That level of restriction could keep the border closed for months, the sources said. Currently, Border Patrol agents apprehend and process migrants who cross the southern border, releasing roughly 85% of them into the U.S. with dates to appear before an immigration judge to determine whether they receive asylum or are to be deported back to their home countries. Mexico has agreed to take back 30,000 Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Cuban migrants per month, but many times that number are crossing into the U.S. from those countries. Two former and two current DHS officials say that in order to shut down the border and block asylum-seekers, the U.S. would need the cooperation of Mexico to take back far more migrants. An administration official pushed back on the idea that closing the border would cause chaos. “As the president said, Congress should pass a bipartisan agreement that delivers new enforcement tools and additional resources to secure the border. Those additional resources will be critical to our capabilities, and that is why the president asked for them in his supplemental,” the administration official said. Recommended CONGRESS Justice Department investigating Rep. Cori Bush campaign's use of security funds CAPITOL RIOT Jan. 6 rioter who 'blind-side tackled' Capitol officer to be sentenced One of the two former officials said Biden is sending a political message but not one that is based in logistical reality. “You can’t shove back 8,000 migrants a day without the Mexicans’ approval,” the former official said. “What you would create is frantic surges in the weakened parts of the border.” Vulnerable parts of the border have previously included remote areas of Arizona, such as Lukeville, and Del Rio, Texas, where over 10,000 Haitians massed in 2021, overwhelming the resources of Border Patrol. Congressional deal to address border and Ukraine is in limbo JAN. 26, 202403:47 Another former official said some Customs and Border Protection rank-and-file agents and officers are upset that Biden would talk about “shutting down” the border because it could lead to more turmoil and not a solution. “It seems to be strictly political,” the second former official said. “CBP and Border Patrol are pretty upset at this point.” The two current officials confirmed there is some concern about the proposal and pointed to the fact that similar measures used during Title 42, the Covid policy that was meant to keep asylum-seekers from crossing, held for only so long. A spokesperson for the Mexican government did not respond to a request for comment. DHS also did not respond to a request for comment. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Mayorkas mounts 11th-hour defense against GOP impeachment effort

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is defending himself from Republicans in a sweeping letter sent hours before the House Homeland Security Committee considers historic articles of impeachment against him. Why it matters: Mayorkas, who details his long career in law enforcement, would be the first cabinet member to be impeached in nearly 150 years. But Republicans have made him their border bogeyman. "I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted," Mayorkas wrote in the letter sent early Tuesday. The details: Over more than six pages, Mayorkas touts his agency's sharp increase in migrant deportations since May, highlights efforts to combat criminal trafficking networks and details his life-long respect for law enforcement — beginning as a child of Cuban immigrants. "My parents experienced such loss at the fisted hands of authoritarianism that the American law enforcement officer stood as a tangible symbol of safety and the rule of law in our new home," he wrote. He also promotes the bipartisan border deal being finalized in the Senate, saying it would "make a substantial difference at our border." Between the lines: The committee led by Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) has accused Mayorkas of resisting their invitations to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry. Earlier this month, Mayorkas agreed to testify at an impeachment hearing, but asked the committee to work with DHS to find a time he was available. That never happened. "You did not respond to my request, changed course, and instead invited me to submit written testimony. Two days later, you issued a statement representing that every member of the Committee's majority already had rendered their decision," Mayorkas wrote in the Tuesday letter. "This 11th-hour response demonstrates the lack of seriousness with which Secretary Mayorkas views his responsibilities to Congress and to the American people," Green said in a statement, saying he would have preferred Mayorkas "accept our multiple invitations extended to him since last August to appear before us in person." What he's saying: "I will defer a discussion of the Constitutionality of your current effort to the many respected scholars and experts across the political spectrum who already have opined that it is contrary to law," Mayorkas wrote. "What I will not defer to others is a response to the politically motivated accusations and personal attacks you have made against me," he continued. Zoom in: The articles of impeachment charge Mayorkas with "willfully and systemically refused to comply" with immigration laws and breaching public trust by knowingly making false statements to Congress. They have also repeatedly charged DHS for not cooperating with congressional oversight. Democrats have decried the impeachment effort as a "sham" and "abuse of power," charging Republicans for trying to stretch policy disagreements into high crimes and misdemeanors. The bottom line: Mayorkas said the claims that his agency has not been responsive to House investigators are "baseless and inaccurate." He claimed he has appeared before Congress more than any other Cabinet member —testifying in 27 hearings, including seven before the very committee now moving to impeach him. "Whatever proceedings you initiate, however baseless, my responsiveness to oversight requests will not waiver," he added. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

H-1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program Begins as Demand Soars

Option available to renew visas in US for first time in 20 years Immigrants eager to see expansion of eligible visa categories A limited number of H-1B workers now can begin applying to renew their visas without leaving the US, the first time in two decades the option has been available. The State Department on Monday will release the first 4,000 application slots for its long-anticipated domestic visa renewal pilot program. A total of 20,000 participants will be accepted for the pilot over the next five weeks, split equally between workers who recently received their H-1B specialty occupation visas at consulates in India and Canada. State expects the initiative to reduce workloads at its consular offices abroad—one of a number of measures the agency has highlighted to improve overall efficiency of visa operations. Immigration attorneys also say the pilot will offer more certainty to many H-1B workers, many of whom work in the tech industry, who have been deterred from international travel in recent years because of backlogs for appointments to renew expired visas abroad. “This is a game changer for a lot of companies and visa applicants who are stressed out about the need to get a visa renewed during a potentially short trip back to their home countries,” said Carl Risch, a partner at Mayer Brown LLP and former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. Wait times for appointments can disrupt the lives of workers and leave companies without access to critical personnel for extended periods, attorneys say. Limited Scope Temporary foreign workers like those on H-1B visas, which have a three-year duration, can continue renewing their status in the US with an approved employer petition. But they must make an appointment at a consular office to renew an expired visa if they travel outside the country. The option to renew the visas within the US was discontinued in 2004 when new post-9/11 security measures required the collection of fingerprints for all visa applicants. Unlike initial visa applicants, the workers eligible for the pilot have already submitted fingerprints when they initially applied for the H-1B category. That means they’re also familiar with navigating the visa application process, with the added wrinkle of renewal in the US. A website released by the State Department ahead of the pilot’s launch allowed visa holders to confirm their eligibility. Applicants could fill out a visa application form on the agency’s website last week, although they couldn’t be submitted until Monday. A State Department spokesperson said they were unable to quantify demand so far. Applications will be considered based on the order they are received until the maximum number of slots is reached. The agency projects that processing times for domestic visa renewals will take six to eight weeks after the State Department receives passports and other required documents from applicants, compared to potential months-long waiting times at some consular offices. The initiative for now is limited to only H-1B workers who meet criteria outlined in December and excludes dependent visa holders like spouses and children on H-4 visas—a source of frustration that many workers expressed when eligibility details emerged. Potential Expansion After the pilot program concludes, the State Department will analyze the viability of expanding domestic renewal further, the agency spokesperson said. “The purpose of this limited pilot is to test internal US-based processes and procedures as many have changed since the last time we offered similar domestic visa renewal service in 2004,” the spokesperson said. How soon the option will be expanded to family members and other workers like O-1 and L-1 visa holders is the among most common questions immigration attorneys are getting right now, said Tahmina Watson, founder of Watson Immigration Law. Those visas are granted to individuals with extraordinary ability and intracompany transferees, respectively. “People have not been able to go home, wherever that home is, not only because of the pandemic but the aftereffects, mainly the consulates being backlogged so terribly,” she said. But visa holders should give the initiative time to get off the ground and for the agency to make sure processing is effective before it hopefully announces further expansions, she said. The pilot is unlikely to have a sudden impact on visa wait times in India—the biggest source of H-1B workers, where applicants face some of the worst wait times at consulates—said Fuji Whittenburg, managing partner at Whittenburg Immigration Law. “Part of the argument for it was the uncertainty for companies when employees have to travel abroad,” she said. “Everyone is excited about the possibility of a more widespread implementation.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Chance encounter: A young migrant takes a seat next to an NPR reporter

About a month ago, I was on a plane to New York City. I was coming back from reporting in California, for NPR, out on the border. I sat next to a young man from Ecuador. He had big black eyes and braces, and despite being 22, an adolescent sheepishness. Ramón. I won't use his full name because he's worried about repercussions for his family from the people who financed his trip. "Excuse me," he said in Spanish, tapping me hesitantly. "I haven't really flown a lot. Would you mind recording a video out the window?" Sponsor Message I myself am very scared of flying, by the way. In fact, he had caught me just as I searched for the prescription medication I take to calm my nerves on a plane. My arm was still deep in my bag, searching for the pills, as I answered. "Sure. No problem." I decided I would knock myself out later. I put my phone up against the window, and started recording. "Do you fly a lot?" He asked. I noticed his voice had a boyish crackle to it. "Yeah," I told him. "I don't love it." Ramón told me this was actually his second time flying. The first had been just a few weeks ago. A short trip from Ecuador to El Salvador. He told me he'd crossed the border into the U.S. two days ago. Border Patrol had apprehended him, processed him, and let him go with a notice to appear in immigration court in a few months. I wondered where he was going to stay once we landed. He told me he was going to go be with his cousins in the city. "It's cold in New York." I warned him. "Very, very cold. Do you have a jacket?" Sponsor Message He said he did and pointed to the hoodie he was wearing. I looked out the window at the San Diego palm trees and thought about how bitingly cold New York City is in December. I turned back to him. He looked terrified. "If you want," I offered, "I can hold your hand." He smiled and grabbed my hand as the plane started speeding down the runway. Thousands of feet down below, I could see the desert. I'd been there just a few days ago, reporting for NPR. Ramón leaned in over my shoulder and looked out. He told me that looked like the desert he crossed, at the end of a 21-day journey. Mostly on foot. From Ecuador to the U.S. border. He said it like even he couldn't believe it. As an immigration correspondent for NPR, I've heard so many stories like this in the last year, from people on the border, who've traveled for days and months, mostly by foot, to come to the U.S. In their mouths, places like Daly City, California, or Manassas, Virginia sound like Xanadu or El Dorado. A lot of them will get an immigration court date. It's a common process called "parole," and it is very controversial. Ramón's court date is in March. There are a few different possible outcomes, and I don't know what his will be. But even as we sped towards New York, in his pocket was a document getting the ball rolling on his deportation. Back in Ecuador, Ramón tells me, drug cartels have spread through the country like wildfire. It's gotten terrifying. So he says he sold everything he owned to pay for coyotes. Those are the people who will get you to the U.S. border and across it. He paid them $3,000 dollars. He still owes them $2,000. Sponsor Message He showed me a picture of three cousins, saying goodbye to him. They were smiling. He said his mom and grandma couldn't bear to pose for the picture, they felt too broken by his leaving. I could tell he didn't want to cry in front of me, and he was about to. So I pointed out the window. We were going over the Rockies. "That white stuff is snow?" He asked me. "It is. You know, the first time I experienced snow," I told him, "it felt like walking on sugar." This cheered him up, and he started talking about how he was going to get a job as soon as he got to New York. Pay off his debt. As he talked, I thought about New York and the over 150,000 people who have arrived in less than two years. New York officials say there's no more room, no more money, and migrants need to stop coming. Almost every single day, I get a wave of desperate text messages, from recently arrived people I've interviewed, telling me they are scared, they can't find housing, they are barely surviving. I changed the subject and pointed out the window at the Great Plains. "Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa," I listed, "it's pretty flat." A few hours later, the flight attendant announced that we were approaching New York. I explained that we were about to start descending. So he should buckle his seatbelt and press the button on his armrest, to straighten his seat. "Wait," he said. "I could have been reclining this whole time?!" The plane whined mechanically. Ramon grabbed the front of the seat and gasped. I remembered every reassurance I'd ever been given by people watching me panic on a plane. "Ramón," I said, "Imaginate que sos un pajaro." Ramon, Imagine that you are a bird. And that machine noise is the sound of you extending your wings to land. Suddenly, the city appeared, like an open mouth filled with a million sparkling teeth, taking us in. Sponsor Message "That's New York," I told him. "And that's called Queens. It's really the best borough." "Queens?" "Queens." "I am already in love with it," he responded. "I want to get out and see it all. I've seen it in the movies." As we taxied to our gate, we sat silently. What to do you say to someone who has just landed in New York, several thousand dollars in debt to a cartel, with an immigration court summons in his pocket? So I just turned to him and said, "You made it." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden and senators on verge of striking immigration deal aimed at clamping down on illegal border crossings

Eagle Pass, Texas — A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress is on the verge of striking a deal with the Biden administration that would enact sweeping new border controls, including the authority to pause asylum processing during spikes in migrant crossings, three people familiar with the talks told CBS News. After weeks of closed-door negotiations, the White House and a trio of senators could unveil an agreement as early as this week, the sources said, requesting anonymity due to the private nature of the conversations. The bill is designed to reduce the unprecedented levels of illegal crossings recorded along the southern border in the past three years. While GOP Sen. James Lankford, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are close to finalizing the compromise with the White House, any bipartisan immigration proposal would face an uphill battle in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson and other conservative lawmakers have pushed for even stricter changes to the asylum system. Divisions among Republican lawmakers over whether to support a border deal with Mr. Biden have also intensified after former President Donald Trump came out against it. At a rally in Las Vegas on Saturday, Trump said he would "rather have no bill than a bad bill." What the immigration deal would do If enacted into law, the emerging deal would mark the first major bipartisan overhaul of the nation's immigration system since the 1990s. The agreement is expected to give the executive branch a new legal authority to effectively suspend asylum in between official ports of entry when migrant crossings surpass certain thresholds. That would affect remote areas in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas where migrants regularly cross into the U.S. illegally to surrender themselves to overtaxed federal immigration officials who often release them because they don't have the resources to screen everyone for asylum. Migrants are taken into custody by officials at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Migrants are taken into custody by officials at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. ERIC GAY / AP The power, which Mr. Biden referred to as an authority to "shut down the border" on Friday, would be mandated after average daily migrant crossings hit 5,000 over seven days, or 8,500 in a single day. It could also be activated on a discretionary basis after average daily crossings surpass 4,000 in a week. There would also be a limit on the number of days each year the president could invoke the authority. When the authority is invoked, migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally would not be allowed to ask for asylum, and would face swift deportation to Mexico or their home country. Exceptions would be made for those who pass screenings for other, more difficult-to-obtain forms of humanitarian refuge, including protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Current U.S. law allows most migrants on American soil to request asylum, even if they enter the country unlawfully. On Friday, Mr. Biden said he would use the new powers "the day I sign the bill into law," calling the emerging deal the "toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we've ever had in our country." While the proposal negotiated by the White House and lawmakers would penalize those who enter the U.S. illegally, it would preserve asylum at official ports of entry. In fact, it would require U.S. border officials to continue processing more than 1,400 asylum-seekers daily at these official border crossings when the "shutdown" authority is invoked, sources told CBS News. The other proposals Other border-related proposals that will likely be in any deal include expanding the scope of the expedited removal authority; instructing immigration officials to decide asylum cases within six months, as opposed to the current years-long timeframe; and raising the standard of proof in initial asylum interviews. Those who pass their initial humanitarian protection screenings, including when the "shutdown" authority is in place, would generally be released pending a full review of their cases with immediate eligibility to work in the U.S., a change that would likely be welcomed by Democratic officials in communities struggling to house migrants relying on local services. There's also a proposal to provide lawyers to asylum-seekers. One of the most contentious issues in the negotiations has been the immigration parole authority, which Mr. Biden has used on a large scale to resettle more than 1 million refugees and migrants. Negotiators have discussed limiting the use of parole at land borders, but the White House has resisted broader restrictions pushed by Republicans. The deal is not expected to shut down Biden administration parole programs that allow U.S.-based individuals to sponsor the entry of certain Latin American migrants and Ukrainians, the sources familiar with the talks said. All the provisions being negotiated would require an enormous surge in personnel and resources, including detention facilities and deportation flights, to be implemented. The Biden administration has asked for $14 billion to fund border operations and hire additional asylum officers, border agents and immigration judges. The compromise is also expected to include provisions related to legal immigration. Negotiators have agreed to allocate 50,000 new family and employment-based immigrant visas, offer permanent residency to tens of thousands of Afghans brought to the U.S. following the fall of Kabul in 2021 and provide immigration status to the children of H-1B visa holders, the people familiar with the talks said. The agreement would not legalize any of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission, including so-called "Dreamers" brought to the country as minors, a group championed by Democrats for decades. U.S. immigration officials processed more than 302,000 migrants along the southern border in December, a record high, according to official government data published Friday. Illegal crossings there have since plummeted, a trend U.S. officials have attributed to increased Mexican immigration enforcement and a historical lull after the holiday season. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Changes Fee Payment Process for Filing In-Person

We are starting a new process for most applicants, petitioners, and requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives to pay for certain benefit request forms by mail or remotely instead of in person at a field office. Under the new process, applicants may mail either a check or Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, to the field office with their benefit request. Applicants, petitioners, and requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives should carefully read the filing instructions to ensure that their benefit request form can be submitted by mail or remotely and that they are filing at the correct location. We will return any incorrect filings to the applicant, who must then resubmit their filing to the correct office. By eliminating the need for an office appointment, this new process should save time and money for anyone who must pay these fees. In addition, attorneys and accredited representatives now can process payments for EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of a DHS Officer, through a link in the email they receive or via text from the USCIS Contact Center. Once such payment has processed, attorneys and accredited representatives must mail their client’s EOIR-29; their EOIR-2; their EOIR-27, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and their Pay.gov receipt to the field office. An exception to the new process is emergency advance parole (EAP) requests. Applicants submitting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with an EAP request must still make an appointment with the USCIS Contact Center, apply in person with their package (completed form and supporting documentation), and pay the application fee (if applicable) by credit card with Form G-1450 or check at the field office.

Friday, January 26, 2024

'Immoral': Some Republicans rebuke efforts to kill immigration deal to help Trump

WASHINGTON — Tempers flared Thursday as Republicans battled among themselves over whether to accept or reject a deal for tougher immigration laws, with some pushing back on colleagues who want to bow to former President Donald Trump's wishes and kill it. “The border is a very important issue for Donald Trump. And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and Congress people that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem — because he wants to blame Biden for it — is really appalling,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters. “The American people are suffering as a result of what’s happening at the border,” he said. “And someone running for president ought to try and get the problem solved, as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, save that problem! Don’t solve it! Let me take credit for solving it later.’” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., urged his colleagues not to make it all about politics at the behest of another candidate. “I didn’t come here to have the president as a boss or a candidate as a boss. I came here to pass good, solid policy," Tillis said. “It is immoral for me to think you looked the other way because you think this is the linchpin for President Trump to win.” Their comments came one day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a private GOP meeting, outlined the political difficulties facing the emerging deal on immigration and foreign aid, including opposition from Trump as he cruises to the Republican presidential nomination. The belief among some conservatives is that preventing an agreement will cause voters to blame President Joe Biden for a chaotic situation at the border, even though he has endorsed the negotiations. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Flaunting, Not Flouting: Abbott Stages Big Show Along Border After SCOTUS Rules Against Him

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has done nearly everything except what his supporters on the right are praising him for: defy the Supreme Court and the Biden administration. Abbott is in the middle of a crescendoing frenzy over the border, in which he has used the language of secession to claim that his state can invoke the Constitution’s Invasion Clause for self-protection while other GOP governors laud him, and activists praise him for supposedly defying a Supreme Court order. The problem is that very little of this is real. Texas invoked “invasion” in September in a court case, leading to a judge dismissing the claim as “breathtaking.” Texas is not defying a Supreme Court order from earlier this week which restored the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to cut razor wire to gain access to portions of the border in Texas. Instead, Texas officials continue to work towards a goal that they have articulated for more than a year: creating a series of incidents which could lead to test cases before the Supreme Court overturning Arizona v. U.S., a 2012 decision upholding federal control of immigration and border enforcement. “It comes down to trying to pick a fight with the federal government on immigration specifically so they can challenge Arizona v. United States,” Chelsie Kramer, Texas state organizer for the American Immigration Council, told TPM. Texas has already challenged the government over the issue in several ways, leading to three lawsuits. One has to do with anti-personnel buoys placed by Texas authorities along the Rio Grande; another to do with a law Texas passed creating a state illegal immigration charge while empowering state judges to deport people; a third has to do with concertina wire which the Texas National Guard placed along the border, blocking both migrants and federal Border Patrol agents. After the Supreme Court voided a lower court injunction barring the Biden administration from removing the razor wire, partisans on the right, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) began egging Abbott on: disobey the order, they said. Abbott did no such thing, but set in motion a process to make it appear as if he had. Texas law enforcement began laying down tons of additional razor wire, and Abbott himself issued a belligerent statement claiming that the federal government had “broken the compact between the United States and the states” while citing the Constitution’s Invasion Clause as giving Texas the right to “defend and protect itself.” Abbott’s statement led to a massive outcry. Both conservative and liberal commentators and politicians interpreted it as defying the Supreme Court. In reality, Abbott was referring to an ongoing standoff around a small park in the border town of Eagle Pass. Shelby Park is a small patch of land situated along the border and adjacent to a bridge connecting the town to Mexico. The bridge and park featured in a scene in the movie No Country for Old Men, where the main character throws a satchel full of ill-gotten cash from the bridge into the park below. Federal Border Patrol agents have used the park’s boat ramp to access the Rio Grande River, and also used a field in the area to hold undocumented migrants as they await processing. But for the past several weeks, Texas law enforcement officials have blocked federal Border Patrol agents from accessing the park, while allowing members of the public and journalists past the cordon. It’s a minor issue, but one with some symbolic significance in that it dares the federal government to file another lawsuit which could, again, end in a Supreme Court decision overturning Arizona v. U.S. The Biden administration, in its responses, has separated the razor wire issue from the separate question of access to Shelby Park. A DHS spokesman did not return TPM’s request for comment about whether any federal agents had attempted to cut the razor wire after the Supreme Court order was issued. But the agency sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday, demanding that it remove obstacles to its property along the border by Friday. Paxton replied on Fox News on Thursday, saying that Texas would continue to keep federal border patrol agents out of Shelby Park. “DHS seems to be treating Texas like any other property owner near the Río Grande,” César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an immigration attorney and professor at the Ohio State University College of Law, told TPM. Abbott has clothed the dispute in the language of secession and of defiance of the Supreme Court — a ploy which has gotten him attention nationally at time when immigration policy happens to be a central focus in Washington. Kramer told TPM that she felt the posturing was fueled by a major legislative defeat last year: Abbott’s plan to create a school voucher system in Texas died near the end of 2023. “He has to have a big win, something he can talk about, and immigration is the easiest thing,” Kramer said. The move has gotten Abbott a lot of attention. Democrat Beto O’Rourke compared him to Orval Faubus of Little Rock Nine fame; Louisiana’s Republican Governor thanked Abbott for “reminding” the country that “states are still sovereign.” Arguments around the Constitution’s Invasion Clause have not succeeded in court since Abbott attempted to raise the issue in September in the buoy case, and have not arisen in recent filings from Texas in the other two matters. “The invasion clause is a convenient political ploy that allows Governor Abbott to frame himself as the person standing before the face of mayhem,” García Hernández remarked. Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer (R), an early author of a draft of the bill empowering the state to override federal law and deport undocumented migrants, appeared caught off guard on Wednesday once he realized that Abbott had only issued a press release, and not formally asserted the state’s supposed right to self defense under the Invasion Clause in the razor wire case. Meanwhile, local officials and residents in Eagle Pass have expressed dismay at the stunt. Texas law enforcement officials managed to enter Shelby Park in June after Eagle Pass’s mayor agreed to a state request to use the property as part of Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s $10 billion effort to use state resources to police the border. Juanita Martinez, a local activist and head of the county Democratic Party, told TPM that residents began to complain about the move, causing the city council to void the agreement. The town would like to sue to enforce it and kick state law enforcement out of the park, she added, but it lacks the money to fund litigation. David Leopold, an immigration attorney, told TPM that he doubted Abbott seriously wanted the responsibility which would come with “actual control or authority over the border.” “This isn’t about solutions or stopping people from coming into Texas. It’s about creating and maintaining confusion and disarray and chaos at the southern border so they can run on it in 2024,” Leopold told TPM. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Senate immigration talks continue as divisions among Republicans threaten to sink deal

Washington — White House and Senate negotiators have continued their weeks-long border policy negotiations aimed at forging a compromise on unresolved issues like the immigration parole authority, though divisions among Republicans threaten to derail the effort, people directly familiar with the talks told CBS News. Republican leaders are also trying to gauge how much GOP support for a border security agreement with Democrats has shifted, now that former President Donald Trump has solidified his position as the front-runner for the party's presidential nomination. On Thursday, Trump attacked a border deal as a "gift" to the Democrats. In a closed-door meeting with Republicans on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the political dynamics on immigration have changed, given that Trump wants to make the situation at the border one of the key issues of his campaign. Some of McConnell's colleagues interpreted his comments as him backing away from an eventual deal, which is being negotiated by GOP Sen. James Lankford, Democrat Chris Murphy and independent Kyrsten Sinema. But senators emerging from a GOP lunch on Thursday said McConnell had clarified his stance. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said the GOP leader "made it crystal clear that he's supportive of the work that James Lankford has been doing." "The ambiguity that was around for the last few hours has been clarified for all of us. He's fully behind the border bill, fully behind the support for Ukraine, and is not going to let political considerations of any campaign stand in the way of his support," Romney said. "Leader McConnell removed any question about his support. He said he is fully supportive of the border bill as he indicated for the last several weeks." But on the same day Trump took to social media to criticize a potential agreement, posting: "A Border Deal now would be another Gift to the Radical Left Democrats. They need it politically, but don't care about our Border. What is currently being worked on in the Senate will be meaningless in terms of Border Security and Closure." Trump went on to attack the Biden administration for demanding that Texas allow Border Patrol agents full access to a crossing point in the border town of Eagle Pass. "We need a Strong, Powerful, and essentially 'PERFECT' Border and, unless we get that, we are better off not making a Deal, even if that pushes our Country to temporarily 'close up' for a while, because it will end up closing anyway with the unsustainable Invasion that is currently taking place," Trump wrote. Three sources familiar with the immigration discussions had earlier told CBS News that Republicans did not have a clear idea of what Trump wants regarding a potential congressional border deal, nor has he been briefed on the agreement being negotiated. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally, is part of the group pressing for a deal, and has publicly said that he doesn't think Republicans will be able to reach a better agreement with Democrats if Trump is reelected. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday that Republicans are "going to make a decision in the next 24 hours as to whether they actually want to get something done, or whether they want to leave the border a mess for political reasons." "I think what is very scary to some Republicans is that the deal we have reached will actually fix a big part of the problem. And I know for Donald Trump and some Republicans, it's not in their best interest for there to be policy changes that actually fix the broken asylum system, or give the president new tools to better manage the border," he said. "And so, as Republicans have seen the deal, some of them are worried that it actually will fix the problem." Two sources familiar with the negotiations told CBS News that Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have raised objections to a deal. Cruz told reporters on Wednesday that the chances of the Senate agreement passing the House "are 0.000%." It is still not clear what House Speaker Mike Johnson wants to do, though he has insisted that any aid to Ukraine would need to be linked to a potential border deal in order to pass. During a visit to the Texas border town of Eagle Pass earlier in January, Johnson told "Face the Nation" that he did indeed want a congressional border deal but acknowledged he was not party to the negotiations or read-in on what the Senate had been crafting. "We want to solve this crisis. We have to — we have a moral obligation to do so," Johnson said. He pressed President Biden to use executive authority before Congress changed any laws. Last week, Mr. Biden was asked by reporters if the border was secure and responded, "No, it is not." He said he has not believed the border to be secure for the last 10 years, and said his administration has been requesting funding from Congress for some time. "Give me the money," he said to a group of White House reporters. In recent days, a handful of House Republicans from Texas, including Tony Gonzales and Mike McCaul, along with Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar, visited Mexico for consultations with Mexican presidential candidates as well as the current government. The White House and the small group of senators involved in the negotiations have agreed on some provisions, like creating an authority to expel migrants when border agents record a spike in illegal crossings, making asylum screenings harder to pass and expanding the expedited removal process. But the parole policy has continued to divide them, sources said. The negotiators have discussed several potential changes to the parole authority, which the Biden administration has used at an unprecedented scale to resettle refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine, as well as hundreds of thousands of Latin American migrants. It has allowed those migrants to live and work in the U.S. legally, but only on a temporary basis. Republican lawmakers have argued the administration has abused the authority. Those proposals discussed by the White House and Senate negotiators include numerical caps on parole grants, barring migrants with parole status from asylum and limiting the use of the authority at land borders, sources briefed on the talks said. A person familiar with the talks said the White House is not considering disqualifying migrants paroled into the country from asylum. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Democrats Are Handing Trump a Gift on Immigration | Opinion

President Joe Biden's political team is hard at work calculating what policy changes might halt the dangerous rise of former President Donald Trump in the polls. I have a proposal that is obvious yet politically elusive. According to reports, options under consideration include prescription drug caps, taxing the wealthy and reining in corporate price-gouging. Those ideas are important and they should certainly be pursued, but it may not be enough in the berserk election year 2024. Calling All Memory-Makers SPONSORED CONTENT Calling All Memory-Makers BY VISITGREENVILLESC There are two issues driving voters in the center, who might be persuadable, to support a miscreant like Trump. One (as I have written on these pages) is the progressive overreach known as wokeness, which is driving otherwise sane people insane. But there's not much to be done about it quickly—not without alienating minorities and youth that Biden needs to turn out in November. The other is border security and illegal immigration. And here something can be done. Migrants on the Move STRINGER/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES While numbers can be distorted and the Republicans will always scaremonger, there is little dispute that illegal entries across the Mexico border are surging. Homeland Security reports an average of 200,000 "encounters" a month—way up from a few years ago—and that 670,000 people managed to get through in 2023, adding to the roughly 11 million estimated to already be inside the country. Seeming to recognize the problem at last, Biden has signaled a willingness to finally funnel serious funds to border security in exchange for Republican acquiescence to aid for Ukraine. The real question is why this needs to be a concession; Biden is being stymied on this by unreasonable people who seem to want the border to be porous. Sign up for Newsletter NEWSLETTER The Bulletin Your daily briefing of everything you need to know Email address By clicking on SIGN ME UP, you agree to Newsweek's Terms of Use & Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time. What do the voters think? A Wall Street Journal poll last month showed that immigration was the second-most important issue to voters after the economy, and that only 27 percent of voters approved of Biden's handling of it (his alarming approval rating is scarcely higher). READ MORE I Was a Border Patrol Agent for 27 Years. Here's How We Fix the Border Blacks and Hispanics Are Turning to Trump—Thanks to Biden's Open Border When It Comes to Immigration Reform, Don't Forget Black Voters There is a narrative on the American far left that suggests that for people to be worrying about this is somehow racist. The falseness of that is evident in the attitudes of Hispanics themselves. ADVERTISEMENTSCROLL TO CONTINUE READING It is true that the Democrats' Hispanic Caucus might make things difficult if Biden decided on some policies and rhetoric to signal a change. But they are misaligned with their own public: Pew finds that 56 percent of naturalized Hispanics in the United States believe that border security should be tightened to reduce illegal crossings—and 83 percent of all Hispanics think the system either needs "major changes" or to be "completely rebuilt." Sure, the specific border security heartlessness during the Trump Administration was rooted in racism. And yes, the Republicans are wrong and often racist in insisting immigrants bring crime, as Trump does. Studies suggest they are more law-abiding than veteran Americans. The problem is elsewhere and is simpler: porous borders are no way to run a country and build a society. Not only is the Democratic position a terrible political miscalculation, but it also reflects confusion about the logic of countries. This is rooted in the Peace of Westphalia, the 1648 treaties that ended the 30 Years' war in Europe, accelerated the crumbling of empires and helped establish the principles governing relations between nation-states, like sovereignty, non-interference, and territorial integrity. Put another way, barring some exceptional state of illegitimacy, countries have every right to protect their borders, and there's no obligation to allow everybody in. To do otherwise would be to expose a society, infrastructure, and economy to shocks and pressures that most populations—certainly in successful countries—do not desire. This is legitimate even if the main reason is a desire to preserve a cultural or ethnic majority. Ask the 100-odd million people of Japan whether they would like to offer the more than 1 billion Chinese the right to move to their islands, and rest assured that the answer will be no. The Japanese want Japan to be Japanese and not Chinese. And vice versa. ADVERTISING This is even true in the European Union, where the law says that all Germans have the right to move to fellow EU member Portugal. The Portuguese do not desire this—they want their area of the union to have the characteristics of Portugal, whatever these may be (chiefly the language, but also a strange talent at soccer). There is a reasonable assumption that people will not move en masse, but the fuzziness of it is a main reason for the rampant ambivalence about the EU. You know how it ended in the case of Britain, where people started to feel like they would be flooded with non-Brits. A huge economic price was paid for Brexit—partly because some people were fooled by lying politicians, but also because some people simply wanted to control the borders. There is nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing "Jewish-supremacist" about Zionism for wanting there to be a Jewish nation-state in which Jews—however they define themselves—are the majority. The question is what steps are taken to achieve this; some, like expulsions, are inadmissible. The Westphalian ideas remain valid also in the case of countries that are not, strictly speaking, ethnicity-based nation-states—like the United States. The U.S. is not just composed of many "states" that amount to highly autonomous regions—but is also an amalgam of huge ethnic diversity, obviously. The U.S. correctly celebrates this diversity as a source of dynamism and other advantages. But for the past century or so, the U.S. has also attempted to ensure that the pace of immigration is controlled. The hope was both to enable the economy to absorb the newcomers, and to ensure that the existing culture—while enriched by the ever-widening tapestry—would not be totally upended. That's reflected in the motto of the country which one finds on dollar bills: E Pluribus Unum. It means out of many, one. It does not mean out of many, many. And Americans tend to support all of this, which explains their current unhappiness. The Hispanics who arrived legally also seem to want the U.S. to remain the U.S. in fundamental ways. If they wanted to live in Central America, they might have stayed there. The far left's misunderstanding of the Hispanics on this issue is reminiscent of the clueless do-gooders who, for some patronizing reason, tried to impose the term LatinX on this population, only to find the targets of their sensitivity either indifferent or hostile. Lastly, there is little meaning to democracy without citizenship, where citizenship bestows suffrage. And this attaches to controlling immigration. There were free and fair elections in apartheid South Africa, but they were not democratic because the black majority could not vote. In the U.S. context, the presence of millions of immigrants who lack citizenship undermines (along with the Electoral College, Republican voter suppression, and Trump) American democracy. Fixing that by handing citizenship to everyone who wants it would obviously be absurd, inviting billions to arrive. So, the U.S. must control its borders for real. The discussion should simply be logistical, because of the length of the border with Mexico, and how much of it is wild and unpopulated—complex questions for another day, because my point here is political. The Republicans should be totally unelectable, given that their opposition to gun control, socially unjust taxation policy, flirtation with abortion bans, climate change denial, and undermining of universal health care all run violently against majority public opinion. The progressive wing's excesses have given the Republicans a major gift, yes. The Democrats' overall wobbliness on the border may be an even bigger one. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

‘This is not over,’ Texas says after Supreme Court lets Biden administration remove razor wire at US-Mexico border

As the migrant crisis continues at the US-Mexico border and beyond, tensions between Texas and federal officials remain high. Here are the latest developments: Razor wire is still up along a contested section of the US-Mexico border a day after the US Supreme Court voted to let federal Border Patrol agents remove the barrier installed there as part of Texas’ Republican governor’s security initiative while the state’s legal challenge to the wire-cutting plays out. A CNN team in Eagle Pass, Texas – recently the epicenter of the migrant crisis and near where three migrants drowned this month – spotted the razor wire Tuesday morning. The high court ruled 5-4 on Monday in a victory for President Joe Biden in the ongoing dispute with Texas over whether Border Patrol has the legal authority to cut concertina wire installed by Texas on the banks of the Rio Grande. The day after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security demanded Texas gives it “full access” to the border by January 26, according to a letter obtained by CNN. Texas has said Eagle Pass’ Shelby Park area is open to the public, but US Customs and Border Protection have been blocked from accessing it, according to the letter. The head of US Customs and Border Protection told CNN Tuesday the Supreme Court ruling “allows us to have access to the border so we can begin to gain access like we did before,” noting “the rest of the case is still under active litigation.” There is currently “no timetable” on removing the wire, Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said. Now, federal Customs and Border Protection agents stand ready to “swiftly” cut through the fencing in response to any life-saving or critical operational matters, a law enforcement source told CNN. They would promptly breach the fencing to render aid to any individual in distress or if otherwise deemed “operationally necessary,” the source added. Asked if CBP reserves the right to cut through razor wire along the border despite the ongoing dispute, the source said: “This goes far beyond ‘reserving the right’. The US Supreme Court has ordered it.” In this September 27 photo, US Border Patrol agents cut an opening through razor wire after immigrant families crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas. RELATED ARTICLE Supreme Court allows Biden administration to remove razor wire on US-Mexico border in 5-4 vote Texas sued last year to stop the wire-cutting, saying it illegally destroys state property and undermines security in order to assist migrants in crossing the border. A federal appeals court in December ordered Border Patrol agents to stop the practice while court proceedings play out, and the Justice Department this month filed an emergency application, asking the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his Department of Public Safety doubled down Monday on their use of state-erected barriers. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Abbott doubles down on border ‘invasion’ declaration after Supreme Court blow

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday accused the federal government of breaking the compact with the states following a Supreme Court ruling on Monday that cleared the way for the Border Patrol to remove razor wire installed by Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. In a statement, Abbott said, “President Biden has refused to enforce [immigration] laws and has even violated them.” It’s the latest escalation in a legal and political standoff between Texas and the federal government, though Abbott stopped short of announcing any specific measures. He has been pushing constitutional boundaries on state versus federal jurisdiction of border and immigration enforcement for the better part of two years; his legal team, including state Attorney General Ken Paxton, first publicly toyed with the idea of formally declaring a border “invasion” in April 2022. In that November, Abbott wrote Biden invoking a state’s constitutional right to wage war when invaded, but he only made his official invasion declaration public in September. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks after signing one of several Public Safety bills at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Since then, the governor has methodically increased the border enforcement roles of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard, citing the constitutional authority for a state to defend itself against invasion. “That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border,” wrote Abbott. Texas’s actions have precipitated several legal battles surrounding Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s initiative to take greater control over immigration enforcement. Though the Supreme Court this week allowed federal officials — namely, the Border Patrol — to remove razor wire installed by Texas, that order did not affect other flashpoints in the uneasy relationship between feds and state agents. Earlier this month, Texas officials took over a public park on the shores of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, using Texas National Guard troops to block the Border Patrol from accessing the park. Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro was the first to call for a federalization of the Texas National Guard, which as a military unit is ultimately under the command of President Biden as commander-in-chief. More top stories from The Hill: How the Fani Willis allegations could hit the Trump Georgia case Frustrations explode at Senate GOP lunch over border deal Haley camp mocks Trump ‘meltdown,’ pitches return to ‘normalcy’ Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) followed suit Wednesday in the wake of Abbott’s statement. “I agree with Congressman Castro: if Abbott is defying yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, President Biden needs to establish sole federal control of the Texas National Guard,” said Casar. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

McConnell says immigration talks in ‘quandary’ as Trump lobbies Congress to kill deal

Former President Donald Trump’s push to kill a bipartisan immigration deal may now derail a major national security package, forcing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to suggest a new course of action and endangering aid to Ukraine and Israel in the process. According to a GOP source familiar with the matter, McConnell told Republicans at a private Wednesday meeting that they are in a “quandary,” given that bipartisan talks over immigration have created intraparty feuding and may have closed off a path to getting a massive package approved this Congress. The fresh doubts from the Senate GOP leader – one of the leading proponents of more aid to Ukraine – suggest Congress may have to punt on the issues altogether or break up the package into individual pieces, though no decisions have been made. McConnell’s goal at the meeting, sources said, was to lay out to his colleagues that there was no clear path ahead unless members were willing to compromise. The new doubts come as House Republicans – with the encouragement of Trump, who is railing on immigration as a top election issue – are revolting over the bipartisan talks, even before they’ve concluded. Republicans were already divided over whether to approve any aid to Ukraine, even as they have insisted that the border must be dealt with before Ukraine aid can be approved. On top of that, the House Republican demand to pass their border security bill – HR 2 – is a non-starter with Democrats. The candid assessment, reported earlier by Punchbowl News, underscores the growing fears that Congress won’t be able to approve aid to Ukraine at a critical moment in its war against Russia – or pass any legislation to clamp down on the surge of migrants at the southern border. During the meeting, McConnell read a quote from Trump in 2018 that cast doubt on Democrats ever voting for border security, a message to his GOP colleagues that this may be the best opportunity Republicans have to get border security in decades. “He did a good job of quoting Donald Trump saying in 2018 that we will never get a Democrat to vote for this [border] stuff,” Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said. Senate Republicans engaged in a lengthy debate behind closed doors over the future of US aid to Ukraine, but the GOP emerged still divided over the best path forward as lawmakers remain stuck over how to get a bill to aid Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the US border across the finish line. “We had a thorough airing of views,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, said at this point, he thinks he has a good sense of where everyone in the conference is but that there was no grand resolution. “It was one of the most thoughtful discussions, sincere emotional discussions, we’ve had. I think that we will have a conference too divided on Ukraine, but we’re united in securing the border,” Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, said. GOP members emerging said it was less about finding a unified position (there is none) and more about giving members an opportunity to state their case and engage in a debate. Members also said that McConnell played the part of “historian in the room,” reminding the conference of where they once were and the opportunity at hand on the border. “He is attentive and he understands the historical lay of the land and it is very instructive when he does those things, when he reminds us of other opportunities lost, how far James Lankford has brought us further than we have ever been in 30 years,” Cramer said. Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina who is among those supportive of more aid, said he just wants to remind his colleagues there are consequences to not taking action. “This won’t take decades to regret. This will be in a matter of years and so people who chose to ultimately to exit Ukraine if they are successful – for as long as I am breathing – I will remind them of the consequences I am convinced we will have to live with,” Tillis said. Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah who is supportive of the US aiding the war effort in Ukraine, said that Sens. Jerry Moran, Jim Risch and Susan Collins made rousing appeals in support of the effort. Cramer told reporters that Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, actually played a clip of the late Sen. John McCain talking about Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Crimea. But it’s a delicate balance for many in the GOP conference. “We have to figure out a way to sustain this fight without depleting our capabilities around the world. I don’t think that strategy should be whatever it costs for however long it takes. That’s neither realistic nor wise but it also can’t be we are walking away when we are done because we’ll pay a price for that too,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said. Asked if the meeting was tense, Rubio laughed it off, saying, “Compared to what?” Reminded that Tuesday’s lunch was animated and boisterous, Rubio quipped: “That’s not tense. Just because they don’t let us bring knives and forks anymore.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden administration renews demand for Texas to allow Border Patrol to access a key park

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A clash between Texas and the Biden administration over immigration enforcement showed no signs of easing Wednesday as federal officials renewed demands for the state to give Border Patrol agents access to a riverfront park that is a popular corridor for migrants illegally entering the U.S. Texas has installed rows of razor wire in the park and says more is being added after the Supreme Court cleared the way for Border Patrol agents to cut or remove the sharp metal barrier. The fencing has become one of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s most visible measures to deter migrants in the border city of Eagle Pass. Texas seized control of the park this month and began denying entry to Border Patrol agents, escalating a feud between Abbott and President Joe Biden’s administration, which the governor accuses of not doing enough to curb illegal crossings. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security sent the state a letter demanding access again to Shelby Park, which is next to the Rio Grande. ADVERTISEMENT “To our knowledge, Texas has only permitted access to Shelby Park by allowing public entry for a memorial, the media, and use of the golf course adjacent to Shelby Park, all while continuing to restrict U.S. Border Patrol’s access to the park,” the letter read. OTHER NEWS Police work a scene, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, in Joliet, Ill., after multiple people were shot and killed over two days at three locations in the Chicago suburbs. (Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Police identify relationships between suspect and family members slain in Chicago suburb Darryl George, an 18-year-old high school junior, stands outside a courthouse in Anahuac, Texas, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. A judge ordered Wednesday that a trial be held next month to determine whether George can continue being punished by his district for refusing to change a hairstyle he and his family say is protected by a new state law. (AP Photo/Juan A. Lozano) A Texas school’s punishment of a Black student who wears his hair in locs is going to trial President Joe Biden is joined on stage by first lady Jill Biden at an event on the campus of George Mason University in Manassas, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, to campaign for abortion rights, a top issue for Democrats in the upcoming presidential election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Biden extends State of the Union invitation to a Texas woman who sued to get an abortion and lost It asked Texas to respond by Friday. Spokespersons for Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office had sued the Biden administration over cutting the razor wire, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. On social media, Abbott struck a defiant tone, issuing a statement that said Texas had a “constitutional right to self-defense” but did not address access to the park. Abbott is traveling in India and was not in the country when a divided Supreme Court on Monday handed down the order without comment or explicit mention about access to the park. Lt. Chris Olivarez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday on The Glenn Beck Program that the state was installing more of the wire barrier. He declined a request for an interview. ADVERTISEMENT Texas troopers and National Guard members have kept a large presence at Shelby Park since last summer, when thousands of migrants were crossing illegally crossing from Mexico. Crossings have decreased notably since the start of January, not only in Eagle Pass but elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border. But nearly two weeks into the start of the year, the state told the Eagle Pass mayor that it would be closing access to Shelby Park. Mayor Rolando Salinas said in a video published on his social media that he was not given an explanation over the timing and was not aware of when the public would have access to the popular recreation area. Texas told the Supreme Court the park was reopened to the public days after they shut it down, but the federal government expressed skepticism in its letter. The Biden administration requested access to the park, an area underneath a port of entry and a boat ramp. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration emerges as key 2024 election wedge issue for Trump, vulnerability for Biden

Immigration, one of the most politically divisive and complex matters in the U.S. for decades, is emerging as a top issue in the 2024 election. Look no further than Iowa and New Hampshire, two early-voting states thousands of miles from the southwest border. Voters there ranked immigration nearly as important as the economy when asked which issue mattered most in deciding how to vote in the Republican presidential contests. "I think overall the most important thing to me is securing the borders, national security," Bill Collins of Bedford, New Hampshire, told ABC News at a polling place on Tuesday. MORE: Migrant crisis explained: What's behind the border surge Border security was a centerpiece of Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign, and he is now repeating those messages (and in many cases going further than he did eight years ago, accused of echoing Hitler in saying immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country") to energize and unite his supporters against what Republicans have dubbed "Biden's border crisis." MORE: Trump doubles down on anti-immigration rhetoric, pledging to use overseas troops at the border Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is facing rancor within his own party as Democratic leaders in New York and Illinois forced to deal with the fallout from busloads of migrants being sent to their cities by Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott amid a historic influx of border crossings. "In his entire administration, it has eclipsed everything else," said Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. PHOTO: Migrants stand at a processing center as they wait for a bus to Chicago, Oct, 24, 2023, in downtown Brownsville, Texas. Migrants stand at a processing center as they wait for a bus to Chicago, Oct, 24, 2023, in downtown Br...Show more Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE Migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border reached a record high of 302,000 in December and apprehensions hit historic peak of 2.2 million in fiscal year 2022. Over 100,000 migrants have been transported to cities like Washington, Los Angeles and New York. Images of migrants lining the streets in Manhattan or Chicago helped shift perceptions of the issue from a far-away problem to a daily close-reminder of border tumult, making it even more potent than in prior cycles. "This is where it's different from any other chapter in our history," Chishti said. "When you have an organic absorption of migrants in society, it doesn't get noticed. But when you have sudden, dramatic groups of people showing up then it becomes a different kind of problem," Chishti added. PHOTO: Migrants look through the window of a warming bus at the migrant landing zone during a winter storm, Jan. 12, 2024, in Chicago. Migrants look through the window of a warming bus at the migrant landing zone during a winter storm...Show more Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images Polls show immigration is a major political vulnerability for Biden. He has just an 18% approval rating on the issue, the lowest for any president since ABC News and the Washington Post began asking the question in January 2004. An ABC News/Ipsos survey conducted last November, one year out from Election Day, showed Republicans were generally more trusted to do a better job than Democrats when it came to handling immigration. At the same time, nearly a third of U.S. adults said they didn't trust either party to effectively deal with the issue. Biden's apparent shift Biden campaigned as Trump's foil on immigration, promising to put an end to controversial policies like those that led to families being separated at the border. Shortly after he entered office, he sent a bill to Congress, he said, to "restore humanity and American values to our immigration system." But now, amid relentless attacks from critics for his handling of the border, he is entertaining negotiations with Republicans on a compromise immigration bill in exchange for unlocking urgent aid to Ukraine. While hosting mayors at the White House last week, Biden said he is open to "massive changes" to solve the problem at the border, including reforms to asylum laws. Recent Stories from ABC News Some congressional Democrats have already aired frustrations with the administration, though no bill text has been released or announced. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, led by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, called on Biden to "reject Trump-era immigration policies" being pursued by Republicans, saying it's "unconscionable that the President would consider going back on his word to enact what amounts to a ban on asylum." Biden's apparent shift "appeals to moderates and independents in the electorate but does risk alienating more progressive members of the party," said Louis DeSipio, a political science and Chicano-Latino professor at UC Irvine. "Biden's on a tightrope with this issue," DeSipio said. "It's the first time in quite a while that Democrats have had this level of internal division over immigration." MORE: Biden Is Moving Right On Immigration. Will That Hurt Him In 2024? While a bipartisan deal could deflate the GOP's talking point that Biden hasn't sufficiently tackled the issue, there's the looming question of whether it will happen at all. Trump has urged Republicans not to accept whatever is worked out between Senate negotiators and the Biden administration. House Speaker Mike Johnson, who speaks to Trump frequently on the issue, has said he doesn't believe now is the time for comprehensive reform. Instead, Johnson has said Biden should use executive action to address the border. "It's an issue that Republicans are going to run on but not legislate on," said Douglas Rivlin, the senior communications director at America's Voice, a progressive immigration advocacy group. Recent Stories from ABC News Biden and the White House are pushing back on Republicans signaling opposition. "They have to choose whether they want to solve a problem or keep weaponizing the issue to score political points against the president," Biden said last week. According to reporters in the room, when asked if the border was secure, Biden replied, "No." He also said “no” when asked if his administration’s policies have caused any of the problems. PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally to Restore Roe at Hylton Performing Arts Center, Jan. 23, 2024, in Manassas, Va. President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally to Restore Roe at Hylton Performing Arts Center, J...Show more Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images Some immigration activists have accused Biden and Democrats of letting Republicans take control of the narrative. "Time and time again, what I keep seeing in our polling and in our research is that Americans are just not hearing from Democrats," said Beatriz Lopez, the deputy director with the Immigration Hub. Lopez said the group urged the Biden's team to not cede too much ground in border negotiations to GOP demands, and instead refocus on rebuilding its coalition and reminding voters what's at stake in 2024. "You're not going to win by out-Republican the Republicans," Lopez said. "You're going to win by leaning into good pragmatic solutions, reminding people of our shared values and countering the anti-immigrant rhetoric. That's the formula." Trump ramps up anti-immigrant rhetoric Trump appears even more emboldened this campaign on a number of issues, with immigration at the forefront. If elected, Trump has said he plans to crack down severely on both legal and illegal immigration. He has vowed to carry out the "largest domestic deportation in American History" and to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship -- both of which would face significant legal challenges, if not practically impossible to implement. He's not only gone so far as to suggest migrants are "poisoning the blood of our country," more recently he's describing migrants coming to the border as dangerous people coming from "insane asylums" being emptied out around the world. CNN reported earlier this year that his campaign could provide no evidence to back up his claims. But his message of an immigrant "invasion" appears to be resonating among some Republicans. Debbe Magee, a Trump supporter, cited the border as her most important issue while attending one of his rallies in New Hampshire. "We're not safe," Magee said. PHOTO: Supporters of former U.S. president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump hold a sign about the border wall with Mexico before Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Club 47 USA, Oct. 11, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Supporters of former U.S. president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump hold a si...Show more Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images, FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks during a New Hampshire primary election night watch party, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, N.H. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks during a New Hampshire primary election night w...Show more Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images DeSipio said Trump, both during his presidency and in the years since, has "captured the fear of the change that was coming to the country" with migration over the past few decades and amplified it. "It has resonated with Republicans since 2016, and now increasingly with some independents and some Democrats," DeSipio said, though he noted it could do more harm than good among independents and moderates. Proving the GOP's embrace of Trump's proposals, there was little daylight between him and his GOP rivals on how to approach the issue if elected. MORE: Speaker Johnson, GOP visit border to pressure Biden, Democrats on immigration deal While the issue helped to first propel Trump into the White House, it wasn't as successful in 2018 or 2020. Trump and other Republicans made a migrant caravan moving toward the U.S. a rallying cry in 2018, though Democrats flipped control of the House with a net gain of more than 40 seats. In the 2020 election, immigration issues were largely overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and economy. But as the 2024 race increasingly turns to a likely rematch between Trump and Biden, Trump is going all in criticizing his chief rival on his management of the border. "We have millions and millions of people flowing into our country illegally," Trump said in his New Hampshire victory speech. "We have no idea who the hell they are. They come from prisons and they come from mental institutions. And it's just killing our country." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.