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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


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Biden and Trump are both at the border today, staking out ground on a key 2024 issue

President Biden is squaring off against former President Donald Trump on Thursday on one of the issues expected to dominate the 2024 presidential election: immigration. Both Biden and Trump are visiting Texas border communities that have been grappling with large numbers of migrants seeking asylum. Biden is in Brownsville, and Trump is a few hundred miles away in Eagle Pass. It's only the second time during his presidency that Biden has been to the border. The trip comes as Biden goes on the offensive, trying to turn the tables on an issue that has been a liability for him. Sponsor Message Only 29% of respondents in a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll said they approve of the way Biden is handling immigration. Former President Donald Trump talks with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to the border at Eagle Pass, Texas on Feb. 29. Eric Gay/AP Biden is trying to flip the script on this issue Biden met with Border Patrol agents and local leaders in Brownsville as he blamed House Republicans for failing to pass border funding and policy changes that the community has been seeking. Biden's new move is playing offense on border politics. But will voters be swayed? POLITICS Biden's new move is playing offense on border politics. But will voters be swayed? Biden has said Trump saw a political advantage for his party to block bipartisan legislation that would have tightened rules for asylum, expanded detention facilities and provided more money to hire more border agents. Had the legislation passed, it would have helped Biden show he was willing to get tough on the issue. "Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends," Biden said after Republicans kept the bill from getting a Senate vote. Concertina wire stretches through Shelby Park on Feb. 4, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Eric Gay/AP Trump sees the border as a winning issue for him Trump — the front-runner in the race to be the Republican nominee in November — is in Eagle Pass, a community where the state government has been trying to play a bigger role in enforcement. Sponsor Message Trump is expected to highlight recent crimes committed by migrants in major cities. Online, Trump and his allies have repeatedly blamed Biden for the death of a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia. An undocumented Venezuelan immigrant has been arrested for the crime. Biden's campaign said Trump was fear mongering and said that violent crime had fallen during Biden's time in office — something the White House highlighted with police chiefs the day before the border visit. "All he cares about is stirring up hate, stirring up division ... going even further than the extremism that we saw when he last held power," said Michael Tyler, a Biden spokesperson. Former President Donald Trump speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images Trump's trip was announced first. His team accused Biden of chasing him to the border and said his strategy would backfire. "The American people know the truth — President Trump's policies created the most secure border in American history, and it was Joe Biden who reversed them," Karoline Leavitt, Trump's press secretary, said in a statement. The stakes for both leaders are high Polls show a majority of Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on securing the border. A new Monmouth University poll found that 53% of respondents support building a border wall, the first time a majority of Americans have backed the proposal since Trump launched his first presidential campaign. As he did in his first run for office, Trump has made border security a central theme for 2024. He has promised to launch the largest domestic deportation operation in American history if elected. A section of border fence in Brownsville, Texas, as seen on Nov. 8, 2023. Biden is visiting the community on Thursday to meet border patrol agents and local officials. Valerie Gonzalez/AP Democrats saw an opening in a New York special election But Democrats see an opportunity to counter a prevailing narrative that they are soft on border security while Republicans are viewed as hawkish. House Democrat Tom Suozzi won his special election in New York earlier this month by campaigning hard on Republicans spoiling the bipartisan border bill. Democrat Suozzi wins special election to replace Santos in New York POLITICS Democrat Suozzi wins special election to replace Santos in New York Biden is looking at options for the border. But he's running into legal issues POLITICS Biden is looking at options for the border. But he's running into legal issues Evan Roth Smith, a Democratic pollster for the political strategy group, Blueprint, said that showed it's possible for Democrats to paint Republicans as "unserious about border security." He said it's not unlike the opportunity Democrats seized to effectively campaign against Republicans after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. "We now have proof-positive in this latest election that Republicans are out over their skis again on immigration. They don't know what to do," Roth Smith said. "And they've handed Democrats something they can run on for months or maybe years." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

US Announces Fee Increases for Immigration, Naturalization Petitions

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is increasing certain immigration and naturalization fees for the first time since 2016. The change will be in effect April 1. The increases affect employment-based petitions, family-based immigration applications, and U.S. naturalization cases. Per U.S. immigration law, USCIS is required to revise its fee structure every two years. "After leaving these fees unchanged for the three years following passage of the [USCIS Stabilization] Act, [the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS] is now increasing the premium processing fees USCIS charges for all eligible forms and categories to reflect the amount of inflation from June 2021 through June 2023," according to a USCIS statement. Nearly 96% of operations conducted by USCIS, and agency of DHS, rely primarily on user fees. The key changes are for the H-1B visa, a category that allows 85,000 highly skilled foreigners to come to the U.S. to work for at least three years. Its registration fee will increase from $10 to $215 per registration and is to take effect in March 2025 for the fiscal 2026 season and subsequent years. The employers pay these fees. According to the immigration agency, the goal is to align fees with the operational costs associated with managing the H-1B registration system. But for the ongoing fiscal 2025 cap season, the registration fee remains at $10. Fees for U.S. naturalization applications, currently $640, will increase to $710 if the filing is done online. If the applicant chooses to send its application by mail, the cost is $760. U.S. citizens and green card holders can apply to sponsor certain family members through the I-130 form. This petition will now cost $675 for paper filing, and $625 for online filing. Those U.S. citizens hoping to bring a fiance to the United States will pay $675 instead of $535 for that K-1 visa. Applicants filing form I-485 used to adjust status to permanent residency also known as a green card, will pay from $1,225 to $1,440. Employment authorization and advance parole, which were free applications under the adjustment of status process, will now cost an additional $260 and $630, respectively. USCIS is also introducing a new asylum program fee of $600 to process petitions for temporary and permanent workers for certain employers. The employers pay the fees. The fee will support asylum-related operations, including those connected to the Biden administration's asylum processing rule. Under this rule, USCIS officers, rather than immigration judges, will handle asylum merits interviews for specific recent arrivals. The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed comments during the rule-making process in March 2023, expressing concern about the impact on small-business owners. "In the final rule, USCIS decided to charge lower filing and asylum program fees to small employers (maximum of 25 full-time employees) and lower filing and no asylum program fee to nonprofits," according to the American Immigration Council. In fiscal 2023, USCIS received 10.9 million filings. The agency also said they completed more than 10 million pending cases, which reduced overall backlogs by 15%. USCIS also administered the Oath of Allegiance to more than 878,500 new U.S. citizens. "We've completed a record number of cases, responded to emerging crises around the globe with essential humanitarian relief, and applied innovative solutions to improve customer experience and reduce backlogs," USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou wrote in a statement. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Adams calls for change to New York City’s sanctuary city laws in harshest statement yet

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams wants migrants “suspected” of major crimes turned over to federal immigration officials — a proposal that would curtail New York’s sanctuary city policy. His call for a rollback of the rules — his clearest criticism yet of laws collectively protecting people from deportation — won immediate praise from Republicans who have railed against illegal immigration. “I want to go back to the standards of the previous mayors who I believe subscribe to my belief that people who are suspected of committing serious crimes in this city should be held accountable,” Adams told reporters at City Hall. Sponsored Video SPONSORED BY ADVERTISING PARTNER Watch to learn more See More Asked about due process for anyone accused of a crime, the mayor added, “They didn’t give due process to the person that they shot or punched or killed.” Then vs. Now: Eric Adams sours on Biden over asylum crisis SharePlay Video Sanctuary city policies adopted under former mayors Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg in part allowed police to hold those arrested and charged for longer so U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could lodge a detainer on them. But current rules, adopted under Adams’ immediate predecessor Bill de Blasio, effectively buffer people from federal scrutiny until they are convicted of major crimes. Adams, a former NYPD captain, has stressed that the majority of migrants and asylum seekers in the city are law-abiding, while condemning individuals who target police officers and repeat offenders. He raised concerns following a migrant attack of two police officers in a video that went viral last month. But he hadn’t gotten specific until Tuesday, when his chief counsel Lisa Zornberg rattled off the differences between Koch- and de Blasio-era sanctuary city rules during a routine press conference. Laws from 2014 and 2017 “essentially place strong limitations on the city’s ability to cooperate or to provide even just notification to federal authorities,” Zornberg said. Recent high-profile incidents involving migrants from the southern border included the January attack on the officers in Times Square and the shooting of a tourist in a Times Square store. Adams unleashes fury over asylum crisis: 'NYC deserves better' SharePlay Video Some Republicans who have denounced sanctuary city rules applauded Adams, a moderate Democrat, while demanding more action. “If he’s serious about changing the city’s sanctuary laws, he should take executive action or give the City Council legislation to repeal the disastrous 2014 sanctuary law to untie the hands of our NYPD and allow them to cooperate with federal immigration officials who can deport these dangerous individuals from our city,” GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island said in a statement. Council Republican leader Joe Borelli, also of Staten Island, called the mayor’s comments “a welcome change” in an interview Tuesday. “It’s going to be hard for people to really justify that it’s unreasonable to expect people who’ve already come here illegally to follow our laws,” Borelli added. Any repeal of the newer rules would require council action, which Democratic Speaker Adrienne Adams has said she would not take. “City law does not interfere in the criminal legal process nor any federal immigration law,” she said earlier this month. Immigrant advocates and lawyers who have pushed against the misrepresentation and politicization of sanctuary city laws bristled. “What Mayor Eric Adams seeks would result in local law enforcement being able to transfer New Yorkers merely suspected of a crime to ICE, upending local criminal court proceedings while perpetuating family separation and dividing communities,” the Legal Aid Society and several other public defender groups said in a joint statement. And New York Immigration Coalition’s Murad Awawdeh accused Adams of “choosing to stoke division by ignoring the evidence that makes clear that less crimes are committed in localities with sanctuary policies.” Like other Adams comments relating to the migrant crisis that have been picked up by national Republican figures, his stance got support from GOP firebrand Charlie Kirk, who posted on X of the mayor: “Good for him. Now he needs to go all the way and move to abolish it.” MOST READ 2043989408 Biden won the Michigan primary decisively — but not by enough to calm Democratic angst McConnell nudges Johnson as gap grows between GOP leaders ‘I’m Not Trying to Cause a Scene. I Just Want to Get Off This Plane.’ The House GOP’s defense against hardliners is about to get weaker Judge affirms ouster of Michigan R For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Americans say immigration most important national issue for first time since 2019 in Gallup poll

Americans say immigration is the most important issue facing the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll. Twenty-eight percent of respondents cited immigration as the top issue facing the country, up from 20 percent who said the same a month ago. More than half of those surveyed in the February poll said that “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” is a critical threat to U.S. vital interests. It’s the first time the issue has topped the Gallup list since 2019, when the number of border crossings by migrants from Central America was surging. Republicans are largely responsible for the jump, according to pollsters. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans surveyed selected immigration as the top issue, an increase from 37 percent in January. There was a small increase in the percentage of independents who selected immigration, and no meaningful change in the percentage of Democrats who did so. The response comes amid weeks of Washington back-and-forth over immigration and border policy. House Republicans recently tanked a bipartisan border bill advanced by the Senate, with Speaker Mike Johnson declaring it dead on arrival. Former President Donald Trump, the likely GOP nominee for president, pushed members of his party to block the bipartisan proposal, denying President Joe Biden a signature immigration policy achievement ahead of the November election. Twenty percent of those polled ranked “Government,” as the top issue facing the country, the second highest percentage of any option. Government ranked first in January and ranked first each month from January 2023 to November 2023. The poll surveyed 1,016 adults and was conducted from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20 via telephone. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

San Diego County to ask Congress for immigration reform and funding for migrant center

SAN DIEGO (CN) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to both develop a plan to acquire federal funding for a migrant shelter and send a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to work with President Joe Biden to pass an immigration reform bill. “I’m really proud of the work that we have done as a board. I’m grateful to my colleagues who really understand that this is a global humanitarian crisis, and that a person seeking asylum is really fleeing persecution,” said Nora Vargas, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Seeking asylum is a legal right in the United States.” There’s a lot of misinformation about who migrants are, she added Connected geographically, historically, economically, and culturally to Tijuana, Mexico’s second largest city on the other side of the border, San Diego County has been at the forefront of the United States' fragmented immigration policies. Last year, as the U.S. saw a sharp increase in migrants traveling to the border from places like Ukraine, Haiti, China and Honduras, the county created a center to assist asylum seekers. That center was operated by Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego and the Jewish Family Service through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Shelter and Services Program. After assisting what the board estimates to be 80,000 people, 99% of whom left San Diego County to reconnect with family or others while their asylum claims were being processed, the center closed earlier this month when funding dried up. In its absence, Border Patrol began dropping off asylum seekers at transit centers in San Diego. “The current immigration system is disgraceful for our country. It’s disgraceful for our citizens, and it’s disgraceful for the migrants who made the journey here,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond. “But, however, I think that our efforts to secure a shelter are actually complicit in a disastrous system that allows and actually encourages people to jump ahead of the line by walking across the border, unimpeded, and asking for asylum.” Desmond was the only supervisor to vote "no" on the motion to attempt to secure long-term funding for a migrant shelter near the border that the board hopes will be able to accommodate 500 people every day. The second motion, authored by Supervisor Joel Anderson, originally sought to draft a letter asking Biden to close the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the Border Patrol resuming “street releases” of asylum seekers. “It actually breaks my heart to see that we’re piggybacking on the xenophobia we’ve seen on a national level,” Vargas said about the motion. As Vargas talked about being a proud binational in a city where hundreds of thousands of people cross back and forth through the border for work, she began to visibly tear up. “I didn’t mean to strike a nerve. Clearly you’re very sensitive to this,” Anderson said, adding that he didn’t want to see migrants who were being dropped off in San Diego neighborhoods be made into targets for robbery by “criminal elements.” His intentions, he said, were misconstrued. He didn’t want the border shut down completely, but rather slow down and limit the number of asylum seekers being let in the country. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer made a motion to amend Anderson’s letter to ask congressional leaders to instead work with the president to pass an immigration reform bill. A bipartisan immigration reform bill was sunk earlier this month due to opposition by the members of the House GOP, she added. Former President Trump also spoke out against the bill on his Truth Social site. Migrants and asylum seekers are being used as political footballs by politicians, Lawson-Remer said. “It is our obligation as a society and a country to create an immigration system that actually works and not just retrench into some kind of 1930s xenophobic, racist, close the border orientation towards global policy, because we know exactly where that leads. It’s the beginning of the kind of polarization in the world that can only lead to, frankly, tragedy in unprecedented levels,” she added. The Board unanimously approved the letter. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Arizona GOP advances bill legalizing killing undocumented migrants on suspicion of trespassing

Arizona Republicans are advancing a bill that would allow people to legally kill someone accused of attempting to trespass or actively trespassing on their property. The big picture: The legislation, which is expected to be vetoed if it reaches the state's Democratic governor, would legalize the murder of undocumented immigrants, who often have to cross ranches that sit on the state's border with Mexico. State Rep. Justin Heap (R.) said the bill is intended to close a loophole by which migrants have moved within the U.S., per the Arizona Mirror. Context: George Alan Kelly, an Arizona rancher, was accused of killing a migrant, Gabriel Cuen Buitimea, walking through his 170-acre property last year, per the Arizona Republic. His trial is set for March 21, per the AP. What's inside: "Premises" is defined in the bill to mean any property or structure, "occupied or not." Arizona law already allows the use of deadly force against home intruders if deemed necessary for protection. The bill expands the existing doctrine from a home intrusion to a home or property intrusion. Our thought bubble, from Axios Phoenix's Jeremy Duda: If the bill is passed by the state's legislature, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs is expected to veto it. Hobbs flipped the state's governorship blue in 2022, but the GOP controls its legislature. Zoom out: Americans consider immigration the country's single most important problem for the first time since 2019, according to recent polling. Nationally, infighting, blame-shifting and indecision have challenged the Biden administration's border approach. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

In Border Visits, Biden and Trump Will Focus On Different Priorities

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden and former U.S. President Donald Trump will separately visit the United States' southern border, highlighting their competing short-term priorities for dealing with what both agree is a serious migration crisis. Biden will travel to Brownsville, a city of 187,000 at the extreme southern tip of Texas and one of the major legal ports of entry for migrants seeking asylum and permission to live and work in the U.S. While there, he will meet with federal immigration enforcement officers, law enforcement officials and local leaders. He will likely also call on Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill negotiated in the Senate, which has been blocked by Republicans. Trump will travel to Eagle Pass, another Texas town a few hundred kilometers north that has been overwhelmed by migrants attempting to cross the border illegally. Many of them also seek asylum and often wind up sheltering in and around the town before they can move farther into the country's interior to await processing. Trump is expected to deliver remarks decrying the state of border security and blaming the problem on Biden. Trump may also address the bipartisan immigration proposal drafted by the Senate, which he has criticized and which he has demanded that Republican lawmakers refuse to support. Migration crisis Migration across the southern border has surged sharply in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic. Full-year data for 2023 indicate that Customs and Border Protection officials had more than 2.4 million encounters with migrants on the southern border last year, a record number. CBP also tracks what it refers to as "gotaways" — individuals observed crossing the border by CBP officials or surveillance equipment but who are not apprehended. Since 2021, the agency has identified a minimum of 1.7 million gotaways. Of the millions who made contact with border officials while crossing, many have requested asylum, triggering a process that requires immigration officials to assess their claims. The current backlog of asylum cases is years long, and large numbers of asylum-seekers are released into the U.S. interior while they wait for their cases to be heard. Public opinion polls indicate that the situation on the border is a serious concern for many Americans. The Pew Research Center recently found that 77% of Americans believe the situation at the border constitutes either a "crisis" or a "major problem." While that feeling was most prominent among respondents who identified as Republican, at about 90%, it was also true of a majority of those identifying as Democrat, at 66%. Legal questions In recent months, possibly in response to public concern, Biden has strengthened his rhetoric on the topic, labeling the situation as a "crisis" and demanding new legislation to strengthen his ability to restrict people from entering the U.S. Many Republicans have argued that the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 authorizes the president to deal with the immigration crisis. Under the law, the president can "suspend the entry of all applicants or any class of applicants as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of applicants any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate." However, the Biden administration points out that the more recent Refugee Act of 1980 obligates the president to provide due process to an individual in the U.S. requesting asylum, "regardless of that person's immigration status or whether the person lawfully entered the country." Glimmer of hope For a brief moment a few weeks ago, real progress on the immigration issue appeared possible in Washington. With Democrats desperate to pass a supplemental funding bill to support Ukraine's fight against Russia, Republicans had indicated that any such bill was a nonstarter unless it was paired with significant immigration reform. In the Senate, a bipartisan group of lawmakers crafted a bill that provided funding for Ukraine. In exchange, Democrats acceded to a number of Republicans' major requests on border security. Among other things, it would have made it more difficult for migrants to make asylum claims, greatly increased border agencies' capacity to detain migrants, and given the president authority to block all border crossings on days when migrant flows rise above specified limits. However, Republican opposition to the deal appeared in January, bolstered by Trump, who criticized the deal on his social media network Truth Social as insufficient, writing, "I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, Country!" It quickly became apparent that many in the Republican Party, including Trump, viewed the border as a potent issue in the 2024 elections and were reluctant to pass any legislation that Biden could use to demonstrate that he was taking action on the issue. Few remaining options Republican unwillingness to pass immigration reforms in Congress leaves Biden with few options to demonstrate that he is taking action on the issue, said William A. Galston, a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's governance studies program. "He's between the proverbial rock and a hard place," Galston told VOA. "Because if he wants to do something quickly, it will have to be an executive action of some sort, and that limits his options." Galston added, "Biden's challenge is to find administrative measures that will move the needle on encounters at the border — and equally important, that will be seen by the American people as moving the needle — without running up against the limits of the existing law." For example, Biden could issue an executive order making it difficult or impossible for individuals entering the country illegally to claim asylum. However, similar executive actions taken by Trump during his time in office were quickly blocked by federal courts. Price of inaction Treatment of the border crisis as a political football comes with real human costs, said Greg Chen, senior director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He said the U.S. is now on the receiving end of a historically unprecedented surge in migration across the Western Hemisphere, as millions flee countries where both the economy and the rule of law are collapsing, making the flight north to the U.S. the only viable option for many. "Without improved capacity to process people arriving at the southern border, and also for the broader immigration system, we see major backlogs across the board," Chen told VOA. "Asylum-seekers and other migrants who are hoping to get legal relief and the opportunity to demonstrate that they should be able to stay in the United States are waiting much longer periods of time." Chen said many asylum-seekers trying to enter through legal ports of entry spend days sleeping in lines that extend into areas of Mexico that are racked by violence and often under the control of drug cartels. "The border now needs urgent attention to ensure more efficient and orderly processing of people coming to the U.S., and so that it can be done in a fair and humane way," he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How the GOP’s rightward shift on immigration helps explain Trump’s primary success

One key reason for Donald Trump’s dominance in the GOP presidential race may be hiding in plain sight: Even compared to 2016, the Republican electorate has moved sharply to the right on immigration. That shift on one of Trump’s signature issues has tightened his grip on the party. Amid widespread discontent over President Joe Biden’s management of the border, the overall electorate is moving rightward on immigration too, polls show. If Trump wins the nomination, the question will be whether swing voters are willing to move as far as he’s proposing with his explicit promise to pursue a militarized door-to-door mass deportation drive, including the construction of detention camps, to speed the removal of more undocumented immigrants than the US has ever tried to deport at one time. Both Biden and Trump are planning to visit the border on Thursday – an early indication of how large a role immigration will play in a likely general election rematch between them. For now, there’s no question that hardening GOP attitudes on immigration have been critical to Trump’s strong performance through the early primaries. In 2016, as I wrote at the time, exit polls asked GOP voters in 20 states whether “illegal immigrants working in the US” should be “offered legal status” or “deported to [their] home country.” In every state except Alabama and Mississippi, less than half of 2016 GOP primary voters said those in the US illegally should be deported, according to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research for a consortium of media organizations including CNN. But already this year, a majority of GOP primary voters in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, the two states where the question was asked, have said that most undocumented immigrants should be deported, the exit polls found. In New Hampshire, the results virtually flipped from 2016. Then, 56% of GOP primary voters said undocumented immigrants should be offered legal status; in last month’s primary, 55% said they should be deported. In South Carolina, the share of GOP primary voters who said undocumented immigrants should be deported soared from 44% in 2016 to 66% on Saturday. What’s more, the exit polls found, the share of Republican voters who described immigration as the most important issue facing the country doubled from 2016 to 2024 in New Hampshire, more than doubled in the Iowa caucuses, and nearly quadrupled in South Carolina. Immigration ranked as the most important issue for most GOP primary voters in South Carolina, and finished close behind the economy in both Iowa and New Hampshire. “I hear time and time again in focus groups, among Republicans, among independents, even with Biden voters, they will tell you that Donald Trump had the immigration problem handled,” said Jim McLaughlin, a pollster for Trump’s 2024 campaign. “When Joe Biden and the Democrats tell you, ‘Oh we need comprehensive immigration reform,’ which sounds great, and might poll test well with their base, most Americans will tell you, ‘No, immigration was solved under Donald Trump, even though I may not be voting for him and might not even like him.’” Every GOP candidate in the 2024 presidential race offered a hardline agenda on immigration. (Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s last remaining rival for the nomination, has also pledged large-scale deportations of migrants allowed in the country under Biden.) But the increased focus and rightward tilt of Republican voters on the issue is clearly boosting Trump. Fully three-fourths of GOP primary voters who want to deport undocumented immigrants backed him in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to the exit polls. (In each state, that was a big increase from 2016, when Trump won about half the voters who supported deportation.) In both of those states this year, Trump won about four-fifths of voters who called immigration the country’s most important problem, and in Iowa, those voters preferred him over Haley by almost 6-1. Even in 2016, Trump’s support was disproportionately concentrated among voters who took the most conservative immigration positions, according to my calculations at the time with my colleague Leah Askarinam. Though pro-deportation voters constituted a majority of all GOP voters in just two states, they provided a majority of Trump’s votes everywhere except New York and Wisconsin, the exit polls found. Now Trump’s strength among the Republicans most concerned about immigration is paying increasing dividends because of a powerful compounding effect: compared to 2016, he is winning a bigger share of the growing portion of GOP voters who support deportation. As a result of these twin movements, nearly four-fifths of Trump’s votes in New Hampshire came from voters who supported deportation; in South Carolina, those voters comprised over four-fifths of his coalition. By contrast, in 2016, the largest share of his primary support that came from voters who backed deportation was 67% in Alabama; only in three other states did deportation advocates provide even 60% of his vote. McLaughlin said Trump’s dominance among the GOP primary voters most concerned about immigration encapsulates a broader reason for his early success: widespread satisfaction among Republicans about his record in office. “The court cases [against him] are overrated for why Trump did as well as he did” in the first GOP contests, McLaughlin said. “[Voters] thought he was right on the issues they cared about most – the economy, national security, immigration, crime. And he looks better and better to them on most of these issues compared to Joe Biden’s failures.” Beyond the exit polls, an array of other recent polling results measure how much of the GOP coalition has coalesced behind hardline immigration positions. The share of Republicans who support building a wall along the US-Mexico border – one of Trump’s trademark policies – exceeded 80% both in a January Quinnipiac University national poll and the annual American Values Survey conducted last fall by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. That’s a significant increase from the share of Republicans who backed the wall in 2016, notes Robert P. Jones, the PRRI’s president and founder. In the PRRI poll, over three-fourths of Republicans also said they supported building “deterrents such as walls, floating barriers in rivers, and razor wire to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally, even if they endanger or kill some people.” Seven-in-ten Republicans in that survey said they wanted stricter limits on the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US. In a national Marquette Law School poll released last week, two-thirds of Republicans said they strongly supported “deporting immigrants who are living in the United States illegally back to their home countries,” according to previously unpublished results provided by Charles Franklin, the poll’s director. In PRRI’s annual polling, the share of Republicans who support deportation has been rising and the portion that backs legalization for undocumented immigrants has been falling over recent years – the same pattern evident in the early 2024 exit polls. All of these policy positions are rooted in deep concerns among Republican voters both about the immediate situation at the border and the long-term impact of immigrants on US society. In the national Marquette poll, over four-fifths of Republicans strongly agreed that “The Biden administration’s border policies have created a crisis of uncontrolled illegal migration into the country.” In a national Gallup Poll released early Tuesday morning, nearly three-fifths of Republicans called immigration the most important problem facing the country; that was up dramatically from less than two-fifths just last month. In a separate question, an overwhelming 90% of Republicans agreed that “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” is a critical threat to US vital interests. That was an increase from 84% last year. Republicans are also overwhelmingly negative about the longer-term impact of immigration on American culture. In the PRRI poll, over 7-in-10 Republicans said the growing number of newcomers from other countries “threatens traditional American customs and values,” far more than believed that immigrants strengthen American society. Most dramatically, a CBS/YouGov poll in January found that 72% of Republicans agreed with Trump’s statement that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” – an assertion that many historians have pointed out echoes language used by Adolf Hitler. The share of Republicans who said they agreed with that statement spiked to 82% when they were told that it came from Trump. The broader electorate largely shares Republicans’ concern about the immediate situation at the border, if not as intensely. In the Gallup Poll, the share of independents who consider “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” a major threat to vital US interests jumped from 40% last year to a 54% majority now, and even the share of Democrats who expressed that concern rose from about 2-in-10 to nearly 3-in-10. In the Marquette poll, nearly two-thirds of independents and even more than 2-in-5 Democrats either strongly or somewhat agreed that Biden’s policies “have created a crisis of uncontrolled illegal migration into the country.” Biden is clearly bearing the weight of those negative verdicts. In polling, his approval rating on the border and immigration is often lower than on any other issue. In the new Marquette survey, more than twice as many voters said they trusted Trump than Biden to handle immigration and the border. That was the former president’s biggest advantage on any of the seven issues the poll tested. But when it comes to the long-term impact of immigrants on American society, the broader public’s view is not nearly as negative as the assessment among Republicans. In the PRRI polling, for instance, only about 2-in-5 independents and just 1-in-5 Democrats agreed that the growing number of immigrants threatens traditional American customs and values. Over three-fifths of independents and more than three-fourths of Democrats in the CBS poll rejected Trump’s assertion that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. Over the years, most Americans have consistently supported a path to citizenship for long-time undocumented immigrants who have not broken the law. Those attitudes raise questions about whether Trump, if he wins the nomination, can sustain public support for the militant immigration ideas that are now helping him consolidate his lead in the primaries. At a CNN town hall last spring, Trump strongly implied that as president he would restore his policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border – an idea he was forced to abandon amid an intense public backlash in his first term. Trump has also repeatedly promised to pursue the largest domestic deportation program ever. Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration adviser, has fleshed out that promise in several interviews. Speaking last fall to the far-right activist Charlie Kirk, Miller said a second Trump administration would dispatch massive deportation forces, including National Guard troops from sympathetic red states, to “go around the country arresting illegal immigrants in large-scale raids”; build “large-scale staging grounds near the border, most likely in Texas,” to serve as detention camps for migrants designated for deportation; and then constantly operate flights to return migrants to their home countries. Miller has said the goal of these efforts would be to remove as many as 10 million undocumented immigrants. That’s vastly more than the roughly 250,000 deported under the model Trump often cites: the “operation wetback” program named for a racial slur for Mexican Americans implemented under President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In a conference call with reporters last week, several Democratic pollsters and immigration advocacy group leaders predicted that as Trump’s plans for the border become better known, he will face a backlash from the public, especially Hispanics. “The question is how much of this information is front and center in February in voters’ minds, and not that much of it is,” said Matt Barreto, a Democratic pollster and political scientist at UCLA. Hispanic voters, like all voters, want more order and stability at the border, Barreto and Celinda Lake, another Democratic pollster, argued on the call. But when they hear the specifics of Trump’s mass deportation plan, as well as his rhetoric claiming that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the nation, “they are absolutely disgusted by it,” Barreto said. Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, said that advocacy groups “unequivocally” will air advertisements for Hispanic voters in such pivotal swing states as Arizona and Nevada, targeting Trump’s rhetoric and mass deportation agenda. The victory of Democrat Tom Suozzi earlier this month in the New York special election to succeed expelled Republican Rep. George Santos has boosted Democratic confidence that voters still prefer a balanced approach to immigration over the policies that Trump is offering. Suozzi promised to restore order at the border, but in his advertising also explicitly promised to “open paths to citizenship for those willing to follow the rules.” He ran as a kind of Bill Clinton-era Democrat, rejecting polarized “either/or” solutions and promising a “both/and” approach that married the priorities of conservatives (border security) and liberals (legal status for young people brought to the US illegally by their parents). Immigration almost certainly still will be a negative for Biden in November. But Democrats from the White House on down believe that “both/and” message can help them limit the damage, especially after House Republicans, at Trump’s behest, killed the bipartisan Senate border bill. That legislation would have significantly toughened border enforcement and tightened the asylum process, but not implemented the most aggressive policies Trump is espousing, such as requiring asylum-seekers to “remain in Mexico” while their cases are decided, or his promise of mass deportation. Many Democrats believe Biden, in next week’s State of the Union address, will announce plans to implement some of the bill’s tougher enforcement provisions through administrative action. Biden might preview some of his ideas in his visit on Thursday to Brownsville – his first return to the border since his only previous trip as president in January 2023. McLaughlin said Democrats are deluding themselves if they believe that highlighting a rejected legislative plan, or pledging new policies now, will erase voters’ concerns about the trends at the border under Biden. “I think it is going to get worse for him, until he solves the problem,” he said. Amid these conflicting currents, immigration may encapsulate the larger dynamic of the increasingly likely Biden-Trump rematch. As on many fronts, most Americans are dissatisfied with Biden’s record on this issue. But that doesn’t guarantee a majority will be willing to accept the alternative Trump is offering. On immigration, as on many other issues, the voters’ decision may tilt on how they weigh their discontent with Biden’s performance against their unease about Trump’s inclinations and intentions. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The Biden offensive

Welcome to POLITICO’s West Wing Playbook, your guide to the people and power centers in the Biden administration. Send tips | Subscribe here | Email Eli | Email Lauren When President JOE BIDEN asked the nation’s governors who had gathered privately in the East Room last week if they had any questions, GREG GIANFORTE stood up. The Montana Republican said he had a letter from himself and other GOP governors demanding additional measures to secure the border. TOM PEREZ, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, tried to intercept the manila folder but the president brushed him away and started to read the letter, according to an official in the room. After digesting the gist, Biden shot back coolly that the things the governors wanted were all in the bipartisan border legislation that congressional Republicans refused to consider. The sharp rejoinder reflected a broader, attempted strategic shift from a president who has long projected a public image as a reconciliatory figure. There is a clear effort underway inside the White House to get into a more offensive posture on a range of subjects, with immigration being the most notable. After three years of largely tuning out the unceasing chorus of Republicans hammering him about the border, Biden is suddenly eager to lean in on the issue. The president and his team have used the GOP’s rejection of a bipartisan border compromise that provides funding for law enforcement, affected municipalities and tightening asylum policies as a campaign cudgel in recent weeks. And Rep. TOM SUOZZI’s victory in a special election in New York earlier this month after taking a more hawkish approach on immigration gave the White House more confidence about following suit. Biden’s hastily scheduled trip Thursday to Brownsville, Texas, reflects the administration’s efforts to turn around the politics of the issue — and an unwillingness to cede it to former President DONALD TRUMP, who is making his own visit to Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday. Opening her gaggle Monday with reporters aboard Air Force One, press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE teased that Biden planned to visit with Border Patrol agents to get a better sense of the situation on the ground. She also went out of her way to emphasize other topics where the administration is leaning in — like hammering Republicans for attempting to “shamelessly erase” their own records on abortion following an Alabama court ruling last week endangering in vitro fertility treatments. The abortion issue, in particular, is a central pillar of the president’s reelection effort. And both the White House and Biden campaign see the Alabama court ruling as an effective way to keep the public focused on the various consequences of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, according to a person familiar with the strategy. In the wider universe of Democrats concerned about Biden’s poll numbers and age, the president’s more forceful approach is likely a welcome and somewhat overdue development. But even a president has only so much control over the events that shape an election — such as a protracted war between Israel and Hamas. Still, the Biden team is trying now to shape events (and perceptions) as much as respond to them. They’re trumpeting an economy outperforming global competitors, attacking House Republicans for an impeachment effort that took a major hit last week when a key witness was indicted for lying in his testimony, and even hammering the New York Times in campaign memos and social media missives. The shift has been building since Biden’s Jan. 5 Valley Forge speech, an opening campaign salvo that mentioned Trump some 44 times. It continued Feb. 8 in Biden’s defiant evening press conference hitting back at the report from Special Counsel ROBERT HUR and his descriptions of the president as an “elderly” man with a “poor memory.” The president’s visible anger that night signaled he was done sitting idly by in the face of constant attacks. But it also showed the pitfalls that can come with a posture that requires, on occasion, more public appearances: the president called the leader of Egypt the president of Mexico. And despite the new, aggressive posture, there is little evidence as of yet that the public is being won over. Biden’s approval rating remains stagnant. Still, the White House may get more fodder this week when House Republicans must pass a bill to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Biden is set to meet Tuesday at the White House with Speaker MIKE JOHNSON and other top congressional leaders. But he and aides are unlikely to ease up when it comes to hammering the GOP for shutdown brinkmanship or hypocrisy on border reforms or abortion. In a memo last week, deputy press secretary ANDREW BATES blasted Johnson for suggesting Biden was “appeasing Iran,” pointing out that the GOP’s “inaction” on Ukraine aid was “benefitting [Russian President Vladimir] PUTIN and the Ayatollah.” Jean-Pierre on Monday noted that several Republicans now decrying Alabama’s ban on IVF are sponsors of the Life Begins at Conception Act that, if passed, would throw the use of IVF into question nationwide. And the expectation is that the president will bring up the stalled border deal bill when he visits Texas on Thursday. “They’re finally getting aggressive on some of these issues, like going to the border, and that helps us down-ballot,” said one national Democratic strategist. “It’s what Suozzi did in New York. You don’t have to spout Republican talking points on the border. You just have to talk about the border, about immigration.” MESSAGE US — Are you ALYSSA CHARNEY, director for lands and climate-smart agriculture? We want to hear from you. And we’ll keep you anonymous! Email us at westwingtips@politico.com. Did someone forward this email to you? Subscribe here! SUBSCRIBE TO GLOBAL PLAYBOOK: Don’t miss out on POLITICO’s Global Playbook, the newsletter taking you inside pivotal discussions at the most influential gatherings in the world, including WEF in Davos, Milken Global in Beverly Hills, to UNGA in NYC and many more. Suzanne Lynch delivers the world’s elite and influential moments directly to you. Stay in the global loop. SUBSCRIBE NOW. POTUS PUZZLER Which president played the piano in a rendition of “happy birthday” for DUKE ELLINGTON after the musician was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom? (Answer at bottom.) THE OVAL THE LEAST HYPED LATE NIGHT INTERVIEW EVER: The White House, for much of the day, refused to confirm that Biden would be taping an interview with SETH MEYERS at 30 Rock during his Monday trip to the Big Apple, even after beefed up security around the building was evident. Likely due to security concerns, Meyers’ own tweet touting Monday night’s guests did not mention the president. But, as anticipated, the president’s motorcade rolled up to NBC’s studios after a campaign meeting. The White House eventually confirmed the interview was a “surprise” to help mark the show’s 10th anniversary — Biden, they noted, was a guest on the first episode a decade ago. Then, as is the case tonight, comedian AMY POEHLER was on with him. During a visit with Meyers to an ice cream shop near the studio, Biden told reporters he hoped a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could be in place by the end of the weekend. 600 DAYS LATER… Sweden is finally joining NATO after Hungary’s parliament ratified its accession, our STUART LAU reports from Budapest. The vote was 188-6, casting Hungarian Prime Minister VIKTOR ORBÁN’s defiance into even sharper relief. Orban had been under increasing pressure from Western leaders, including Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN and national security adviser JAKE SULLIVAN, who said publicly that action by Hungary was overdue and suggested that Budapest was losing the trust of its NATO allies. It’s a win for an alliance trying to hold firm in defense of Ukraine and against Russia at a moment of growing precarity. WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WANTS YOU TO READ: This survey from the National Association for Business Economics, an influential group of business economists who found that 2024 looks to be a much better year for the U.S. economy than forecasters initially predicted. The group “sharply revised upwards” its outlook, predicting a 2.2 percent growth in the economy this year, up from 1.3 percent in a November NABE survey. Jean-Pierre and deputy communications director HERBIE ZISKEND shared an Axios’ report of the survey. Assistant press secretary MICHAEL KIKUKAWA, meanwhile, shared an AP story on the survey, with an image of that one Bloomberg headline everyone at the White House has kept as a screenshot on their desktop for these very occasions. WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO READ: This trio of stories from CNN, NBC and WSJ about how the Michigan primary Tuesday could send a clear message to Biden on dissatisfaction with his approach to the Israel-Hamas war. Arab American Democrats in Michigan are leading an effort to vote “uncommitted” in tomorrow’s election, which organizers say could attract at least 10,000 people — and possibly mirror the 10,700-vote margin that delivered the state to Donald Trump in 2016. Activists note the effort will not derail the president of victory in the state, but they hope it will help persuade the president to embrace a ceasefire. THE BUREAUCRATS ILL, YES. BUT NO ‘ILL INTENT’: Defense Secretary LLOYD AUSTIN had “no ill intent” in failing to disclose his cancer diagnosis or December hospitalization to the White House, the Pentagon concluded after a 30-day review of the matter. As our ALEXANDER WARD and LARA SELIGMAN reported Monday, when the report was unclassified, no staffers were faulted for the communications breakdown during what the report called “an unprecedented situation.” Lawmakers may deliver a harsher critique Thursday when Austin testifies on the matter before the House Armed Services Committee. SIMON SAYS, “SEND ME SOME MONEY”: In December, a district judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by SIMON ATEBA, who covers the White House for a mysterious site called Today News Africa, against Jean-Pierre for the revocation of his hard pass after a new White House policy required hard pass holders to also be accredited by Congress. On Monday, Ateba sent out an email blast soliciting financial contributions to the Center for American Liberty, a conservative legal group vowing to continue his fight. “The truth is, they don’t want people like me in the Briefing Room, because they don’t want real questions asked,” writes Ateba, who has berated Jean-Pierre for not calling on him and asked about her personal relationships and how she feels about sharing the podium with national security council spokesperson JOHN KIRBY. AGENDA SETTING TROUBLE BREWING: The president’s decision to pause new exports of U.S. natural gas is hitting a nerve with allies in Pennsylvania, our JOSH SIEGEL reports for Pro subscribers. Even as environmentalists praised the move, Biden allies argue it could hurt the energy-dense state that Biden will lean on this reelection. “We stand with the president, but on this issue we happen to disagree,” Sen. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-Pa.) said of his and the state’s senior Sen. BOB CASEY’s stance on the issue. “Natural gas is necessary right now. It’s a critical part of our nation’s energy stack.” LOW ON INK? After a nearly three-month delay in publication, a key Biden administration climate rule will see light, our ROBIN BRAVENDER reports. The rule, aimed at cutting back methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, was announced at last year’s international climate negotiations and will appear March 8 in the Federal Register. But for months, the government did not print the rule, meaning the clock hadn’t started for the regulation to take place, leaving many environmental activists on edge. Officials have offered little explanation for the delay, aside from noting the rule’s lengthy size of more than 1,600 pages. YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT DOUBLE COUPON DAY: The Federal Trade Commission on Monday filed a lawsuit to block a nearly $25 billion grocery merger between Kroger and Albertsons, our JOSH SISCO reports. In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court of Oregon, the FTC and attorneys general in eight states argued that the deal would “raise prices, lower quality, limit choices for shoppers and harm the companies’ workers,” Sisco writes. WHAT WE'RE READING A shutdown is approaching. Biden and Johnson’s lack of relationship isn’t helping (POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn and Jonathan Lemire) As the Election Comes Into Focus, Pressure Builds in the West Wing (NYT’s Peter Baker) Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs weapons from allies to continue defense against Russia (NBC’s Richard Engel, Charlotte Gardiner, Leila Sackur and Mirna Alsharif) POTUS PUZZLER ANSWER On April 29, 1969, following the award ceremony, RICHARD NIXON told the audience that he had yet to play the piano in the White House. Then he noted it was Ellington’s birthday, so he asked everyone: “Would you all stand and sing ‘happy birthday’ to him — and please, in the key of G.” A CALL OUT! Do you think you have a harder trivia question? Send us your best one about the presidents, with a citation or sourcing, and we may feature it! For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

How Biden's border trip came together

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden had been considering a trip to the southern border for weeks as a way to amplify his efforts to remind Americans that Republicans derailed a bipartisan border deal he was prepared to sign into law, according to two senior administration officials. The timing of Biden’s second visit to the border since taking office — one week before he is scheduled to deliver the State of the Union address — is an attempt by the White House to maximize the political impact of the trip, the officials said. And now, the officials said, the trip Thursday is an opportunity to draw a more direct contrast between the immigration agendas of Biden and his likely 2024 opponent, former President Donald Trump, who will visit the border on the same day. “We welcome that split screen,” said one of the officials, who also said Trump’s travel had no bearing on the timing of Biden’s trip. Biden’s handling of the border is a sizable political vulnerability as he faces a tough re-election race. An NBC News poll in January found that 57% of registered voters said Trump would handle securing the border better, while 22% said the same for Biden. The Biden administration has been under increasing pressure to take action to address the migrant crisis, including from Democratic governors and mayors, who have been raising the issue with the White House for months and did so pointedly during meetings with the president last week. Immigration was by far the most dominant topic of discussion on Friday when governors met with Biden, according to an attendee and a White House official familiar with the meeting. Democratic governors, in particular, pressed Biden and other administration officials on the topic in multiple meetings, with several of them encouraging the president to take executive action even if it might provoke legal challenges, the attendee and White House official said. Administration officials have been actively discussing in recent weeks about what executive action Biden could take on the border, NBC News has reported. No measures have been finalized, administration officials said, and it’s unclear whether any unilateral action will be announced on Thursday when Biden goes to the border. Another possibility is Biden announcing executive actions on the border during his State of the Union address on March 7, officials said. A person familiar with the administration's discussions about the border said the president is not currently considering declaring the situation at the border a national emergency. Biden has been in near daily meetings on the border over the past few weeks and has directed his team to produce solutions that don’t involve Congress, according to administration officials. Publicly he’s said the current immigration system is “broken.” And in early February, after Senate Republicans scuttled a bipartisan border deal their GOP colleagues had helped negotiate, Biden vowed to be “absolutely clear” with voters about “why it failed,” promising to take that message to the country ahead of the November election. “Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said at the time. The president last traveled to the southern border in January 2023, when he spent about four hours on the ground in El Paso, Texas. Recommended POLITICS NEWS Nathan Wade's former divorce attorney testifies on Fani Willis misconduct allegations GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN Biden meets with congressional leaders ahead of government shutdown deadline He is scheduled to visit Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday, while Trump is planning to deliver remarks in Eagle Pass on Thursday afternoon, about 330 miles away. A White House official said visiting Brownsville presents an opportunity for the president to spotlight a different sector of the border and its different dynamics. Trump's team criticized Biden’s upcoming trip as a weak attempt to address the border crisis. “Biden’s last-minute, insincere attempt to chase President Trump to the border won’t cut it,” Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement Monday. Last week, when Biden spoke to governors in a closed-door meeting at the White House, one attendee said it was clear the president believes the politics of the issue had changed more in Democrats favor in the weeks since the bipartisan immigration deal failed. Biden took questions on the topic from several governors, including at the end from Montana's Greg Gianforte, a Republican, according to one attendee and one White House official familiar with the meeting. Gianforte was holding a manila folder with a letter from Republican governors that cited their concerns about the migrant crisis, the sources said. Biden left the podium, walked over to where Gianforte was standing, took the folder and reviewed its contents as he responded the governor’s question. While Biden had largely given scripted responses to the governors’ questions, his answer in this instance was more expansive and off-the-cuff, the attendee and White House official said. They said the president cited a range of factors that had contributed to the problem and how he was working to address them — noting it was difficult without support from Republicans. When he visits the border on Thursday, Biden will meet with U.S. border patrol agents, law enforcements and local leaders, according to the White House. White House officials did not rule out the possibility of the president meeting with migrants. “He will discuss the urgent need to pass the Senate bipartisan border security agreement, the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in decades,” a White House official said. Biden is expected to call on congressional Republicans to “stop playing politics” and provide additional funding for more border patrol agents, asylum officers and fentanyl detection technology, the official said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigrant Dairy Workers Often Endure Substandard Housing Conditions. The Law Doesn’t Protect Them.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s lawsuit last month against a large dairy farm over alleged labor abuses, including millions of dollars in unpaid wages, was unusual in more than one way. It was his office’s first wage theft lawsuit against a dairy farm. And it put a spotlight on another issue that’s widespread but rarely addressed: substandard housing for immigrant dairy workers. According to the attorney general’s complaint, workers at Evergreen Acres Dairy lived in “squalid” conditions, including in converted barns and a garage, that did “not meet Minnesota’s standards for habitability.” Several living spaces lacked heat. There was no toilet in one barn where workers lived. Photos included in the complaint show bathroom and bedroom walls covered in mold, disconnected sink pipes and cockroach infestations. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Email address: Enter your email While the lawsuit targeted a single farm operation outside the Twin Cities, the reality is that substandard housing is widespread on dairy farms across the country. That’s because state and federal laws meant to ensure adequate housing for agricultural workers often exclude those on dairy farms. As a result, employer-provided housing for dairy workers rarely, if ever, gets inspected, certified or even tracked by any government agency. Over the past year, ProPublica has reported on conditions for undocumented immigrants on dairy farms in Wisconsin, which is home to thousands of mostly small farms. We’ve seen and been told by workers about housing there that appears to be in even worse shape than what was depicted in the lawsuit. We’ve also talked to workers, attorneys, advocates and researchers in other states, including New York, Vermont and Michigan, who say workers there live in run-down, overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary housing. Last year, for example, we reported on the death of an 8-year-old Nicaraguan boy on a farm near Madison, Wisconsin, and noted that the boy lived with his father above a milking parlor, the barn where cows are milked day and night. (In a sworn deposition, the farm owners said workers only stayed in the rooms above the parlor between shifts or when the weather was bad. More than a half-dozen former workers and visitors to the farm told us the boy, his father and other workers lived there.) Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s lawsuit outlined unfinished rooms, widespread mildew and lack of appliances in housing for workers of one large dairy farm. Credit:Minnesota Attorney General’s Office Less than an hour away, we visited another farm where more than a half-dozen workers lived in a large, rundown house. Black mold covered the bathroom ceiling and walls. Thick electric cables lay exposed on the hallway between bedrooms. The kitchen ceiling was crumbling. At other homes, we’ve seen makeshift walls, exposed insulation and kitchens that lack stoves and other appliances. Workers sometimes use space heaters because their homes don’t have functioning heating systems — a significant problem in Wisconsin’s winter. One worker said he was assigned a closet that was barely large enough for a twin-size mattress. He said he slept there for months. “They said I’d be there for 15 days, but four months passed,” said the worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still works on a farm and fears losing his job. “It got very cold in the winter because the apartment had a broken window.” A house for dairy workers on a farm near Madison Credit:Melissa Sanchez/ProPublica Federal laws meant to protect migrant and seasonal agricultural workers establish some basic housing standards, such as an adequate water supply, toilets and limits on how close sleeping quarters can be to livestock. But those federal protections don’t generally apply to dairy workers because cows are milked year-round, unlike other agricultural jobs such as picking apples, which are temporary or seasonal. States also can regulate housing for agricultural workers, though not all states conduct regular inspections. Again, dairy worker housing is exempt from state scrutiny because the work is year-round. Wisconsin’s migrant labor law only applies to agricultural workers whose permanent homes are elsewhere but work in the state for 10 months a year or less. As a result, dairy workers are excluded. José Martínez, who chairs the Governor's Council on Migrant Labor in Wisconsin, said ProPublica’s reporting has “shed light on the need for regulation and oversight” for dairy work conditions, including housing. He said the council will discuss whether to recommend that Gov. Tony Evers support legislation to expand the state’s migrant labor law to cover dairy workers. The issue has gotten some attention in recent years in other states. Bridge Michigan has reported on housing with faulty electrical wiring and “animal feces in an air vent, a dead rooster in the basement and a nest of rats gnawing at the insulation in the bathroom.” Vermont Public toured one worker’s home above a dairy barn, where a toilet sometimes leaked into the kitchen area and scalding water came out of the bare pipe he used to take showers. And in New York, the Times Union has reported on soft, wet, spongy floors, bedbugs and even skunks living under worker housing. First image: A bedroom at an Addison County farm in Vermont. Second image: A shower used by farmworkers in Addison County. Credit:Elodie Reed/Vermont Public In theory, workers could file complaints about their housing with local public health or building departments. In some cases, they could sue their employers under state landlord-tenant laws. But advocates say complaining or filing a lawsuit isn’t a realistic option for undocumented immigrant workers who fear getting fired, evicted and deported. “The fear of losing their housing or losing their employment or both — it’s a real issue,” said Griselt Andrade, the lead attorney at the Agricultural Worker Project of the nonprofit Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. “Sometimes they just prefer to endure those conditions and to work.” That’s what made Ellison’s lawsuit so unusual. Many of the workers at Evergreen Acres were undocumented immigrants from an indigenous community in the Mexican state of Oaxaca whose primary language is Zapotec, according to the lawsuit. (A spokesperson for the Wisconsin attorney general’s office said lawyers there were unaware of any lawsuits related to substandard housing for farmworkers or similar cases in the state.) The DOJ Is Working With a Wisconsin Sheriff to Improve How Deputies Communicate With People Who Don’t Speak English Katherine Kelly, an attorney who manages the civil rights division in Ellison’s office, said the attorney general got involved after workers complained to a local Latino advocacy group about having their wages docked and, in some cases, not getting paid at all. During the investigation, many workers spoke to the office about housing conditions. The lawsuit against Evergreen Acres and its owners relies on the state’s broad landlord-tenant protections to make the substandard housing allegations. Under Minnesota law, workers who are provided housing in exchange for their labor can be considered tenants; the laws aren’t so broad in many other states, making it hard to classify workers as tenants without evidence they paid rent. In the Evergreen Acres case, the lawsuit notes that the farm also deducted rent from workers’ wages, which makes the workers more like traditional tenants. The farm “did not keep the premises in reasonable repair during the term of the lease,” according to the lawsuit. Courtney Blanchard, an attorney for Evergreen Acres, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. The farm and farm owners have not yet filed a response to the complaint. Andrade said she is grateful that the lawsuit has shone a spotlight on substandard housing conditions for dairy workers. “It’s widespread,” she said. “And it’s not just in certain areas. It’s throughout the state.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday, as both candidates try to turn the nation’s broken immigration system to their political advantage in an expected campaign rematch this year. Biden will travel to Brownsville, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, an area that often sees large numbers of border crossings, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. He will meet border agents and discuss the need for bipartisan legislation. It would be his second visit to the border as president. He traveled to El Paso in January last year. “He wants to make sure he puts his message out there to the American people,” Jean-Pierre said. ADVERTISEMENT Trump, for his part, will head to Eagle Pass, Texas, about 325 miles or 520 kilometers away from Brownsville, another hotspot in the state-federal clash over border security, according to three people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans. READ MORE Mexico midfielder Mayra Pelayo-Bernal, right, celebrates her goal with defender Karen Luna during a CONCACAF Gold Cup women's soccer tournament match against the United States, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun) US falls to Mexico for the second time ever, losing 2-0 in the Women’s Gold Cup Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, raises his hand to be recognized on the House floor during a legislative session Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV) Tennessee House advances bill to ban reappointing lawmakers booted for behavior Mariana Garcia Lopez, third from left, wearing sunglasses, stands on the La Malinche volcano during her coronation ceremony as Queen of the Mountains 2024, at the annual mountaineering club meeting in Mexico, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. The annual event that dates back to the 1950s brings together the most promising female mountaineers from across Mexico and the queen's role is to represent and promote female mountaineers for the coming year. (AP Photo/India Grant) Mexico crowns new ‘Queen of the Mountains’ as community reckons with recent mountaineering deaths Biden, speaking in New York on Monday, said he had planned to head to the border on Thursday and didn’t know “my good friend apparently is going,” too. The White House announcement of the trip came after Trump’s plan to visit the border had been reported. The president declined to say whether he would meet with migrants on the trip. The trips underscore immigration’s central importance in the 2024 presidential race, for Republicans and increasingly for Democrats, particularly after congressional talks on a deal to rein in illegal migration collapsed. Biden has excoriated Republicans for abandoning the bipartisan border deal after Trump came out in opposition to the plan to tighten asylum restrictions and create daily limits on border crossings. Trump, meanwhile, has dialed up his anti-immigrant rhetoric, suggesting migrants are poisoning the blood of Americans. The number of people who are illegally crossing the U.S. border has been rising for years because of complicated reasons that include climate change, war and unrest in other nations, the economy, and cartels that see migration as a cash cow. ADVERTISEMENT The administration has been pairing crackdowns at the border with increasing legal pathways for migrants designed to steer people into arriving by plane with sponsors, not illegally on foot to the border. Under a recent Biden administration rule, many migrants are presumed ineligible for asylum if they arrive illegally between ports. It depends on the circumstances of their arrival, including whether they are single adults or families. The numbers of migrants flowing to the U.S-Mexico border have far outpaced the capacity of an immigration system that has not been substantially updated in decades. Arrests for illegal crossings fell by half in January, but there were record highs in December. Trump’s campaign says Biden’s plan to visit the border is a sign that the president is on the defensive over immigration and the issue is a problem for his reelection effort. Trump’s campaign press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, said Biden was chasing Trump and is responsible for the “worst immigration crisis in history.” Biden’s camp says it’s House Republicans who are on the defensive, after Trump flatly said he told GOP legislators to tank the bill that would have funded border agents and other Homeland Security authorities. The New York Times first reported the travel. While he continues to criticize Republicans for legislative inaction, Biden is considering executive actions to help discourage migrants from coming to the U.S. Among the actions under consideration by Biden is invoking authorities outlined in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which give a president broad leeway to block entry of certain immigrants into the United States if it would be “detrimental” to the national interest. ADVERTISEMENT But without changes to law, any executive action taken by the administration that cracks down on border crossings is likely to be challenged in court. The White House has informed some lawmakers on Capitol Hill that Biden will not announce an executive order on immigration during his border trip on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the conversations. “There is no executive action that would have done what the Senate bipartisan proposal would have done,” Jean-Pierre said. “Politics got in the way.” According to an AP-NORC poll in January, concerns about immigration climbed to 35% from 27% last year. Most Republicans, 55%, say the government needs to focus on immigration in 2024, while 22% of Democrats listed immigration as a priority. That’s up from 45% and 14%, respectively, compared with December 2022. Trump is again making immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, seizing on images of migrants sleeping in police stations and in hangars as proof that Biden’s policies have failed. He’s made frequent trips to the border as a candidate and president. During his 2016 campaign, he traveled to Laredo, Texas in July 2015 for a visit that highlighted how his views on immigration helped him win media attention and support from the GOP base. Since leaving office he’s been to the border at least twice, including to pick up the endorsement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. ADVERTISEMENT Biden, meanwhile, visited the border only once, and he did not come into contact with any migrants. Rather, he inspected Customs and Border Protection facilities and walked a stretch of border wall. During negotiations on the border bill, he suggested he’d shut down asylum if given the power, a remarkable shift to the right for Democrats who are increasingly concerned by the same scenes of migrants encampments, and are asking the administration to speed up work authorizations so families who have arrived can at least seek employment. The failure of the border bill this month has caused the Homeland Security Department, which controls the border, to assess its priorities and shift money between its agencies to plug holes. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is considering slashing detention beds to 22,000 from 38,000 and reducing deportation flights. That would mean more migrants released into the U.S. who arrive at the border. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service

Edition Date: 02/26/24. Starting April 26, 2024, we will only accept the 02/26/24 edition. Until then, you can also use the 11/03/22 E and 11/03/22 editions. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. The new filing fee is effective for filings postmarked Feb. 26 and later. If you are filing an acceptable prior form edition, you must include the new 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. Form G-1055, Fee Schedule 02/26/2024 08:25 AM EST Edition Date: 02/26/24. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page. For more information, please visit our Forms Updates page.

Biden tells governors he’s eyeing executive action on immigration, seems ‘frustrated’ with lawyers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told the nation’s governors on Friday that he’s exploring what executive actions he can take to curb migration across the southern border after a bipartisan deal collapsed in Congress this month. He seemed to express frustration at the legal limits of his authority to act unilaterally. Biden hosted members of the National Governors Association in the East Room, where he implored them to urge their representatives in Congress to resurrect the bipartisan proposal that collapsed within 48 hours. He also sharply criticized Republicans for backing away from the agreement after former President Donald Trump lobbied in opposition to the deal. “Over time, our laws and our resources haven’t kept up with our immigration system and it’s broken,” Biden told the governors, lamenting that “petty politics intervened” to kill the deal. ADVERTISEMENT Later, during a private question-and-answer session with the governors, he indicated he was looking at what his options are for doing something by executive order. READ MORE In this combination of photos, President Joe Biden, left, speaks on Aug. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, and former President Donald Trump speaks on June 13, 2023, in Bedminster, N.J. Biden and Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, following the failed border deal that was opposed by the Republican front-runner. (AP Photo) Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration Migrants unload their items off a bus as they arrive at a bus stop after leaving a processing facility, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in San Diego. Hundreds of migrants were dropped off Friday at a sidewalk bus stop amid office parks in San Diego with notices to appear in immigration court after local government funding for a reception center ran out of money sooner than expected. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) Border Patrol releases hundreds of migrants at a bus stop after San Diego runs out of aid money FILE - Migrants wait to be transferred from Lampedusa Island, Italy, Sept. 15, 2023. Albania has agreed to host two migrant processing centers on its territory that will be run by Italy under a deal that worries human rights activists. The European Union, however, sees it as a possible future template. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro, File) The EU is watching Albania’s deal to hold asylum seekers for Italy. Rights activists are worried Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, the Republican chair of the association, told reporters later that Biden didn’t specify what actions he is considering, but he said the president noted that he was confronting the limits of what he can do without Congress. “He did say that he has been working with his attorneys, trying to understand what executive action would be upheld in the courts and would be constitutional, and that he seemed a little frustrated that he was not getting answers from attorneys that he felt he could take the kind of actions that he wanted to,” Cox said. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Democratic vice-chair of the governors’ group, said governors got a “general sense that they’re looking into whatever they can do on the executive side. Again, keeping our expectations realistic, that’s going to be more limited than a congressional solution.” Polis said Biden cited federal courts overruling some of Trump’s immigration actions, and a desire to avoid a similar fate with any action he took. ADVERTISEMENT “And so there was a frustration that that would occur under under his leadership as well, under any president, absent a change in the law,” Polis said. “A lot of the steps we need to take simply aren’t legal under current law.” Cox added that Biden mentioned declaring an emergency at the border, which in theory could unlock additional federal funds that would be needed to execute any new border crackdowns. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on private conversations. Among the actions under consideration by Biden is invoking authorities outlined in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives a president broad leeway to block entry of certain immigrants into the United States if it would be “detrimental” to the national interest. Trump, the likely GOP candidate to face off against Biden this fall, repeatedly leaned on the 212(f) power while in office, including his controversial ban on travelers from Muslim-majority nations. Biden rescinded that ban on his first day in office through executive order. ADVERTISEMENT But as White House officials contemplate various unilateral options, they have faced resistance from Justice Department lawyers, who have been hesitant on greenlighting any executive actions on immigration that would promptly be blocked in court, according to two people familiar with the deliberations. DOJ declined to comment. For instance, Trump used the 212(f) authority to issue a directive that said migrants who arrive between ports of entry at the southern border would be rendered ineligible to seek asylum. But that was halted in the lower courts and the Supreme Court, with a 5-4 ruling, didn’t revive Trump’s proposed ban. Still, any similar challenge now could be different since one of the justices who ruled against Trump in the case, the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a reliable conservative vote. Currently, it’s unclear how Biden would use that presidential authority to deter the migrants arriving at the southern border, and people familiar with the discussions have cautioned that it has not been finalized and that Biden has not signed off on any directive. The White House could also ultimately choose not to take any executive action at all. “No decisions have been made on this,” Jean-Pierre said Friday. Cox noted that as he’s pressed Biden to act unilaterally, ultimately, more comprehensive solutions will depend on Congress. “There’s some disagreement on how much the president can do and can’t do and I pushed back on the president on that,” he said. “But we I think there’s also general consensus that the Congress does have to do something.” He said if Congress can’t back the comprehensive deal, then perhaps pieces of it, like boosting money for border patrol agents and asylum officers, could be tacked on to coming spending bills. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Migrant crisis looms over governors’ gathering at the White House

The record level of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border loomed over a gathering of governors at the White House this weekend, revealing how the issue has become prominent in states nationwide and across the political spectrum. The National Governors Association holds a gathering of governors at the White House annually to discuss matters affecting their states and other kitchen-table issues. For years, immigration has been on the backburner. But that was not the case this year. Several governors CNN spoke with over the weekend said immigration was the primary focus of their discussions. “This is the No. 1 issue on Americans’ minds right now,” Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte said. “Everybody realizes that this is a significant problem right now and a challenge,” North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper told CNN. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a news conference in Eagle Pass on February 4, 2024. RELATED ARTICLE Gov. Greg Abbott’s border tactics force Democrats to confront migrant crisis in their own backyards Governors nationwide, regardless of their proximity to the US southern border, have been grappling with migrant arrivals, in part as a result of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott busing migrants to Democratic-led cities unannounced. President Joe Biden acknowledged their challenges in his remarks before governors Friday. “You deal with this every day; some of you deal with it every single day. You have real skin in the game,” Biden said, urging governors to ramp up the pressure on lawmakers to pass what he described as the “strongest border deal the country has ever seen.” Several governors told CNN that they spoke with the president about potential solutions to addressing the challenges related to border security. “I think what you saw in that room [at the White House] was both Democrats and Republicans that want a solution and that don’t think that Congress can simply sit on the sidelines,” said Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, describing the discussions as “civil.” As the White House navigates Republican criticism and Democratic outcry — some who want to see stricter measures and others wary of that approach — Biden has sought to embrace stricter border security measures. The president is considering sweeping executive action that would restrict migrants’ ability to seek asylum at the US-Mexico border if they crossed illegally — a maneuver reminiscent of controversial action from the Trump era. White House officials maintain no final decision has been made. Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Friday that Biden told governors that he is working with lawyers to understand what executive action he could take on immigration, but that the president appeared “frustrated” that he “was not getting answers from attorneys that felt he could take the kind of actions that he wanted to.” Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota underscored the need for additional resources along the US southern border, arguing: “I think there’s a ton of things that can be done right now, without legislation.” The president’s mulling over taking executive action comes after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan border deal earlier this month that included sweeping measures, including an authority to shut down the US-Mexico border. “I think that … at least for now, this legislation is on life support. I think that the president is going to look at what we can do,” Cooper said, referring to the Senate border bill. “Some actions that potentially he might take, obviously they would be litigated as to whether they would be able to work or not.” The White House has slammed Republicans for not taking up the measure tied to a foreign aid package. And on Friday, each of the tables where governors were seated had a fact sheet with details of the border deal. Immigrants wait next to razor wire after crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso, Texas on February 1, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. RELATED ARTICLE Biden considering new executive action to restrict asylum at the border, sources say The handling of the US-Mexico border has been a political liability for Biden, whose team has grappled with rising migration across the Western Hemisphere, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. The failed border bill, though, “handed the president” a political opportunity, said New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. “It’s quite clear no matter what you think about the immigration policy, we know now who to blame for the lack of action, which is awful for America, but it’s frankly a gift for the president,” he said. Abbott’s escalating border tactics have brought the migrant crisis to the doorsteps of Democratic-led cities and states, placing the issue at the forefront of a heated election cycle and forcing Democrats to answer to it. “All this bickering between both parties needs to stop. I ask our leaders to stop politicizing this immigration issue and come to the table to find solutions to address this immigration issue,” Mayor Ramiro Garza of the border city of Edinburg, Texas, said in a statement. Garza and other mayors from across the country met with Biden last month at the White House to discuss the influx of migrants arriving in their cities. For months, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called on Biden to provide more resources to help them address these challenges. Migrants often move to cities within the United States if they’re eligible to be released from government custody and as they go through their immigration proceedings. But Abbott sent thousands of migrants to select cities without a heads-up, leaving officials scrambling to respond. Democratic strategists have acknowledged the political effect of Abbott’s moves. “The fear of Abbott’s stunts working to scare people was there from the beginning, and there’s a lot of people running around right now scared that it’s working,” one Democratic strategist told CNN. “He played into the idea of pitting immigrants against the American people in general and against immigrants who have been here for years,” the strategist added. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Progressive groups preemptively rip Biden over immigration executive actions

A major coalition of progressive groups on Friday warned President Joe Biden not to go forward with a slew of executive actions designed to stem migration along the southern border. Those groups, totaling more than 150 international, national, state, local and faith-based entities, said in a letter to the White House that the policies under consideration — including an asylum ban between U.S. ports of entry — “emulate” the approach of the Trump administration and “extremist legislators.” The letter, first obtained by POLITICO, comes after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday blasted the consideration of these policies and warned that “using immigrant communities as a political pawn is wrong.” “We urge you to heed our warning: this tired approach failed under the past administration, will fail and cause great harm again, and will tarnish your administration irreparably,” the groups said in the letter organized by the National Immigrant Justice Center and Human Rights First. The sweeping denunciations of the administration’s policy considerations come in response to reports that the White House is mulling a string of executive actions and federal regulations. The approach would mark a massive shift for the president on the issue, placing him at odds with key constituencies in his party. The border issue has spurred anxiety inside the Biden White House since the president took office. It’s grown increasingly challenging for Biden’s team to manage as the decades-old system is unable to handle modern migration patterns. Republicans have typically held healthy advantages in public polling when voters are asked which party they trust to handle the issue of immigration and the border. The president had engaged in bipartisan talks in the Senate to address the matter but those discussions fell apart after Donald Trump encouraged Republicans to walk away from the deal. He is now contemplating executive actions, but it’s sparked criticism from the left who believe he is abandoning his early vows to reject policies of his predecessor and to restore asylum access. Among the ideas the White House is considering include using a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar migrants from seeking asylum in between U.S. ports of entry, POLITICO reported on Wednesday. Officials are considering tying that directive to a trigger, placing the policy in effect after a certain number of illegal crossings take place. The administration is also discussing ways to make it harder for asylum seekers to pass an initial screening, essentially raising the “credible fear standard,” as well as ways to quickly deport others who don’t meet those elevated asylum standards. Officials are also examining ways to unlock additional funding and resources since Congress hasn’t moved on the president’s supplemental request that included $13.6 billion for border security. “The administration spent months negotiating in good faith to deliver the toughest and fairest bipartisan border security bill in decades because we need Congress to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system,” said White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández, when reports first emerged that the president was considering executive actions. “No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected,” he continued. Biden is expected to unveil new actions around the upcoming State of the Union speech. But final decisions have not been made and administration officials are still working on specifics. The asylum ban, which would include using Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, is hung up in legal review with the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, according to two people familiar with the status and granted anonymity to speak about internal discussions. Officials are debating whether the administration should move forward with using the statute, which was employed repeatedly by the Trump administration to shape the immigration system. In late 2018, then-President Trump signed a policy that temporarily barred migrants who tried to illegally cross into the U.S. outside of official ports of entry, but the measure was later blocked by the Supreme Court. “On your first day in office, you rightly rescinded a number of abhorrent signature policies of your predecessor. These include the Muslim and African bans and a proclamation that sought to bar asylum access based on manner of entry,” the letter from immigration advocates said. “Yet, your office is reportedly considering using the same law underpinning these policies you rescinded to attempt to shut down access to asylum at the southern border.” The groups urged the president to instead bring “order and fairness” to the border. They called for delivering resources to ports of entry that would help quickly process migrants and for aiding communities at the border and across the country who support asylum seekers. They also urged the administration to provide case management support and legal services for migrants and to increase pathways for legal migration. “This is a moment of opportunity for the White House to reclaim the narrative around immigration by embracing a humane approach to the border, to asylum, and to immigration policy — not by trying to outdo the extremists,” said Heidi Altman, director of policy at the NIJC, in an interview. “Deterrent-oriented policies don’t work to reduce numbers. They don’t work to reduce operational challenges. The only thing they’re guaranteed to do is cause a lot of human suffering.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Reminder: Adjustment to Premium Processing Fees Takes Effect Today

As previously announced, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ new inflation-adjusted premium processing fees take effect today, increasing the filing fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing. USCIS published a final rule announcing the change on Dec. 28, 2023. The USCIS Stabilization Act established the current premium processing fees and the authority for the Department of Homeland Security to adjust the premium fees on a biennial basis. After leaving these fees unchanged for the three years following passage of the Act, DHS is now increasing the premium processing fees USCIS charges for all eligible forms and categories to reflect the amount of inflation from June 2021 through June 2023 according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The adjustment increases certain premium processing fees from $1,500 to $1,685, $1,750 to $1,965, and $2,500 to $2,805. 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. DHS will use the revenue generated by the premium processing fee increase to provide premium processing services; make improvements to adjudications processes; respond to adjudication demands, including reducing benefit request processing backlogs; and otherwise fund USCIS adjudication and naturalization services. The full table of adjusted fees is: Form Previous Fee New Fee Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $1,500 (H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status) $2,500 (All other available Form I-129 classifications (E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, TN-1, and TN-2)) $1,685 (H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status) $2,805 (All other available Form I-129 classifications (E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, TN-1, and TN-2)) Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $2,500 (Employment-based (EB) classifications E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW)) $2,805 (Employment-based (EB) classifications E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW)) Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $1,750 (Form I-539 classifications F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, J-2, E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2, H-4, O-3, P-4, and R-2) $1,965 (Form I-539 classifications F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, J-2, E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2, H-4, O-3, P-4, and R-2) Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization $1,500 (Certain F-1 students with categories C03A, C03B, C03C) $1,685 (Certain F-1 students with categories C03A, C03B, C03C) You may only request premium processing for a benefit if USCIS has announced on its website that premium processing is available for that benefit.