About Me

My photo
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

Translate

Friday, February 23, 2024

Team Trump eyes militarized deportations, detention camps in second term

It was about four months ago when The New York Times reported on Donald Trump’s plan for “an extreme expansion of his first-term crackdown on immigration” if given a second term, including “sharp” restrictions on illegal and legal immigration. Highlighting some of the details of the reporting, I noted that the Republican envisioned “a governing model in which the government actually rounds up people and puts them in camps.” Soon after, National Review, a leading conservative outlet, appeared to take issue with my description of the GOP candidate’s intentions. But as new reporting comes to light, there’s fresh evidence to suggest the descriptions of Trump’s plan weren’t hyperbolic. The Washington Post reported this week, for example, that the Republican, during his term, was “obsessed” with involving the U.S. military in border enforcement, and he intends to follow through on his “unfinished business” if given the opportunity. Trump pledges that as president he would immediately launch “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” As a model, he points to an Eisenhower-era program known as “Operation Wetback,” using a derogatory slur for Mexican migrants. The operation used military tactics to round up and remove migrant workers, sometimes transporting them in dangerous conditions that led to some deaths. Former administration officials and policy experts said staging an even larger operation today would face a bottleneck in detention space — a problem that Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other allies have proposed addressing by building mass deportation camps. The likely GOP nominee’s political operation hasn’t denied any of this. On the contrary, a Trump campaign spokesperson told the Post that the Republican would “marshal every federal and state power necessary to institute the largest deportation operation in American history.” This, of course, is the same Trump who has said more than once that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” echoing similar phrasing used by Adolf Hitler. To be sure, the former president has made similar promises in the past, only to fail to follow through. That said, there’s reason to believe his second term would be more radical, thanks to the lessons learned in his first. As the Post’s report added, “Trump learned to install more officials at the Department of Homeland Security who would carry out his orders instead of trying to curb his impulses.” Recommended MADDOWBLOG Friday’s Mini-Report, 2.23.24 MADDOWBLOG State Republican parties have become intraparty ‘combat zones’ The issue came up at a Fox News event this week, in which host Laura Ingraham asked Trump about the practicality of identifying and deporting millions of people who already in the United States. “We’re gonna find them through local police,” the former president responded. In other words, if voters reward Trump with a second term, he intends to use local police departments to track down undocumented immigrants, many of whom would then be housed in mass deportation camps. “Mass detention camps, attempts to deny children born here citizenship, uprooting families with mass deportations — this is the horrifying reality that awaits the American people if Donald Trump is allowed anywhere near the Oval Office again,” President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign said in November. “These extreme, racist, cruel policies dreamed up by him and his henchman Stephen Miller are meant to stoke fear and divide us, betting a scared and divided nation is how he wins this election.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Team Trump eyes militarized deportations, detention camps in second term

It was about four months ago when The New York Times reported on Donald Trump’s plan for “an extreme expansion of his first-term crackdown on immigration” if given a second term, including “sharp” restrictions on illegal and legal immigration. Highlighting some of the details of the reporting, I noted that the Republican envisioned “a governing model in which the government actually rounds up people and puts them in camps.” Soon after, National Review, a leading conservative outlet, appeared to take issue with my description of the GOP candidate’s intentions. But as new reporting comes to light, there’s fresh evidence to suggest the descriptions of Trump’s plan weren’t hyperbolic. The Washington Post reported this week, for example, that the Republican, during his term, was “obsessed” with involving the U.S. military in border enforcement, and he intends to follow through on his “unfinished business” if given the opportunity. Trump pledges that as president he would immediately launch “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” As a model, he points to an Eisenhower-era program known as “Operation Wetback,” using a derogatory slur for Mexican migrants. The operation used military tactics to round up and remove migrant workers, sometimes transporting them in dangerous conditions that led to some deaths. Former administration officials and policy experts said staging an even larger operation today would face a bottleneck in detention space — a problem that Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other allies have proposed addressing by building mass deportation camps. The likely GOP nominee’s political operation hasn’t denied any of this. On the contrary, a Trump campaign spokesperson told the Post that the Republican would “marshal every federal and state power necessary to institute the largest deportation operation in American history.” This, of course, is the same Trump who has said more than once that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” echoing similar phrasing used by Adolf Hitler. To be sure, the former president has made similar promises in the past, only to fail to follow through. That said, there’s reason to believe his second term would be more radical, thanks to the lessons learned in his first. As the Post’s report added, “Trump learned to install more officials at the Department of Homeland Security who would carry out his orders instead of trying to curb his impulses.” Recommended MADDOWBLOG State Republican parties have become intraparty ‘combat zones’ MADDOWBLOG Friday’s Campaign Round-Up, 2.23.24 The issue came up at a Fox News event this week, in which host Laura Ingraham asked Trump about the practicality of identifying and deporting millions of people who already in the United States. “We’re gonna find them through local police,” the former president responded. In other words, if voters reward Trump with a second term, he intends to use local police departments to track down undocumented immigrants, many of whom would then be housed in mass deportation camps. “Mass detention camps, attempts to deny children born here citizenship, uprooting families with mass deportations — this is the horrifying reality that awaits the American people if Donald Trump is allowed anywhere near the Oval Office again,” President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign said in November. “These extreme, racist, cruel policies dreamed up by him and his henchman Stephen Miller are meant to stoke fear and divide us, betting a scared and divided nation is how he wins this election.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

White House could use federal law to control US-Mexico border crossings

The White House is considering using provisions of federal immigration law repeatedly tapped by Donald Trump to unilaterally enact a sweeping crackdown at the southern border, according to three people familiar with the deliberations. Democrats see New York election win as model for tackling immigration issue Read more The administration, stymied by Republican lawmakers who rejected a negotiated border bill earlier this month, has been exploring options that Joe Biden could deploy on his own without congressional approval, multiple officials and others familiar with the talks said. But the plans are nowhere near finalized and it’s unclear how the administration would draft any such executive actions in a way that would survive the inevitable legal challenges. The officials and those familiar with the talks spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to comment on private White House discussions. The exploration of such avenues bythe president’s team underscores the pressure Biden faces this election year on immigration and the border, which have been among his biggest political liabilities since he took office. For now, the White House has been hammering congressional Republicans for refusing to act on border legislation that the GOP demanded, but the administration is also aware of the political perils that high numbers of migrants could pose for the president and is scrambling to figure out how Biden could ease the problem on his own. White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández stressed that “no executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected”. “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,” he said. “Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation.” Arrests for illegal crossings on the US-Mexico border fell by half in January from record highs in December to the third lowest month of Biden’s presidency. But officials fear those figures could eventually rise again, particularly as the November presidential election nears. The immigration authority the administration has been looking into is 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 US if it would be “detrimental” to the national interest of the country. Trump, who is 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 to bar travelers from Muslim-majority nations. Biden rescinded that ban on his first day in office through executive order. skip past newsletter promotion Sign up to First Thing Free daily newsletter Our US morning briefing breaks down the key stories of the day, telling you what’s happening and why it matters Enter your email address Sign up Privacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy. We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. after newsletter promotion But now, how Biden would deploy that power to deal with his own immigration challenges is currently being considered, and it could be used in a variety of ways, according to the people familiar with the discussions. For example, the ban could kick in when border crossings hit a certain number. That echoes a provision in the Senate border deal, which would have activated expulsions of migrants if the number of illegal border crossings reached above 5,000 daily for a five-day average. Mike Johnson, the House Republican speaker, has also called on Biden to use the 212(f) authority. Yet the comprehensive immigration overhaul Biden also introduced on his first day in office – which the White House continues to tout – includes provisions that would effectively scale back a president’s powers to bar immigrants under that authority. You've read 11 articles in the last year Article count on I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I wanted to ask if you would consider supporting the Guardian’s journalism as we enter one of the most consequential news cycles of our lifetimes in 2024. With the potential of another Trump presidency looming, there are countless angles to cover around this year’s election – and we'll be there to shed light on each new development, with explainers, key takeaways and analysis of what it means for America, democracy and the world. From Elon Musk to the Murdochs, a small number of billionaire owners have a powerful hold on so much of the information that reaches the public about what’s happening in the world. The Guardian is different. We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider. Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest – not profit motives. And we avoid the trap that befalls much US media: the tendency, born of a desire to please all sides, to engage in false equivalence in the name of neutrality. We always strive to be fair. But sometimes that means calling out the lies of powerful people and institutions – and making clear how misinformation and demagoguery can damage democracy. From threats to election integrity, to the spiraling climate crisis, to complex foreign conflicts, our journalists contextualize, investigate and illuminate the critical stories of our time. As a global news organization with a robust US reporting staff, we’re able to provide a fresh, outsider perspective – one so often missing in the American media bubble. Around the world, readers can access the Guardian’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. That’s because of people like you. Our readers keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence and accessible to everyone – whether they can afford to pay for news, or not. If you can, please consider supporting us just once from $1, or better yet, support us every month with a little more. Thank you. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration world and progressives warn Biden against reported asylum crackdown

Immigration advocates and progressives are raising alarms over reports that the Biden administration plans to use executive action to restrict asylum applications along the U.S.-Mexico border. The reports, sourced to unnamed administration officials by a handful of media outlets, come as advocates were telegraphing a thaw in their relations with the White House after butting heads over the failed bipartisan Senate border policy bill. In essence, administration officials referenced in the reports are floating the idea that the Biden administration would crack down on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, citing the law used by former President Trump for actions such as his so-called “Muslim ban.” “The executive actions the Biden administration is considering harken back to some of the darkest chapters of the Trump presidency — leaning on an authority his predecessor used to advance unapologetically racist, Islamophobic and blatantly unlawful attacks on immigrants and asylum seekers,” said Azadeh Erfani, senior policy analyst at the National Immigrant Justice Center. “President Biden rightly revoked these extremist policies upon taking office. If he moves forward with the changes reported, he’d be embracing them.” According to the reports, the executive order would use presidential authority to “suspend the entry” of foreign nationals whose presence is not in the best interest of the country. The Biden administration has invoked that authority 16 times, mostly in connection to sanctions against countries such as Russia and Myanmar, and to prevent entry of people at high risk of spreading disease. Applying the 1950s-vintage law to migrants claiming asylum at the border faces several challenges. The concept of allowing “entry” to foreign nationals was replaced in the 1990s by the idea of “admission,” a distinction that could create a legal headache when applied to foreign nationals who cross the border without prior authorization and then exercise their right to asylum upon turning themselves over to Border Patrol officers. The Supreme Court has largely sided with an ample interpretation of the president’s power to exclude foreign nationals under the statute, known as 212(f), codified as 8 USC Section 1182(f). In 1993, justices found in favor of former President George H.W. Bush administration’s interdiction program to prevent Haitians from disembarking their boats in Florida, and in 2018 the Supreme Court allowed Trump’s “travel ban” to remain in place and remanded the case to lower courts. But the power is not unlimited and restricted by other immigration laws, including those implemented to prevent discrimination, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report updated on Wednesday. “More generally, courts have explained that the President’s authority under Section 1182(f) is not unbounded and may not be used to supersede or conflict with other provisions of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act],” reads the report, noting that one court did find the president could limit entry of foreign nationals if detention space was lacking. “In sum, while courts uniformly recognize that Section 1182(f) conveys broad authority to the President to restrict the entry of aliens into the United States, the judicial branch continues to grapple with questions over Section 1182(f)’s application and the degree that domestic interests may inform the President’s decision to invoke that authority,” wrote CRS investigators Kelsey Santamaria, Calvin Gibson and Hillel Smith. Legal challenges notwithstanding, human rights advocates say the reported proposal follows a blunt, Trump-like logic. “The clear intention behind President Biden’s newest proposed deterrence policy is to create so much fear, pain, and suffering at the border that vulnerable communities abandon their right to seek asylum and instead return to face the violence they are fleeing,” said Amy Fischer, director of refugee and migrant rights with Amnesty International USA. “These proposed changes by the Biden Administration would undoubtedly violate both U.S. and international human rights law that establish people may seek asylum regardless of whether they cross at a port of entry or between ports of entry. A similar policy was found to be illegal when it was attempted during the Trump Administration.” And progressives are dismayed over the prospect, which pours cold water on what they saw as a leftward turn in the border conversation after the failure of the Senate deal and the election of incoming Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.). Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Thursday posted on X, formerly Twitter, that executive action to reduce asylum would be “a mistake.” “Cruel enforcement-only policies have been tried for 30 years and simply do not work,” wrote Jayapal. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) echoed that sentiment, writing that the proposal “is Trump policy.” “People seek asylum because they fear for their lives. President Biden would be making a grave mistake if he moves forward with this policy.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote that “the mere suggestion is outrageous and the President should refuse to sign it,” and quipped, “doing Trump impressions isn’t how we beat Trump.” The White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have not denied the proposal is under consideration, though on previous occasions Biden administration officials have warned that many proposals are thrown on the table but only a few are adopted. “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. Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation,” White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said Thursday. “No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected,” he added. Still, the leaks to the press come on the heels of Suozzi’s win, which seemed to open a politically viable door for Democrats to talk tough on the border while publicly calling for a more expedient immigration process. Following the New York Democrat’s victory earlier this month, progressives and immigration advocates signaled they’d be willing to swallow rhetoric they find objectionable — Suozzi didn’t push back on the term “invasion” to describe migrant arrivals — if the priorities of the defunct Senate deal were overridden or paired with an aggressive expansion of paths to entry and legalization for undocumented immigrants. They cited Republican opposition to the Senate deal, which leaned much more on the border security side than on granting papers to foreign nationals, as a show that the GOP would never acknowledge any Biden action on the border, no matter how hawkish. On Thursday, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) scoffed at the potential asylum crackdown, calling the move “election year gimmicks” and demanding a return to the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico,” a policy that the Biden administration only reluctantly implemented temporarily under court orders. There is one element immigration advocates, Johnson and Biden all agree on: The only viable option left to address migration is executive order. On Wednesday, immigration advocacy groups released two separate but similar executive action proposals they say would benefit migrants while returning order to the process. But in light of Wednesday’s reports, advocates say Biden’s not listening. “President Biden has been presented time and time again with policy solutions, including restoring access to asylum at ports, increasing port processing capacity, addressing United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and court backlogs, and investing in whole of government strategies to resettle and support asylum seekers,” said Fischer. “Instead of looking forward to these solutions, President Biden continues to only look back into Trump’s playbook of cruelty.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

A mother got ensnared by an Interpol list. She ended up in immigration detention.

This report is a collaboration between NBC News and Sky News, both of which are owned by Comcast Corp. WOODRIDGE, Va. — Jessica Barahona-Martínez and her family had already decorated their home for Christmas by Dec. 1, something the recently released 40-year-old had been dreaming of doing over the six years she was held in immigration detention in Louisiana. She had fled persecution in her native El Salvador in 2016 and sought asylum in the U.S., only to be arrested a year later by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That was the beginning of an ongoing nightmare that kept her from her three children for years — even though she was granted asylum twice. It was all because Barahona-Martínez’s name appeared in the Interpol Red Notice system — an international police bulletin usually associated with the world’s most wanted fugitives, including those accused of severe crimes like murder, sex trafficking and terrorism. Her prolonged fight to be released, even after her Red Notice was deleted, has put into focus how U.S. immigration authorities can at times act as amplifiers of the harm caused to people who are punitively put on the international “most wanted” list by authorities in their native countries — prompting an urgent fight by legal advocates and some members of Congress to reduce the number of retaliatory Red Notices. by Taboola Sponsored Stories FRONTIER Save $35/mo. on Fiber 1 Gig Internet ROBUST BEAR Transform Your Dog's Life With This Toy Jessica Barahona-Martínez with her children. Jessica Barahona-Martínez with her children at their home in Virginia, on Dec. 1, 2023. Nicole Acevedo / NBC News Barahona-Martínez now hopes her case “reaches the eyes and ears of those working on immigration,” she told NBC News and Sky News in her first sit-down interview since her release. “It’s very painful to see, hear and to feel the injustice I went through and that many of us immigrants have to go through,” she said in her native Spanish. Sandra Grossman, Barahona-Martínez’s attorney, said her firm has “been fighting bogus Red Notices” like the one placed against her client for more than 15 years, but Barahona-Martínez’s case is “one of the most egregious examples” she had ever seen. Recommended U.S. NEWS Brandi Glanville accuses Andy Cohen of sexual harassment LATINO Latino patients with respiratory illnesses are 5 times more likely to be oversedated While most Red Notices are legitimate, the harm that can come if one’s name should be off the list but falls through the cracks is often far too great, Grossman said. Para leer en español, haga click aquí Barahona-Martínez fled to the U.S. with her children in 2016 to seek asylum after the openly lesbian woman faced torture and death threats from gangs after being accused of belonging to a rival gang and extorting less than $30. She attributed the charge to a police officer who held a grudge over her sexual orientation and the fact she rebuffed his sexual advances. Barahona-Martínez was acquitted the following year due to a lack of evidence, according to the ACLU and Grossman. The LGBTQ population in El Salvador is known to face “torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, excessive use of force, illegal and arbitrary arrests and other forms of abuse, much of it committed by public security agents,” the Salvadoran government agency in charge of the national police force admitted in 2017. Mother put in ICE detention after ending up on Interpol's red notice list FEB. 22, 202406:52 ICE claims it arrested Barahona-Martínez in 2017 because it learned she “was wanted for extortion in El Salvador, identifying her as having a gang affiliation.” But in reality, it came across a Red Notice from Salvadoran authorities based on an arrest warrant for contempt of court, “not for the criminal offense of extortion,” Grossman said. “Basically, she didn’t show up for a hearing that she didn’t know about” following an attempt to reopen the case she was acquitted for. Barahona-Martínez was denied bond following her 2017 ICE arrest based on the Red Notice, with the immigration judge hearing no testimony or evidence of its validity, triggering her lengthy detention, court records show. She spent most of her detention in an ICE facility in Louisiana over a thousand miles away from her family in Virginia. Whenever the pain of their separation became too heavy for Barahona-Martínez, she would find comfort in a Spanish-language book about building up emotional strength she had checked out from the facility’s library. She still finds solace in this book, which she kept following her release over three months ago. Jessica Barahona-Martínez reads "Los Lentes de Felicidad." Jessica Barahona-Martínez reads Rafael Santandreu's "Los lentes de la felicidad: Descubre tu fortaleza emocional," which translates to "The Happiness Lenses: Discover Your Emotional Strength," which she credits with helping her during her detention.Nicole Acevedo / NBC News The toll of her lengthy detention is evident as she gets reacquainted with her three children, Gloria Marroquín Barahona, 21, Marcos Marroquín Barahona, 20, and Jazmin Elena Marroquín Barahona, 19, in their Virginia home. Her children were between the ages of 12 and 15 when ICE arrested their mother six years ago. “We basically grew up without her,” Marcos said. “On many birthdays we wished that she was here with us, and in many events that we had in life she wasn’t there, too. So that makes this a hard time for us.” Barahona-Martínez didn’t just lose time with her children that she’ll never get back. She wasn’t with her sister Bertha as she was dying of cancer in 2022, one of the toughest parts of her detention. “We had made a pact. She was going to fight for her life, and I was going to fight to be free,” Barahona-Martínez said, recalling one of the last conversations she had with Bertha. “Unfortunately, I had to watch her die, me behind bars.” Jessica Barahona-Martínez with her three children and older sister, Gloria Barahona-Martínez. Jessica Barahona-Martínez with her three children and older sister, Gloria Barahona-Martínez.Nicole Acevedo / NBC News The irreparable damage of ‘bogus Red Notices’ Contrary to what many may think, Interpol is not a law enforcement agency. It mainly manages over a dozen databases with information on crimes and criminals for police forces worldwide to access. These include Red Notice alerts that Interpol publishes at the request of any of its 196 member countries. Red Notices are not arrest warrants, but more like digital “wanted person” posters. Because Interpol doesn’t investigate the legal merits of the alerts, the system can be abused and misused by countries looking to persecute nationals who fled and are now residing abroad. It’s particularly detrimental to innocent noncitizens legitimately seeking asylum in the U.S., because immigration officers and judges often consider the mere existence of the Red Notice to be conclusive evidence of criminality, even though it doesn’t in itself establish probable cause that a crime has been committed, according to at least one federal appeals court. Interpol told NBC News in an email it takes “any alleged misuse of INTERPOL Red Notices extremely seriously” and has “significantly strengthened” a task force to review Red Notice requests to ensure compliance with its policies, as well as a commission to process requests and delete the ones without merit. Interpol declined to comment on the specifics of Barahona-Martínez’s case, citing the organization’s policies. Interpol is estimated to have rejected or deleted an average of 1,000 Red Notices and wanted person diffusions annually over the past five years, according to Interpol data analyzed by the U.K.-based nongovernmental organization Fair Trials. Just in 2021, approximately half of the removed notices were deleted on human rights grounds or because they were placed for political, military, religious or racial reasons. Four immigrant rights and legal organizations in the U.S. recently cited at least four cases involving Salvadoran immigrants with Red Notices “based on false arrest warrants, baseless accusations, or other unsubstantiated evidence” in a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security requesting an investigation into its reliance on police information from El Salvador. DHS did not respond to a request for comment about the allegations made in the letter. Barahona-Martínez won asylum twice while detained after an immigration judge found her testimonies consistent and credible in 2018 and 2019. But federal immigration authorities appealed both decisions based on the Red Notice, arguing it gave them probable cause to believe she had committed a crime, even without a conviction. The Board of Immigration Appeals sided with federal immigration authorities both times. After that, the ACLU enlisted Grossman’s firm to help get Barahona-Martínez’s Red Notice deleted. It was removed in April 2023, just three weeks after Interpol received the request. Interpol did not provide a reason behind the Red Notice deletion in Barahona-Martínez’s case as they normally don’t share that information. It usually takes Interpol six months or more to remove a Red Notice, according to Fair Trials. With the Red Notice gone, ICE couldn’t legally justify her detention, the ACLU argued in a Sept. 6 court filing. Barahona-Martínez was abruptly released three weeks later under an order of supervision, requiring her to wear an ankle monitor and routinely check in with ICE. In a statement to NBC News, ICE wrote that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, adding ICE officers “apply prosecutorial discretion in a responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals.” Jessica Barahona-Martinez with family members after her release in 2023. Jessica Barahona-Martínez with family members after her release in 2023.Courtesy of Jessica Barahona-Martinez As Barahona-Martínez adjusts to her new life, her release “was a moment of many mixed emotions.” While she was eager to reunite with her family, “an ugly fear gripped me. I realized I was afraid to be out again,” she said, as she held back tears. While her children are mostly focusing on making up for lost time, they’re also grappling with fears of their own. “I still feel scared that one day they could just bring everything again, have her going back to jail,” her son Marcos said. “I’m just trying to spend most of the time with her.” Preventing more unjust Red Notices Two days after Barahona-Martínez’s release, ICE updated its guidelines on how to handle Red Notices, including not treating them as arrest warrants and letting the wanted person know about the notice and giving them “a meaningful opportunity to contest it.” While Grossman said it’s a promising step forward, she warned the guidance still lacks language requiring ICE to apply these new directives to existing cases — not just upcoming ones. While ICE did not directly answer whether the directive applies only to new cases, it stated, “At no time — as a matter of law — has ICE been able to arrest someone based solely on information stemming from an Interpol Red Notice.” While ICE insists it doesn’t arrest people based on Red Notices, Grossman disputed the statement. “In our experience, the way that ICE uses Red Notices is to target noncitizens,” the attorney said. “ICE has very broad discretionary authority to arrest a noncitizen in the U.S., and I think that when they receive information that an individual has a Red Notice, it’s treated in large part as conclusive evidence of criminality.” Court documents show immigration authorities argued in immigration court that ICE arrested Barahona-Martínez in 2017 because she was the subject of an Interpol Red Notice. “There is no reason that an individual with Jessica’s background, with the compelling equities in her case, should have been in ICE detention for six years,” Grossman said. “There are so many cases like Jessica’s,” the attorney added, stressing that Barahona-Martínez could still be deported back to El Salvador based on the arrest warrant for contempt of court — and risk facing the dangers she escaped. In 2021, Congress passed the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention Act, stopping U.S. government agencies from extraditing anyone based solely on an Interpol notice. It also requires the State Department to issue reports to Congress on countries that abuse Interpol for political motives and other unlawful purposes. A spokeswoman for TRAP Act co-sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told NBC News in a statement he believes the State Department has enhanced its efforts to support reform at Interpol to ensure “dictators cannot issue arrest warrants for their political opponents with impunity,” but admitted that “more work is needed.” As Barahona-Martínez shared her experience after her name appeared on a Red Notice list, she warned, “There are many people like me who are being unfairly detained.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

A Look At The High Fees Making Hiring H-1B Visa Holders Challenging

Hiring and retaining foreign-born scientists and engineers is expensive for employers in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fee rule represents the latest federal action making it more costly to employ H-1B visa holders. Analysts say assertions about “cheap labor” ignore the significant fees employers pay and the law requiring employers to pay H-1B professionals as much as comparable U.S. workers. The registration process for the FY 2025 H-1B cap starts on March 6, 2024. Higher Fees On January 31, 2024, USCIS published a final rule that would raise many government fees. Employers will pay 70% more for beneficiaries on H-1B petitions, 201% more for employees on L-1 petitions and 129% more for individuals on O-1 petitions. USCIS will also enact a new $600 Asylum Program Fee when filing a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and increase the H-1B Electronic Registration Fee for each beneficiary by 2,050%. “We project our larger clients could see an increase of anywhere from 115% to 175% in filing fee costs in the first year of the new fee schedule,” according to Lynden Melmed of BAL. (The USCIS website contains a complete list of the new fees.) PROMOTED Breaking Down The Costs For Employers Overall, legal and government fees for filing an initial H-1B petition and an extension could cost an employer over $33,000, according to an NFAP analysis. That does not include sponsoring an employee for permanent residence (an additional $10,000 to $15,000 or more). MORE FOR YOU Samsung Galaxy Ring Leak Reveals Surprise New Abilities The Latest F-15 Eagle Variant Can Go Almost Mach 3 - With Caveats Toyota Recalls 280,000 Vehicles Over Transmission Issue Most companies will spend approximately $9,400 to petition for a first-time H-1B visa holder under the new fee structure with average attorney fees and premium processing, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. CEO: C-suite news, analysis, and advice for top decision makers right to your inbox. Email address Sign Up By signing up, you accept and agree to our Terms of Service (including the class action waiver and arbitration provisions), and Privacy Statement. Forbes is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Filing an extension for an H-1B professional would raise the typical costs for employers to about $18,000. (Extensions may be required for H-1B employees who change locations, creating higher costs.) A Request for Evidence from USCIS would increase processing time and add $2,000 to $4,500 in attorney fees to each initial application or extension. An employer with more than 50% of its workforce in H-1B and L-1 status must pay an additional $4,000 for a petition for initial employment. A small employer, with the lowest likely attorney fees and no premium processing, could pay about $4,500 to file an H-1B petition without an extension. Over the past two decades, employers have paid more than $6 billion in H-1B fees to fund approximately 100,000 scholarships for U.S. students in science and technology fields and also job training for U.S. workers, according to an NFAP analysis of government data. Employers have spent an additional $2 billion in mandated government anti-fraud fees, funding government investigations. Given the lack of a nexus between asylum and employment-based immigration, the $600 asylum fee is “baffling” and may lead to litigation, according to Noah Klug of the Klug Law Firm. Attorneys believe the high costs demonstrate the demand for the skills of foreign-born professionals in the United States. “Employers would not incur these costs if the U.S. labor market didn’t force them to do so,” said Dagmar Butte of Parker Butte and Lane. “If costs keep rising, they will offshore many of these jobs, which will benefit the economies of other countries to the detriment of our own.” Below is a look at employer costs to petition for foreign-born scientists and engineers. H-1B Petition Fee: $780. H-1B Registration Fee: $215. Paid when entering the H-1B “lottery.” (Like other fee increases under the new rule, this fee will take effect on April 1, 2024.) Asylum Fee: $600 (and an additional $600 for extensions). Scholarship and Training Fee: $1,500 ($750 for employers with 25 or fewer employees). The fee is also paid on extensions. Anti-Fraud Fee: $500 on initial petition. “50-50” Fee: $4,000 on an initial petition. The fee is paid by employers with a U.S.-based workforce of over 50% H-1B and L-1 visa holders. Premium Processing: $2,805. Premium processing is not required but is often necessary to avoid processing delays that may harm employees. The higher fee of $2,805 is in effect as of February 26, 2024. Visa Application: $190. The cost is based on reciprocity. Attorney Fees: $1,500 to $4,000. Attorney Fees for Requests for Evidence: $2,000 to $4,500 Additional Costs to Sponsor an Employee for Permanent Residence: $10,000 to $15,000 or more. Paying An H-1B Visa Holder The Same As A Comparable U.S. Worker Beyond government and legal fees, to gain approval of an H-1B petition, an employer must pay “at least- (I) the actual wage level paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question, or (II) the prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of employment, whichever is greater.” Attorneys note prevailing wage determinations represent the minimum an employer must pay. Under the law, employers pay the higher of the prevailing wage or the “actual wage level paid…to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications.” Some argue employers should pay the average wage for everyone in the occupation in an area. That would likely require paying people fresh out of school the same as people with ten years or more experience, which would run contrary to standard labor market practices. Employers likely would be compelled to forgo hiring promising international students or pay them significantly higher salaries than many U.S.-born employees. Britta Glennon, an assistant professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded in a study that restrictions on H-1B visas result in more jobs leaving the United States: “[A]ny policies that are motivated by concerns about the loss of native jobs should consider that policies aimed at reducing immigration have the unintended consequence of encouraging firms to offshore jobs abroad.” Employers would consider mandating pay well above market wages to individuals with little experience a restriction. Several economists have published studies concluding H-1B visa holders earn the same or more than comparable U.S. professionals and do not harm U.S. workers. For example, an analysis by Glassdoor found, “Across the 10 cities and roughly 100 jobs we examined, salaries for foreign H-1B workers are about 2.8% higher than comparable U.S. salaries on Glassdoor.” After analyzing skills and compensation for over 50,000 IT professionals in the United States, University of Maryland researchers Sunil Mithas and Henry C. Lucas, Jr. concluded, “[C]ontrary to popular belief, non-U.S. citizen IT professionals are not paid less compared to American IT professionals.” A May 2020 NFAP study by University of North Florida economics professor Madeline Zavodny found, “[T]he evidence points to the presence of H-1B visa holders being associated with lower unemployment rates and faster earnings growth among college graduates, including recent college graduates.” In another study, Zavodny examined government data and found that U.S.-born professionals in computer-related jobs do far better than Americans in other fields, indicating H-1B visa holders are not damaging their job prospects. The median earnings of U.S. IT professionals were 40% higher than the median earnings of other professionals in the United States. U.S.-born college graduates with a computer-related major have median earnings 83% higher than non-STEM majors. High Salaries For H-1B Visa Holders The average annual salary for an H-1B visa holder in computer-related occupations in 2022 was $129,000, and the median salary was $123,000, according to USCIS statistics. The median salary for H-1B professionals in computer-related occupations increased by 26% between 2018 and 2022, and the average salary rose by 23%. The Wall Street Journal reports many immigrants prosper in the United States and earn more than U.S.-born individuals. Research by economist Brandon Hawkins for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis concluded that foreign-born individuals represent almost 20% of the top 1% of wage earners in the United States. “The pay gap between the top 1% of foreign- and U.S.-born workers also widened,” writes Bob Fernandez. “The top 1% of foreign-born workers made at least $376,320 in 2019; for U.S.-born workers the figure was $279,079.” Commenting on the research, Pierre Azoulay, an MIT Sloan School of Management professor, pointed to the ambition of immigrants and the “gumption” it takes to leave their home for the United States. “It’s not the random person from the sending country.” The substantial legal and government fees employers pay when hiring foreign-born scientists and engineers in the United States indicate they view these individuals as not “random” but valued. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Mayorkas impeachment trial forecast: Expect a snooze

The Senate is preparing to quickly dispense with the House GOP's much-touted impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Republicans across the Capitol crowed about their recommendation that the Senate boot Mayorkas from office in protest of his handling to the southern border — a vote that took them two attempts to pull off. Now that the House is done impeaching, however, some Senate Democrats are predicting that a snoozer will result from all the hype. “We view it as a stunt,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said of Senate Democrats’ outlook on the Mayorkas impeachment. “I bet the preference is going to be to spend as little time on it as possible so we can focus on [spending], the [national security aid debate] ... and then I think we also want to take up the House's bipartisan tax reform bill.” Kaine added that, while the structure of any Mayorkas trial is up to leadership, Democrats have tools they can use to shortcut the proceedings right from the start. “There's different options. Do you do a motion to dismiss? Do you recommit to committee? I don't know what the leadership is going to decide," he said. ‘Dangerous’ or ‘unambiguous’: Mayorkas impeachment divides House SharePlay Video A motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas would not be without precedent. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) attempted to use a motion to dismiss at former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, but the vote failed. Senate Democratic leadership has already laid out some plans for the trial. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said House impeachment managers will present the articles of impeachment to the Senate after this week's recess. Senators will be sworn in as jurors the next day and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will preside over the proceedings. Schumer himself has called the Mayorkas impeachment a "sham" and insisted "House Republicans failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense." Senate conservatives are still pushing for more action, though. A group of them sent a letter Tuesday morning urging Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to "ensure that the Senate conducts a proper trial." The letter was signed by 13 Senate Republicans in total. But that saber-rattling can only go so far. McConnell does not have control over Senate floor proceedings — and plenty of his Republican members have cast their own doubts about the House's rationale for impeaching Mayorkas in the first place. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden considering major new executive actions for migrant crisis

The Biden administration is considering a string of new executive actions and federal regulations in an effort to curb migration at the U.S. southern border, according to three people familiar with the plans. The proposals under consideration would represent a sweeping new approach to an issue that has stymied the White House since its first days in office and could potentially place the president at odds with key constituencies. Among the ideas under discussion include using a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar migrants from seeking asylum in between U.S. ports of entry. The administration is also discussing tying that directive to a trigger — meaning that it would only come into effect after a certain number of illegal crossings took place, said the three people, who were granted anonymity to discuss private deliberations. A trigger mechanism was part of a bipartisan Senate border deal that never reached the floor earlier this month. During the deal’s construction, President Joe Biden repeatedly said it would have given him the authority to “shut down” the border. Dems, GOP rage as border deal collapses SharePlay Video The administration is also discussing ways to make it harder for migrants to pass the initial screening for asylum seekers, essentially raising the “credible fear standard,” as well as ways to quickly deport others who don’t meet those elevated asylum standards. Two of the people said the policy announcements could come as soon as next week ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 7. The slate of policies could allow the administration officials to fill some of the void left after congressional Republicans killed a bipartisan border deal in the Senate. But it would also open up the administration to criticism that it always had the tools at its disposal to more fully address the migrant crisis but waited to use them. No final decisions have been made about what executive actions, if any, could be taken, an administration official said, speaking about internal deliberations only on condition of anonymity. Administrations often explore a number of options, the official said, though it doesn’t necessarily mean the policies will come to fruition. The consideration of new executive action comes as the White House tries to turn the border deal failure into a political advantage for the president. It also comes amid growing concern among Democrats that the southern border presents a profound election liability for the party. Officials hope that policy announcements will drive down numbers of migrants coming to the border and demonstrate to voters that they’re exhausting all options to try to solve the problem as peak migration season quickly approaches. “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. Jeffries claims 'MAGA' Republicans 'walked away' from border fix SharePlay Video “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. The three people familiar with the planning cautioned that the details of proposed actions remain murky and that the impact of the policies — particularly the asylum ban — is also dependent on the specific language of the federal regulation, they said. For example, the Senate bill included exceptions for unaccompanied minors and people who meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture rules. There are other complications as well. The implementation of any action from the White House would come without the funding and resources that could make implementation easier, though the administration is looking into ways to unlock additional funding. The actions would likely face legal challenges as well. The Trump administration repeatedly used Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to aggressively shape the immigration system. In late 2018, President Donald Trump signed a policy that temporarily barred migrants who tried to illegally cross into the U.S. outside of official ports of entry. It was quickly blocked by a federal judge in California. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the decision, which was then upheld by the Supreme Court. The policies, once announced, will likely be met with steep backlash from immigration advocates who will claim the president is once again walking back on his campaign promises to rebuild a humane immigration system and protect the right to asylum. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The White House is weighing executive actions on the border — with immigration powers used by Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is considering using provisions of federal immigration law repeatedly tapped by former President Donald Trump to unilaterally enact a sweeping crackdown at the southern border, according to three people familiar with the deliberations. The administration, stymied by Republican lawmakers who rejected a negotiated border bill earlier this month, has been exploring options that President Joe Biden could deploy on his own without congressional approval, multiple officials and others familiar with the talks said. But the plans are nowhere near finalized and it’s unclear how the administration would draft any such executive actions in a way that would survive the inevitable legal challenges. The officials and those familiar with the talks spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to comment on private ongoing White House discussions. The exploration of such avenues by Biden’s team underscores the pressure the president faces this election year on immigration and the border, which have been among his biggest political liabilities since he took office. For now, the White House has been hammering congressional Republicans for refusing to act on border legislation that the GOP demanded, but the administration is also aware of the political perils that high numbers of migrants could pose for the president and is scrambling to figure out how Biden could ease the problem on his own. ADVERTISEMENT White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández stressed that “no executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected.” READ MORE 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 Cesar Bernardo Arevalo de Leon, left, President of Guatemala, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, shake hands during a meeting as part of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. The 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC) is taking place from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18, 2024. (Sven Hoppe/DPA via AP, Pool) Mayorkas meets with Guatemalan leader Arévalo following House impeachment over immigration FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about border security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 5, 2023, in Washington. The Democrats' reframing of the immigration debate risks straining Biden's alliance with immigrants and advocates who campaigned for him in 2020. But it appears to be working for Democrats after they won a special House election in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Biden’s rightward shift on immigration angers advocates. But it’s resonating with many Democrats “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,” he said. “Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation.” Arrests for illegal crossings on the U.S. border with Mexico fell by half in January from record highs in December to the third lowest month of Biden’s presidency. But officials fear those figures could eventually rise again, particularly as the November presidential election nears. The immigration authority the administration has been looking into is 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 of the United States. Trump, who is 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 to bar travelers from Muslim-majority nations. Biden rescinded that ban on his first day in office through executive order. But now, how Biden would deploy that power to deal with his own immigration challenges is currently being considered, and it could be used in a variety of ways, according to the people familiar with the discussions. For example, the ban could kick in when border crossings hit a certain number. That echoes a provision in the Senate border deal, which would have activated expulsions of migrants if the number of illegal border crossings reached above 5,000 daily for a five-day average. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has also called on Biden to use the 212(f) authority. Yet the comprehensive immigration overhaul Biden also introduced on his first day in office — which the White House continues to tout — includes provisions that would effectively scale back a president’s powers to bar immigrants under that authority. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden weighs invoking executive authority to stage border crackdown ahead of 2024 election

Washington — President Biden is debating whether to invoke a sweeping presidential authority that gained infamy during the Trump administration to stage a crackdown on migrants coming to the U.S. southern border, three people familiar with the plans told CBS News. Mr. Biden is weighing citing a law dating back to 1952 to severely restrict access to the U.S. asylum system, which has buckled under the weight of record levels of migrant arrivals along the border with Mexico, the sources said, requesting anonymity to discuss internal government deliberations. That law, known as 212(f), allows the president to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined their arrival is not in the best interest of the country. The Trump administration used the law several times, including to ban immigration and travel from certain countries, most of them predominantly Muslim, and to bar migrants from asylum if they entered the country unlawfully. Republican Governors join Texas Governor for briefing in Eagle Pass Members of the Texas National Guard are seen at the southern border on February 4, 2024, in Texas. LOKMAN VURAL ELIBOL/ANADOLU VIA GETTY IMAGES If approved, Mr. Biden's executive action could be announced within the next two weeks, the sources said. An administration official said no final decisions had been made on whether the president would take executive action to address the situation at U.S.-Mexico border, where migrants have been arriving in greater numbers than ever before in American history. Any significant restriction on asylum would face formidable legal and operational hurdles. Still, issuing an executive order designed to curb illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border could be seen as an important political message from Mr. Biden ahead of the 2024 election. Border policy is one of Mr. Biden's worst-polling issues, with multiple polls showing a majority of Americans disapproving of his handling of immigration. The executive order would also cement a dramatic immigration policy pivot by Mr. Biden, who vowed to "restore" the U.S. asylum system soon after taking office in 2021. After record levels of migrant apprehensions along the southern border in the past three years and growing discontent in Democratic-led cities receiving migrants, Mr. Biden's administration has embraced some restrictions on asylum. In fact, the White House brokered an agreement with a group of senators last month that would've granted the president the power to suspend asylum law and summarily expel migrants during spikes in illegal immigration. After insisting on restrictive asylum changes in exchange for supporting more border funding and aid to Ukraine, Republican lawmakers rejected the deal, saying it was not strict enough. Sen. James Lankford Sen. James Lankford speaks to reporters in the Senate Reception Room on January 31, 2024. BILL CLARK/CQ-ROLL CALL, INC VIA GETTY IMAGES In a statement, White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said Republican lawmakers "chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security." "No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected," Fernández Hernández added. "We continue to call on Speaker Johnson and House Republicans to pass the bipartisan deal to secure the border. " If Mr. Biden decides to invoke the authority, his administration would face significant operational challenges implementing it at scale. Last year, the administration enacted a regulation that presumes migrants don't qualify for asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally after not seeking protection in a third country. But it has not been able to screen all migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally under those standards, given insufficient numbers of asylum officers, detention beds and other resources. Instead, most border-crossers in recent months have been released with court cases that take years to be decided due to a massive backlog of applications. The move would also almost certainly face lawsuits if implemented. While the last version of the Trump administration's so-called "travel ban" was upheld by the Supreme Court, lower courts blocked the government from using the 212(f) authority to render most migrants ineligible for asylum at the southern border. It's unclear how the Biden administration expects its own effort to invoke the 212(f) authority to prevail in court. U.S. law gives migrants on American soil the right to request asylum, even if they cross the border without authorization. Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who successfully convinced federal judges to halt the Trump administration's asylum ban, indicated the government would likely be sued again if Mr. Biden issues a similar order. "An executive order denying asylum based on where one enters the country would just be another attempt at the exact policy Trump unsuccessfully tried and will undoubtedly end up in litigation," Gelernt told CBS News. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

USCIS Forms Update Notice

Good afternoon, We recently updated the following USCIS form(s): Form I-864W, Request for Exemption for Intending Immigrant's Affidavit of Support 12/08/2021 01:40 PM EST Edition Date: 12/08/21 E. We will also accept the 12/08/21 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. Form I-864EZ, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act 12/08/2021 01:30 PM EST Edition Date: 12/08/21 E. We will also accept the 12/08/21 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member 12/08/2021 01:21 PM EST Edition Date: 12/08/21 E. We will also accept the 12/08/21 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA 12/08/2021 01:01 PM EST Edition Date: 12/08/21 E. We will also accept the 12/08/21 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Biden’s rightward shift on immigration angers advocates. But it’s resonating with many Democrats

LAS VEGAS (AP) — In his 2020 campaign, Joe Biden vowed to undo former President Donald Trump ’s immigration policies, specifically expressing frustration with a policy setting limits on the number of asylum seekers accepted each day at the southern border. This year, Biden backed a Senate proposal that would have set daily limits on border crossings — and Democrats are planning to campaign to reelect him by emphasizing that Republicans caused the deal to collapse. Democrats are reframing the immigration debate, going from embracing more welcoming policies in response to the Trump administration’s programs at the border — including its separation of hundreds of immigrant children from their parents — to declaring that they can get tough on border security and adopt policies long sought by Republicans. Biden’s rhetorical shift risks straining his support from immigrants and their advocates who campaigned for him in 2020, but it appears to be working for Democrats after they won a special election in New York. ADVERTISEMENT “We need to lean into this and not just on border security, but, yes, tough border security coupled with increased legal pathways,” said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist. “They tried it the Republican way, and Republicans were not serious about that.” READ MORE FILE - Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., meets with reporters following a closed-door GOP meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 14, 2024. With U.S. aid for Ukraine teetering in Congress, it's up to Johnson to decide what happens next. The Republican speaker Johnson's leadership will determine whether the U.S. House will agree to approve more aid to Ukraine. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) US aid to Ukraine hinges on House Speaker Johnson. His leadership is being tested by the far right President Joe Biden speaks at a shipyard in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 20, 2023. Biden is visiting the shipyard to push for a strong role for unions in tech and clean energy jobs. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Saving democracy is central to Biden’s campaign messaging. Will it resonate with swing state voters? FILE- President Joe Biden, with from left, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., pray and listen during the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at the Capitol in Washington. Johnson has spoken in the past of his belief America was founded as a Christian nation. Biden, while citing his own Catholic faith, has spoken of values shared by people of “any other faith, or no faith at all.” (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) Many believe the founders wanted a Christian America. Some want the government to declare one now Democrat Tom Suozzi, who won Tuesday’s special election in New York for the House seat once held by ousted Republican Rep. George Santos, ran ads calling for more border security and featuring an interview he did on Fox News in which he supported U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His district includes parts of Queens, a diverse New York borough that has received thousands of migrants bused from the border. Suozzi also shares Biden’s position on creating a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants referred to as “Dreamers,” who are in the country illegally after coming to the U.S. with their families as children. ADVERTISEMENT Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, Democratic candidate for New York's 3rd congressional district, speaks at his election night party Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, in Woodbury, N.Y. Suozzi won a special election for the House seat formerly held by George Santos. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah) Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, Democratic candidate for New York’s 3rd congressional district, speaks at his election night party Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, in Woodbury, N.Y. Suozzi won a special election for the House seat formerly held by George Santos. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah) Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat, said he does not think the reframing of the immigration debate will backfire. “I think that we can agree that it’s far better under a Biden administration than a potential rerun of Trump,” Espaillat said. But to many immigrant advocates, the deal Biden negotiated with leaders in the Senate showed how a president who had long deemed Trump’s border policies inhumane was willing to curtail asylum in exchange for wartime aid for Ukraine. More than 130 organizations from around the country sent a letter to Biden opposing the deal and the tougher standards for asylum. Some immigration activists expressed frustration with Biden and a lack of enthusiasm to go knock on doors for him at a recent gathering of more than a dozen advocacy groups in Arizona. ADVERTISEMENT Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of housing and urban development who ran against Biden for the presidential nomination in 2020, suggested Biden and his allies were adopting the terms of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. “Democrats, you’re never going to be cruel enough, ‘tough’ enough, anti-immigrant enough or able to deport your way to the negotiating table with McConnell and MAGA,” Castro said. “Stop playing their game.” The border proposal would have included for the first time a right to counsel for vulnerable asylum seekers such as children 13 and younger and would have raised the cap on immigrant visas available by 250,000 over the next five years. The National Border Patrol Council and the Chamber of Commerce supported it. “The President stands with the overwhelming majority of Americans who demand action from Washington to address our long-broken immigration system,” Kevin Munoz, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, said in a statement. “MAGA Republicans, led by Donald Trump, have opted to abdicate their responsibilities so they can demonize immigrants to score political points.” Interviews with Democrats in Nevada, a critical swing state in November’s likely rematch between Biden and Trump, reflect that many people in Biden’s party are lining up behind him. ADVERTISEMENT More than 30% of Nevada’s 3.1 million people identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census data. The state also has large Filipino, Chinese American and Black communities. According to estimates from the Pew Research Center, Nevada has the highest share of immigrants who are in the country illegally and are part of the workforce. Trump rallied supporters recently at an indoor soccer field in a largely Latino neighborhood a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip, where he suggested the U.S. had the “worst border anywhere in the history of the world.” “Our border has become a weapon of mass destruction,” he told a crowd of supporters. Biden campaigned in Nevada days later, focusing on why he considered Trump a lasting threat to democracy and calling a potential second Trump term a “nightmare.” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat and the only Hispanic woman in the upper chamber, said her constituents want to see an “orderly process at the border.” She said they still demand broad immigration reforms that legalize the status of “Dreamers” and others who only have temporary protections from deportation. ADVERTISEMENT “We can work on a broken immigration system but also secure our border,” Cortez Masto said in an interview. “Many of the Nevadans that I talked to, including in the Latino community, get that because they want safe communities. They understand that. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to work on fixing this broken immigration system.” Cortez Masto said she hopes that after the collapse of the border deal, the public sees that Republicans were not looking for solutions. “They want the chaos, they want to use it as political opportunity, they want to favor Donald Trump and serve him,” she said. Senate Republicans said they blocked it because it was insufficient. Michael Kagan, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, criticized the Biden-backed proposal as moving far away from what many Democrats have considered to be necessary immigration reform. Kagan argued Biden’s shift to the right would backfire politically. “Unfortunately, he largely adopted Donald Trump’s terms of the debate that a success is just when fewer people come,” Kagan said. “If that’s the goal you set out, I think voters will wonder, ‘Well, then why shouldn’t I just elect the harshest person possible?’” Gabriel Aldebot, a 66-year-old union electrician in Las Vegas, said he felt lawmakers must secure the border, and a compromise that includes more resources for enforcement is the best way to do it. “The more bipartisan, the more it’ll seem like it’s fair to people,” Aldebot said after voting for Biden in Nevada’s Democratic primary. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Progressives are uneasy with Democrats tilting right on immigration after N.Y. race

WASHINGTON — Progressive lawmakers and immigration advocates are pushing back against Democrats who say the lesson from their recent special election victory in a bellwether New York district is to actively champion stricter migration and border laws. “I don’t think that’s the lesson at all,” Rep. Greg Casar, D-Texas, the progressive caucus whip, said in an interview one day after Rep.-elect Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., won a competitive election Tuesday. “Long term for the Democratic Party, we have to get back with the American people on the idea that immigration is a good thing,” Casar said. “Regardless of any short-term win in any given district, if we don’t get back to touting that immigration is good … we will always be on the back foot and on the defensive on the issue. Because if our pitches were Republican Light and [theirs] were Republican on immigration, I don’t think we’ll ever win that fight in the middle or the long term.” Suozzi won a district that the GOP carried by 8 points in 2022 after he went on offense over border security, arguing that Democrats want to tighten asylum laws while the GOP, including his opponent Mazi Pilip, are simply playing political games with it. In a memo hours later, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Democrats should “go on offense” as Suozzi did on the bipartisan deal Murphy struck and Republicans rejected, saying it was “filled with tough, conservative policy, including an ability for the President to shut down parts of the border to asylum claims when the system is overwhelmed.” The White House said the voters delivered a “devastating repudiation of congressional Republicans” for killing the “toughest, fairest border security legislation in decades.” Biden and House Republicans locked in border crisis standoff FEB. 16, 202403:24 Ezra Levin, co-executive director of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible, said Murphy and other Democrats were learning the wrong lesson from Suozzi’s victory. “All the hot takes hanging the entirety of Suozzi’s win on ‘immigration’ are conflating two different dynamics. Suozzi didn’t win because he edged rightward on immigration,” Levin said. “To the degree that his focus on immigration helped, it was because it highlighted Republican chaos, political theater and their complete lack of interest in serious governing — all with a crisp receipt in their choice to tank their own border bill.” Levin said Suozzi’s win was also attributable to issues like abortion and threats to democracy, as well as voter distrust in the GOP’s ability to govern, which he said the border showdown proved. In his campaign, Suozzi endorsed tougher border and asylum laws in the bipartisan Senate deal inked by Murphy and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., with the support of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He took a two-tiered approach on immigration that resembles language former President Barack Obama used in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns — emphasizing enforcement and border security first and championing new legal pathways for migrants to enter the U.S. and become Americans. “The lesson from Souzzi’s election is that he successfully combined messages about border security with a path to citizenship. He took a balanced approach that appeals to most voters,” said Kerri Talbot, the executive director of the advocacy group Immigration Hub. ‘Invasion’ During the 2016 election, as then-candidate Donald Trump focused his campaign on immigration, Democrats began leaning leftward in their immigration message, emphasizing a humane approach and pathways to citizenship while de-emphasizing strict enforcement. Biden continued that approach in 2020. Now, Democrats are adjusting their message again, to the chagrin of some progressives and immigration activists who favor the more inclusive rhetoric. In the run-up to the New York contest, Pilip called the migrant influx at the U.S. border an “invasion,” echoing language used by Trump. Suozzi said he doesn’t take issue with it. “I don’t take issue with the language or description,” Suozzi told reporters a week before the election. “It’s a very serious problem of people crossing our border in a chaotic, unvetted fashion.” While they held their fire during the contest, some Democrats were upset with Suozzi for his comment. Recommended WAR IN UKRAINE Russia detains Los Angeles woman on suspicion of treason HUNTER BIDEN Ex-FBI informant charged over false claims that fueled Biden impeachment inquiry ordered released until trial “I disagree with him on that — on the use of that language,” progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., said. Bowman added that while “every district is different” and that members need to communicate with their voters differently, he doesn’t condone that term to describe migrants seeking asylum. “I would never use that word,” Bowman said. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, also took issue with that language. “I absolutely do not agree with embracing dangerous rhetoric that has terrible consequences,” she said in an interview. “I know Tom Suozzi. He is a great guy. He’s got solid Democratic values. I’m looking forward to having a conversation with him about this.” Escobar, who represents a blue El Paso-based district, said the lesson from New York is not that Democrats win by showing their toughness on migrants. She said the takeaway is that Democrats win by proving they want to “solve big challenges” in a serious way. “I think we can secure the border in a way that does not abandon our values,” Escobar said. Still, Suozzi’s victory in the bellwether district — which was won by Biden in 2020 and flipped to Republicans in 2022, covering a small slice of Queens and a big slice of Long Island — has prompted most Democrats to see the glass as half full. “There’s been this civil war, if you will, within the party. And you have progressives versus moderates and more conservative members,” Bowman said. “Moreso moderates coming after us, I would say. But I think last night’s victory is all about unity.” Sahil Kapur For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Biden's reset moment

Biden officials see next month's State of the Union address as a big, public reset moment — a chance to overcome or at least neutralize concerns about President Biden's age and vitality. Why it matters: Many top Democrats are convinced that if the election were today, Biden would lose a rematch with former President Trump. Biden's address on March 7 is his biggest chance to shift public perceptions. What we're hearing: Biden's SOTU address played well last year — he seemed agile and riffed about the GOP and Social Security. Officials close to him, needing a repeat triumph, will spend hours on everything from the text to his physical preparation to exploit the prime-time moment. "Everyone around him is well aware — well aware — of the need to jack this campaign up," a source close to Biden said. "The only way to deal with the negative aftershocks of the special counsel's report [slamming Biden's age] is for the president to be out there, to be visible — to be strong of presence and strong of voice." One bold move that Biden has considered, we're told, is an executive order that would dramatically stanch the record flow of migrants into the Southwest. This could even happen in the two weeks before the address, allowing Biden to say he took action while Republicans just talk. Between the lines: Inside Biden's campaign, there's a belief that things are turning around — internal morale is up. But even some super-loyalists have lingering worries that it's all happening too slowly — and could be too late. Some valued campaign hands didn't like commuting to campaign HQ in Wilmington, Del. Now officials are being more flexible about allowing remote work. A small campaign office has opened near the White House. Behind the scenes: A new window into the Biden campaign's flux comes from CNN, which reports that some leading Democrats fear the campaign "might be stumbling past a point of no return." They've been heartened by listening sessions by Vice President Kamala Harris, which they view as a "surprising and welcome change, after months of feeling sloughed off by the White House and Biden campaign headquarters." The outreach sessions included six Democratic governors who gathered around the dining room table of Harris' official residence two Saturdays ago. She's using the intelligence from the sessions to break through what she has called the "bubble" of Biden campaign thinking and to "push for changes in strategy and tactics that she hopes will put the ticket in better shape to win," CNN reported. Another Naval Observatory session featured Black men — a group Harris is working to energize. Ashley Etienne, former communications director for Harris and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Axios the sessions led by Harris are "finally starting to play to her strength." Etienne said "convener-in-chief" is a role long envisioned by Harris allies, who point to her high approval with some of the party's most vital constituencies — women voters, Black voters, younger voters. Reality For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The White House plan for the Mayorkas impeachment: Ignore the drama, outsource the fight

Alejandro Mayorkas may now hold the distinction as the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached since 1876. But in the days since that House vote, the Homeland Security secretary has acted as if nothing ever happened. That’s by design. The White House is hoping to demonstrate that it is business as usual at DHS, eager to show that the president’s team is unfazed by the impeachment and to portray Republicans as consumed by partisan vendettas at the cost of tending to the crisis at the southern border. Since Tuesday’s House vote, Mayorkas has been preparing for his trip to Germany for the Munich Security Conference. He delivered keynote remarks on Friday, and through the weekend, he’ll participate in several panel discussions and hold a series of bilateral meetings on a range of national security issues. On Sunday, he’ll head to Vienna, Austria, to meet with China’s state councilor and minister of public health to discuss the country’s work to combat the flow of fentanyl. Mayorkas addressed questions about the successful vote for the first time on Friday in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, during which he downplayed the effects of impeachment on his job. “I don’t let it distract me from the work — would I have preferred that correctness had prevailed? Of course,” Mayorkas said. “So, the fact that it did not, does not, slow me down in doing the work that I’m tasked to do by the president of the United States.” Administration officials aren’t disengaged from the impeachment fight. President Joe Biden slammed the impeachment as “ petty partisan games.” And aides are monitoring it closely, often elevating Republicans who have questioned the merits of impeachment. House GOP impeaches Mayorkas in historic vote SharePlay Video But the administration is also leaning on allied outside groups to poke holes in the GOP’s case against Mayorkas and echo the message coming from Pennsylvania Avenue. They believe the Mayorkas impeachment — and his public nonchalance about it — will help further the narrative carrying over from the bipartisan Senate border deal battle: that Republicans are not invested in solving the crisis at the border so much as perpetuating it as a political cudgel. “House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border. While Secretary Mayorkas was helping a group of Republican and Democratic Senators develop bipartisan solutions to strengthen border security and get needed resources for enforcement, House Republicans have wasted months with this baseless, unconstitutional impeachment,” said DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg in response to Tuesday’s impeachment vote. There are risks to the approach. The White House has been underwater on the issue of immigration and migration virtually since the moment Biden took office. And while no one sees a Senate trial for Mayorkas ending in conviction, it will allow Republicans in that chamber the chance to place a bright spotlight on the inability of the Biden administration to stem the tide of migrants. Mayorkas’ tenure will come under intense scrutiny, in ways it has not to this point. But Democrats and Biden allies believe the political tide is changing. They view Tom Suozzi’s victory in New York, where the Democrat leaned into immigration and went on offense against Republicans, as further evidence that their new messaging strategy around GOP indifference to the problem is already working. A Mayorkas impeachment, they believe, could be used in the same way. 📣 Want more POLITICO? Download our mobile app to save stories, get notifications and more. In iOS or Android. “Voters are watching as the House GOP chaos conference puts Trump’s political wishes ahead of real solutions to improve border security,” said DNC rapid response director Alex Floyd, noting Dems’ victory in the New York special election. “Trump and his MAGA minions can take a break from their clown show, but they will pay the price this November for putting Trump first and the American people last.” For a White House that has repeatedly struggled to nail a consistent message on immigration, the administration in recent weeks has delivered forceful attacks against House Republicans. As the venue soon shifts to an impeachment trial, the White House has been largely content to back channel with allied outside groups engaged in the fight. The Congressional Integrity Project has led the charge externally. The group launched in late 2022 — ahead of Republicans taking over the House — with the goal of combatting the investigative onslaught into the Biden administration. The organization has been tracking the targeting of Mayorkas closely, but as impeachment seemed increasingly likely, it ramped up that element of its operations. Over the last six weeks, the Congressional Integrity Project has worked closely with advocates in the immigration policy space to defend Mayorkas and to paint the GOP effort as a “shameful” and unfounded partisan act tied to fringe conservatives, such as Georgia Rep. Majorie Taylor Green and Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs. The groups, including America’s Voice and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, have stayed in touch over a shared chat where they coordinate strategy, said Douglas Rivlin, communications director at America’s Voice. They have pushed various constituencies to speak out against the impeachment effort they’ve sought to frame as “unconstitutional.” ‘Dangerous’ or ‘unambiguous’: Mayorkas impeachment divides House SharePlay Video They’ve elevated criticism from Cuban American leaders, as well as former DHS secretaries like Michael Chertoff and conservative legal scholars such as Laurence Tribe and Alan Dershowitz, former President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer. The House Homeland Security Committee, which filed the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, did not respond to a request for comment. On the day of the vote, Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said Congress took “decisive action to defend our constitution order and hold accountable a public official who has violated his oath of office,” urging the Senate to remove Mayorkas from office. Among some of the most aggressive counter-attacks amplified by the groups came from Jewish leaders who argued that the impeachment of Mayorkas, who is also Jewish, carries antisemitic undertones. The leaders blasted “extreme” members of the GOP caucus who have used “anti-immigrant, conspiracy-driven” rhetoric, warning that mass shooters in El Paso, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Poway, California, echoed words such as “replacement” and “invasion.” Because of the timing of the Republican impeachment — occurring as the border deal collapsed — it was easy for the groups to coalesce around a unified message, Rivlin said, including immigration advocates, who have often clashed with the Biden administration over its border policy. “There are lots of policies that we don’t like — that Biden and Mayorkas have been engaged in,” Rivlin said. “But at the same time, Republicans were showing so many of their cards that illustrated the points that we’ve been making about them. They’re not interested in making policy. They’re interested in dividing people.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Right-wing immigration misinformation crosses over to Spanish amid border bill debate

Most of the Spanish-language misinformation about immigration that Latinos see on social media or listen to on the radio seems to largely mirror the falsehoods spread by right-wing media outlets in English, according to two groups tracking misinformation in Spanish. Researchers monitoring Spanish-language misinformation found that anti-immigrant rhetoric and false narratives increased as coverage of the Senate’s border security and foreign aid bill gained traction in recent weeks. Misinformation and falsehoods continued to cross over into Spanish even after the border security provisions that would have funded federal immigration agencies to ramp up detention and deportation efforts were removed from the bipartisan legislation, leaving behind just the provisions concerning aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. During the weeks in which the bill was being debated, researchers noticed a surge in posts spreading anti-immigrant narratives such as the “great replacement” theory, which posits that Democrats encourage immigration as part of a conspiracy to wipe out the white race, according to Randy Abreu, policy counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Latino media advocacy nonprofit. In general, misinformation broadly distorts facts to present false or inaccurate information. “We may only be looking at a tip of an iceberg ... This is concerning,” he told NBC News. At the nonprofit, Abreu leads the Spanish Language Disinformation Coalition, which is made up of at least six organizations that do general monitoring of misinformation in Spanish. Sergio Muñoz, vice president of research and policy at Media Matters, a left-leaning nonprofit media watchdog founded by political consultant David Brock, also leads a team of researchers who follow the opposing immigration narratives in both English and Spanish. Muñoz told NBC News that the group’s overall assessment was that Spanish-language misinformation on immigration was “largely an echo of what we were seeing on the English-language side,” especially when it came to “reactions to the border bill and the subsequent collapse of it.” In two recent reports, Media Matters detailed some of the English-language misinformation being spread by Fox News and other conservative media outlets and personalities around the border security and foreign aid bill. These include false claims made by former President Donald Trump and his allies, even before the bill’s text was published, suggesting that the legislation would allow 5,000 migrants to illegally cross the southern border every day, as well as other false statements from lawmakers and conservative media personalities saying the bill would have codified “invasion” and “mass amnesty.” The bill did not include a provision stating it would legalize any undocumented people in the country or authorize the entrance for large numbers of migrants. Fox News did not respond to a request for comment. Based on their monitoring efforts, Abreu said they saw very few Spanish-language posts on social media specifically focused on spreading these falsehoods about the border bill. Regardless of whether the comments are being widely viewed or not, they provide a glimpse into how this rhetoric may be resonating with some Spanish-speaking Latinos online, Abreu said. Abreu said his organization mainly came across posts spreading anti-immigrant falsehoods, such as the “great replacement” theory, on social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitter. The posts contained a “significant amount of comments” in Spanish that directly referenced misinformation that had emerged in English, particularly on the topic of allowing 5,000 illegal migrant crossings daily, he said. A TikTok spokesperson told NBC News that the platform uses “automated technology, user reports, proactive searches and trend reports from experts” to detect misinformation across different languages, but “will continue to deepen our work with experts in Spanish-language misinformation this year.” The company also said it partners with several fact-checking organizations such as Lead Stories that cover Spanish-language misinformation. According to YouTube, its “community guidelines apply to all content in the platform in any language, including Spanish.” The guidelines include policies on “hate and harassment, harmful or dangerous acts, or promoting human smuggling services.” Additionally, the company said their systems “prominently feature content from authoritative sources,” including Spanish-language news outlets like Telemundo and Univision in their recommendations and search results. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Recommended U.S. NEWS Two men charged with murder in Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade shooting LATINO Latino members of Congress seek changes in translations of immigration documents Anti-immigrant rhetoric has also resonated with users in social media platforms owned by Meta, such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. According to a Media Matters report released last week, the company earned at least $397,500 from 450 anti-immigration ads that ran on its platforms between October and February. The ads included terms such as “invade,” “invaded,” “invaders,” “invasion,” or “invading” to describe U.S. immigration, and garnered at least 15.5 million impressions combined. An overwhelming majority of the ads came from conservative groups, the report said. Meta said the ads analyzed in the Media Matters report do not violate their community and advertising standards. The company also said it partners with nearly 100 independent fact-checking organizations worldwide who review and rate viral misinformation in more than 60 languages, including English and Spanish. Media Matters also provided NBC News with additional examples of how false narratives about the defunct border bill were also being spread by two Spanish-language radio shows in South Florida. Researchers at Media Matters found that some conservative pundits on these shows echoed false claims that the border bill would lead to mass migrant crossings and falsely suggested that President Joe Biden can fix issues at the border on his own — rendering the bill unnecessary and suggesting that Biden is only looking to act now on the issue because of the upcoming election. “This is factually incorrect,” Muñoz said. “This was a talking point that was crossing easily over from English language to Spanish language.” The advocacy nonprofit American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a voluntary organization, released policy brief analyses in English debunking what the bill was and was not in an effort to counter some of this immigration misinformation. Greg Chen, director of government relations at AILA, told NBC News during a call with reporters last week that even Biden contributed to the misinformation when he responded to criticism from House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., suggesting the bill would have given him “new emergency authority to shut down the border.” According to AILA’s analysis, that’s not true. The bill would have provided the Biden administration with the ability “to rapidly expel asylum-seekers,” resulting in “people being denied access to asylum,” Chen clarified. “The lack of accurate information about the issue means that the debate is no longer one about policy and facts,” he added. Who’s monitoring for misinformation? Considering that content moderation efforts are “much less rigorous on Spanish language than they are in English language” across multiple platforms, Muñoz said he anticipates “a proliferation and concentration of misinformation that could be avoided by just simply bringing up to parity Spanish-language moderation with English-language moderation.” Meta did not tell NBC News how many content moderators the company has, but a 2023 company report of their operation in the European Union said that as of September they had at least 163 Spanish-language moderators and 109 English-language content moderators. In their report, the company said they had “additional content reviewers” in other regions for both languages but did not specify how many. Meta did tell NBC News that it plans to launch fact-checking tip lines in Spanish on WhatsApp, expanding their capacity to address misinformation in the Spanish-language communities that use the platform. In similar company reports about their European Union operations, X said that as of October it had just 20 content moderators with linguistic expertise in Spanish, compared to 2,294 content moderators with linguistic expertise in English. TikTok had 468 Spanish-language content moderators and 2,137 English-language content moderators as of September. YouTube reported having 507 people moderating content in Spanish versus 15,142 people moderating content in English, also as of September. No company provided information to NBC News about how many content moderators they have in the U.S. “Without a doubt, it is a threat,” Abreu said. “The reason this is concerning still today is because very little has been done in terms of content moderation, in terms of live fact-checking,” especially in Spanish. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

The cost of US citizenship is about to rise

The cost of applying for U.S. citizenship is about to rise. More than 9 million legal permanent residents in the United States are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship but haven’t done so, according to the Office of Homeland Security Statistics. On April 1, the cost of the application to naturalize is climbing as much as 19%. The price of getting a "green card" – the first step to citizenship – will jump, too. The changes are a fraction of the fee increases sought by the Trump administration before a federal judge scrapped them. Still, immigration attorneys say, immigration costs almost always trend higher, so those who want to naturalize for less should consider submitting an application before April 1. Here’s what to know about the fee increases. More:Can the US handle more immigration? History and the Census suggest the answer is yes. How much does U.S. citizenship cost? The costs vary. The naturalization application form, called an N-400, now costs $640 when filing a paper application or $725 including the fingerprint fee, called "biometrics." On April 1, the cost of both jumps to $760. A fee table published in the Federal Register shows the new price of immigration benefits. The price increase is far less than what the Trump administration tried to impose. In 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services bumped the fee for naturalization more than 80% to $1,170 and ended the fee waiver for vulnerable people, including asylum-seekers. Immigrant rights groups sued and a federal judge prevented the new rules from taking effect, saying the agency violated the law by failing to provide adequate notice and an opportunity for public comment. For those seeking an adjustment of status from a tourist visa to legal permanent residency, the price increase is significant, said Xiao Wang, chief executive of Boundless Immigration, which provides immigration services. That "green card" packet requires at least four forms for most applicants, and certain fees are waived when they are submitted together under current guidelines. After April 1, the price of pursuing legal permanent residency will jump from $1,760 to $3,005, he said. The new guidelines also expand the universe of people eligible for a discount. Those who earn below 400% of the federal poverty guideline can access the reduced rate instead of only those who earned below 200% of the poverty guideline. But the discounted rate is going up, too: from $320 to $380. The cost increase may be less than the citizenship and immigration agency's attempt to boost fees, but it can still be a burden for families when more than one family member wants to naturalize and each has to pay a separate application fee. "You have a multiplier, and it adds up quite a bit," said Hector Quiroga, an immigration attorney who represents farmworkers in Spokane, Washington, and Las Vegas. "There are many people who simply can’t afford it." Also, applying for U.S. citizenship doesn’t guarantee that the citizenship services agency will approve the application, and fees are nonrefundable. Will wait times and customer service improve? The agency is adjusting fees to a variety of applications, including raising some and lowering others, "to fully recover costs and maintain adequate service," according to the announcement in the Federal Register. Fees haven't gone up since 2016. Wang said it would make more sense to tie fee increases to inflation "so that we’re not in a world where there is significant time that passes and then there is a big jump." The citizenship services agency is primarily funded by the fees charged to applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits and doesn't receive regular congressional appropriations. At the same time, the agency has faced a surging workload amid high levels of immigration to the U.S. The agency received nearly 11 million applications for benefits in fiscal 2023, a record. The fees also help cover the costs of services that are provided free of charge to refugees, asylum-seekers and certain other vulnerable classes of immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security said. New U.S. citizens register to vote Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, with the help of members of the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford after a naturalization ceremony in Rockford, Illinois. The American Immigration Lawyers Association urged that the fee increases be used to help improve the agency’s lengthy processing times and opaque customer service. "We understand there is a need to increase the fees," said Shev Dalal-Dheini, the association's senior director for government relations. "What we want to see in response is a reduction in the processing times, the backlog and more efficiency from the agency in adjudicating cases." How long does it take to become a U.S. citizen? The immigration services agency said it delivered a citizenship oath of allegiance to more than 878,500 people in fiscal 2023 and reduced the average wait time for naturalization from 10½ months to six months. But first it can take months or years to obtain the necessary prerequisite: legal permanent residency, sometimes called a green card. Legal permanent residents become eligible to apply for citizenship after three to five years, depending on who is applying. Wait times for naturalization applications also vary across the country according to the citizenship agency's online case processing tool. The wait ranges from five months in Cleveland to seven months in Boston, Los Angeles and Houston to eight months in Minneapolis and Kansas City. There are additional requirements beyond the N-400 application. Applicants must prove the length of their residency; show they haven’t lived outside the United States for a prolonged period; and demonstrate what the agency calls “good moral character.” That means “you did not have certain types of crimes – such as murder, illegal gambling, or intentionally lying to the U.S. government in order to gain immigration benefits – on your record at any time before filing, and you did not lie during your naturalization interview,” according to Boundless Immigration, an agency that offers immigration services. Some applicants must also pass an English language test and a civics exam. If I apply for U.S. citizenship, how soon can I vote? For applicants lucky enough to see their cases adjudicated in fewer than six months, there may still be time to register to vote in the 2024 presidential election, Dalal-Dheini said. Mary Orji was among 20 new U.S. citizens naturalized on June 14, 2023 in New York City aboard the 1885 Tall Ship Wavertree. Voter registration rules vary state by state. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of Legislatures. Many immigrants weigh a variety of factors before applying for U.S. citizenship, including whether their home country requires them to renounce citizenship or whether acquiring dual citizenship results in tax or other financial penalties back home. Still, Quiroga said, he recommends clients "advance their legal position as much as possible." At a time of heightened rhetoric around immigration – when politicians are questioning the foundational norms, including birthright citizenship – the rules of the game could change at any time, he said. Dalal-Dheini echoed the advice. "We have seen the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric," she said. "To ensure that an individual’s status is secure, the best remedy is to become a citizen." For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.