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

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Progressive groups preemptively rip Biden over immigration executive actions

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

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