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


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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

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

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