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


Friday, July 12, 2024

Rep. Garcia introduces bill to fund immigration court lawyers

A House California Democrat is proposing a bill to fund legal defense services for people in immigration court, where only about a third of processed immigrants have legal representation. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) is introducing the Shield Act to provide $100 million in grants aimed at expanding the legal workforce defending immigration cases. Garcia said the bill is modeled after a fund he established as mayor of Long Beach, Calif., to find legal support and representation for undocumented people facing deportation. “That was something that was [my] initiative when I was mayor, and coming to Congress, this need is still very much real across the country, especially at moments that we’re in now where there’s so many attacks on immigrants, and so this is a great opportunity to expand something that has been very successful in my home city,” Garcia told The Hill. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a government data tracker housed at Syracuse University, the immigration court backlog is far outgrowing representation. ADVERTISING At the end of 2019, 660,366 immigrants had representation in immigration court, and 363,401 didn’t, according to TRAC. By the end of 2023, 987,770 immigrants found representation, but backlogs grew so much that 2,299,288 people did not have representation. A rule implemented in November 2022 making it somewhat simpler for attorneys to provide limited advice in immigration cases has had some success, resulting in legal aid reaching immigrants 23,516 times as of the end of May. And legal representation is a game changer in immigration court. In June, 25,064 cases without representation ended in an order of removal, while just 3,506 cases with representation led to an order of removal. Conversely, 3,925 cases with representation led judges to grant relief, while only 229 cases without representation came to that end. Still, bills like Garcia’s are unlikely to see the light of day in a Republican-controlled House that’s looking in the other direction on immigration. On Wednesday, the House passed the Save Act, which aims to increase voter registration requirements to prevent noncitizen voting, already a rare occurrence. “We couldn’t be farther apart. I mean, first of all, that bill is worthless, because we know that people that are undocumented can’t vote in this country, and just attacking immigrants and people that are in the citizenship process or undocumented is just inhumane, and it’s sad,” said Garcia. The Save Act will likely not see the light of day in the Senate, and the White House announced President Biden would veto it if it came to his desk. Garcia’s Shield Act is extremely unlikely to get consideration this Congress, but the first-term representative, himself an immigrant who came from Peru at age 5, said introducing it is a step forward. “Any bill that that we introduce, our intention is to get it passed. And even if this current Speaker and current majority aren’t going to be supportive, we have introduced it,” Garcia said of the measure, which had input from organizations including the Vera Institute of Justice and the National Partnership for New Americans. “We’ve worked with the groups around the language, we’re going to get sponsors and co-sponsors and we’re going to push really hard. And so when we win the majority back, and I hope that’s obviously soon, we will be in a strong position to get this bill heard and debated and across the finish line. I think that is our intention for this bill.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Here's What the GOP's 2024 Platform Says About Immigration

The Republican National Committee (RNC) appeared to fully back Donald Trump's views on immigration in its official 2024 platform revealed this week, including a call for a mass deportation program targeting the millions of migrants already in the country illegally. The platform, published Sunday, is set to be formally adopted during the Republican National Convention when it kicks off in Milwaukee on Monday. In listing its priorities, the GOP placed immigration at numbers 1 and 2, stating that the party plans to secure the border following November's election, assuming Trump is the winner. "Republicans offer an aggressive plan to stop the open-border policies that have opened the floodgates to a tidal wave of illegal Aliens, deadly drugs, and Migrant Crime," the platform reads. "We will end the Invasion at the Southern Border, restore Law and Order, protect American Sovereignty, and deliver a Safe and Prosperous Future for all Americans." For more information visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration policy, from the border to the White House

This week on Scripps News Reports, we explain the facts and the laws that govern immigration to the U.S., investigate what life is like along the border and hear from everyday voters about their immigration concerns. We learn more about Texas' Operation Lone Star, the state's own border security effort. What are the objectives and costs of those policy choices? How does the effort affect the local ecosystem, or the sustainability of local businesses? We hear from immigrants about the routes they take to America, the processes they go through when they meet the U.S. Border Patrol and the long journey that still awaits them once they make it to the U.S. And we analyze the immigration policies of the two leading presidential candidates: President Biden has supported a pathway to citizenship for migrants, expanded health care benefits to DACA recipients and made it easier for immigrants married to citizens to get their own citizenship. Former President Trump supports mass deportations, has tried to end the DACA program and has called for an end to automatic citizenship for children of immigrant parents who are born in the U.S. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

As immigrants arrive in the South, border politics come with them

PENSACOLA, Florida ‒ In a wooded suburb of this southern city by the beach, Grace Resendez McCaffery steeled herself for an immigration battle. She was exhausted from distributing 5,500 copies of her Spanish-language newspaper to newsstands in northwest Florida. But on a Monday morning in June, she drove over the bay to plead with a five-man county commission to reject a resolution saying the county “doesn’t welcome illegal aliens.” As Republicans get ready to hold their convention in Milwaukee on Monday, the consequences of the party's hardline immigration politics are playing out on stages big and small across the country. In this rural county in northwest Florida, the five Republican commissioners faced a dilemma: to choose their principles of governance or the politics of their party. Grace Resendez McCaffery speaks to a television reporter following a June 24, 2024, Santa Rosa County commission meeting. “Though we’re growing and thriving, progress takes a step backwards when political stunts use immigration – or rather immigrants – as a platform,” Resendez McCaffery told them, flanked at a lectern by four Latina women. Resendez McCaffery isn't an immigrant. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. But since moving to Pensacola 30 years ago, the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants has become a spokesperson for the small-but-growing immigrant community here. These sort of resolutions targeting "illegal" immigrants inevitably fall on the shoulders of all Hispanics, she said. The United States is reaching its highest level of immigration in a century, and nowhere has the change been greater than in the historical South, where the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow once kept immigration at bay. Today, even anti-immigrant sentiment and legislation in southern states can’t overpower the magnet of the region's growing economy. Since 2010, the foreign-born population in the South has jumped by nearly 50%, compared to increases of 29% in the Midwest, 19% in the Northeast, and 13% in the West, according to Steven Camarota, director of research for the right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies. This immigration-fueled demographic shift in southern states has altered the country's political landscape. Not because immigrants are voting in large numbers, but because their arrival convinced many Southerners they needed to worry about the U.S. border, said David Bier, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank. David J. Bier is the director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. "Before the 1960s the South had very, very little immigration," Bier said. "You could go back 100 years and you couldn’t find a place where the South had more than 5% foreign-born. It’s really the South that is experiencing immigration at scale for the first time in a unique way that the rest of the country has taken for granted." Along the way, Republican immigration politics have trickled down from the federal level to state and big-city governments, and now threaten to upend races even at the most local levels. In a wood-paneled board room in Santa Rosa County, the commissioners set aside residents' concerns about poor storm water drainage and neighborhood flooding to discuss the recent appearance at a local truck stop of a bus carrying migrant workers. Peering over her reading glasses, Resendez McCaffery reminded the commissioners that she knows something about what anti-immigrant rhetoric can inspire. “Violence against Latinos isn’t uncommon – especially when provoked by fear and hatred,” she said. “I’m haunted” – she paused, swallowing sudden tears – “by the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart store in my neighborhood in Texas. I plead with you to not complicate an already difficult situation.” James Calkins, the author of the resolution, wore a red tie and an American flag on his lapel. "Illegal immigration is a serious problem in Santa Rosa County and the United States of America," he said, and then he read off a social media message he received claiming there were "approximately 120 men, what looked like illegal aliens, military-aged men without families." "We have a major problem in this country right now with illegal immigration," he said. Southern bona fides in north Florida Florida may be well-known for its vibrant Latino and immigrant communities in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and elsewhere. But those cities are a world apart from Pensacola and its rural surroundings, where people like to affirm their Southern bona fides by saying, "the farther north you go in Florida, the farther South you get." The Pensacola metropolitan area stretches across two counties, Escambia and Santa Rosa, with a combined population of roughly 511,000 people, according to the U.S. Census 2022 American Community Survey. Though the immigrant population of the two-county region has more than tripled since 1990, foreign-born persons made up just 5% of the population. Escambia County was almost exclusively white and Black until 2014, when people identifying as Hispanic or Latino on the Census first topped 5% of the population. There were the Mexican workers who were drawn to the city after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. More diversity came beginning in 2013 with a massive relocation by the Navy Federal Credit Union from its Mid-Atlantic and Northeast operations. A diaspora of Puerto Ricans, who are born U.S. citizens, arrived after Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. More recently, and especially since the pandemic, immigrants from Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador have come searching for opportunities away from more crowded parts of Florida. At the same time, the city and its suburbs have become more Republican. In 2020, 44% of voters were registered Republican in Escambia County compared with 37% in 1995. The percentage of voters registered as Democrat dropped 25 points over the same period, to 33%. “The magnitude of political change in the South in the last 30 years is monumental,” Bier said. “It wasn’t until 2010 that state legislatures all flipped to be Republican." Republicans moved into the South as their stronghold, Bier said, where they could "focus on culture issues which have more salience in the South, because the cultural change in the South is much more apparent and noticeable than in the North.” "I've got two in my house" At the county podium, Esmeralda Aguilar Quiroz stepped forward. She had moved to Pensacola from Houston with her Mexican husband, who came to the U.S. illegally as a child, she said. Their attempts to get him right with the law led them to be scammed out of $25,000, before President Joe Biden's latest executive order opened a path to residency. "What would I do if the resolution passes? Would they see us differently or would they treat us differently?" she asked. "Would we be able to speak Spanish without somebody saying, ‘Get out of our country. You’re not welcome.’?” Young, white men have repeatedly told Caridad Galán-Rios just that, when she walks to the road to get the mail or put out the trash. The daughter of Puerto Rican parents said the men drive by in pick-ups "with a certain flag that we all know." Lucía Trejo, who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child and later received legal status, spoke next. Then Alma McKnight who once was undocumented and later served in the U.S. Navy. Their plea to the commissioners was the same: Vote down the resolution. Santa Rosa County commissioners debate a resolution stating the county doesn't welcome unlawful immigrants on June 24, 2024. Three of the commissioners, all self-described conservative Republicans, took Calkins to task. He was trying to play national politics in an election year, they said, instead of administrating county business. But Calkins' proposal had clearly wedged them between a rock and a hard place politically: If they voted yes, they'd be going against their principles of focusing on county governance; if they voted no, they'd most certainly see campaign mailers claiming they supported illegal immigration. "If you don't vote against illegal aliens, you vote for illegal aliens," Calkins said. "We're about one vote away from this board having a liberal majority." That drew a laugh from the crowd and the commissioners, who couldn't be confused for liberals in any other room. Commissioner Colten Wright apologized to the public, warning it was going to be a long meeting. "This is politics, James, and I'm sick of it," Wright said to Calkins. "As someone who comes from Irish heritage and knows what the Irish people dealt with in this country and the discrimination that happened, that's a problem." Jose Garcia runs Joe's Caribe restaurant in Pensacola, Florida. Wright didn’t like Biden’s border policies any more than the next Republican but he also didn’t believe the county commission ought to play any role in immigration, other than to fund the local sheriff's office to handle local crimes. Ray Eddington, with white hair and a white mustache, spoke with the country accent of his native Chattanooga, Tennessee, and told his fellow commissioners about the immigrant women who care for his disabled grandson. "I'm not against these people coming in, long as they come in legal," he said. "Matter of fact, I've got two in my house every day, taking care of my grandson. They're doing the right thing, applying for American citizenship." He'd vote no, he said, because "you don't know. They might be here illegal, but they might be trying to get citizenship. We don't know, James. We really don't know." Choosing to stay Many Latinos and immigrants say they have stayed in the Pensacola area for job opportunities, the white-sand beaches, and slower pace of life – despite running into the darker legacies of the Deep South. When José Perez arrived in 2013 alongside his then-wife Jessica Perez as part of the Navy Federal credit union relocation, "it was a culture shock," he said. He set up a food truck and eventually opened Joe's Caribe restaurant in Pensacola. "I felt like I went in a time warp when I came here," he said about the often separate white and Black societies and the racism his family encountered. "I thought it was only in the history books. But to experience it hands-on was something to take in." Immigration has helped nurture a reckoning in Pensacola, as the city confronted its segregated past in the wake of George Floyd's 2021 killing by police, said Teniadé Broughton, a city councilwoman who has promoted local Black history and storytelling. There was the revelation, weeks after Floyd's murder, that the city’s history museum, visited annually by Pensacola public school children, was named for a local leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Broughton said she sees in anti-immigrant rhetoric a similar prejudice that her Black community experienced. "When are we collectively going to put aside this perceived threat?" Broughton said, referring to the immigration debate. Jessica Perez said she and José Perez "had some experiences that were hard to deal with and may have caused some drama for my kids," she said. "I will say the good people outnumber the bad people," she added. "I’ve just tried to teach my kids, ‘Be proud of who you are.’" Two weekends before the county commission meeting, a Puerto Rican mother-son duo organized the first Fiesta Latina in downtown, with food from the island, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Honduras and a foam party for the kids. Children play at a foam party during the Fiesta Latina in Pensacola, Florida, in June 2024. A week later, thousands turned out for a Latin Salsa Festival organized by Jessica Perez, where bands played salsa music on a soundstage behind the museum that once bore the KKK leader’s name. Now it's called the Pensacola History Museum. "There were times that you do feel awkward or you don’t feel included in certain rooms," she said. "It’s about how you attack those challenges. I don’t see the Latin celebrations I want to see, ok so how can I change that? Now I can bring my music, my culture, to this area and let me tell you: People want it." Taking to task, focusing on what's important Visibly frustrated, Santa Rosa County Commissioner Kerry Smith took the floor and took Calkins to task for multiple interruptions, and for proposing symbolic resolutions that weren't the stuff of governance. "You have no clue how to govern anything," Smith said to Calkins. "You don't even know what your job is, sir." The busload of migrant workers? Smith got the concerned calls, too, he said. He made his own inquiry. The workers all held H-2A temporary agricultural visas and were headed to South Florida to pick crops, he said. They had stopped to use the restroom and then moved on. The debate dragged on for more than an hour, until the crowd started heckling and shouting "Take a vote!" And they did: The resolution failed 3-2, with commission Chairman Sam Parker siding with Calkins. Resendez McCaffery and the other Latina women walked out of the hall after the vote, relieved but unsettled. Was the battle really over? She wondered: Could this be the beginning of being able to have real conversations about immigration? The commissioners voted down the resolution, but they suggested preparing a joint letter to Biden stating their discontent with illegal immigration at the border. "I did feel like they were talking as if we weren't in the room," she said. "Demonizing immigrants is where the line should be drawn," she said. "They're trying to rile up their constituencies and that's where it starts to get ugly." Lauren Villagran can be reached at lvillagran@usatoday.com. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Senate candidate Ruben Gallego could save Biden in Arizona, poll reveals

After a dismal debate performance that has thrown the viability of Joe Biden’s candidacy into question, Democrats worry he will drag other candidates on the ballot down with him. But in Arizona, there is hope that the strength of the US Senate candidate Ruben Gallego will have the opposite effect, boosting Biden. Equis Research, a Democratic group started by Obama administration alumni, privately released a poll in May that showed Gallego, who is facing the former TV anchor and Trump acolyte Kari Lake in the Senate race, had the highest support among Democrats running for Senate in six key states compared with the president, outperforming Biden by 13 points among Latinos. The previously unreported poll, shared with the Guardian by a source who was briefed, showed Biden’s Latino support at 54%, lagging his 2020 showing of 63%. Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his plans to deport millions should he lead the country in 2025, has continued to see a rise with Hispanics that began in 2020, and was up by about 10 points since then, the poll found. symbol 00:02 03:12 Read More The poll of 2,339 registered voters covering 12 battleground states, with 250 respondents in Arizona, offered similar findings to a poll of Latino voters released in June by Voto Latino. It surveyed 2,000 swing state Hispanics, including 400 in Arizona. It found one in five Latino voters were considering a third-party candidate, and similar to previous Equis polling, it showed that Robert Kennedy Jr could harm Biden’s path in battleground states. In Arizona, Biden was at 45% support with Latinos, compared with 33% for Trump, and 13% for Kennedy. Biden has sought to turn the page and stabilize his candidacy in the wake of the debate, receiving support on Monday from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair, Representative Nanette Díaz Barragán, and deputy caucus chair, Adriano Espaillat. While Equis found Gallego, a US representative first elected in 2014, well-liked among Latino voters in terms of favorability, it also found that Lake had the lowest net rating among GOP Senate candidates polled. Voto Latino similarly found her viewed poorly by Hispanics, with her net favorability at -32 points. This dynamic in the state leads some to believe that it could be Gallego that lifts Biden’s boat. “Gallego is going to drag Biden across the line in Arizona, I’ve been saying that for a while,” said Mike Madrid, a longtime Republican consultant and author of The Latino Century. “Where Blacks in South Carolina saved Biden’s fortunes in 2020, Arizona Latinos could save his presidency in 2024.” A new Democratic group is coming to Arizona to aid those efforts, bringing with it a data-focused approach. Mi Vecino announced its $1m campaign exclusively to the Guardian, a push it says will not duplicate what other groups are doing, but is instead a surgical strike in four counties that aims to boost Biden and Gallego. While Biden won Arizona by fewer than 11,000 votes, turning the state blue for the first time since Bill Clinton in 1996, Mi Vecino aims to target a universe of 194,000 Latino voters in some rural and harder to reach counties. Asked how Biden and Gallego’s fortunes are linked, Alex Berrios, one of the group’s co-founders, argued that it was not only possible but “essential” that Gallego’s popularity helps Biden in the state. “What is likely to happen as we move closer to the election is the gap between Gallego and Biden is likely to close,” Berrios said. “The work we do will help determine whether Biden brings Gallego down or Gallego brings Biden up.” In its target counties, the group is eyeing 41,000 Latinos in Yuma, 14,000 in Cochise, 121,000 in Pima, and 18,000 in Santa Cruz. Rural Yuma, for example, was nearly two-thirds Hispanic in the 2020 US census, serving not only as Arizona’s largest majority-Latino county, but also the eighth-largest majority-Hispanic county in the nation by population. Gallego, who once touted progressive bona fides, has this cycle sought to remake his image, leaning into his biography in television ads Democrats and Republicans see as effective. The former US marine and Iraq combat veteran who was raised by a single mother is asking voters to see him as an Arizonan first, one who fights for issues they care about – not for Biden and his mixed record. On the trail, Gallego has been highlighting affordability on everything from housing to drug prices, as well as “water security” in a state affected by the receding Colorado River. While the Gallego campaign declined to discuss the polls, it stressed that from abortion to defending democracy and election security, its message is that Gallego defended those freedoms in Iraq, and Lake wants to take those rights away. Lake’s campaign declined to comment, but it is planning ads attacking Gallego over Biden’s health, the Washington Post reported. Gallego, who is of Colombian and Mexican descent, has leaned into his Hispanic background and military service, believing his values resonate with Latino voters who are looking to achieve their American Dream. Berrios, a Puerto Rican and Cuban former boxer, who has spoken to Gallego about the state of the race, said Mi Vecino believes it can mobilize 13,000 new Latino voters for Gallego in Yuma alone. woman holds mic on stage in bar-sized venue View image in fullscreen Kari Lake hosts a Latinos for Lake campaign rally in Tucson on 26 June. Photograph: Rebecca Noble/Reuters “Gallego is overperforming the president right now, while President Biden is struggling with Latinos,” he said. “We’re seeing slippage in Yuma county; the specific concern is men.” skip past newsletter promotion Sign up to The Stakes — US Election Edition Free newsletter The Guardian guides you through the chaos of a hugely consequential presidential election 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 Democrats have eyed erosion of support from Hispanic men for years, but this cycle was the first time the Democratic party acknowledged its issue with them. Between the Arizona Senate election and the presidential race, a furious push to reach Hispanic men through sports and prizefighting is well under way. Gallego marked Cinco de Mayo with a watch party for the Canelo Alvarez fight against Jaime Munguía, with big-screen TVs and a truck serving birria tacos. Lake held a Latinos for Lake event on 26 June featuring the former UFC champion Tito Ortiz at a town hall in Tucson. The former president, who recently launched “Latino Americans for Trump”, has targeted young men and men of color in public and under-the-radar efforts that Democrats worry they haven’t effectively countered. Days after being found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in his hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, Trump attended a UFC fight in New Jersey, drawing cheers from the crowd and a shoutout in the ring from the fighter Sean Strickland, who posed for a selfie with him. “President Trump, you’re the man, bro,” he said. “It’s a damn travesty what they’re doing to you.” Devon Murphy-Anderson, a Mi Vecino co-founder, says Trump “is using the type of strategy with men that Democrats cannot compete with because Democrats are not in the same places Trump is. They’re being very strategic and very innovative in how they’re connecting with male voters.” With an eye towards Latino men, the Biden team began an early commitment to paid media campaigns airing alongside NFL Sunday Night Football on Telemundo and Liga MX soccer on Univision in Spanish and “Spanglish” across seven critical battleground states last fall. It unveiled a seven-figure ad blitz around the popular soccer tournament Copa América, which includes watch parties, Biden jerseys and other swag. Biden campaign leadership in Arizona said what separates the campaign in the state is the resources being brought to bear in the community. Among the eight field offices, one is in the heavily Latino Maryvale area of Phoenix and another is in Nogales, a more rural community. Future offices will be in South Phoenix and Yuma. The campaign, which said it had identified more than 30,000 Arizona voters who prefer to be engaged in Spanish, said it had been using the Reach app since late last year, allowing supporters and volunteers to reach out to their friends and family to boost Biden. Sean McEnerney, the Biden Arizona state campaign manager, said the president was fighting to lower the cost of housing, groceries and gas. “Latinos want a strong leader creating jobs and fighting for safer communities, not a white-collar criminal like Donald Trump who has sold out working people his entire life,” he said. Mi Vecino will try to add to existing infrastructure, such as the well-respected community group Lucha Arizona, which fought the state’s anti-immigration bill SB 1070 a decade ago. Lucha told the Guardian it had been in the field since March, with a $1.5m digital program and plans to knock on 1m doors. “If there is concern about Latinos and Biden and Arizona being part of the path to 270 [electoral votes],” said Alejandra Gomez, Lucha’s executive director, “we need to see the investment in Arizona.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Republicans test run a new argument: Immigration can cause inflation

Republicans are trying out a new argument this week that spans three top issues of the 2024 campaign: immigration, inflation, and the high cost of housing. The emerging case is that a Donald Trump-led crackdown on immigration in 2025 may help with the fight against high prices, at least when it comes to finding an affordable home. It's a case that will likely be received skeptically by many economists, but it's a line of reasoning that was memorialized in the newly unveiled GOP platform ahead of next week's convention in Milwaukee. As that document puts it, the next president should seal the southern border and deport millions already in the country in part because illegal immigration has "driven up the cost of housing, education, and healthcare for American families." It's a message at odds with a chorus of economists, as well as Democrats, who have released studies that say Trump's proposals — from tariffs to tax cuts to that immigration crackdown — could cause inflation to spike anew. Read more: Inflation fever breaking? Price hikes on everyday expenses finally ease up. FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, June 22, 2024, in Philadelphia. Trump is seeking to distance himself from a plan for a massive overhaul of the federal government drafted by some of his administration officials. Some of these men are expected to take high-level roles if the Republican presumptive nominee is elected back into the White House. Trump is saying on Truth Social that he Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Philadelphia in June. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola) (ASSOCIATED PRESS) But it's an argument gaining steam in GOP circles. EJ Antoni of the conservative Heritage Foundation has been fielding questions from congressional aides on the topic in recent weeks. His group's case is that there is a 2-to-1 ratio at play: an influx that increases an area's population by 5% translates, he said, into rents going up by 10%. "It clearly has an impact now," he noted in an interview, citing communities along the southern border as well as major cities where new migrants are traveling as the most impacted. Jerome Powell's take on the issue The new message was tested on Capitol Hill this week during a Senate hearing featuring testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Sen. J.D. Vance, a Republican from Ohio and one of the leading contenders to be Donald Trump's vice president, brought up the topic when he had an opportunity to question the Fed chair on Tuesday, saying it was a subject "I imagine most of my colleagues are not asking [about]." Powell sounded skeptical. "There's no clear answer, but my sense is that in the long run, immigration is kind of neutral on inflation; in the short run [it] may actually have helped because the labor market got looser," Powell responded. Read more: How does the labor market affect inflation? But he did acknowledge that there could be regional effects, with some communities potentially seeing higher housing costs if faced with a wave of new residents. Others have echoed Powell's point and focused on the benefits to the labor market. Barbara Doran of BD8 Capital Partners noted on Yahoo Finance this week of Trump that "if he really gets elected and deports millions of immigrants, those are the ones who have been taking the jobs that help keep wage pressures down." Vance pushed back on that notion during his time with Powell on Tuesday, noting that it's another way of saying lower wages for Americans. "Why do we see it as a good thing?" he asked. "Why not try to boost wages in a way that brings some of those workers off the sidelines?” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Lawmakers' New Plan to Bring Back Deported Migrants Separated From Families

Lawmakers are fighting to bring back migrants and their children who have been unfairly deported, with a new resolution which would see them return to the U.S. Newsweek can reveal that congressmen plan to introduce a resolution, known as Chance to Come Home, that would help migrants return despite not necessarily having legal status. SPONSORED CONTENT Better Travel Days By T-Mobile More than a million migrants have been turned back since 2021, and congressmen are concerned that some have been deprived of the right to live in a place they consider their home. Newsweek has spoken to two deportees who consider themselves Americans, but were deported to their parents' home countries with no way back to their families. Ad Choices SPONSORED CONTENT Last month's Invesco QQQ ETF fund performance By Invesco QQQ "I've been away from my family and my kids for seven years now," Tina Hamdi, who was sent to Morocco seven years ago, told Newsweek. "You wouldn't think that a country you grew up in would just up and turn its back on you for just one thing and not have an understanding of what led up to the situation, either," Tina added, explaining that she was deported after becoming caught up in an abusive relationship. Sign up for Newsletter NEWSLETTER The Bulletin Your Morning Starts Here Begin your day with a curated outlook of top news around the world and why it matters. Enter your email address I want to receive special offers and promotions from Newsweek By clicking on SIGN ME UP, you agree to Newsweek's Terms of Use & Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time. Chance to Come Home - Tina Paul Tina Hamdi, 31 (left), with her two children and Paul Pierrilus, 43, both say they were deported unfairly to countries they did not know. Four Congressmen are trying to change the system. FAMILY HANDOUTS/NIJC The resolution is set to be presented in both chambers of Congress in the coming weeks, promoted by Representatives Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and David Trone (D-MD), along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Exclusively Available to Subscribers Try it now for $1 "We are calling for a mechanism to reunite families," Rep. Cleaver told Newsweek. READ MORE Immigration Border Patrol Rescues Migrants Trapped in Train in 100 Degree Heat Missing New Mexico Teenager Reappears Allegedly Trafficking Migrants Near Border U.S.-Mexico Border 'Chaos' Described by Sheriff Map Shows Countries Around The World With Open Borders "I don't want to pretend that it will be easy, because I think many Americans have been poisoned by the language that is used when the subject of immigration arises." A mother separated from her children Tina Hamdi was 3-years-old when her parents brought her and her sister to the U.S. from Morocco, and the family put roots down in Ohio. Tina Hamdi - deportee NIJC Tina Hamdi, 31, was deported from the U.S. to Morocco in 2017. She has spent the past seven years building a life there while trying to get back to her two children. FAMILY HANDOUT Her parents worked for years to gain citizenship, while Tina and her sister managed to gain legal status through DACA – the system designed to give some children of migrants legal status. Tina Hamdi children - deportee NIJC Tina Hamdi's two children have been without their mother at home since 2017. She was deported to Morocco unable to return to Ohio. FAMILY HANDOUT "My parents never let us feel the difference between us and the other kids, so that's why this situation hurts so much because I never considered myself anything other than an American," she said. Hamdi, 31, told Newsweek that when she grew up, she got involved in a relationship which became abusive and coercive. In 2017, she was deported after being forced to take prescription drugs into a prison facility for her now ex-husband. "There is a lot more that goes into this situation," she said. "If it was up to me, I wouldn't have ever done it on my own, or thought to do such things. "Given the situation I was in with my ex-husband, it was extremely stressful and hard to deal with, so I felt obligated to do what he asked of me." DACA status can be removed or denied for felony offences, however. Tina Hamdi - deportee NIJC facetime Tina Hamdi has not seen her children since 2017 and must resort to Face Time to stay in touch with them. FAMILY HANDOUT Hamdi has not been able to see her children, aged 11 and 10, since, describing the seven years without them as painful. "The last time I saw them, it was the morning I was going away, I had a nine-month sentence, so I turned myself in for the nine months," Hamdi added. "On that day, I thought I was going to kiss them goodbye and be able to come back home, but instead immigration took over and didn't allow that." Hamdi was forced instead to make a life for herself in the home country she never imagined going back to. She now works as an English teacher in a kindergarten, but is desperate to get back to Ohio. "There are certain specific things you should be there for, and I am not there for them," Hamdi said, adding that she had only been able to see her parents once since leaving the U.S. Ad Choices SPONSORED CONTENT R&D investments can help quantify innovation By Invesco QQQ Her hope is that the Chance to Come Home resolution, backed by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), will allow a more nuanced approach to deportation cases, meaning that surrounding circumstances are taken into account. Immigration organization says its time for 'basic due process' The NIJC told Newsweek that it has been working for several years to get to the point where Congress takes notice of families which have been torn apart by a system which, it says, leaves no room for admitting mistakes. "These are folks who were deported in exceptionally unjust ways," NIJC attorney Nayna Gupta told Newsweek, explaining that some were targeted under the Trump administration for being from African countries. "[Others] were targeted for exercising their First Amendment rights and speaking out against abuse in immigration detention facilities," Gupta added. "These are people who have strong reasons to present a case for return, but under the current system are unable to meaningfully do so." The NIJC believes the number of those unfairly deported is in the low-thousands, but said it is hard to truly know due to a lack of data from the Department of Homeland Security. Representative Emanuel Cleaver Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) during a House Rules Committee meeting on emergency measures regarding the recent attack on Israel by Iran on April 15, 2024 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The Congressman is... More ANNA ROSE LAYDEN/GETTY IMAGES The group wants the Chance to Come Home resolution to bring about change to the immigration system that it argues doesn't take personal circumstances into account. Congressman Cleaver told Newsweek that attitudes need to change around the fear of migrants as part of this resolution. "We are hesitant, in many cases, to separate puppies from their mothers, but we are seemingly developing inhumane practices with people," Rep. Cleaver said. "When I think about my own four children and that someone would have snatched one of my babies out of the arms of their mother and put them out in a strange country with people they don't know, it just causes me to boil over with frustration and even anger." A pardoned New Yorker stuck in Haiti Ad Choices SPONSORED CONTENT Last month's Invesco QQQ ETF fund performance By Invesco QQQ Another deportee trying to get back to the U.S. is Paul Pierrilus, 43, who was deported from New York to Haiti, his parents' home country, in 2021. He was convicted in 2003 for the Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, which sparked immigration proceedings, but he was released from detention in 2006 and worked for around 13 years as a financial consultant in New York. Pierrilus told Newsweek that while his immigration proceedings were underway, multiple agencies said he could not be deported to Haiti, as he did not hold citizenship there. "Why I was sent to Haiti is beyond me," he said. "Me being sent to Haiti, I think, was unjust." Pierrilus has been stuck in a country the U.S. says is too unsafe to travel to since 2021 and told Newsweek that he fears for his life there, saying that the dangers covered in the news are far greater. "On two random occasions, on the highway, I was shot at," he explained. "My home was burnt, I know three people that were kidnapped, since my deportation I know seven people who have died." Paul Pierrilus - deportee NIJC Paul Pierrilus, 43, was deported in 2021, despite having served time for the offense he was deported for around 15 years prior. He has been living in Haiti in fear for his life. FAMILY HANDOUT Pierrilus also became sick during the lockdown in Haiti and said the lack of access to medical care was a real concern. New York Governor Kathy Hochul pardoned Pierrilus in May 2024, but he is still not able to return home to his family. He told Newsweek that his parents, who are Christian, have faith that he will return home someday and that he has adopted this mindset, hoping to get back home to help his aging parents. The plan put forward by the congressmen has bolstered his hope, saying it is a clear pathway to being heard. "A lot of people probably look at this as just numbers," Pierrilus said. "They have removed more than 2 million in the past ten years. "That is more than seven times that of Rockland County [NY]. That's a lot of people that have families who could be fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers," he added. "So it's a lot of people whose life is in limbo." NIJC argues system can be fixed In 2021, the Biden administration introduced a program to bring veterans who had been deported back to the U.S. US Citzenship Deported Veterans Deported veterans Leonel Contreras, center, and Mauricio Hernandez Mata, left, are sworn in as U.S. citizens at a special naturalization ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in San Diego. The two U.S. Army veterans who were... More AP PHOTO/GREGORY BULL The scheme involved examining cases of vets who had been deported, to check for errors and rectify those, which the NIJC believes proves it can be done. "It's a proof of concept, it shows that they know how to do this," Gupta said. "They have done it for veterans, they can do it for single mothers separated from their kids, they can do it for long-standing members of our community who were targeted by the Trump administration." Since that scheme was introduced, around 100 veterans have been brought back to the U.S., which the NIJC argues shows that a "floodgate" would not be opened. Rep. Cleaver said his hope is that the Chance to Come Home resolution could form part of a larger piece of legislation to reform the immigration system. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

House passes bill to ban noncitizens from voting in federal elections

House Republicans and a handful of Democrats on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to expand proof-of-citizenship requirements to vote in federal elections and impose voter roll purge requirements on states, legislation that has been touted by former President Trump. The legislation — formally titled the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act — cleared the chamber in a 221-198 vote, with five Democrats voting yes. It now heads to the Senate, where it is all but certain to be ignored amid opposition from Democrats. Prestigious companies among the biggest employers of ASU graduates SPONSORED CONTENT Prestigious companies among the biggest employers of ASU graduates BY ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY President Biden has vowed to veto the measure. Opponents of the bill say its core idea — establishing noncitizen voting as illegal — is redundant, and argue that its provisions will more likely lead to U.S. citizens being denied their right to vote than to preventing votes by foreign nationals. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), meanwhile, argued on the House floor Wednesday that the legislation is necessary because noncitizens have voted in U.S. elections despite it being illegal to do so. “Even though it’s already illegal, this is happening,” Johnson said. In May, Johnson told reporters, “we all know, intuitively, that a lot of illegals are voting in federal elections. But it’s not been something that is easily provable. We don’t have that number. “This legislation will allow us to do exactly that — it will prevent that from happening. And if someone tries to do it, it will now be unlawful within the states,” he added. But most researchers who have studied voting patterns have said Johnson’s intuition is wrong. One study by the Brennan Center for Justice found 30 suspected — not confirmed — cases of noncitizen voting out of 23.5 million. The claim that noncitizens are voting — and that Democrats are willfully importing undocumented immigrants to vote — is the bill’s raison d’etre. Johnson, nonetheless, brought the legislation to the floor as a show of unity between himself and members of the right flank on an issue that’s also a Trump favorite. The Speaker backed the idea of banning noncitizens from voting in U.S. elections through legislation during a joint press conference with Trump in April, at a time when the House leader was trying to drum up GOP support as a small group of Republican lawmakers threatened to oust him. The former president urged GOP lawmakers to approve the legislation in a Truth Social post on Tuesday, writing: “Republicans must pass the Save Act, or go home and cry yourself to sleep.” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who introduced the bill in May, said at the time, “Radical progressive Democrats know this and are using open border policies while also attacking election integrity laws to fundamentally remake America.” Roy and Johnson have butted heads in the past, particularly over the Speaker’s bipartisan budget efforts, but the two former Judiciary Committee colleagues see eye to eye on immigration. In an op-ed in May, Roy wrote that “radical progressive Democrats aren’t even trying to hide it anymore — they’re publicly admitting their intention to leverage open borders and the tens of millions of illegal aliens in the U.S. to fundamentally remake America by cementing one-party rule.” Roy’s stated evidence for that claim was a verbal flub by President Biden on a radio show in May — widely picked up by right-wing media — where Biden appears to refer to Hispanic immigrants as “voters.” Roy also criticized Democrats for voting against a bill that would have changed census apportionment to exclude non-U.S. citizens. “I think they believe in their own heads, that somehow immigrants are bad and you know, we’re terrible and we’re always going to do bad things, when we know that’s not true. We know the data actually shows that immigrants commit less crimes. That, you know, communities with lots of immigrants actually are safer,” said Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), who emigrated from Peru at age 5. And advocates say the bill would make it harder for some U.S. citizens to register to vote, and would purge more citizens than noncitizens from voter rolls. “We’re seeing heightened threats against elections officials and voters at the polls, especially in places where Latinos are a growing and significant part of the eligible voting population,” said Juan Espinoza, senior civil rights adviser at UnidosUS. “Harmful and false rhetoric of noncitizen voters also spreads disinformation that targets and undermines Latino voters. This bill is a dangerous political ploy being used to suppress the vote in communities of color and further undermine voting rights in this country.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

USCIS Forms Update Notice

Good afternoon, We recently updated the following USCIS form(s): Form G-1055, Fee Schedule 07/10/2024 09:23 AM EDT Edition Date: 07/10/24. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page of Form G-1055, Fee Schedule. For more information, please visit our Forms Updates page.

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

‘Migrant invasion,’ mass deportations top 2024 GOP platform

The first original GOP party platform since 2016 establishes closing the U.S.-Mexico border to migrants and conducting mass deportations as Republicans’ top two priorities. The document, released Monday, mirrors former President Trump’s rhetoric and style, from the nature of its proposals to its grammatical quirks. Following a preamble that stylistically mimics Trump’s social media persona, the platform lists 20 broad-strokes policy proposals, beginning with two immigration-related points. “SEAL THE BORDER, AND STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION,” reads the platform’s No. 1 policy position, which formalizes the concept of a “migrant invasion” as an official policy of the Republican Party. Describing migrant arrivals as an “invasion” is relatively new in mainstream politics, and it has caused divisions even among immigration restrictionists. But for advocates, the use of violent terms to describe migration is a new element of an unfolding nightmare scenario. “We see a four-alarm fire for our country when the GOP’s official platform formalizes xenophobia and recklessly spreads misinformation and fear,” said Kica Matos, president of the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. The second GOP policy proposal hits at the heart of the immigrant advocacy movement: mass deportations. “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY,” reads point No. 2 in the document. Trump often references the Eisenhower administration’s infamous “Operation Wetback,” though not by name, as a model for his deportation force. The 1950s operation, in large part a continuation of Truman-era immigration policies, involved military-style roundups in Latino communities in the Southwest, often deporting U.S. citizens of Mexican descent along with foreign nationals. “Mass deportations, the centerpiece of the platform’s immigration policy, will irreversibly destabilize American communities, separate families and decimate the economy. There are no solutions here, only hate,” said Matos. And the platform’s 10th proposal intermingles immigration policy, global drug trafficking and criminal justice. It pledges to “stop the migrant crime epidemic,” a position also consistent with Trump’s stump speech. Despite a broad corpus of studies suggesting immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born residents, supposed links between migration and crime have taken hold among most Republicans and a number of Democrats, particularly at the state and local level. The GOP platform’s 20-point priority list is followed by a more detailed vision of policy proposals. Those proposals double down on an “invasion,” migrant crime and a vision of greatly expanded border and immigration enforcement. “Republicans will restore every Border Policy of the Trump administration and halt all releases of Illegal Aliens into the interior. We will complete the Border Wall, shift massive portions of Federal Law Enforcement to Immigration Enforcement, and use advanced technology to monitor and secure the Border,” the document reads. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Panama is using barbed wire to try to block a major route for U.S.-bound migrants

In a bid to block U.S.-bound migrants, Panama has installed barbed-wire fencing along the Darien Gap, sparking panic among migrants trying to cross the jungle that links South and Central America — but not necessarily stopping them. Videos of the barbed-wire barriers appeared as early as June 27 in WhatsApp groups for people planning to migrate to the U.S., causing users to ask who was behind the move and if they could still get across the jungle. Since then, the Ministry of Public Security of the Republic of Panama has claimed responsibility for the new installations. “The patrol at the national border service has begun to block the majority of border passages,” Panama’s minister of public security, Frank Abrego, said at a June 28 news conference during a visit to the Darien Gap. The Panamanian government said the new barriers have blocked "the majority of border passages." The Panamanian government said the new barriers have blocked "the majority of border passages."Obtained by NBC News Abrego said that one passage will remain open and that migrants there must present a passport or another form of identification to Panamanian migration authorities. All this, he said, is an effort to manage the flow of people coming in and to prevent organized crime from entering Panamanian cities. But videos are already circulating via WhatsApp appearing to show migrants getting around the wire fencing. In one video seen by NBC News, a large crowd of men, women and children can be seen lining up behind a fence as they take turns crawling into a hole dug under the barrier and into the jungle. Smugglers are also telling people that nothing has changed. Recommended NEWS George Hocker broke through barriers as one of the CIA’s first Black spymasters NEWS Some ex-DOJ officials under Trump fear Supreme Court gave him cover to weaponize the department “Listen to me, everything is active — Carreto, Acandi, Capurgana, Caledonia,” one smuggler said Sunday in a WhatsApp group, listing off popular routes he said are still open. “The guards did put a fence along Capurgana but people are passing one by one — kids, adults and they are passing the same. They have not sent anyone back nor are they sending anyone back.” “Stop believing the news, they only seek to stop the flow of migrants,” one smuggler wrote in another WhatsApp group last Tuesday, adding that the only people affected by the barriers are “negative” and “lazy” people. A family walks through mud A family of Venezuelan migrants with young children walk through the Colombian part of the Darien Gap on July 27, 2022. Fabio Cuttica / Thomson Reuters Foundation The only land bridge The Darien Gap is a tangle of mountains, marshes and rainforest 30 miles wide and 100 miles long that is the only land bridge between South America and Panama. An estimated half-million U.S.-bound migrants crossed the gap in 2023. An estimated total of 197,389 people have traveled through the Darien Gap since Jan. 1, with an estimated 27,375 individuals making the journey in June, according to Panama’s National Migration Service. Migrants from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and China have represented the majority of those crossing, Panama’s most recent migration data shows. Venezuelans risk deadly trek through Darien Gap to reach U.S. border 05:28 Slowing migration through the Darien Gap has become a key issue for newly elected Panamanian President José Raúl Mulino. He paid a visit to the Darien region days before he was officially sworn in on July 1. In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the U.S. was not behind the fencing, despite increased cooperation between the U.S. and Panama to counter immigration in the region. “The U.S. has not provided support to the Government of Panama to erect barriers at its borders” but said the Panamanian government “has a right to protect its borders,” said the spokesperson. Stranded migrants from Cuba, Haiti and several African countries arrive in Capurganá, Colombia, near the border with Panama, on July 31, 2021. Stranded migrants from Cuba, Haiti and several African countries arrive in Capurganá, Colombia, near the border with Panama, on July 31, 2021. Joaquin Sarmiento / AFP via Getty Images The spokesperson also pointed to an agreement announced last week between the U.S. and Panama that will help the Panamanian government remove and repatriate migrants illegally present in the region. “By returning such individuals to their country of origin, we will help deter irregular migration in the region and at our southern border, and halt the enrichment of malign smuggling networks that prey on vulnerable migrants,” the NSC said in a statement on July 1 announcing the agreement. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

A month removed from Biden’s asylum executive order, fewer migrants crossing the border says advocate

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Volunteers report that Whiskey 8, a migrant gathering spot between San Diego and Tijuana, has been quiet in recent weeks. And the Iris Avenue Transit Center, a few miles to the north, where migrants had been getting dropped off by the busload after being processed, is devoid of activity. One vendor in the area said he couldn’t remember the “last time he saw migrants getting dropped off at the trolley station.” Texas takes down border razor wire A little over a month ago, President Biden signed an executive order making it more challenging for migrants to seek asylum in the United States. Whiskey 8 is an area between two border barriers where migrants have been known to congregate and wait for agents to pick them up. It has been relatively quiet in recent weeks.(Salvador Rivera/Border Report) According to the president’s mandate, when unlawful crossings exceed an average of 2,500 for seven consecutive days, most people apprehended after that by Border Patrol agents won’t be allowed to seek asylum and face deportation immediately after being stopped. Whether the threat of expulsion is working, the number of migrants unlawfully crossing the border in the San Diego Sector is down in recent weeks. On the south side of the border, Enrique Lucero, director of the Migrant Affairs Office in Tijuana, said the number of people arriving in the city intending to cross the border has “gone down drastically.” “We went from 8,303 unlawful crossings per week to 3,696,” said Lucero. US signs deal to help Panama remove migrants who may be heading north U.S. Customs and Border Protection have confirmed the numbers. Agents who patrol the area between Tijuana and San Diego tell Border Report they have also noticed a decrease. Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the U.S.-Mexico border They also say many agents who were working at a giant tent-processing center for migrants in Otay Mesa are returning to their jobs of patrolling the border. Agents who drive the buses and shuttle migrants also return to their regular duties. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration Lawyers Say the Biden Administration’s Supreme Court Win Was a Terrible Mistake

The Biden administration cemented an important executive power using a recent Supreme Court case. Immigration lawyers say it was a huge mistake. Eric Lee, an immigration lawyer, has spent years working on behalf of Sandra Muñoz, a U.S. citizen, and her husband, Luis Asencio-Cordero, a citizen of El Salvador. The couple has been separated since 2015 after his application for a visa was rejected because he had tattoos that consular staff identified as gang-related. Lee, Muñoz and Asencio-Cordero have vehemently denied the allegations that he was ever part of a gang and that the tattoos are gang-related. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling came down in favor of the couple, but then the solicitor general filed to have the case brought to the Supreme Court. Lee said he did everything in his power to stop that from happening. But now the administration is handing great power over to future, potentially conservative presidents — and hurting its message that its immigration policies are aimed at keeping families together. The ruling came soon after an executive action from the president that allows certain undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens protection to stay in the country, which the administration touted as pro-family. “The idea that Biden is now trying to claim that he is supporting family unity with this executive action is a laughable lie because he’s responsible for this decision,” Lee said. Lee said his team suggested that Asencio-Cordero could wear an ankle monitor or undergo weekly Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-ins. They also proposed the government offer Asencio-Cordero humanitarian parole, which Lee said could have ended the case entirely, and offer to void the previous 9th Circuit decision. But administration officials said no, he said. “That would have given them a victory,” Lee said. “And they rejected that.” The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Muñoz and Asencio-Cordero and gave the State Department approval to deny such applications without an explanation or opportunity for appeal. Observers weren’t surprised at the conservative court’s ruling, but other immigration attorneys, like Lee, expressed everything from outrage to confusion over the Biden administration’s decision to bring the case so far. Some said it calls into question exactly what the Biden team is trying to do on immigration: Does it want to protect family unity, or does it want to protect its own power? “All the talk from the Democratic Party and the Biden administration about having opposed Trump’s right-wing policies on immigration are just more lies for votes,” Lee said. “Because the reality is that they have handed Trump and Stephen Miller a gift on a silver platter with this decision, and it’s their fault that it came before this court.” Lawyers who argue on behalf of immigrants or those looking to gain entry to the country said the process of getting visas or other permits approved is a black box. If a State Department denial comes through, there’s no process of appeal or explanation, and those who advocate on behalf of immigrants say they can be decided incorrectly or based on arbitrary reasoning. The Department of State “can basically do whatever they want, and nobody can tell them otherwise,” said Sabrina Damast, an immigration lawyer. “That is an extraordinary measure of power and also an extraordinary lack of transparency.” Other attorneys questioned why the Biden administration was willing to put the case before the Supreme Court. “It was a huge mistake to move forward with this case,” said David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and counsel to America’s Voice. “It was a waste of time. That’s why I say this whole thing was gratuitous, didn’t have to happen, and it wasn’t necessary to the resolution of the case because the case was resolved by the time it got to the Supreme Court.” Muñoz had sued the Department of State to try to get an explanation for why her husband’s application was denied. She eventually got an explanation, which meant the root of the case was resolved. That’s part of why Leopold said he was surprised the solicitor general moved forward. The White House did not respond to a request for comment, and the Department of Justice declined to comment. It’s difficult to say why the government brought the case to the Supreme Court, but the lawyers had their own theories. “I think the Department of Justice doesn’t think through the overall policy,” Leopold said. “They’re thinking totally in terms of the law and totally in terms of what is going to embolden the government and strengthen the government’s hand in every case.” “That said, that doesn’t take the Biden administration off the hook,” he added. “This was serious enough that somebody from the White House, they should have sat down and had a policy discussion. … So this was a colossal error.” Two former DOJ lawyers who spoke with NOTUS disagreed. They both said the implications of the case were clear, and it came down to expanding the executive branch’s power and solidifying precedent. “This case really is not, unfortunately, about Mrs. Muñoz and her husband. It’s really about executive power. And honestly, executive power to make bad decisions,” said Jesse Bless, who now works as an immigration lawyer at his own practice. “It’s really about executive power to make decisions without getting second-guessed.” But Kate Melloy Goettel, a University of Iowa College of Law professor and immigration lawyer who formerly worked at the DOJ, said that the politics should have still been clear even if the White House wasn’t involved. “On the one hand, they should have tried to stop this. On the other hand, there’s just such a high volume of cases that they’re dealing with that I don’t know how realistic that would be,” she said. “The top people at the Department of Justice are political appointees, and so they’re supposed to be carrying out the policies of the White House,” she added. The ruling hasn’t made much of a splash in Congress. Several lawmakers signed on to an amicus brief arguing in Muñoz’s favor, but only Reps. Linda Sánchez and Judy Chu released a statement about the final ruling (Muñoz resides or used to reside in their districts). However, attorneys stressed that the decision shields the State Department from scrutiny, and the decisions its officials make could change based on who the president is. “It’s as if a king is sitting on the throne and saying, ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that,’” Bless said. “You’re picking winners and losers, and I think with an immigration system, that is a disastrous mindset.” It’s still unclear exactly what the legacy of the case will be and how broadly it will be used in future cases, but Bless said that now that the Biden administration has cemented its power, it should at least use it for good. Bless said Biden “could call up Antony Blinken at the State Department and say, ‘I know I want more power. That’s great. Thanks for that. I appreciate that. I wanted that power. But the decision’s wrong; she should be with her husband.’” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Judge’s ruling protects migrant shelter on US-Mexico border and accuses Texas of harassment

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A judge blasted efforts by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to shutter one of the oldest and largest migrant shelters on the U.S.-Mexico border in a scathing ruling Tuesday, accusing the Republican of “outrageous” conduct over his claims that the shelter encourages migrants to enter the country illegally. Judge Francisco X. Dominguez ruled that Paxton’s attempts to enforce a subpoena for records of migrants who have been served at Annunciation House in the last few years violated the El Paso shelter’s constitutional rights. His ruling prevents Paxton from seeking the records and protects the shelter from what Dominguez called “harassment and overreaching” by Paxton’s office. Paxton’s office did not respond to requests for comment, but the state is expected to appeal. Annunciation House is one of several nonprofit groups that help migrants from which Paxton’s office has sought information in recent months. Team Brownsville, which assists migrants who are dropped off by federal agents in the border city of Brownsville, received a letter demanding documents in May. Paxton is also suing Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley seeking testimony. 0:00 / 55 AP AUDIO: Judge’s ruling protects migrant shelter on US-Mexico border and accuses Texas of harassment AP correspondent Ed Donahue reports Texas’ attorney general is accused of harassment over border issues. ADVERTISEMENT Dominguez wrote that he previously expressed concern that Paxton’s office had not identified which laws Annunciation House was allegedly breaking. RELATED COVERAGE Image Hurricane Beryl roars by Jamaica after killing at least 6 people in the southeast Caribbean Image Mexico eliminated from Copa America as Ecuador earns spot in quarterfinals after 0-0 draw Image Scorching heat in the US Southwest kills three migrants in the desert near the Arizona-Mexico border “The record before this Court makes clear that the Texas Attorney General’s use of the request to examine documents from Annunciation House was a pretext to justify its harassment of Annunciation House employees and the persons seeking refuge,” he wrote. “In fact, the record before the Court now establishes that the Attorney General was seeking evidence of alleged criminal activity all along,” Dominguez went on to say. “This is outrageous and intolerable.” Paxton alleged that by providing shelter to migrants regardless of their legal status, Annunciation House was facilitating illegal immigration and human smuggling, and operating a stash house. ADVERTISEMENT State officials visited the El Paso shelter in early February demanding immediate access to records — including medical and immigration documents — of migrants who had received services there since 2022. Officials from Annunciation House, a Catholic nonprofit that oversees a network of shelters, said they were willing to comply but needed time to determine what they could legally share without violating their clients’ constitutional rights. Investigators who sought to access records the day after requesting entry were not allowed inside the shelter. Jerry Wesevich, the attorney representing Annunciation House, said that corporations under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Wesevich expressed relief after the ruling and said it could impact other organizations. He also questioned why Paxton wanted to close the shelter. “All that’s going to mean is more people in El Paso streets. Who does that help? All it does is provide a narrative of chaos on the border, which is a narrative that some people politically want to promote,” Wesevich said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

USCIS Updates Customer Service and Safe Address Procedures for Individuals Protected Under Confidentiality Provisions

We have implemented provisions in the USCIS Policy Manual that provide guidance on customer service and safe address procedures for individuals protected under 8 U.S.C. 1367. The confidentiality provisions at 8 U.S.C. 1367 protect information about individuals who have pending or approved victim-based immigration relief, specifically relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), such as Form I-360 VAWA self-petitions and Form I-751 waivers based on battery or extreme cruelty, T nonimmigrant status applications or U nonimmigrant status petitions, and their derivatives and beneficiaries. USCIS has established specific procedures to improve access to information and customer service for these protected individuals through the USCIS Contact Center, while continuing to protect their privacy and follow statutory confidentiality provisions. Protected individuals may now submit inquiries or request a service by calling the USCIS Contact Center or sending a secure message from their USCIS online account. The USCIS Contact Center will ask specific questions to verify a caller’s identity before providing services. See the “Inquiries for VAWA, T, and U Filings (Including Form I-751 Abuse Waivers)” section of our Contact Us webpage for important information. Callers should have documents ready, if possible, for reference when sending a secure message and during the call: A receipt notice for each form they are asking about; and A copy of relevant pending or approved applications or petitions. This expansion currently applies to protected individuals only. Their attorneys and representatives must continue to use the dedicated VAWA/T/U email hotlines for customer service inquiries. To support more efficient processing and avoid duplicate work, we ask attorneys and representatives to avoid submitting the same requests your clients are submitting through the USCIS Contact Center. We also updated guidance on mailing address procedures for protected individuals. These procedures support protected individuals receiving correspondence from USCIS in a timely manner and ensure they can control which address USCIS uses to mail correspondence related to their benefit requests. This update provides guidance to the public and USCIS employees on mailing address and adjudication procedures for all forms filed by protected individuals. This guidance is currently effective. Find the updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual - Volume 1, Part A, Chapter 7, Section E.

Immigration Proponents Get Boost From End to Chevron Doctrine

Attorneys expect level playing field to challenge visa denials Impact on broad employment eligibility programs still unclear In Focus: Chevron, Loper & Agency Deference (Bloomberg Law subscription) The US Supreme Court’s decision curtailing federal agencies’ leeway to interpret ambiguous laws will benefit many immigrants and businesses stymied in efforts to obtain employment-based visas and green cards, immigration lawyers said. The justices’ elimination of the Chevron doctrine has been a long-term goal of conservatives aiming to undermine the power of the federal bureaucracy. The full implications of the June 28 decision—which says courts don’t have to defer to an agency’s stance on unclear laws—will become more apparent as advocates and opponents file new litigation challenging regulations amid the altered legal regime. While scholars have said the ruling could hamstring efforts to address large-scale problems like pollution or consumer fraud, the dismantling of Chevron was welcomed by many in the immigration bar who see it as a win for immigrants and a potential hurdle for immigration restrictions. That’s because agencies like US Citizenship and Immigration Services have typically been given the benefit of the doubt by courts in defending challenges to visa denials, they said. “It’s going to be great for litigators in our space,” said Marty Robles-Avila, senior counsel at BAL Immigration Law. “It’s a net gain for non-citizens and those in the immigration community.” Still, others predict that there could be immigration “winners and losers” in a post-Chevron world, said Cyrus Mehta, managing partner of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC. The decision could weaken the standing of large programs that are based on an agency interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act—like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—when explicit authorization doesn’t exist in a federal statute, he said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

SCOTUS ruling shifts H-1B visa landscape

The H-1B visa program could face more legal challenges from employers disputing denials, following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that restricts federal power and increases pressure on Congress to reform the program. After he took office in 2017, then-President Donald Trump's decision to crack down on the H-1B visa program resulted in 1 in 5 visa denials, representing a dramatic increase. This rise in denials was largely due to federal agencies' broad powers to interpret regulations, which stems from a 1984 ruling known as the Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council decision. However, in a recent 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court has overturned Chevron, a decision that could change federal agencies' broad authority to interpret and set regulations. This landmark decision has significant implications for immigration policy, particularly the H-1B visa program. With this ruling, courts are no longer obligated to defer to interpretations of the law by federal agencies -- including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the H-1B program. The Chevron case gave judicial deference to federal agencies in their interpretation of unclear laws. Carl Shusterman, a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney, said the recent decision to overturn Chevron is "a big positive" for immigration because federal agencies write restrictive regulations that don't comply with the law. He added, "It'll just make it a lot easier to challenge these immigration denials," although he also remains critical of the Supreme Court's decision for its potential impact on areas such as environmental rules. While the Chevron decision could make it harder for future administrations to unilaterally tighten H-1B visa regulations, it also introduces new complexities into the immigration system. As courts take on a more significant role in interpreting immigration laws, the operation of the H-1B visa program could see more challenges, especially regarding individual denials. A challenge to H-1B visa regs The U.S. government issues 85,000 new H-1B visas annually through a lottery program. While the Chevron decision doesn't restrict the ability of agencies to issue regulations, it changes how these regulations can be challenged. It is really hard to say whether this is a positive or negative. Sharvari Dalal-Dheini Director of government relations, American Immigration Lawyers Association Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that when there is a challenge, the interpretation of the law will be left up to the courts. "It is really hard to say whether this is a positive or negative," Dalal-Dheini said of the Chevron decision. It's a positive for employers that are challenging individual denials, but it's a negative if the White House wants to improve the program. "Their ability to improve their program will be under much higher scrutiny," she added. The Chevron decision will put more pressure on the White House to seek new laws in Congress. Agencies will no longer be able to interpret the law as time passes and immigration reforms are needed, Dalal-Dheini said. The people who will benefit the most from the Chevron decision are those who bring specific claims over denials, she said. One area that could see legal challenges is around specialty occupation denials, which require employers to prove the direct relevance of a college degree to a job. The problem is that hundreds of courts might be making decisions on these rules, meaning interpretation can vary, Dalal-Dheini said. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

US-Mexico border crossings fall to three-year low after Biden’s executive order

Undocumented crossings at the US’s southern border have fallen to a three-year low, marking the lowest in Joe Biden’s presidency just a short time after he signed a controversial executive order limiting immigration there in June. The latest data from the federal Customs and Border Patrol obtained by CBS News is the most recent since Biden signed his executive order – and comes as the president is accused of failing to address concerns about the amount of people crossing into the US without permission. About 84,000 people crossed into the US without documentation in June, the lowest monthly total since Biden assumed office in January 2021, CBS reported. That reduction forms part of a broader trend that has seen the number of people who have entered the US without authorization steadily decrease since February, when 141,000 people were apprehended at the border. Biden’s executive order restricts asylum seekers from crossing the southern border when a daily limit of crossings has been exceeded. Biden signed the order after Republicans blocked a bipartisan immigration bill that was set to limit asylum. “We must face a simple truth,” Biden said when the order was signed. “To protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants, we must first secure the border and secure it now.” The mandate received condemnation from Democrats, particularly progressives and immigration advocates, who viewed it as punitive and reminiscent of the Donald Trump White House’s previous asylum ban. “It violates fundamental American values of who we say we are – and puts people in danger,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy organization. “It’s part of a trap that the Democrats are falling into – they’re buying the narrative the right is pushing on immigration.” Biden’s action came amid polling that showed that a majority of registered voters don’t approve of his handling of immigration, a top-ranking issue in the 2024 presidential election. The Democrat’s executive order has done little to persuade disgruntled voters, according to a recent poll from Monmouth University. Biden has also faced consistent criticism from Republicans for failing to address record numbers of people arriving in the US through its border with Mexico. During Thursday’s presidential debate, Trump – the presumptive Republican nominee – repeatedly brought up the murder and assault of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, who was killed in Texas by two Venezuelan men who reportedly entered the country illegally. “There have been many young women murdered by the same people he allows to come across our border,” Trump said, as Reuters reported. “These killers are coming into our country and they are raping and killing women. And it’s a terrible thing.” For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

US to pay for flights to help Panama remove migrants who may be heading north

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is going to pay for flights and offer other help to Panama to remove migrants under an agreement signed Monday, as the Central American country’s new president has vowed to shut down the treacherous Darien Gap used by people traveling north to the United States. The memorandum of understanding was signed during an official visit headed by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Panama for the inauguration Monday of José Raúl Mulino, the country’s new president. The deal is “designed to jointly reduce the number of migrants being cruelly smuggled through the Darien, usually en route to the United States,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. The efforts to send some migrants back to their homelands “will help deter irregular migration in the region and at our southern border, and halt the enrichment of malign smuggling networks that prey on vulnerable migrants,” she said. ADVERTISEMENT “Irregular migration is a regional challenge that requires a regional response,” Mayorkas said in a statement. Shortly after Mulino’s inauguration, the Panamanian government released a statement saying Mayorkas had signed an agreement with Panama’s Foreign Affairs Minister Javier Martínez-Acha in which the U.S. government committed to covering the cost of repatriation of migrants who enter Panama illegally through the Darien. RELATED COVERAGE Image José Raúl Mulino sworn in as Panama’s new president, promises to stop migration through Darien Gap Image Sports betting roundup: England pulls in plenty of action from bettors at Euro 2024 Image American winger Tim Weah’s suspension extended to 2 games for red card against Panama The agreement said the U.S. would support Panama with equipment, transportation and logistics to send migrants caught illegally entering Panama back to their countries, according to Panama. Mulino, the country’s 65-year-old former security minister and new president, has promised to shut down migration through the jungle-clad and largely lawless border. “I won’t allow Panama to be an open path for thousands of people who enter our country illegally, supported by an international organization related to drug trafficking and human trafficking,” Mulino said during his inauguration speech. ADVERTISEMENT Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. Homeland Security teams on the ground in Panama would help the government there train personnel and build up its own expertise and ability to determine which migrants, under Panama’s immigration laws, could be removed from the country, according to two senior administration officials. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to give details of the agreement that had not yet been made public. For those migrants who are to be removed, the U.S. also would pay for charter flights or commercial airplane tickets for them to return to their home countries. The officials didn’t specify how much money the U.S. would contribute overall to those flights or which countries the migrants would be removed to. The officials said the U.S. would be giving assistance and expertise on how to conduct removals, including helping Panama officials screen migrants who might qualify for protections. But the U.S. is not deciding whom to deport, the officials said. The program would be entirely under Panama’s control, aligning with the country’s immigration laws, and the decisions would be made by that government, the U.S. officials said. They added that Panama already has a repatriation program but that it’s limited. ADVERTISEMENT The agreement comes as Panama’s Darien Gap has become a superhighway of sorts for migrants from across the Southern Hemisphere and beyond who are trying to make it to the United States. The Darien Gap connects Panama and Colombia to the south. More than half a million people traversed the corridor last year and more than 190,000 people have crossed so far in 2024, with most of the migrants hailing from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and China. The agreement comes as the Biden administration has been struggling to show voters during an election year that it has a handle on immigration and border security. Former President Donald Trump, who’s made immigration a key election year issue, has starkly criticized Biden, saying he’s responsible for the problems at the border. ADVERTISEMENT In early June President Joe Biden announced a new measure to cut off access to asylum when the number of people arriving at the southern border reaches a certain number. Homeland Security officials have credited those restrictions with cutting the number of people encountered by Border Patrol by 40% since they were enacted. The administration has also moved to allow certain U.S. citizens’ spouses without legal status to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship without having to first depart the country. The action by Biden, a Democrat, could affect upwards of half a million immigrants. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Monday, July 01, 2024

Waivers for DACA Recipients Open Narrow Path for Work Relief (1)

Administration promotes pathway to employment-based visas Used sparingly because of unpredictable approval process An initiative by the Biden administration to steer undocumented young people with college degrees to long-term employment-based visas may offer relief to only a narrow group of Dreamers. The policy, rolled out alongside an ambitious new parole plan for undocumented spouses of US citizens, puts new emphasis on waivers for immigrants whose presence would serve the national interest. It could also offer applicants and their employers more certainty of their ability to live and work in the US, an outcome that large tech firms like Microsoft and Alphabet Inc. have urged for all recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival protections, the program for undocumented people who arrived in the US as children. The administration’s option is known as a “D-3" waiver—so-called because of the relevant provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act—which exempts immigrants from penalties that require them to leave the country for extended periods because of unlawful presence in the US. It’s been used sparingly by applicants, however, because of long wait times and unpredictable consular decisions. The June 18 announcement was welcomed by immigration advocates who said it puts a bigger spotlight on the waivers both for immigrants and consular officers. That’s significant, as the DACA program faces an uncertain future and thousands of young undocumented people graduate college without access to those protections. “This administration is expressly saying that bringing in highly-skilled professionals, workers with a college degree obtained in the United States, that is a significant US government interest,” said Arturo Castellanos-Canales, policy and advocacy manager at the National Immigration Forum. But attorneys say the waivers may not be significantly more attractive to potential recipients without additional changes to the application process, such as the ability to apply within the US. “If somebody is forced to leave the country without a waiver in their pocket, I don’t think anyone is using this option,” said Leon Fresco, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP. Limited Work Visas The waiver process requires that both US Customs and Border Protection and the State Department sign-off on a request for an exemption to inadmissability bars. But an applicant must travel outside the country to seek visa approval at a US consulate. That requirement to travel outside the country without assurances of a waiver approval or the chance of a long wait time for processing is a serious barrier, said Daniel Pierce, a partner at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP. “If you’re an employee who can already work in the United States, you don’t really want to go abroad for six months with an uncertain outcome,” he said. “If you’re an employer, you don’t necessarily want to lose access to your worker.” The most likely visa option for those employed in the private sector is an H-1B specialty occupation visa, Pierce said, but less than one in five workers registered by employers were selected in the annual lottery for the visas this spring. Although the H-1B offers a pathway to eventual permanent residency, it would also tie workers to a single employer, unlike the unrestricted employment authorization provided under programs like DACA or Temporary Protected Status. “There are some kernels of good ideas here. What really matters is how this gets implemented,” Pierce said. A State Department spokesperson said that the Department of Homeland Security may waive certain ineligibilities for visa applicants based on a recommendation from a consular officer following an interview. Applicants therefore can’t seek waiver recommendations while in the US. “Ultimately, DHS remains responsible for approving waiver requests,” the spokesperson said. US Customs and Border Protection didn’t respond to a request for comment. More Certainty But for immigrants whose company is willing to sponsor them for an employment-based green card, the waiver option could insulate them against DACA going away because of a court decision or change in administration, said Dan Berger, a partner at Curran, Berger & Kludt Immigration Law. “We work with a lot of professionals who have spent their lives and careers planning around the uncertainty of an election,” he said. “Once they’re on a temporary visa status, they don’t have to worry about that.” Tech giants like Microsoft have pushed for lawmakers to pass permanent relief for DACA recipients. The company didn’t comment on whether it would support employees using the waiver process. Jack Chen, Microsoft’s associate general counsel, said in a post on LinkedIn that the Biden administration’s actions on behalf of undocumented spouses of US citizens and Dreamers are “much needed options for people who have only known the U.S. as home.” The administration plans to issue an update to the foreign affairs manual, which consular officials rely on in reviewing visa decisions, but it’s not clear if new regulations will be issued as well. Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, said the waiver process could be further bolstered by making clear that there would be a presumption of approval for applicants who met criteria, identifying what documentation is required of applicants, and expediting decisions at consular offices. There are roughly 400,000 undocumented students enrolled in US higher education institutions, according to the alliance, but the share of those eligible for DACA protections continues to decline. Despite serious questions over details of the waivers, it’s the first significant relief extended to Dreamers since the memorandum creating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals more than a decade ago, said Andrea Rathbone Ramos, a DACA recipient and digital communications specialist at the American Immigration Council. “If this is their only way to be able to work legally in the country, they’ll do it,” she said. (Updated with comment from Department of State. ) For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

On nearly every topic, Trump brings it back to the border

From the economy to insulin to childcare to abortion, former President Trump repeatedly turned the conversation to the border during Thursday's debate — centering an issue that has proven to be one of President Biden's most vulnerable. Why it matters: Historic levels of migration at the U.S.-Mexico border have become one of the top issues this election cycle. Trump has made a border crackdown a focus of all three of his presidential campaigns, while the issue has been one of Biden's biggest vulnerabilities with back-to-back record years of illegal border crossings on his watch. Trump also used the immigration issue to hit Biden over verbal stumbles, saying, "I don't know what he said at the end of that sentence, I don't think he knows what he said either." What they're saying: Trump repeatedly brought up the issue of crimes committed by migrants, claiming migrants are "killing our citizens at a level that we've never seen." He said he recently spoke to the mother of girl who was recently killed, adding "We had the safest border in the history of our country. All he had to do was leave it." Trump accused Biden of undoing much of his restrictive border policies "just because I approved it, which is crazy," saying Biden has "killed so many people at our border." There have been some recent, high-profile cases of unauthorized immigrants committing violent crimes, but studies have shown immigrants are less likely to commit crimes compared to those born in the U.S. Zoom in: Trump said that people coming across the border were taking "Black jobs and they're taking Hispanic jobs." When responding to whether he would block abortion medication, he added "there have been many young women murdered by the same people he allows to come across our border." The other side: Biden touted a bipartisan border deal that Republicans blocked in the Senate — at Trump's urging — and slammed Trump for "separating babies from their mothers, putting them in cages." Biden claimed the Border Patrol Union endorsed him and his position. While the group did endorse the bipartisan border deal, they have not endorsed Biden himself — and backed Trump in 2016 and 2020. Catch up quick: Biden has made two major immigration moves this month, giving him ammunition to push back on Trump's attacks. He issued a harsh executive order that allows border officials to quickly turn back migrants who illegally cross the border — without a chance at asylum — when border crossings meet a certain threshold. Border numbers have fallen significantly in the weeks following the action. Biden also made a path to citizenship easier for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for years and are married to U.S. citizens. The other side: Trump has long campaigned on a harsh approach to immigration. He has promised to execute mass deportations of people who are in the U.S. without legal status. He would also seek to end birthright citizenship, screen prospective immigrants for "Marxist" ideologies and use the military to target drug smugglers. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

Immigration Is a Central Issue for Voters. It Was Lost in Thursday’s Debate.

President Joe Biden only had a few minutes to talk about immigration on the debate stage Thursday, but what he said was muddled. Biden did call back to controversy during Trump’s presidency over family separation and the Senate bipartisan border deal that failed partly due to Trump’s influence. “He was taking, separating babies from their mothers, putting them in cages, making sure their families were separated. That’s not the right way to go,” Biden said at one point. “When we had that deal done, he went and he called his Republican colleagues, said, ‘Don’t do it. It’s gonna hurt me politically,’” he said about the Senate bill. But other points seemed to get lost. He tried to take a jab at Trump for blaming undocumented immigrants for rape while promoting anti-abortion policies, but the point was confusing. He claimed the Border Patrol endorsed him (which they, emphatically, did not) when he likely meant they endorsed the bipartisan Senate deal, and he didn’t draw back the conversation to discuss the benefit of immigrants to the U.S. economy, which is a common Democratic talking point. However, one Democratic consultant said that despite flubs, panic over Biden’s immigration messaging is premature. “Did you not know he was 81 years old? That’s not new information. Like, the guy’s been old since before he got elected the first time,” they said. “It’s also not new information that Trump is a crazy liar; that’s why I don’t think it changes anything.” They said that debates don’t change public opinion that much. Campaigns are long and come down to much more than how a candidate talks on TV, they said. “Let the man be old and have better policy than the crazy, deranged, authoritarian lunatic,” they said. On social media, many Democrats stayed quiet about Biden’s performance on an issue that’s top of mind for voters, and instead redirected the focus to attacking former President Donald Trump. “Donald Trump still proudly uses the language that inspired a shooter to drive 10 hours to my community to murder migrants,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Biden campaign co-chair, said on X. “It’s vile. It’s unacceptable. It’s deadly.” “Let’s be clear: Donald Trump has been the worst President for immigrants and Latinos in decades,” Rep. Robert Garcia, who attended the debate with Biden, said on X. There were only a few questions focused on immigration on the stage, but Trump repeatedly attacked immigrants during unrelated segments and drew back the conversation to border security. On actual policy, both candidates didn’t contribute many details. “I think the brief moment that immigration was discussed in this debate, I don’t think either one of them were very clear,” said Douglas Rivlin, senior director of communications for the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice. “I don’t know whether the Biden strategy is just to talk about immigration as little as possible, but I think that’s the wrong strategy.” Democrats seem to have accepted that the best thing for Biden is really to highlight the worst things from Trump. Rivlin wanted much more pressure on Trump’s “mass deportation” claim, which was asked about, but Trump didn’t end up addressing it. “The strategy ought to be to lean in and push back on what is really a very extreme position,” he said. The Democratic strategist was likewise disappointed that CNN didn’t pressure Trump more on that point. “I thought the CNN moderators did a very poor job of forcing Trump to actually answer questions,” they said. “But Trump never answers questions because he’s afraid to, and I think that came through tonight.” Trump, for his part, mostly focused on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. “We call it migrant crime. I call it Biden migrant crime. They’re killing our citizens at a level that we’ve never seen before,” he said. Republicans felt better about how Trump handled the issue. Texas Rep. Chip Roy said Biden was “unintelligible” and didn’t feel Trump dodging the question on mass deportation was a negative. “Trump didn’t take the bait and focused on the indefensible open-borders killing Americans,” Roy said in a text message. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.