JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
U.S. Immigration issues
How the Border Crisis Shattered Biden’s Immigration Hopes
An examination of President Biden’s record reveals how he failed to overcome a surge in new arrivals and political obstacles in both parties.
By Michael D. Shear, Hamed Aleaziz and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The authors have collectively reported on the border and immigration politics for more than two decades.
(NYT) On President Biden’s first day in office, he paused nearly all deportations. He vowed to end the harsh practices of the Trump administration, show compassion toward those wishing to come to the United States and secure the southern border.
For Mr. Biden, it was a matter of principle. He wanted to show the world that the United States was a humane nation, while also demonstrating to his fellow citizens that government could work again.
But those early promises have largely been set aside as chaos engulfs the border and imperils Mr. Biden’s re-election hopes. The number of people crossing into the United States has reached record levels, more than double than in the Trump years. The asylum system is still all but broken.
Some of the circumstances that have created the crisis are out of Mr. Biden’s control, such as the collapse of Venezuela, a surge in migration around the world and the obstinance of Republicans who have tried to thwart his efforts to address the problems. They refused to provide resources, blocked efforts to update laws and openly defied federal officials charged with maintaining security and order along the 2,000-mile border.
But an examination of Mr. Biden’s record over the last three years by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 35 current and former officials and others, shows that the president has failed to overcome those obstacles. The result is a growing humanitarian crisis at the border and in major cities around the country. Many voters now say immigration is their top concern, and they do not have confidence that Mr. Biden is addressing it.
A veteran of the decades-long search for a bipartisan immigration compromise by the late Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the president sought balance. He created legal pathways for migrants and began rebuilding the refugee system even as he embraced some of former President Donald J. Trump’s more restrictive tactics. But those efforts were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people arriving at the border, and at times Mr. Biden failed to appreciate the growing anger in both parties.
The crisis within Texas’ border crisis
A clash over miles of razor wire on the Texas border threatens to dramatically change the relationship between federal and state governments on matters of immigration enforcement.
(Politico Nightly) After the Supreme Court issued a brief, three-sentence order last Monday granting a Justice Department’s request to remove the state-installed wire — designed to keep migrants from crossing into Texas — the rift between state and federal authorities has exploded into public view, marked by statements of defiance from Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and support from many of his GOP gubernatorial colleagues across the country.
The result has been an escalation of the dispute into both a political and potential constitutional crisis with no end in sight.
On the legal side of this issue, Abbott’s position — that he has the unilateral right to disregard federal law and policy because he decided that there is an “invasion” at the border — is highly dubious, if not clearly wrong, under the current state of the law.
That is because the Supreme Court has repeatedly and consistently held that immigration policy and enforcement are matters that should be entrusted largely (if not entirely) to the federal government. There is also no meaningful legal authority to support Abbott’s claim that he has the power to supersede federal law because he believes that there is an “invasion” at the border.
President Biden has said he’d shut the US-Mexico border if given the ability. What does that mean?
(AP) — President Joe Biden has made some strong claims over the past few days about shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border as he tries to salvage a border deal in Congress that would also unlock money for Ukraine.
As the talks have progressed, Biden has come to embrace efforts to reach a bipartisan border security deal after years of gridlock on overhauling the immigration system. But his statement that he would shut down the border “right now” if Congress passed the proposed deal is more about politics than policy.
He is seeking to disarm criticism of his handling of migration at the border as immigration becomes an increasing matter of concern to Americans in the leadup to the presidential election.
NYC mayor puts $12 billion cost on migrant crisis, blames ‘broken’ national immigration system
“The immigration system in this nation is broken; it has been broken for decades,” Adams said, declaring: “Today, New York City has been left to pick up the pieces.”
Nearly 100,000 migrants have arrived to the city since the spring of 2022, Adams said. While tens of thousands have moved on from the city, with new arrivals expected, the number of those remaining in the city’s shelters and emergency housing facilities could balloon to 100,000, Adams said.
DeSantis is not stopping his migrant charters. And Biden world can’t do a thing about it.
There’s probably little the Federal Aviation Administration can do to stop DeSantis from continuing the flights, people familiar with the agency’s legal authorities say.
(Politico) The company that Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis used to send dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard operates charter flights under approvals granted by federal transportation regulators who have almost absolute power to regulate safety in the skies.
But there’s probably little the Federal Aviation Administration can do to stop DeSantis from continuing the flights, people familiar with the agency’s legal authorities say — even though President Joe Biden and other Democrats have condemned the flights as cruel publicity stunts.
Mysteries, legal challenges follow Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s migrant flights
Asylum-seekers describe being deceived by a mysterious recruiter named Perla and a carefully crafted operation that had little concern for their safety and welfare
(WaPo) Much remains unknown about the effort. While DeSantis has embraced his role in staging the flight, arguing that it protected Florida from “negative ramifications” of a border crossing surge, his office has been less clear about the purpose of nearly $1.6 million paid to a contractor, according to state records, and the role of state officials in developing the plan.
What Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis don’t understand about America
They are playing with people’s lives to impress their base.
It’s ugly stuff. And it underestimates the generous spirit of this country.
(WaPo) It was a political stunt meant to embarrass a vacation enclave known for attracting liberal, A-list celebrities.
With reportedly no warning to local officials, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) surprised the island of Martha’s Vineyard by sending two planes filled with about 50 migrants, many of them from Venezuela. The migrants, who boarded the planes in San Antonio, said they were promised jobs, housing and education in an undisclosed location. Unable to read or speak English, most didn’t even know where they were when they landed.
It’s all part of an ongoing shift-and-dump campaign from Southern Republican governors who are using desperate people as political pawns to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies. It happened again Thursday when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) claimed credit for sending two surprise buses full of migrants to D.C., where they were dropped off near the residence of Vice President Harris carrying all they have in clear plastic trash bags.
UPDATE: Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Leave Island as Outrage at DeSantis Grows
(New York) Dozens of migrants who were unexpectedly flown to Martha’s Vineyard as part of a political stunt orchestrated by Florida governor Ron DeSantis have been moved to Cape Cod, where Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker has offered them temporary housing at a military base. At the same time, immigration lawyers and a growing number of elected officials across the country are calling for an investigation into whether DeSantis’s actions broke the law.
Migrant buses dropped off by Texas near VP Harris’ residence
(WaPo/AP) Two bus[loads] of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border were dropped off near Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in residential Washington on Thursday morning in the bitter political battle over the Biden administration’s immigration policies.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been busing migrants out of Texas to cities with Democratic mayors as part of a political strategy this year because he says there are too many arrivals over the border to his state. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also has adopted this policy, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also got in on the act recently. It was first dreamed up by former President Donald Trump.
Abbott tweeted that he’d sent the buses that arrived Thursday: “We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border.”
DeSantis Tries to Prove Liberals Hate Immigrants As Much As He Does, Fails Borrowing a tactic from the White Citizens’ Councils.
200+ Immigrant Rights Organizations Urge U.S. House Leadership to Block Efforts to Extend Title 42 Mass Expulsions
U.S. ban on ‘encouraging’ illegal immigration unconstitutional, court rules
(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that a federal law making it a crime to “encourage or induce” non-U.S. citizens to enter or reside in the country illegally is unconstitutional because it could penalize free speech.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision said the law, which is part of a broader statute barring human smuggling, criminalizes “vast amounts of protected speech” such as urging family members to remain in the U.S. after their visas expire or informing non-citizens about available social services.
America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself
Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman, who fled Ukraine in 1979, argue for letting more refugees into America in a video by Ken Burns.
UNUM Short: The Vindman Twins on Liberty
(PBS) In our latest UNUM Short with The New York Times, Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman return to the bench where they first met Ken Burns nearly 40 years ago to reflect on their own refugee experience, the refugee crisis unfolding today, and what we need to do to live up to our country’s ideals.
Mexico: Asylum Seekers Face Abuses at Southern Border
Improve Conditions, Procedures; US Should End Pressure to Block Arrivals
(Relief Web) – Migrants and asylum seekers who enter Mexico through its southern border face abuses and struggle to obtain protection or legal status as a result of policies aimed at preventing them from reaching the US, Human Rights Watch said today. As leaders meet in Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas, they should commit to ending abusive anti-immigration policies and to ensuring people seeking protection are received humanely in the US, Mexico, and elsewhere.
Refugee status applications and migrant apprehensions in Mexico have risen dramatically as US President Joe Biden has continued restricting access to asylum at the US southern border, and pushed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to heavily regulate travel to and within Mexico in order to prevent non-Mexican migrants from reaching the US. Those who cross Mexico’s southern border fleeing violence and persecution struggle to obtain protection, face serious abuses and delays, and are often forced to wait for months in inhumane conditions near Mexico’s southern border while struggling to find work or housing.
Twelve years later
The Ordinary Americans Resettling Migrants Fleeing War
After Trump eviscerated the refugee-resettlement system, the government was unprepared for the large numbers of Afghans displaced by their country’s collapse. A new program lets civilians step up to help.
By Eliza Griswold
(The New Yorker) Military bases, part of an emergency solution, were never intended to house tens of thousands of new arrivals for lengthy periods; at other bases, Afghans slept in tents in freezing temperatures. There was a push to get people off the bases as quickly as possible, and the women were determined to find a new home together. “We know one another in a way that no one else can,” Akbari told me. But resettlement agencies had been gutted during the Trump years, and no agency had enough capacity to take all four of them.
This past winter, American military veterans, retired professors, pastors, and hundreds of others took a leading role in resettling displaced Afghans. They’ve met planes from U.S. bases, found apartments, co-signed leases, puzzled through public-assistance paperwork, and located halal meat. (One trick: head to Costco.) The Sponsor Circle program began last fall as an emergency response to the arrival of Afghans. But Lucretia Keenan, a strategist for the program, told me that it was also the culmination of efforts by organizers across the U.S. to ease conditions for newcomers in the wake of the global migration crisis. “This is part of a global movement,” she told me. The Sponsor Circle program is modelled on a successful, decades-long citizen-led resettlement effort in Canada, and a dozen other countries have recently started such programs. In the U.K., two hundred thousand people and organizations have expressed interest in housing Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion. Gregory Maniatis, who works at the Open Society Foundations, told me, “It isn’t abstract. People are volunteering to host Ukrainians in their own homes for six months.”
In some ways, Sponsor Circles recall the best of earlier ad-hoc methods of refugee resettlement. In the eighteen-hundreds and early nineteen-hundreds, religious organizations and their grassroots networks were the primary institutions working to resettle immigrants in America; many saw it as part of a theological calling
The State Department makes it easier for anyone to help resettle refugees
Because refugee resettlement agencies are stretched thin, the U.S. is testing a new approach. Groups of regular people are sponsoring Afghan refugees in communities where they’ve rarely gone before.
The U.S. has pledged to admit a hundred thousand refugees fleeing from Ukraine. But resettlement agencies in the U.S. are already stretched thin, and that’s prompting some refugee advocates to try out a new approach where regular people play a bigger role. NPR’s Joel Rose reports.
The Afghans America Left Behind
The U.S. promised protection to the locals it relied on during the war. When it withdrew, it abandoned thousands to the Taliban.
By Eliza Griswold
(The New Yorker) To its allies, America has often proved a dangerous friend. Shifting foreign-policy objectives have frequently led the U.S. to abandon the civilian populations it previously vowed to protect. Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, traced this pattern to the early Cold War, when the United States promised to support civilians who rose up against the Soviet Union. In 1956, Polish and Hungarian dissidents took to the streets. The U.S.—which had indicated that it would back them, but feared starting a war—left them to face Soviet tanks on their own. After the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, in the seventies, an estimated one million suspected collaborators were sent to prison camps. In 2011, when the U.S. pulled out of Iraq, local civilians who had worked with the military were still living on its bases for their protection. “We had clients who were escorted to the gates and no one even got them a taxi,” Becca Heller, the executive director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told me. “Then they faced a multiyear wait for a U.S. Special Immigrant Visa with nowhere to hide.”
The pattern repeated itself in Afghanistan. In 1979, when the Soviets invaded the country, the U.S. supported the mujahideen rebels and funnelled millions of dollars to civilians displaced by the war. But, after the Soviet Union withdrew, the money stopped, and the country faced famine and mass migration. Helena Malikyar, a political analyst and a former Afghan Ambassador to Italy, told me, “The U.S. abandoned Afghanistan once it thought it had achieved its goals.” In the resulting chaos, the Taliban—founded by former mujahideen—rose to power. When the U.S. invaded, in 2001, it relied on Afghans to work as interpreters, police officers, and military personnel. It promised protection in return, but its visa programs moved slowly, and some locals faced retribution. In 2013, when American troops began to withdraw from the town of Sangin, the Taliban launched a campaign of reprisals, killing hundreds of Afghan police officers and soldiers. Heller told me, “We say, ‘Come work with us. We know it’s risky and puts a target on your back, but we got you.’ In fact, we don’t got you.”
Border challenge takes center stage at Biden’s first White House news conference
(NBC) The mounting challenges at the border crashed President Joe Biden’s first formal news conference Thursday afternoon, derailing White House hopes of keeping the event focused on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephen Colbert on Capitol Hill: Did he help migrant workers?
Yes, Stephen Colbert made members of Congress visibly nervous (not good), but he brought cameras and a penchant for one-liners (very good) to help the cause of migrant workers.
Stephen Colbert To Testify Before Congress On Immigration
Colbert will be appearing with United Farm Workers (UFW) President Arturo S. Rodriguez before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. In August, the comedian spent a day working at a corn and vegetable farm in New York state after Rodriguez appeared on his show to discuss UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign.
The effort was intended to debunk the theory that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens and highlight the fact the nation’s food supply is dependent on these farm workers. “Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field,” said the UFW site. “We will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers.”
Robert Creamer: The Arizona of 2010 is the Alabama of 1963
The draconian anti-immigrant bill that was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is likely to stir the nation as it was against racial segregation in the 1960s.
Arizona Could Pay High Price for Anti-Immigrant Law
(IPS) – U.S. immigration experts, law enforcement officials and religious leaders are hitting back at the draconian legislation signed into law in Arizona last week, charging it will subject the state to “staggering potential costs” and vowing to have the law declared unconstitutional in the courts.
Arizona law called attack on Hispanics
Washington urged to reform federal statutes
Arizona’s tough new immigration law has renewed calls for Washington to reform federal immigration laws, and protesters decried the state’s action as a violation of U.S. civil rights at a rally yesterday in the state’s capital.
Obama Slams Arizona’s Immigration Bill
Mr. Obama said the Arizona bill threatens “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”
He also said that he is monitoring the Arizona bill for civil rights and other implications.
Legalizing Racial Profiling? Arizona Immigration Bill Draws Fire
Gov. Jan Brewer Soon Will Decide on Bill to Make Being Undocumented in Arizona a Crime
(ABC News) An Arizona state bill that would give law enforcement greater authority over arresting illegal immigrants has caused national uproar and could set the stage for court battles over how far states can go when it comes to immigration policies.
The bill would it make it a crime for immigrants to have no alien registration document, and undocumented citizens would be charged with “trespassing” simply for being in Arizona. The bill allows police to question and arrest people without warrant if there is “reasonable suspicion” about their immigration status. It would become illegal for people to employ illegal immigrants or to transport them anywhere in the state, even if they are family members.
A conservative border state is at risk of becoming a police state
(The Economist) Illegal immigration is a federal crime. [The Arizona] law, however, would also make it a state crime and would require the police, as opposed to federal agents, to make arrests and check the immigration status of individuals who look suspicious to them. Citizens who think their cops are not vigilant enough would be encouraged to sue their cities or counties, and no city or county may remain a “sanctuary” where this law is not enforced.
Arizona at Epicentre of Divisive U.S. Immigration Debate
(IPS) – Protests and acts of civil disobedience are taking place in the southwest U.S. state of Arizona as it becomes the main battleground in a divisive struggle over illegal immigration.
Arizona Immigration Law Sparks National Uproar
(HuffPost) Arizona lawmakers approved a sweeping immigration bill Monday intended to ramp up law enforcement efforts even as critics complained it could lead to racial profiling and other abuse.