December 16, 2022


Authorities in El Paso, Texas, described a humanitarian crisis Thursday as they grapple with the daily release of roughly 1,600 migrants to local shelters and the streets of the border city amid preparations for even larger flows if Trump-era asylum restrictions end next week as scheduled.” AP News

More are expected with the end of Title 42 authority, under which migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum more than 2.5 million times on grounds of preventing spread of COVID-19. A federal judge in Washington ordered Title 42 to end Dec. 21 but Republican-led states asked an appeals court to keep it in place…

“U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said Customs and Border Protection officials told him Wednesday that about 50,000 migrants are believed to be waiting to cross once Title 42 is lifted… In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, migrants were stopped 2.38 million times, up 37% from 1.73 million times the year before. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time.” AP News

Negotiations in the Senate to forge a bipartisan compromise on U.S. immigration and border policy failed to gain enough traction to pass before the end of this session of Congress… Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, an independent who until last week was a Democrat, and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina had been discussing a potential deal that would have included the legalization of a subset of the millions of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., as well as certain measures aimed at reducing illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border… The talks between Sinema and Tillis focused on providing a path to permanent legal status to ‘Dreamers,’ or unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.” CBS News

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From the Left

The left is disappointed that the compromise bill failed and urges alternatives to punitive border measures.

“The framework would have created new processing centers that would detain incoming asylum seekers — with increased legal and health services — until screenings could determine whether they have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution if they were returned home. Those who passed would get a final hearing much faster than under the status quo, due to major investments in legal processing. Those who failed would be expelled promptly…

“All this was designed to disincentivize exactly what Republicans rail about: migrants who seek asylum in hopes of disappearing into the interior and not showing up for hearings…

“[Some Democrats] opposed this compromise because it would in some fashion stiffen enforcement in inhumane ways. They were right to raise this objection. Yet the compromise offered a real shot at making life more humane for well over 2 million people… But once again, space for compromise on this issue proved extremely hard to find.”

Greg Sargent, Washington Post

“To its credit, Homeland Security has already begun ramping up a program to accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims by hearing officers stationed at the border. The idea is to quickly identify migrants with plausible claims, and to avoid shoveling thousands more cases into the clogged immigration courts each month. The backlog in those courts is nearly 2 million cases, meaning that final decisions in deportation cases take years. Yet hundreds more officers are needed to hear asylum claims, and funding for them is in doubt without congressional action…

“The administration should seek other ways for migrants to make their U.S. asylum claims without making the perilous trek to the border, including at embassies and consulates in Central America and South America. That would require a major diplomatic push from the State Department, which is not currently in evidence…

“One model is a program, unveiled in October, to admit up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants who apply remotely to enter the country and, if accepted, fly legally to the United States. That undertaking has succeeded in cutting border crossings by Venezuelans, which were running at over 1,000 daily, by more than 90 percent.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

"Texas has sued the Biden administration over its order to immigration agents to prioritize undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies rather than deport all undocumented immigrants. Texas argues that federal immigration law requires the government to deport every undocumented immigrant. The Biden administration says it doesn’t have the resources to deport the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, so it must develop priorities…

“Inevitably – intentionally or unintentionally – the people in charge of enforcing laws determine which cases merit their attention and resources. So enforcers must use common sense. Prioritize targeting employers who are hiring young children and putting them in dangerous jobs over, say, a farm team hiring a kid as a batboy. Prioritize undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies over, say, a Dreamer who was brought to America as an infant and has been hardworking and law-abiding for her whole life… I applaud [the administration’s] decision.”

Robert Reich, The Guardian

From the Right

The right calls for additional border enforcement before any compromise on immigration.

The right calls for additional border enforcement before any compromise on immigration.

“[Biden] moved to get rid of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, which had required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were considered. He terminated the ‘safe third country’ agreements Donald Trump negotiated with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which required migrants to apply for asylum in the first foreign country they crossed into. Biden’s administration also pushed for an end to Title 42 without a plan to deal with the influx of illegal migrants it will unleash. And on his watch, deportations have dropped to the lowest levels in Immigration and Customs Enforcement history…

“Large, bipartisan majorities want to increase the number of border agents, secure the border, bring dreamers out of the shadows, increase skilled immigration and overhaul our immigration system to make sure we are bringing in the right people with the talents and abilities we need for our economy. But that will never happen so long as we have a president who seems not just uninterested in securing our border, but intent on opening that border up to any and all comers.”

Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“Tillis’s putative deal, reportedly struck with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), would create a path to citizenship for approximately 2 million immigrants who crossed the border illegally before their 18th birthdays. Note that this 2 million number is far higher than the 800,000 or so illegal immigrants who benefited from former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…  

“The more than doubling of illegal immigrants being offered amnesty through this new program is no doubt due to the fact that Obama’s DACA program did nothing to stop child migrants from illegally crossing the border and appears to have made the problem significantly worse… There are already over 10 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., and Biden has released millions more into the country. The immigration system is in need of reform. But that has to begin with border security.”

Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

“Making it easier for illegal immigrants to stay, even sympathetic younger ones, only incentivizes more people to make the dangerous journey, or hire smugglers to traffic their children across the border. Hundreds of immigrants die on this trip every year, and a much larger number face physical and sexual abuse…

“Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently returned from the Texas-Mexico border with startling reports of death and human trafficking. As U.S. border agents explained, ‘coyotes,’ cartel-sponsored sex traffickers, routinely smuggle young women and girls into the U.S. Officials estimate that 60% of these girls are raped during the journey…

“This June, human smugglers left a tractor-trailer of immigrants to rot in the sweltering San Antonio sun. Fifty-three victims suffocated before anyone found them. In 2021, the number of migrant deaths exceeded 1,200, according to the Missing Migrants Project. These deaths and abuses are preventable. If people knew that there was little likelihood of successfully crossing the border, and even less chance of being allowed to stay illegally, they'd stop embarking on these journeys in the first place.”

Shakil Hamid, Washington Examiner

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