In The Case of Immigration, Is It True Things Are Darkest Before The Dawn?

Executive Director’s Corner

Dear All:

As I scanned the recent immigration headlines, the Jimmy Buffet song Gypsies in The Palace popped into my head.

“There’s damsels in distress out there and we got all this beer
We’ll free them from their condos and bring them over here
We’ll show them his Gold Records
We’ll play his music loud
We’ll party just like Bubba does
We’ll do the old man proud

We’re gypsies in the palace, there ain’t no wrong or right
We’re gypsies in the palace, and we’re going wild tonight.”

The Biden administration represents the gypsies and when it comes to immigration, they’re running wild and seem to have lost all sense of what’s wrong or right. For instance:

  • A misguided rule change allowing immigration officers to adjudicate asylum cases has been proposed.
  • There’s talk of ending Title 42, a part of the U.S. public health code, which if done away with would further exacerbate the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
  • A decision to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine was just announced.
  • The House passed a bill intended to enhance domestic tech manufacturing and national security that’s chock full of immigration provisions.

The pending rule change which Thursday’s Washington Post explained as follows will do nothing to help expedite asylum claims and clear the massive backlogs in U.S. immigration courts.

Under the new policy, asylum officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will have the authority to grant humanitarian protection to migrants taken into custody along the border. If the officers determine an asylum seeker does not qualify, the case will be forwarded to a U.S. immigration judge, reaching the courts at a more advanced stage in the process, officials said.”

Currently, the USCIS lacks the authority to hear a defensive asylum case – it’s a ‘checks and balances’ measure designed to keep the system from being politicized. Only an immigration judge can reconsider a defensive asylum case.

The notion the rule change will somehow reduce the court case backlog is sorely misguided. Asylum officers are already dealing with a huge backlog. If the change is made, instead of applicants waiting three years to see a judge, they’ll be waiting three years to see an asylum officer and asylum officers will be free to grant asylum based on all manner of claim — from climate change to spousal abuse.

Finally, the proposed rule changes are illegal. According to Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies the proposal “violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and several other provisions of law.”

The crisis at the southern border continues to flame out of control and the Biden administration’s response or lack thereof is fanning the flames. With roughly 200,000 people attempting to illegally cross it each month and the only expedited removal process, Title 42 hanging by a thread, it’s hard to imagine such an overwhelmed system will endure.

This week, the administration announced it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine. This comes in addition to already granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Ukrainians currently in the country.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees guidance is clear that a refugee should be admitted to the “first” safe country. “This is a critical safeguard, as it seeks to ensure that the application of the first country of asylum concept does not result in refugees ‘in orbit’, who are denied admission by the third country and shuttled consecutively from one country to another.”

Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova all border Ukraine and can be considered “First Countries” under Article 26 (2) (a) and (b). When hostilities cease and likely very soon they will, returning to Ukraine will be far easier from one of these “first” countries than the U.S.

In February, I wrote in our U.S. Tech Workers newsletter how the House packed a pretty good bill that had passed the Senate with a slew of immigration provisions. Earlier this week the House version of the bill passed with these provisions:

  • Any foreigner, including their spouse and children, with a PhD in STEM from either a U.S. or foreign institution qualifies for immediate eligibility and exemptions from numerical caps for employment-based Green Cards.
  • Any foreigner that wants to start a business in the U.S. and owns a minimum 10% equity stake in the business, along with at least a minimum of a $250,000 in qualifying investments from one or more investors, qualifies for newly created visa called the W-1 visa. After 3 years, the foreign “entrepreneur” can self-petition for a Green Card (spouse and children included).

‪Given there’s now a Senate version and a House version of the ‘U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA),’ both versions will head to conference committee where they will be reconciled.

My hope — and I’m confident it will happen — is the Senate will strip the immigration provisions from the final bill.  As the bill stands though, it’s indicative of the lengths House leadership will go to prioritize the interests of foreigners over U.S. citizens.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom these past weeks. Some profoundly positive things happened.

The far left magazine Jacobin published Biden Can Fix the Anti-Worker H-1B Immigration Visa Scam which laid waste to the H-1B visa employment program. Four years ago, we created U.S. Tech Workers to specifically target the displacement of American workers by the H-1B visa program, so it’s good to see our left-leaning brothers and sisters finally waking up to this critical issue.

In addition, the New England Journal of Medicine, published What’s in a Number? Breaking Down the Residency Match Rate. This article vindicates our three-year effort to bring attention to the plight of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents via our Doctors without Jobsorganization. It’s probably no coincidence this occurred on the heels of my testimony to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.

Last, earlier this week the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio ruled Biden’s enforcement priorities are unlawful and it has entered another nationwide preliminary injunction that:

  • Require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce or implement the Permanent Guidance when it comes to determining or adjudicating noncitizens custody decisions.
  • Require DHS to enforce final orders of removal for noncitizens.
  • Require cooperation on a nationwide basis.

This injunction is a blow to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his porous border policies. Further, it demonstrates the power states have when they work collectively and push back against instances of the federal government abandoning its responsibilities.

Although things may appear bleak, especially when you consider the country’s swelling population and how it’s being fueled by the crisis at the southern border, take heart.  Our efforts are bearing fruit. Prior to U.S. Tech Workers and Doctors without jobs, there weren’t any effective platforms for organizing and railing against employment visa abuse. Now there are. We are making a difference.

In Solidarity.

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