Human costs? Well, duh!

“The U.S. advocacy group Human Rights First has compiled more than 10,000 reports of attacks, kidnappings and murders against migrants stranded in Mexico since President Biden took office in January 2021. The U.S. expels some migrants to Mexican states that Americans are advised to avoid visiting because of widespread crime and kidnappings. …

“Title 42 blocks migrants from seeking asylum [in direct violation of 8 U.S.C. 1158(a)(1)] …

“Despite its stated public health justification, the CDC order authorizing the expulsions was signed over the objection of top experts at the agency who did not believe the policy was justified.”

CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus told CBS News the Trump-era border policy is also fueling repeat crossings by migrants, exacerbating operational challenges.

A step in the right direction

According to the latest visa bulletin, some people (married children of US citizens or F3) have been in the queue since 1997. And some of the employment-based categories for some countries (India and China) are backed up ten years. What business can wait ten years for a new hire to be ready to start work?

House lawmakers advanced a proposal Friday that would salvage unused green cards from the past three decades and make them available to immigrants stuck in long backlogs.

Demographics is destiny

“A country grows or shrinks in three ways: immigration, deaths, and births. America’s declining fertility rate often gets the headline treatment. Journalists are obsessed with the question of why Americans aren’t having more babies. And because I’m a journalist, be assured that we’ll do the baby thing in a moment. But it’s the other two factors—death and immigration—that are overwhelmingly responsible for the collapse in U.S. population growth. …

“Excess deaths accounted for 50 percent of the difference in population growth from 2019 to 2021. That’s a clear sign of the devastating effect of the pandemic. But this statistic also tells us that even if we could had brought excess COVID deaths down to zero, U.S. population growth would still have crashed to something near an all-time low. To understand why, we have to talk about the second variable in the population equation: immigration.

“As recently as 2016, net immigration to the United States exceeded 1 million people. But immigration has since collapsed by about 75 percent, falling below 250,000 last year. Immigration fell by more than half in almost all of the hot spots for foreign-born migrants, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.”

Some good, some bad in this proposal

The purpose of the credible fear interviews is to screen out the asylum claims that are obviously without merit so that they don’t clog up an already overcrowded immigration court system. Sending applicants to an asylum officer before the case goes to court (which already happens when people who are inside the country apply for asylum) would serve to screen out the obviously valid claims. That would leave the court with those claims that are neither obviously without merit nor obviously worthy of a grant, i.e., the hard cases. Those are the ones that require the most preparation and time so expediting them as proposed is a bad idea. Few attorneys I know can handle cases on that short time frame. Besides, putting these new cases at the front of the queue moves everyone else back and would make the backlog even worse. The solution? Make the immigration courts independent and give them the resources needed to tackle their huge caseload.

The Biden administration?s overhaul of the asylum system went into effect for the first time on May 31, but only a limited basis.

We need immigrants and this is good news

From the NYT: “Overall, 2021 will go down as the year with the slowest population growth in U.S. history.

“New census data shows why: Both components of growth — gains from immigration, and the number of births in excess of the number of deaths — have fallen sharply in recent years. In 2021, the rate of population growth fell to an unprecedented 0.1 percent.

“Yet within these sluggish figures a new pattern is emerging. Immigration, even at reduced levels, is for the first time making up a majority of population growth.

In part this is because Americans are dying at higher rates and having fewer babies, trends accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s also because there are signs that immigration is picking up again.”

The Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022

The law’s title imples that the current immigration courts aren’t real courts. Quite so. I do have one quibble. The proposed bill calls for the Appellate Division to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and for the trial level judges to appointed by the Appellate Division. It would be better (and less likely to lead to future conflict) to have all of the judges appointed by the Courts Of Appeal (as is the case with bankruptcy judges). In any case, independent immigration courts are a much needed reform.

On February 3, 2022, Representatives Lofgren (D-CA), Nadler (D-NY), and Johnson (D-GA) introduced the Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022. AILA welcomed the bill's introduction and has long advocated for an Article I, independent immigration court system. Learn more on this featured issue page.