Monday, February 12, 2024

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Are Republicans Setting the Debate Terms ?

Is Biden Letting Republicans Set the Terms of the Immigration Debate?

“We have given into the Republican narrative in such a way that we’re beginning to sound like them”: A roundtable discussion with Rep. Delia Ramirez, Heba Gowayed, Victor Narro and Carlos Rojas Rodriguez



In These Times. 


Going into the 2024 election, the GOP’s position on migration is abundantly clear. In June 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stood at a presidential campaign podium emblazoned with the words ​Stop the Invasion” and likened border crossings to home break-ins. On the campaign trail in December 2023, Donald Trump declared immigrants are ​poisoning the blood of our country.” Mere weeks ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lamented the state’s inability to shoot asylum seekers crossing the border because ​the Biden administration would charge us with murder.” These pronouncements mark a mainstreaming of eliminationist rhetoric: Where conservatives once coyly hinted at nativism, they now openly fantasize of murder.



What should the border conversation look like?

See. First They Came for the Immigrants.

and more. 




Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The Border Bill Fails.

The Senators and the Biden Administration may have forgotten about Operation Wetback, but we have not. 

 U.S. immigration policy is a mess. It was made worse by the Trump administration, 2016-2020.   And,  it is unlikely to change in the current political era.

In his campaign this week Trump has promised the largest deportation in U.S. history.
For background, readers should look at Operation Wetback under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the so-called Mexican Repatriation project of the 1930’s. 
The implementation of Operation Wetback was a result of Attorney General Herbert Brownell's tour of Southern California in August 1953. It was there that he made note of the "shocking and unsettling" issue that was illegal immigration.[2] The short-lived operation used military-style tactics to remove Mexican immigrants—some of them American citizens—from the United States. Though millions of Mexicans had legally entered the country through joint immigration programs in the first half of the 20th century and some were naturalized citizens who were once native, Operation Wetback was designed to send them to Mexico.[3]
Operation Wetback was a follow-up to the prior Mexican Repatriation when as many as 2 million were deported, many of them children.  Up to 40% of those deported were U.S. citizens of Mexican descent.
Currently there is a competition among Republicans to be the toughest on immigration policy by focusing on fentanyl, which commonly begins production in China.

See additional posts on immigration below. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Senator Alex Padilla on Proposed "compromise" Immigration Bill

 Sen. Padilla Statement on Senate National Security Supplemental Agreement


We have a new post up on our blog.

Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, issued the following statement on the Senate’s national security and immigration supplemental agreement:

“After months of a negotiating process that lacked transparency or the involvement of a single border-state Democrat or member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, it is no surprise that this border deal misses the mark. The deal includes a new version of a failed Trump-era immigration policy that will cause more chaos at the border, not less. It is in conflict with our international treaties and obligations to provide people with the opportunity to seek asylum. It fails to address the root causes of migration. And it fails to provide relief for Dreamers, farm workers, and the other undocumented long-term residents of our country who contribute billions to our economy, work in essential jobs, and make America stronger.

“When I was sworn into this office, I made a promise that I would fight to fix our outdated immigration system and to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have been forced to live in the shadows of our country for far too long. Not a day has gone by that I have not tried to reach out across the aisle to do exactly that. It is critical that we support our allies in their fight to defend democracy and provide humanitarian relief, but not at the expense of dismantling our asylum system while ultimately failing to alleviate the challenges at our border.”




Immigrants Make the Economy Stronger and Richer

Paul Krugman


Monday, February 05, 2024

Border Wars


Border Wars

If Democrats hang tough, Republican attempts to sabotage the bipartisan immigration bill may yet backfire on the far right. 

On Sunday, after extensive negotiation, a bipartisan group of senators with the support of leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, released the text of a border bill that makes it significantly harder for migrants to enter the United States. The $118.3 billion bill also includes $60.1 billion in aid to Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and $10 billion in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine, as well as $20.2 billion for border security. 

Trump and Republican House members are determined to deny President Biden a victory, no matter what the costs to resolving the refugee crisis, which has been cynically used by Republican governors such as Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida to flood northern cities with migrants. The measure has been pronounced dead on arrival in the Republican-led House and is far from a sure thing in the Senate, which will seek to take up the bill on Wednesday. 

The package makes it far more difficult to claim asylum at the border, expands detention facilities, and effectively closes the border whenever more than 5,000 migrants seek entry in the course of a week. It allows the president to lower that threshold to 4,000, and President Biden says he will use it. Migrants seeking entry would be rapidly processed. The system that critics have derided as “catch and release” of releasing migrants into the U.S. with court dates far into the future would be drastically curtailed.

The measure is far more restrictive than anything Democrats have contemplated since the original anti-immigrant law of exactly a century ago. But the border crisis is real, and so is the political and fiscal damage in blue states and cities far from the Mexican border.

The bill falls short of more extreme Republican demands to close the border entirely.

House Republicans have cynically calculated that continuing to let the crisis fester is far more to their advantage than helping to solve it. If former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi loses the special election on February 13 to fill the Long Island House seat vacated by George Santos, a key reason will be local anxiety over the flood of migrants.

The vote in the Senate, which requires 60 votes, is likely to be close. Some on the Democratic left have denounced the bill as anti-Hispanic as well as anti-humanitarian; other progressives reject unconditional aid to Israel. On the Republican right, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) preposterously termed the measure “an open border bill.”

Assuming the bill does pass the Senate, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has said he will refuse even to call it up for a vote. Depending on the outcome of the Long Island election, Republicans will have a majority of either three or four. The only hope for a win in the House is that a Democrat-led discharge petition could peel off a few Republican votes.

Regardless of the outcome, Biden needs to get tough in one other respect. Abbott is using the border issue not just to flood northern cities with migrants but to re-start the Civil War. 

Despite a clear Supreme Court ruling that the federal government controls the border, Abbott has sent the Texas National Guard and state police to enforce his version of immigration policy, and there have been standoffs between armed Texas forces and outnumbered federal Border Patrol agents. In his latest ploy, Abbott was joined Sunday by 13 Republican governors at the border who backed his stance.

Biden needs to federalize the National Guard, add federal agents to the border, and treat Abbott’s move as the insurrection that it is. Despite Abbott’s efforts to revive it, the Civil War is over. His side lost.

The compromise bill is not pretty. Much better comprehensive immigration reform was nearly enacted a decade ago but was blocked by far-right Republicans. But the idea that a long-term program of aid to Central America could solve a short-term crisis always was a fantasy.

Assuming that the bill does pass the Senate but is blocked in the House, a worsening crisis may eventually backfire on the Republicans. Biden can now say that he was willing to fix the border and support an ally from an invasion by Russia, but was cynically blocked by Trump’s minions who wanted an issue in the elections. Running against the do-nothing Congress worked for Harry Truman.

But there is a long-term cost to this. The bargain always was that Democrats would trade border security for a path to citizenship for the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants here now. That was the basic framework of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, a bargain between the Democrats and Ronald Reagan. Now Democrats have said they could trade border security for other priorities, like military aid. The millions of undocumented are the collateral damage. 


Beyond Democratic Party Politics. 
The provisions of the "compromise" are severe. 

The Republicans have a migration bill. It is HR-2. It passed the House in May with only Republican votes.



It includes endless negative proposals such as building the wall plus  including the following.




This title imposes additional requirements for asylum eligibility. 

(Sec. 101) This section expands provisions that bar certain individuals from applying for asylum.

Currently, an individual may not apply for asylum if that individual may be removed to a third country (i.e., a country that is not the applicant's country of nationality or last habitual residence) if that third country has (1) a full and fair asylum process that the individual could use, and (2) an agreement with the United States allowing for such removals. This section expands this provision by authorizing removal to third countries that do not have an agreement with the United States.

This section also bars an individual from applying for asylum if the individual traveled through at least one third country before arriving in the United States, with certain exceptions (e.g., the individual applied for and was denied asylum in that third country). 


The Speaker of the House Johnson  says  today that these are the minimums to achieve progress on resolving the enforcement at the border. 

Duane Campbell



Sunday, February 04, 2024

First They Came for the Immigrants


New post on our blog.

First They Came For the Immigrants

Max Elbaum, 


Today’s hatemongering reflects a deeply rooted problem: a global “crisis of the right to stay home” due largely to Washington’s role in structuring the world’s economics and politics.

It Is Happening Here

Yes, a large number of migrants are trying to reach the US via crossing the US-Mexico border. But this is not at root a “border crisis.” The underlying problem is that tens of millions of people across the globe face a crisis of their right to stay at home. Migration has been a basic part of the human experience throughout history, and the right to migrate should be defended. But what the world faces today is forced migration, where millions who would prefer to stay in their homelands safely cannot do so:

“The movement of people from country to country, displaced by war, insecurity, and neoliberal economic policies, is enormous and growing… Nothing can stop this global movement, short of a radical reordering of the world’s economy and politics.” —David Bacon, Dignity or Exploitation: What Future for Farmworker Families in the United States, The Oakland Institute, 2021

As of 2020, the number of international migrants—people living outside their home country—was 281 million. This is 3.5% of the global population, compared to 2.8% in 2000 and 2.3% in 1980. And US policies are a big part of the reason for this steady increase: “neoliberal strictures, [US] support for oligarchs, and the War on Drugs have impoverished millions and destabilized Latin America.” Additionally, US militarism and failure to deal decisively with climate change are major contributors to forced migration globally.

Immigration policy in whose interests?


Photo by David Bacon