Tightening immigration policy in exchange for assistance to Ukraine: Republicans and Biden are bargaining in Congress - ForumDaily
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Tightening immigration policy in exchange for assistance to Ukraine: Republicans and Biden bargain in Congress

US President Joe Biden wants to make concessions on changes to the immigration system that Republicans are demanding in exchange for providing money to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and Israel for the war against Hamas, reports AP.

Photo: IStock

The president said he is willing to make "significant compromises at the border" as Republicans block aid in Congress.

The White House is expected to become more involved in the talks this week as the impasse over border policy changes deepens and the funds remaining for Ukraine dwindle.

“It’s time to get a deal that both sides can agree to,” Biden’s budget director, Shalanda Young, said Dec. 10.

On the subject: Putin announced that he will run for president in 2024: this will be his fifth presidential term.

Republicans say the record number of migrants crossing the southern border poses a security risk because authorities cannot adequately screen all migrants. And those who enter the United States are a drain on the country's resources. GOP lawmakers also say they can't justify to their constituents sending billions of dollars to other countries, even during war, while ignoring border problems at home.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who is leading the negotiations, pointed to the rise in the number of people entering the U.S. from Mexico and said "it's literally getting out of control."

"All we're trying to do is say what tools are needed to get the situation back under control so we don't have chaos on our southern border," Lankford said.

But many immigration advocates, including some Democrats, say some of the proposed changes would strip protections from people who desperately need help and would not ease the chaos at the border.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator, said the White House would take a more active role in the negotiations. But he also criticized Republicans' policy demands as "unfounded."

“We don't want to close the United States of America to people who come here to escape dangerous, terrible circumstances in which their lives are at risk. The best thing about America is that you can come here to escape terror and torture,” Murphy said.

Most of the negotiations are taking place in private, but some of the issues discussed are public: asylum standards, parole and expedited deportation powers.


By using a parole, the US government can allow people into the country, essentially bypassing the normal immigration process. This option is expected to be used on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit.” Migrants are typically accepted for a predetermined period and there is no path to U.S. citizenship.

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Over the years, administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have used parole to welcome people into the United States and help groups of people from around the world. It was used to receive people from Hungary in the 1950s, from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the second half of the 1970s, and Iraqi Kurds who worked with the US in the mid-1990s, according to Cato Institute research.

Under Biden, the US has relied heavily on parole. The US airlifted about 80 Afghans from Kabul, the Afghan capital, to the US after the Taliban took power. The US has taken in tens of thousands of Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion.

In January, the Democratic administration announced a plan to accept 30 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela through parole, as long as these migrants have a financial sponsor and fly into the US instead of going to the US-Mexico border to enter .

The latest U.S. government data shows the program accepted about 270 people into the country through October. In addition, 000 people made appointments through the CBP One mobile app, which is used by parole at land crossings with Mexico.

Texas sued the administration to stop the program.

Possible changes to asylum

Asylum is a type of protection that allows a migrant to remain in the United States and have a path to American citizenship. To qualify for asylum, a person must demonstrate a compelling reason to fear persecution in their home country based on a fairly specific set of criteria: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylum seekers must be in the United States when they request this protection.

They usually pass an initial test called a “credible fear interview.” If they are determined to seek asylum, they are allowed to remain in the United States to pursue their case in immigration court. This process can take years. In the meantime, asylum seekers can start working, get married, have children and create lives of their own.

Critics say the problem is that most people are not granted asylum when their case finally reaches immigration court. But they say migrants know that if they claim asylum, they will essentially be allowed to stay in America for years.

“People come not so much to apply for asylum, but to gain access to the asylum adjudication process,” said Andrew Arthur, a former immigration court judge and fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, who advocates reduction in immigration to the United States.

Some of what lawmakers are discussing would raise the bar that migrants must meet during an initial credibility interview. Those who fail the test will be sent home.

But Paul Schmidt, a retired immigration court judge who blogs about immigration court issues, said interviews for asylum seekers shouldn't be so tough. Migrants are interviewed shortly after arriving at the border after an often difficult and traumatic journey, he said. Schmidt said the interview is more of an "initial screening" designed to weed out those making frivolous asylum claims.

Schmidt also questioned the assertion that most migrants fail the final asylum screening process. He said some immigration judges apply overly restrictive standards and that the system is so overwhelmed that it is difficult to know exactly what the most current and reliable statistics are.

Expedited removal

Created by Congress in 1996, Expedited Removal essentially allows immigration officials, as opposed to an immigration judge, to quickly deport certain immigrants. Such removal was not widely used until 2004 and was typically used to deport people detained within 160 miles of the Mexican or Canadian border and within two weeks of their arrival.

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Advocates of the measure say it will ease the burden on overburdened immigration courts. Immigration advocates say its use is fraught with errors and does not provide migrants with sufficient protections, such as the assistance of a lawyer to argue their case. Donald Trump has pushed to expand this fast-track deportation policy across the country and for longer periods of time. Opponents sued, but the expansion never happened.

What will the changes lead to?

Much of the disagreement over the proposed changes comes down to whether people think deterrence works.

Arthur, a former immigration court judge, thinks so. He said changes to credible asylum standards and restrictions on the use of parole would be "game changers." He said it would be a "costly exercise" because the government would have to detain and deport many more migrants than it does today. But, he argued, over time the number of people arriving will decrease.

But others, like Schmidt, a retired immigration court judge, say migrants are so desperate they will come anyway and make the dangerous journey to evade Border Patrol.

“Desperate people do desperate things,” he said.

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