Why Egypt remains reluctant to open Rafah crossing to Gaza

“The restrictions have mostly been about security concerns in North Sinai where the Egyptian authorities have long been involved in a deadly conflict with jihadists linked to Al Qaeda.
But Egypt’s current reluctance to open the crossing without clear conditions and guarantees may be more about trying to avoid a mass exodus of Palestinians from Gaza.

The UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, says the Egyptian authorities fear a great influx of Gazans – for whom they would then be responsible, for an indefinite period.

In addition, Egypt does not want to play any role in what could amount to a permanent resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza.”


Biden stuns allies with border wall bombshell

“Biden on Thursday told reporters his administration moved forward with the waivers and construction to comply with a legal obligation to use the appropriated funds.
“One question on the border wall: The border wall, money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.

“And in the meantime, there’s nothing in the law – they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can’t stop that.”

Asked whether he believes the border wall works, Biden sighed, “no.””

““But on a different point — and I’ve been trying to get answers from the administration because we just found out yesterday — why did they waive the environmental laws? That’s something else. And we’ve been trying to get an answer and they can’t give me an answer,” Cuéllar said.

An administration official said new construction will use “Jersey barriers” rather than digging to bury foundations for the planned expansion in an effort to mitigate environmental damage, but otherwise pointed to precedent for the administration’s waiver announcement.”


Why people are freaking out about Title 42 ending

“To deter potential migrants once the order is lifted, the administration will rely on a new rule that will bar most people from applying for asylum if they cross the border illegally or fail to first apply for safe harbor in another country. Administration officials said the rule — a version of a Trump-era policy often called the “transit ban” — would be published Wednesday for public inspection. Migrants who get an appointment through the One app set up by Customs and Border Protection will be exempt, officials told reporters in a call Tuesday evening.
The administration will also expand expedited removal processes under Title 8, the decades-old section of the U.S. code that deals with immigration law. This allows the government to remove from the country anyone unable to establish a legal basis — such as an approved asylum claim. It would bar these migrants from the country for five years.

“The border is not open, it has not been open, and it will not be open subsequent to May 11,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a press conference Friday.”

9 questions about Biden’s border policy, answered

“Now that Title 42 has ended, migrants apprehended at the border are subject to what’s called “Title 8” processing, which, as the Biden administration has emphasized, carries more severe long-term consequences for those found ineligible for legal protections, including asylum.
Under Title 42, migrants who were turned away were not penalized for crossing the border without authorization, and in many cases attempted to reenter multiple times. But under Title 8, migrants found ineligible for legal protections are barred from reentering the country for at least five years and can be quickly deported through a process called “expedited removal” without ever appearing before an immigration judge. And if they do try to reenter, they can face criminal prosecution.

Biden administration officials are hoping that the new system serves as deterrence to migrants thinking about crossing without authorization and instead encourages them to pursue new legal pathways to the US.”

“Biden has expanded lawful pathways for migrants to come to the US with the aim of reducing pressure on the southern border. The Biden administration has already created a program under which the US-based family members of migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua — who have arrived in increasingly large numbers at the southern border in the last year — can apply to bring them to the US legally.

The administration has outlined a plan that involves opening new processing centers in Central and South America where migrants can apply to come to the US, Spain, or Canada legally. It’s unclear, however, when those processing centers will open. It has also pledged to accept 100,000 people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras under another family reunification program.

Some of those programs have proved successful. But they’re still not enough on their own to meet the current need for legal migration channels, after years in which Trump administration policies created pent-up demand, said Doug Rivlin, a spokesperson for the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice.

“That’s not enough. And it can’t replace the need to have a functioning asylum system at the border,” he said.

To that end, the administration is also planning to speed up processing on the border, quickly identifying individuals who have valid asylum claims and turning away those who don’t.”

Debate: Despite the Welfare State, the U.S. Should Open Its Borders

“Should you need government permission to take a job offer from a willing employer, rent an apartment from a willing landlord, or buy a product from a willing merchant? Most libertarians will rush to say, “No; these are basic human rights.” Do all human beings have these rights? Most libertarians will rush to say, “Yes; we hold these truths to be self-evident.”
If you snap these two answers together, they imply a policy of free immigration. If an American doesn’t need government permission to take a job offer from an American, why should a Mexican need government permission to take such an offer? Yet today, many libertarians oppose free immigration. Plenty favor even stricter regulations than we already have.”

“Per Gallup’s 2021 polling, about 900 million adults across the world would leave their countries if they could; about 160 million of these name the U.S. as their top destination. The desire to leave is strongest in some of the world’s poorest nations, such as Sierra Leone and Honduras. A 2011 study by the pollster, based on earlier rounds of the same survey, found that 40 percent of would-be migrants to the U.S. had an elementary education or less.

Adding 160 million people would increase the U.S. population by close to half. To be sure, U.S. immigration policy is not the only obstacle these individuals face (so that estimate might be too high). And the number doesn’t include kids, or folks who might come to the U.S. even though it’s not their top choice (so it might also be too low). But the true number would, without a doubt, be huge.”

“imagine it: Our nation of 330 million finds itself committed to grow by some unpredictable but large fraction (a quarter, half, double, who knows?) over an equally unpredictable amount of time until the pent-up demand is satisfied, and then will accept elevated immigration levels afterward too.

Adding tens to hundreds of millions of immigrants, largely from poor nations, would have any number of effects. The newcomers could contribute great inventions, serve in our military, and introduce delicious cuisines; they could also bring with them the institutions, political beliefs, and cultures that made their home countries worth leaving, stress our housing and labor markets, and ignite ethnic conflict, both with each other and with U.S. natives.

Of all the downsides of open borders, the burden on the welfare state might not be the biggest. In theory it could even be one of the easier problems to address: Just ban immigrants from state support.

In practice, though, it’s difficult to welcome millions of poor people without giving them some help. Witness the struggles of New York City to handle just 40,000 asylum seekers, who amount to roughly 0.5 percent of the city’s 8.5 million population. Or contemplate millions of seniors without health care while homeless encampments grow in the nation’s already-housing-starved cities. Further, thanks to the U.S. rule of “birthright citizenship,” all children born to immigrants here are automatically citizens, which complicates any effort to exclude them from welfare programs.”

“An open-borders policy, beyond being unrealistic, represents an insane gamble with the stability of the most powerful nation on the planet. Those who want looser immigration laws should set their sights lower and calibrate their rhetoric to match.

Here’s a different approach: Start with the easy cases, such as those with valuable skills and perhaps refugees as well, and try to push those numbers up. If you can show the public that higher numbers in these categories improve the country, they might be tempted to follow you further.”

Is Biden Replacing Bad Border Policy With Worse Border Policy?

“New plans pushed by President Joe Biden are hardly what one might call migrant-friendly: The plans slowly expand tools for would-be immigrants to apply to come here legally (with no guarantees, of course) while making it much more difficult for those who actually try to cross the border to get legal status.
To the former point, Biden says the U.S. will set up more Regional Processing Centers where migrants can apply for legal immigration status in the U.S., Canada, or Spain from within Latin America, rather than simply show up at the U.S-Mexico border.

Regional Processing Centers are “designed to cut smugglers out of the equation by giving people access to protection and legal pathways earlier in their migration journey, and eventually before they cross international lines at all,” notes Andrew Selee at the Migration Policy Institute. However, “little is known as yet about how these centers will function in practice,” and “they will only exist in embryonic form, if at all, by the time Title 42 ends.”

Meanwhile, Biden has enacted new restrictions for asylum-seekers as well. These include “the adoption of stricter asylum rules that make it harder to get protection in the United States for those who have crossed the border unlawfully,” notes The New York Times:

“Under the old system, which critics called “catch and release,” many migrants who reached the United States would ask for asylum and be allowed to remain in the country until their case was resolved in immigration court.

The Biden administration’s new rule presumes that those who do not use lawful pathways to enter the United States are ineligible for asylum when they show up at the border. Migrants at the border can rebut this presumption only if they sought asylum or protection in another country through which they traveled en route to the United States and were denied safe haven there, or if they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, such as a medical emergency.

They may have a phone interview from a border holding facility with an asylum officer, and can be quickly deported if they are found ineligible to apply. Unlike under Title 42, they will receive a permanent mark on their record that bans them from entering the United States for five years, and could face criminal charges.””

Biden’s troop deployment to the border is different from Trump’s

“Hundreds of active-duty U.S. troops are descending on the Mexican border this week, but they’re not authorized to make arrests, use their weapons or do much more than administrative work.
That’s making the military deployment — timed for the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions — a classic no-win political situation for the Biden administration, which is getting hit from at least one prominent Democrat for perpetuating Trump-era militarization of the border, and from Republicans who say the mission will be utterly ineffectual.”

“Biden is responding to the expected end of Title 42, which has allowed the U.S. to deny asylum and migration claims for public health reasons. Officials say the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday will prompt an influx of Central Americans into the U.S.”

“Officials say they would have preferred to rely on law enforcement agents for the mission, but the Department of Homeland Security is short on people and money. So the administration is turning to what they have now, which is 1,500 active-duty troops. And officials say they will be there for only 90 days, until law enforcement can find contractors to do the work.”

“The 1,500 troops Biden is sending will be armed for self-defense only and are not authorized to use force, make arrests or otherwise act in a law enforcement role. This is in keeping with the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the active-duty military from enforcing the law inside the United States.

“Military personnel will not be permitted to support migrant processing and escort duties or other activities that involve direct participation in civilian law enforcement activities, be responsible for property seized from migrants, or require direct contact with migrants,” according to a statement from U.S. Northern Command.

Instead, they will be performing administrative tasks such as data entry, warehousing, and additional detection and monitoring support to free up Border Patrol agents to deal with the migrants.

They are joining 2,500 National Guard troops on active-duty status — also subject to Posse Comitatus — already doing similar work at the border since July 2022.

By contrast, Trump granted active-duty troops the authority to protect law enforcement agents if they engaged in violence in November 2018, a controversial move that put the military in direct contact with migrants.”

“Part of the reason Trump sent troops to the border in 2018 was to help build his long-promised wall along the Mexican border. The Pentagon was directed to send members of the Army Corps of Engineers to help lay miles of concertina wire and erect other barriers and fencing.”

“Trump also shifted billions meant for military infrastructure projects to finance the border wall. The move drew bipartisan opposition, but Congress wasn’t able to muster the support to stop Trump.

Biden canceled the project when he took office, but kept the National Guard presence on the border for other support missions.”

Why Biden is deploying more troops to the southern border

“In anticipation of a surge of migrants, President Joe Biden is temporarily deploying another 1,500 active-duty troops to the US-Mexico border days before ending a controversial Trump-era border policy that has allowed his administration to rapidly expel migrants en masse.
Set to expire May 11, the so-called Title 42 policy was first implemented by former President Donald Trump on dubious grounds that migrants could be turned away to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. But the policy has continued for more than two years under Biden, has led to lawsuits and the resignation of a senior administration official, and has become a political flashpoint on the left.

Now, as Title 42 ends, the new troops will be stationed for 90 days alongside the 2,500 military personnel already at the border. Some Democrats have condemned Biden’s decision to maintain the policy for so long and to further militarize the border. But others — particularly those in purple states who could face tough reelection fights — have backed the president’s strategy, which is designed to protect him from right-wing attacks as he runs for reelection.”

“The administration has outlined a plan that involves opening new processing centers in Central and South America where migrants can apply to come to the US, Spain, or Canada legally, which is aimed at reducing pressure on the southern border. It will also accept 100,000 people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras under a family reunification program.

The administration is also planning to speed up processing on the border, quickly identifying individuals who have valid asylum claims and turning away those who don’t. Those who cross the border without authorization will be barred from legally reentering the US for five years. And a new rule will also restrict access to asylum in the US for individuals who cross through another country without first applying for protections there.”