DeSantis blasts immigration laws once popular with Florida Republicans

“Gov. Ron DeSantis is using his sway over the Republican-dominated Legislature to urge lawmakers to repeal state laws that offered additional legal rights to undocumented immigrants, protections that less than a decade ago were popular with many Florida Republicans, including DeSantis’ own lieutenant governor.”

“Included in DeSantis’ proposal is the repeal of a 2014 law sponsored by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez when she was a member of the Florida House that offered out-of-state tuition vouchers to some eligible Dreamers, those brought to the United States illegally at a young age. It applied to Dreamers who attended a Florida high school for at least three years.”

“DeSantis’ proposal would also repeal a second law passed in 2014 with bipartisan support that allowed noncitizens to be admitted to the Florida Bar. The proposal was signed into law by Scott and got “yes” votes from Diaz, Nunez and Oliva. Simpson and Patronis, both of whom are seen as eyeing bids for governor in 2026, did not vote on the measure when legislators approved it on the House and Senate floors.
The law allows the Florida Supreme Court to admit noncitizens to the Florida Bar if they meet certain qualifications, including being brought to the United states as a minor and living in the country for a decade or longer. It was passed for José Manuel Godinez-Samperio, who came to the United States at age 9 with his mother and went on to graduate Florida State University College of Law with honors. He was in the House chamber when the bill passed and got direct shoutouts from Republican leadership at the time.”

“DeSantis is also pushing lawmakers to require all Florida employers to use the E-Verify system, a federal database that allows employers to check workers’ employment status. During DeSantis’ first term, he pushed for universal E-Verify but that was opposed by the state’s business lobby. The bill lawmakers approved only required public employers to use the system.”

“DeSantis’ immigration package also includes:

Making it a third-degree felony to “transport, conceal, or harbor illegal aliens,” and a second-degree felony if the person being transported is a minor.
Mandating that hospitals collect data on the immigration status of patients and submit reports on costs associated with providing care to undocumented immigrants.
Requiring people registering to vote check a box affirming they are U.S. citizens and Florida residents.
Prohibiting local governments from issuing ID cards to unauthorized aliens and invalidating out-of-state licenses issued to unauthorized aliens.”

A new Supreme Court decision leaves a Trump judge in charge of the Mexican border

“Although the Biden administration left this Title 42 policy in place for many months, it eventually announced that the program must be terminated in May of 2022. But before the policy could sunset, a group of Republican state officials ran to a Trump-appointed judge — who swiftly ordered the Biden administration to leave Title 42 in place. The Trump judge’s decision (his name is Robert Summerhays) is obviously wrong. And yet it’s been in effect for most of a year now, effectively transferring the executive branch’s power to set border policy to a single judge.”

“As a practical matter, by removing this case from its calendar, but leaving its order blocking Judge Sullivan’s decision in place, the Supreme Court has likely ensured that Summerhays will dictate border policy until at least May 11, when the Covid-19 public health emergency ends — although, to be clear, the Court could end Summerhays’s reign as America’s de facto border czar at any point by lifting its stay of Sullivan’s decision.
That means that, absent further action by the Supreme Court, a Trump judge will have dictated federal border policy for nearly an entire year, despite the fact that Summerhays’ decision is poorly reasoned and rests on a rather glaring legal error.”

“The thrust of Summerhays’s Louisiana decision is that the CDC was required to undergo a lengthy process known as “notice and comment” — a process that allows the public to weigh in on policy changes but typically takes months or even years to complete — before it could terminate the Title 42 program. But the whole point of the public health statute permitting the CDC to close the border to certain foreign nationals is to allow the government to swiftly issue emergency orders to mitigate a potential public health crisis.

If the CDC had to spend months jumping through procedural hoops before it could invoke its powers under this statute, then the statute may as well not exist. Suppose that a new disease emerged in, say, Finland next month, and the CDC determined that it should close the border to Finish nationals to delay this disease’s arrival in the United States. It would be pointless to issue such an order months from now. The whole point of such an emergency public health order is that it needs to take effect right away, before the disease enters the United States.

And the Supreme Court has said explicitly that, when the government decides to terminate a policy, it need only use the same process it was required to use in order to create that policy. As the Court said in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association (2015), “agencies use the same procedures when they amend or repeal a rule as they used to issue the rule in the first instance.”

The Trump administration did not use notice and comment to create the Title 42 policy. (It did use the process for a later immigration regulation governing the scope of CDC’s power to close the border to foreign nationals, but not for Title 42 itself.) The CDC has since issued several other orders, also without notice and comment, that modified or extended the duration of the Title 42 program.

So Summerhays had no basis whatsoever to extend the Title 42 program on his own authority. The program should have terminated last May, when the Biden administration exercised its lawful authority to end it.”

“If the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively extend the Title 42 program for even more months after it lawfully should have ended were an isolated incident, then it would be easier to accept that this decision was motivated by something other than politics. It is much harder to do so, however, because the Arizona case is part of a much broader pattern in which the Court appears to be manipulating its procedures and its scheduling in ways that extend the life of Republican policies, while swiftly quashing Democratic plans.”

Biden to replace Trump migration policy with Trump-esque asylum policy

“As the White House gears up for the end of one Trump-era border policy this spring, it has its sights set on resurrecting a version of another much-maligned immigration program put in place under the previous administration.
The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice on Tuesday announced a proposed rule that will bar some migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S. if they cross the border illegally or fail to first apply for safe harbor in another country. The rule was previewed by President Joe Biden in January. Following a 30-day public comment period, it will be implemented upon the May 11 end of the Covid public health emergency, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters.

May 11 is also the end date of the Title 42 public health order currently being used to bar entry to most migrants at the southern border. The rule announced on Tuesday would stay in place for two years following its effective date.”

“Administration officials also used Tuesday’s announcement to criticize Congress, arguing that the White House has been left to roll out new policies to fill the “void” left by inaction on the Hill.

“To be clear, this was not our first preference or even our second. From day one, President Biden has urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures to ensure orderly, safe and humane processing of migrants at our border,” a senior administration official said.”

Ron DeSantis Wants $12 Million To Transport Migrants ‘From Any Point’ in the U.S.

“DeSantis. In his 2023–24 budget, announced on Wednesday, the governor requested $12 million to continue his “initiative to protect Floridians against the harms resulting from illegal immigration by facilitating the transport of unauthorized aliens.” The $12 million would be used “to cover all costs associated with facilitating the transport of inspected unauthorized aliens, including, but not limited to the costs of litigation.”
The request mirrors a provision in the 2022–23 budget that funded “a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law” (emphasis added). This time, DeSantis wants to transport migrants “from any point of origin in the U.S. to any jurisdiction.” Spending taxpayer money to protect Floridians, in other words, need not involve anything actually taking place in Florida.”

Biden Deserves Some Credit on Immigration Policy, but He Refuses To Take Responsibility Where He Should

“Biden announced a new carrot-and-stick immigration framework that would welcome tens of thousands of migrants to the U.S. each month and step up expulsions for unauthorized border crossers. David J. Bier, associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, told Reason at the time that he expected “a meaningful reduction in unlawful crossings by incentivizing people to wait for the legal option to become available to them.””

“According to CBS, unlawful crossings at the border dropped by 40 percent in January—”the lowest levels of illegal migration along the U.S.-Mexico border since President Biden’s first full month in office in February 2021.”

Biden does deserve credit for recognizing that more opportunities for legal immigration mean fewer people are driven to migrate illegally. He could have also mentioned, but didn’t, another thing he’s done right: The plan’s private sponsorship aspect allows ordinary citizens to sponsor Nicaraguans, Cubans, Haitians, and Venezuelans.

He also neglected to mention a big thing he’s done wrong. As migrant arrivals swelled, Biden leaned into Trump-era policies that made the problem worse.

His administration upheld President Donald Trump’s Title 42 order, which has allowed federal immigration officials to immediately expel migrants, ostensibly in the name of stopping COVID-19. Since Title 42 carries no reentry penalty, repeat crossings have ballooned, artificially inflating the number of repeat encounters. The American Immigration Council has noted that from FY 2021 through April 2022, one in three border encounters “was of a person on their second or higher attempt to cross the border.””

“Yet while the president says he supports “comprehensive immigration reform,” his record paints a murkier picture. “Biden has enacted rules that shut countless farmers and small businesses out of the visa programs they depend on,” notes Sam Peak, an immigration policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity. “The fees and bureaucracy alone cost roughly $10,000 to hire just one farm worker….Biden insists on adding more red tape to these programs and fueling a black market for illegal immigration.””

Population Growth Still Isn’t a Problem. Anti-Immigrant Groups Still Think It Is.

“In August, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform (MCIR) v. Department of Homeland Security could proceed. Filed by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the suit claimed the Biden administration had violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 by failing to conduct environmental analyses before ending several of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich made the same argument in an April 2021 suit against the Biden administration. “Population growth has significant environmental impacts,” said a press release on the lawsuit, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “and other federal officials did not provide environmental impact statements or environmental assessments when DHS abruptly halted ongoing border wall construction” and began allowing more migrants to enter the country by ending Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

These ideas have found supporters in Congress as well. In March 2021, Reps. Bruce Westerman (R–Ark.) and Paul Gosar (R–Ariz.) claimed in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that “decreasing illegal crossings protects our border environment.” They cited research from CIS fellows to build their case.”

“this is a faulty way of thinking about immigration and the environment. According to research from Michigan State sociologist Guizhen Ma, places with larger foreign-born populations tend to have better air quality, as immigrants tend to “use less energy, drive less, and produce less waste.” Compared to native-born Americans, immigrants are also disproportionately employed in “jobs that either benefit the environment directly or make their establishment’s production more environmentally friendly,” per 2021 George Mason University research. Immigrants largely settle in urban areas, contradicting the claim that they foster the overdevelopment of pristine lands.”

“”an increasingly wealthy and technologically adept humanity will be withdrawing from nature over the course of this century.” Just as an increased birthrate will lead to more minds and helping hands to solve pressing environmental problems, so will increased immigration.”

Biden’s Immigration Plan Lays Out a Tougher Border, New Legal Pathway for Some Migrants

“The framework will triple refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023 and 2024, for an annual cap of 20,000. Each month, up to 30,000 migrants combined from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba may come to live and work in the U.S. on a two-year status if they secure an American sponsor and pass background checks.

Meanwhile, the White House says “individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico, or U.S. border after the date of this announcement will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico,” which will accept up to 30,000 migrants monthly from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba who have been expelled. Mexico will do so under an expansion of the pandemic-era Title 42 order, which allows for the immediate expulsion of border crossers. Previously, Mexico only accepted Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans removed under Title 42. (It recently began accepting expelled Venezuelans as well.) Unauthorized migrants “will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry,” according to the White House.

Certain aspects of the framework will likely help reduce the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a great challenge for the Biden administration so far. Under the new parole pathway, migrants can begin the process to secure legal passage to the U.S. from their home countries rather than doing so through an asylum claim (which can only be initiated at a port of entry or on U.S. soil). This could help save them a dangerous northward journey and reduce overcrowding at the border.”

“The pathway for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians mirrors similar programs established for Ukrainians and Venezuelans last year. Those programs helped reduce unlawful crossings among those groups, says Bier: “The Ukrainian parole program eliminated migration to the U.S.-Mexico border by Ukrainians. Venezuela’s program has already turned migration to be mostly legal.” Last summer, Customs and Border Protection reopened ports of entry to Haitians, which “basically ended illegal immigration by Haitians,” Bier explains.”

Cubans and Haitians Are Fleeing to the U.S. in Staggering Numbers

“Border crossings by Cuban migrants have reached an all-time high: Over 220,000 Cubans attempted to cross the southern border illegally from December 2021 to December 2022, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Migrants are also making their way to the U.S. by sea. Since October, the Coast Guard has intercepted 3,700 Cubans at sea, already more than half than were intercepted in the previous 11 months.
For over six years, Cubans on the island could not apply for asylum or exit visas at the U.S. embassy in Havana after the Trump administration closed the embassy’s visa operations. This forced Cubans to travel to Guyana, one of the few countries Cubans are allowed to visit, to apply for asylum, an expensive and inaccessible process for many on the island. Cubans would no longer be automatically allowed to stay and pursue residency if they reached U.S. territory, as was the case before the Obama administration ended the “Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot” policy in 2017. So the suspension of visa services in Havana drove many to risk the voyage across the Straits of Florida or through Central America to the southern border, usually with the help of smugglers.

An increased number of Haitians have also fled their country, attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border amid ongoing gang violence, disease outbreaks, and political instability that has worsened in recent months. The limited opportunities for requesting asylum beyond the border and new restrictions on Haitian immigration in countries like Brazil and Chile have prompted many to take the risks as well.”

“In response to this recent increase in migrant arrivals, Biden announced..that Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans would no longer be exempted from expulsion under Title 42. Up to 30,000 unauthorized migrants from these countries will be sent back to Mexico every month once the policy takes effect. Asylum claims at the southern border will also be limited.

The administration also announced new pathways for asylum, allowing Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan migrants to apply for asylum if they promise to work for two years and have a U.S.-based sponsor who can support them during that period, claiming it will provide for “orderly migration” for migrants seeking to come to the United States. The State Department has reopened visa services in Havana to help facilitate this new asylum process.”

“Regardless of the changes and the dangers that accompany the treacherous journey, many of the migrants remain undeterred in their mission to reach the United States.

“I would prefer to die to reach my dream and help my family,” Jeiler del Toro Diaz, a Cuban migrant who came ashore in Key Largo on Tuesday, told The Miami Herald. “The situation in Cuba is not very good.””

From Texas border, New York mayor vows to pressure U.S. government over migrants

“The city spent $366 million on services for asylum seekers last year, and Adams expects that sum to rise to $2 billion through June. Thus far, New York City has received just $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $2 million from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“This is a national crisis. FEMA deals with national crises. FEMA must step up, and there should be one coordinator to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country,” Adams said.”