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Expert: Lawmakers Must Recognize the "New Normal" at the Border

November 03, 2023 (1 min read)

Chris Matthews, MarketWatch, Nov. 3, 2023

"Top Biden officials are pushing Democrats to accept a deal on immigration.  President Joe Biden wants Congress to approve more than $75 billion in new spending to bolster Israel and Ukraine's war efforts, and the price some lawmakers want for their support is significant changes to immigration laws they say could stem the record surge of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border. ... Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration attorney and Cornell Law School professor, said in an interview with MarketWatch that there are incremental changes to immigration law that should be able to garner bipartisan support and address the migrant situation at the border, which is being driven by relatively new trends that were not evident during previous bipartisan efforts to reform immigration laws.  He helped convene a conference earlier this year that brought together activists, business and labor leaders and a bipartisan group of former government officials to craft a set of reforms that could appeal to both sides of the political spectrum.  "Ten years ago the majority of people who were apprehended at the border were young males traveling by themselves primarily coming for work," he said. "Now with the breakdown of various governments in Central America, Haiti, Cuba and Venezuela you see families coming, fleeing just desperate situations and that has changed the dynamic of people trying to cross into the United States."  He and his colleagues published a white paper last month outlining the proposals thought to be politically viable, including reformation of the U.S. asylum system that now has 1.3 million pending applications, according to the Migration Policy Institute.  Yale-Loehr argued that lawmakers need to recognize the "new normal" conditions at the border and adjust how the U.S. processes asylum claims, in part by reforming immigration law and creating asylum and immigration centers outside the U.S. at embassies and consulates so that applications can be processed outside the country.  As it stands today, the law requires migrants to be in the U.S. in order to claim asylum, which creates a huge incentive for migrants to cross the border illegally, he said."