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April 2018, Volume 24, Number 2

DHS: Border, Interior

President Trump's proposed budget for FY19 includes $47.5 billion for DHS for "strengthening border security, ensuring enforcement of immigration laws, and reforming the legal immigration system." Trump proposed $571 million to hire 2,000 additional ICE officiers and $132 million for E-Verify. He called on Congress to require all employers to use E-Verify to check new hires.

Pew estimates 11 million unauthorized foreigners in the US, including 2.3 million or 21 percent in California.

Border. Trump visited San Diego in March 2018 and saw eight prototypes of the planned 30-foot wall. Trump has requested funding for 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; there were 19,400 at the end of 2017.

Many Central Americans travel through Mexico and apply for asylum at the US border, citing gang violence from which their governments in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are unable to protect them. Fewer than five percent of the unaccompanied minors who enter the US and apply for asylum are ever returned to their countries of origin.

Trump in April 2018 ended the "catch and release" at the Mexico-US border. Under catch and release, applicants for asylum present themselves to Border Patrol officers and pass a credible fear test demonstrating that they have a genuine basis to request asylum in the US. The foreigners are then released until they can explain their need for asylum to an immigration judge.

Trump ordered foreigners who pass credible fear tests to be detained until they appear before immigration judges.

Interior. Deportations or removals from the US peaked in FY12, when 409,000 foreigners were removed from the US; there were almost three million removals under President Obama. In the first eight months of the Trump administration, some 138,000 foreigners were removed.

Most criminal foreigners are convicted under state laws, and these convictions are the basis of federal efforts to remove them. Governor Jerry Brown in March 2018 pardoned five foreigners convicted of crimes in California to remove one basis for ICE trying to deport them.

Refugees. President Trump reduced refugee admissions to a maximum of 45,000 for FY18, and imposed additional screening on refugees from 11 mostly Muslim countries that account for over a third of refugee admissions.

In January 2018, USCIS announced that it would deal with asylum applications in a last-in, first-out manner, a bid to quickly determine if an applicant needs protection, the USCIS policy until December 2014. There was a backlog of 311,000 asylum applications in March 2018.

In the 1990s, asylum applicants could immediately seek a work permit, which encouraged notarios to file false asylum claims in order to get work permits for their clients. In 1995, INS imposed a 180-day wait for work permits after filing an asylum claim, which reduced applications and increased the share eventually granted asylum.

The US returned to the first-in, first-out method of handling asylum applications in 2014, prompting notarios to advise clients that they could get work permits after 180 days due to a growing back log of Central Americans applying for asylum in the US on the basis of gang violence at home. The last-in, first-out procedure aims to discourage frivolous asylum claims.

DOJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review, which employs the judges who hear asylum claims, announced that judges should deal with 700 cases a year or one case every 2.5 hours. DOJ said that the average immigration judge has been dealing with 678 cases a year.

EB-Visas. There are 140,000 immigrant visas a year available for foreigners coming to the US for employment-related reasons. These visas are divided into five categories, including EB-1, the so-called Einstein visas available to "individuals with extraordinary ability." Some 5,530 foreigners received EB-1 visas in FY16.

Melania Trump received an EB-1 visa in 2001, when she was a fashion model featured in several magazines. USCIS lists 10 criteria for an EB-1 visa; foreigners must satisfy three of the 10 to qualify (www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-first-preference-eb-1). Ms. Trump later sponsored her parents for immigration visas.