President Biden is placing phone calls to world leaders, as is customary after a presidential election. Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the Mexican president Saturday. The conversation with AMLO focused on Biden’s push to undo the border security policies of the Trump administration.
A readout from the phone call shows that Biden calls for an end to “draconian immigration policies” implemented during the Trump administration. The purpose of the call was “to review bilateral cooperation on a range of bilateral and regional issues, particularly regional migration.” Biden has quickly moved, through executive orders, to put into place policies that create hope for open borders enthusiasts, including the thousands of Hondurans caravaning north in hopes of making it to the U.S.- Mexican border. Biden is quicky making good on campaign promises – signing orders to end deportations, put a stop to the Remain in Mexico agreement with AMLO, and ending mass detentions on the border.
The President outlined his plan to reduce migration by addressing its root causes, increasing resettlement capacity and lawful alternative immigration pathways, improving processing at the border to adjudicate requests for asylum, and reversing the previous administration’s draconian immigration policies. The two leaders agreed to work closely to stem the flow of irregular migration to Mexico and the United States, as well as to promote development in the Northern Triangle of Central America. They also recognized the importance of coordination to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
AMLO described the call as “kind and respectful.” He said he will work with Biden as it will benefit both countries.
Conversamos con el presidente Biden, fue amable y respetuoso. Tratamos asuntos relacionados con la migración, el #COVID19 y la cooperación para el desarrollo y el bienestar. Todo indica que serán buenas las relaciones por el bien de nuestros pueblos y naciones. pic.twitter.com/QEVK4UgFuo
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) January 23, 2021
On the first day of his presidency, Biden attacked the Trump administration’s immigration policies. He proposes an eight-year path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The proposal – the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 – fulfills Biden’s commitment to lenient immigration policies and abandonment of penalties for breaking American immigration laws. Immigration law reform has been needed for years, no one denies that. But, Trump made some real inroads with ALMO and the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras with agreements meant to stem the flow of migrant caravans flooding the U.S.- Mexico border. The Remain in Mexico policy successfully allows border patrol and immigrant judges some breathing room to process asylum requests, which migrants have been trained to request in order to get into the United States.
AMLO and President Trump had, by all appearances, a good working relationship. ALMO was one of the last world leaders to send his congratulations to Joe Biden after the election, mostly out of respect to Trump and his objections to the election results. We all know it was the Obama administration that built the ‘cages’ at the border and the Trump administration had to build camps and detention centers in order to house those flooding the border from Central America. The Biden administration wants to focus more on sending American taxpayer money to Central American countries and less on border security. Biden has not proposed anything new for border security that isn’t already being done. Biden doesn’t actually have a financial plan for border security. And he hasn’t said he’ll tear down the wall that already exists.
Axios sums up Biden’s three goals – “create paths to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., build out smart border controls, and address the root causes of migration, particularly in Central America.”
The bill provides green cards immediately for so-called Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and immigrant farmworkers. This comes with a pathway to citizenship after three years.
It also would give other unauthorized immigrants who meet certain requirements the ability to apply for temporary legal status, which would allow them to apply for a green card after five years. From then, they would be able to apply for citizenship three years later. People must have been present in the United States on or before Jan 1 to qualify.
It also expands access for asylum seekers at the border, eliminates the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims, and would add processing centers for refugees in Central American countries.
The legislation proposes a different approach to border security rather than continuing with Trump’s wall, although there is no set dollar amount for enhancing border security.
The “draconian” measures likely refer to detentions on the border. The laws are in place, though, that require protection for children at the border and that can require the separation of adults and children. As long as adults bring children to try and illegally enter the United States, this is a problem that has to be addressed. This is the kind of policy that should be addressed with legislation, not a sweep of Biden’s pen in an executive order.
The Biden administration will need 60 votes to pass an immigration bill. The Senate is split 50/50 so that makes any liberal fever dream of a bill likely not possible. Senate Democrats will likely turn to the 2013 immigration bill as a starting point. That went nowhere in the Senate and damaged Republicans who worked as a part of the Gang of Eight. There is no incentive for Republicans to work with Democrats as long as Biden calls for civility and unity in one breath and turns around and does something else in the form of far-left executive orders.
Author: KAREN TOWNSEND
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