Why Biden Is Tackling Immigration Now

Why Biden Is Tackling Immigration Now

2021-02-22 23:25:35

When Democratic lawmakers unveiled their bill on Thursday, they saw it as a deliberate rejection of the Trump administration's approach. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a lead sponsor of the bill, said that by sending Biden to the White House, the Americans had ordered Congress to "restore our immigration system, which is a cornerstone of Trump's hateful horror show." # 39 ;.

The bill would pave the way to citizenship for nearly all undocumented immigrants living in the United States, increase legal immigration and speed up the treatment of asylum seekers. It would also take steps to secure country borders and gateways, while investing $ 4 billion in the economies of Central American countries to reduce the incentive for emigration. And it would strip the word "strange" from federal law in favor of "non-citizen."

To say that this is a break with previous approaches to immigration reform would be an understatement. The last time Congress passed a major reform was in 1986, when President Ronald Reagan signed a law making it illegal for employers to hire undocumented immigrants.

President George W. Bush later placed a center-right plan for comprehensive reform at the heart of his appeal to Spanish voters. He won 44 percent of the Latino vote in the 2004 election, according to exit polls – exceptionally high for a Republican candidate – but the reform never came through.

His successor, Barack Obama, proposed an immigration law that balanced enforcement measures with a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants, but it never became a top priority and failed. That left many immigration advocates impressed – and in some cases wary of Biden, Obama's former vice president.

Under Obama, the downward trend in the total number of deportations continued from previous governments, and he emphasized the deportation of people with criminal records. But in the end he deported more than five million people while taking on the role of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency under Bush.

Trump rose to the Republican nomination and then to the presidency, in part because of his opposition to immigration and the racial overtones it allowed him to sound. His draconian border policy was arguably the defining issue of his presidency, helping to rally his foundation around his conservative populism.


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