President-elect Joe Biden plans to make the creation of a path to citizenship for the nation’s illegal immigrants one of his top priorities upon taking office Wednesday.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Saturday that Congress will get the bill “on his first day in office,” according to KING-TV.
“This really does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that recognizes that all of the undocumented immigrants that are currently in the United States should be placed on a path to citizenship,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, who was briefed on the bill, according to KING.
“I was pleasantly surprised that they were going to take quick action because we got the same promises from Obama, who got elected in ’08, and he totally failed,” Domingo Garcia, former president of the League of Latin American Citizens, told KING.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had said Tuesday that the path to legalization would come in stages “first making them legal permanent residents, a status they could access within a period of eight years,” according to Fox News.
Harris said the immigration bill would hand out green cards immediately to immigrants who are covered by either the Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, according to Politico.
As a candidate, Biden had promised to “work with Congress to pass legislation that: Creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million people who have been living in and strengthening our country for years.”
In an Op-Ed for The Heritage Foundation, Mike Howell, senior adviser for the foundation’s executive branch relations and Lora Ries, senior research fellow for homeland security, made the case that Biden is using this proposal as a starting point to move toward a goal of unlimited illegal immigration.
“This is perhaps the most important domestic policy issue at stake for America as we face single-party leadership in both chambers of Congress and the White House. And it couldn’t come at a worse time for our country as Americans struggle to keep businesses open and regain a public health footing from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 virus,” they wrote.
They warned that Democrats will make the most of their control of both houses of Congress as well as the White House.
“With the left in control of the U.S. Senate, the Biden administration has a Congress available to rubber-stamp its most radical immigration agenda items. And make no mistake: The left will not waste this political opportunity. Its leaders understand that mass immigration historically transfers into more leftist voters,” they wrote.
One consequence of Biden’s plan is that “the borders would be open and overrun,” they added.
“Promising amnesty has already resulted in a run on the border, or the ‘Biden Effect.’ Once the wheels start moving toward the largest amnesty in our history, the Border Patrol would be overwhelmed by illegal aliens seeking to get their claim to the most prized passport in the world — and all the government benefits that come along with it.”
“Such rewards will attract more people to illegally enter the U.S. to await their eventual green card, undermining border security,” Ries told the newspaper.
Meanwhile, Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2014 to 2017 under then-President Barack Obama, said “the public attitude toward immigration enforcement is at a different place in 2021 than it was at any point prior to the Trump administration,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I think there just has been a lot of things about how immigration enforcement was executed under the Trump administration that didn’t sit right with a lot of Americans,” he said, “and that just creates a different attitude toward these matters and a different political calculation.”
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