Biden’s immigration policy is still waiting for the promised big turn | International

Joe Biden has arrived at the White House with the most ambitious immigration program in three decades. Nine months later, the promised turning point in the election campaign has not happened. A reform to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants, many considered essential workers during the pandemic, is sleeping the sleep of the righteous in a still Democratic-controlled Congress due to Republican rejection. Rebuilding the asylum and refugee system is progressing very slowly while the government maintains the urgent deportation measures imposed by Donald Trump. The main change was cosmetic. Reality shows that Biden and Trump have more overlap than expected on an issue vital to the 2022 midterm elections.

President Biden said this weekend that families separated at the border during the Trump administration deserve to be compensated. “If you lost one of your children while crossing the border due to the outrageous behavior of the previous administration, legal or illegal, you deserve compensation. Regardless of the circumstances,” the president said. OUR Wall Street Journal showed that the Ministry of Justice is in talks to pay up to $450,000 (2.49 million reais) per person in nearly 1,000 cases filed by immigrants detained in 2018. The Associated Press indicated that the amount would be lower. Biden denied the existence of such a deal last Wednesday, which was heavily criticized by eleven Republican senators who demanded that the proposed deal be scrapped, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called “ridiculous.”

The news is the Biden administration’s penultimate hint at a community punished under Trump and still awaiting its first major lawsuit. The optimism of immigrant rights organizations was gradually waning due to the lack of results from the government, which promised a humanistic rejection of rigid doctrine. “The administration is approaching a pivotal point where it must decide whether to join the groups and individuals who supported the Democrats in the White House, or whether it wants to satisfy a small group of Republicans who want to continue policies that are harmful to immigrants,” says Margaret Cargioli , attorney at the Immigrant Defense Law Center.

Cargioli says that “children torn from their mothers under the Trump administration are the same children that the Biden administration is pushing back to Mexico and other countries.” Democrats upheld Section 42, an emergency measure that Trump introduced in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, that allows for the swift deportation of those entering the country illegally.

It was a useful tool for the Biden administration to decongest the border with Mexico, a hotbed of conflict over a large immigration flow that has left record numbers since his arrival at the White House. Authorities have detained 1.7 million people since last September, the highest number on record. Of this number, 61% were expelled immediately thanks to the emergency measure, which was criticized by the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, and declared the court illegal. “The administration, instead of respecting this decision, filed an appeal and upheld it,” Cargioli says. The White House did not respond to this newspaper’s request for an interview.

The controversial measure causes discomfort in the government. Harold Koch, a veteran State Department adviser who also served under Barack Obama, left office with a scathing criticism, saying he considered section 42 “inhuman,” “illegal,” and unworthy of policy. The resignation was added to the departure of Daniel Foote, Washington’s special envoy to Haiti, after images of Border Patrol agents treating Haitians in Del Rio, Texas, circulated around the world. Kamala Harris, now Vice President of the United States, was one of the main opponents of Section 42 in the Senate.

Jean Guerrero, Analyst Los Angeles Times An immigration expert believes that Donald Trump and extremist advisers like Stephen Miller continue to shape immigration policy. “I expected the Biden administration to be just as strong against the dangers of extremism and xenophobia, but they did a poor job. They believe that if they are moderate and do not make a lot of noise and draw attention to the situation on the border, this will be enough to calm the Republicans, ”the author of the article says. Hate monger, a book about the radical line promoted by Miller. “The borders are just as closed as they were under Trump, with the only difference being that children are not being expelled. But every night, nativists on Fox News call Biden an open borders president,” he adds.

A Border Patrol agent tries to stop a Haitian immigrant.PAUL RAJ (AFP)

“The Democrats haven’t guaranteed a big win for immigrants for decades,” says Guerrero, who thinks it’s a great time for reforms that will leave 11 million people legally. “It’s worrying because I don’t think it will get done. If this is not done now, it could take more than a decade,” says the analyst. The last major amnesty for the undocumented was carried out under Republican Ronald Reagan. However, under the Biden administration, domestic immigration police (ICE) arrests have dropped significantly. In fiscal year 2021, that was 72,000. During the Trump administration, the average was about 148,000 people a year.

This month, Biden has the opportunity to once again bow to his constituents and the Hispanic community. The government is negotiating the future of Stay in Mexico, another controversial initiative launched by Trump in 2019 that forced asylum seekers to wait south of the Rio Grande for asylum seekers to resolve their cases. This policy, known as the Immigrant Protection Protocol, has reduced border crossings by 75%. The Democratic administration tried to wind down the program with a memorandum, but the Supreme Court ruled in August that it needed to be restarted because it was not justified enough to end it.

Alejandro Majorcas, Minister of Homeland Security, tried his luck at the end of October by issuing a new directive that wants to put an end to this. The secretary acknowledged that the program reduces migration flows, but does so at a “substantial and unjustified human cost” to people waiting in Mexico. The Court will have to evaluate this new definition. The government says it is ready to restart the program from mid-November on Mexican soil, which is opposed by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Frustrating Hispanics with Biden’s broken promises could cost Democrats dearly. The Hispanic vote was decisive in last year’s elections. It accounted for 10.6% support, up 1.4% from 2016, according to census data. Two-thirds voted for Biden and Harris, a decisive support in such bitter disputes as Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. And there are already signs of exhaustion in this community. The president’s approval rating among Hispanics fell nearly 20 points, from 60% in May to 49%. According to an Economist/YouGov poll, only 2 in 10 Hispanics are satisfied with Biden’s record on immigration. The remaining 80% are still waiting for results.

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