Immigrant advocacy groups are urging the administration of President Joe Biden to deliver on promises to reform the immigration system, after a year of deadlock and when Democrats risk losing their majority in the US Congress.
Although they recognize that progress has been made to break some of the measures put in place by the administration of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021), their concern is that no major changes have been achieved, and the White House’s maneuvering power is threatened in the midterm elections next November.
“After one year into your administration, we invite you to remember and fulfill your promises,” Angelica Salas, director of the Alliance for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHIRLA) emphasized Friday.
The application by the “We’re Home” campaign, in which dozens of pro-immigrant groups across the country participate, focuses on two main goals: opening a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants and building “fair and humane”.
1) Immigration reform that did not come
The urgency that activists are again pumping into the Biden government to promote permanent residency for the undocumented is marked by the failures of the previous year. And although several proposals were considered, the majority in the Senate died.
His hopes remain for Biden’s “Build Back Better” social plan, which includes a project to protect immigrants that he failed to pass last year because of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s disapproval.
For Marilena Hincape, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris must “use their political power” after years of experience in the legislature for the initiative to be approved in the Senate.
2) Just and humane changes
In their urgent applications list, the activists also included the final termination of all rules and regulations that undermine asylum applications and due process.
As they have done throughout 2021, activists are calling for an end to Title 42, a rule that allows for the expulsion of foreigners who cross the border due to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Added to this is his refusal to resume the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, or Remain in Mexico) program, created by Trump in 2019 under which foreigners arriving at the southern border to seek asylum must remain in Mexico while they must complete their papers in the United States.
The Biden administration was forced to restore the rule after a lawsuit from two Republican states. Legal complaint in the Supreme Court.
3) Republicans, stone in the shoe?
In this context, Republicans are under criticism. Voice of America spokesperson Douglas Rivlin stressed today in a statement that “the Republican Party cannot be anti-immigration and supportive of economic growth,” stressing conservatives’ ban on reforms to legalize essential undocumented workers.
“President Biden and Democrats should use every tool at their disposal to help the country and our economy by legalizing immigration, both for immigrants who are already here and those who will come to help our economy in the future,” he added.
For his part, Hincape expressed confidence that if Democrats succeeded in passing laws that help the economy and immigrants, it would certainly “inspire” voters to participate in the November 2022 elections. He noted that “the time to act is now.”
4) It’s time to be connected
Amid the recommendations, Silky Shah, director of the Detention Monitoring Network, asked the White House to honor its promises to decriminalize undocumented persons, and to reduce incarceration and deportation of immigrants.
The activist noted a request made Thursday by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas to city mayors limiting police forces’ cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until they reconsider re-cooperation with regard to immigration retention.
The secretary supported his request by saying that the center was “not the same agency as in the past,” referring to the direction the agency had taken in the previous administration.
“There is little evidence that this is true, that ICE’s position has changed. We have not yet seen changes in deportation and imprisonment policies,” Shah stressed.
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